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Komodo's Buckshot Lock and Load Gun Shell - Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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Buckshot Lock and Load

So beautiful, so impractical.

Pros: built-in Nunchuk. Totally bad-ass.
Cons: cuts off access to most of the Wii remote’s buttons.

As a professional reviewer, my job is to evaluate the pros and cons of a product and come to a reasonable judgment as to its merits. This proved somewhat difficult when I picked up Komodo’s Buckshot Lock and Load light gun peripheral for the Wii remote; it’s hard to consider something reasonably when your brain keeps yelling, “Woah! This thing is freaking awesome!”

The Good: It's a Big, Cool Gun

The Buckshot is a light gun modeled after a pump-action shotgun. At a bit over 15 inches, it’s far bigger than a typical light gun. Its most intriguing feature is a pump-slide that allows you to reload by sliding back the pump handle. All this really does is press the A button for you, but the feeling is that you are reloading a pump-action shotgun, which is pretty cool.

The Buckshot is a wonderfully solid and well-built peripheral, made of heavy, shiny red plastic with rubber grips on the handle and the pump. The feeling of firing and reloading is exhilarating, offering a whole new level of immersion. The shotgun also ingeniously has a nunchuk built into the game’s handle, which works better than gun shells like the Wii Zapper that require you to attach your nunchuk and thread the cord through the shell.

The Bad: It Just Makes Your Life More Difficult

Unfortunately, that initial feeling of excitement is lessened as one discovers the gun’s main flaw: you can’t use most of the Wii remote’s buttons. The remote is encased in the barrel under a closed hatch.The only buttons you can access are the B button, via the trigger, and the A button via the pump.

This means that if you’re playing House of the Dead: Overkill and you want to throw a grenade by pushing the minus button, or pause Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles with the plus button, you have to open the hatch to do so. And you will probably die during the time it would take to do so.

Another issue with the Buckshot came to light when I tried to dodge in Umbrella Chronicles by shaking the gun. It’s really hard to shake this big monster gun (although to be fair, even with a standard remote I find that dodge move pretty difficult).

Accessing the A button with the pump also turns out to be a big problem when using a menu system. Pumping throws off your aim, so if you have to point at something and then press A you are in for a struggle.

Conclusion: So Close to Great, But Isn't

As cool as it is, the Buckshot suffers from severe usability issues. Komodo should have found a way to let players access the remote buttons. Ideally they should have done what Penguin did with their Crossfire Remote Pistol and simply build a remote into the gun.

Ultimately, for any shooter that that doesn’t make use of the direction pad or the plus, minus, 1, 2 and home buttons, the Buckshot would be my first choice, just because it’s so much fun to blast away with a pump shotgun. Unfortunately, such games are few and far between.

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