Wii Sports Resort
Check out the Video Review.
With over 45 million copies sold worldwide, the original Wii Sports redefined gaming. For the first time in years, both hardcore and new gamers could stand side to side, both enjoying an entirely new experience. With easy to pick-up controls and a focus on movement, Wii Stports brought many to gaming that never expected to pick up a controller, blurring the line between gamer and, well, everyone else. At E3 2008, Nintendo announced plans to invigorate the market yet again with Wii Sports Resort, this time adding a peripheral to the box: the Wii MotionPlus. With the Wii MotionPlus, Nintendo touted near 1:1 controls, delivering on the promise they made when the Wii was first unveiled. Is Wii Sports Resort worth getting excited about, or should gamers leave their hula shirts at home?
From the moment the game begins, Wii Sports Resort represents a stellar example of Nintendo’s commitment bringing gamers a polished experience. After calibrating the Wii MotionPlus, an act that requires placing the remote face down on a surface, players control their Mii’s freefall during a parachuting game. Occasionally, the Wii Remote’s silhouette surrounds the Mii, further reinforcing to the player their new level of control. Throwing the remote into the air, flipping it around, and spinning it as fast as possible are all represented perfectly on screen.
After landing on Wuhu Island, twelve games sit available on the main screen, two of which are recycled from the original. The returning favorites are golf and bowling, both of which are given the MotionPlus treatment, improving the controls and bringing them up to speed with the rest of the games on the disk. Bowling remains as fun as it ever was, with the added bonus of being able to apply more spin. Golf, too, benefits from more precise controls, but pales in comparison to this year’s Tiger Woods offering. Tennis, on the other hand, does not return. Instead, Table Tennis is included, an obvious parallel to the previous game’s hit. A spin of the wrist in either direction curves the ball, adding an immense amount of depth to the otherwise simple game. It’s addicting, and as easy to lose hours in as anything in the original Wii Sports.
When it comes to new games, it’s a mixed bag. Swordplay will likely be compared to Boxing in Wii Sports, in that it’s many will think that it’s pretty easy to win by flailing uncontrollably. However, just like in boxing, a bit of skill can overcome any amount of waggle, meaning it should be a hit among those willing to invest time learning how to play. Besides duels, Speed Slice pits two players against each other to see who can slash apart objects the fastest. It’s such a simple concept it’s impossible not to get pulled in, meaning more time will likely be spent chopping apart diamonds and oranges than chopping each other apart in Duel mode. On the singleplayer side, Showdown plays like a third person adventure game in the vain of Zelda or Ninja Gaiden. It controls amazingly well, showing an extremely practical use for the technology.
Besides swordplay, archery, too, has many practical applications beyond Wuhu Island. By holding both the remote and nunchuck vertically, the bow feels tangible; as real as it could possibly be. Subtle movements are detected perfectly, making Archery one of the best games in the box when it comes to competitive multiplayer. Also coming close in that aspect is Dogfight, a spin-off of the Air Sports category. High above Wuhu Island, players battle to destroy each other’s balloons and knock their opponent out of the sky, all the while racing to checkpoints to refill their supply. Despite the controls being a bit floaty, it can get extremely hectic, mostly thanks to the MotionPlus’s sensitivity. It’s possible to pull off remarkable stunts in the air, evading enemy’s shots with a twist of the wrist. Since it controls like a paper airplane, it’s one of the easiest games to pick-up-and-play, with controls so intuitive it makes bowling look complicated. Other selections, like a Pickup Game of basketball, almost manage to reach greatness, though fall short due to a lack of depth.
Of the twelve games, only a few really fall flat. Canoeing asks players to mimic the act as closely as possible by swinging the remote in rowing movements and constantly changing sides. There’s very little strategy involved, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that it would be more fitting in EA SPORTS Active than Wii Sports Resort. To make matters worse, it barely works anyway. Also in the same boat is Cycling, which is only slightly better. Other games just simply aren’t all that well developed or interesting. Frisbee is only fun for a few minutes before the novelty of the cute dog wears off, and Basketball has a harsh learning curve – something that doesn’t fit it well considering there isn’t direct control of the players.
While there’s no shortage of entertainment in Wii Sports Resort, most of the games definitely feel like tech demos for upcoming titles. Swordplay and Archery could blend together seamlessly for a Zelda title, completely immersing gamers into Hyrule. Other modes in the game are fun in and of themselves, but work better as a proof of concept even more Nintendo properties. It’s easy to see how Air Sports could be turned into a Pilot Wings or Kid Icarus game, and how Power Cruising could become the next Wave Race. Though the Wii MotionPlus adds a great deal of sensitivity to the controls, it’s still as intuitive as it was before, meaning fun for the whole family. All of the events in Wii Sports Resort are better when playing with friends. Archery, Frisbee, Golf, and Bowling can be completed by passing the MotionPlus around and taking turns on the events. Others, however, require an additional peripheral.
Wii Sports changed everything. For the first time, everyone could play video games, and it was cool to be a gamer. With Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo has, again, shown what is possible with their technology. Besides getting new gamers into the scene, Wii Sports’ other goal was to prove Nintendo’s gamble with motion controls. Obviously they were successful. This time around, Nintendo puts all of its eggs in the MotionPlus basket. This comes with some added annoyances, like needing to occasionally calibrate the attachment and a feeling that the games are sometimes too sensitive, but that shouldn’t stop any developers from taking advantage of the hardware. Not all of the twelve games are winners, with some falling short due to their simplicity. For fans of Wii Sports, there’s no reason not to pick up Wii Sports Resort. It comes bundled with the Wii MotionPlus, contains several addictive offerings, and should provide some variety at your parents next Wii Sports party.