Wii Sports ResortESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
MotionPlus Playable Only
I remember the first time I fired up Wii Sports, the venerable pack in that comes with every Nintendo Wii. It brought with it some new control features in a console game that that many had no clue existed. Well fast forward to the summer of 09...which happens to be right now. Nintendo has released Wii Sports Resort and a new peripheral, the MotionPlus controller. This simple accessory attaches to the bottom of your existing Wii Remote and adds a level of sensitivity to Nintendo’s revolutionary console. So how does this new iteration of their Wii Sports game play? Read on.
Wii Sports Resort does not add much to the graphics that the original Wii Sports presented. Regardless, the game is colorful, vibrant and even borders on cute at times. If there is one new addition it is that you can now see your whole environment where everything takes place: Wahu Island. You can take a journey to see the whole area in the Island Tour mode. You’ll find some nice scenery as well as some interesting characters. You are not restricted to just the main island either as you can cruise on over to the golf course island and a few other smaller islands around Wahu. I should also mention that you can do this during the day, evening or night, all which have their own visual style given the lighting. As there are a few water based games this time too, Nintendo did a pretty good job of incorporating some nice looking water effects. I enjoyed watching my Mii wake board or use the new wave runners. Overall there is nothing to be disappointed with here as you’ll find the game is nice on the eyes, just don’t expect any mind numbing visuals.
Simple and to the point, that is what comes to mind here. There isn’t a whole lot of music, but what is there manages to get the job done solidly. For those who played a lot of original Wii Sports, you will notice the same announcer is back to add some commentary. Don’t get too excited though as his work is very limited to summing up scores and what not. He does not add any deep color commentary to the game. Finally, the sound effects are typical Wii Sports. It’s funny that I would say something like this, but that is the best way to describe them. From the whack of your arrow striking its target to the sound of your plane or boat as you navigate Wahu Island, all is solid enough to make the game enjoyable.
As with such titles as the original Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Music, there is no story line here. The main goal is simple, play games and enjoy them. Wii Sports Resort is Nintendo’s method of showing the gaming public what their new MotionPlus controller can do, and trust me, it shows that it can do a lot, including taking control to the next level. I should note that Wii Sports Resort cannot be played without the new MotionPlus peripheral, so Nintendo kindly packaged one with each copy of the game. Should you wish for more of these accessories, you can pick them up separately along with the game. Many of the available games on the disc can be played sharing one Wii Remote, but not all of them can, and I do recommend picking up a few extra ones just in case. Heck, you can even pick up a copy of Tiger Woods 10 for the Wii that also comes packaged with the accessory, so then you’d have two new games and two MotionPlus controllers. Anyhow, I digress...
Wii Sports Resort has 12 games on the disc, and out of these 12 two return from the original Wii Sports: Golf and Bowling. For the really curious here is a list of the available games and any sub-modes within:
1. Air Sports
- Skydiving (1 Player) – This is the very first thing you’ll do once you fire up Wii Sports Resort. This mode exposes you to the sensitivity that the MotionPlus offers up. You tilt the Wii Remote to glide and catch the other Mii characters who are skydiving with you.
- Island Flyover (1 Player) – Hold the Wii Remote like you would if you were throwing a paper airplane. The plane on the screen will follow your movements. Find all the sightseeing spots on Wahu Island at different times of the day (day, evening or night).
- Dogfight (2 Players) - Control is similar to Island Flyover. Here you fire your balloon blaster to knock out your opponent’s balloons. When the time is up whoever popped the most balloons wins.
2. Swordplay – Hold the Wii Remote as if you were gripping a sword.
- Duel (1 or 2 Players) – Attack your opponent with your sword and try to knock him or her off the game platform
- Speed Slice (1 or 2 Players) – Compete to see who can slice the fastest. Cut logs, balls, pencils, and other objects in the direction indicated as quickly as you can.
- Showdown (1 Player) – Fight a horde of enemy sword fighters. The game will end if you get hit three times or you defeat all enemies in the area.
3. Wakeboarding (1-4 Players) – Hold the Wii Remote sideways and grip firmly with both hands. You tilt the Wii Remote left and right to carve through the water, and then you pull up when you go over the wake to get big air. Make sure you land flat.
4. Archery (1-4 Players) – Use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Hold the Wii Remote vertically and use the Nunchuk to “pull back the string”. Hit as close to the center of the target as possible. Three different skill modes add different obstacles (e.g. moving target).
5. Frisbee – Hold Wii Remote sideways like you would a Frisbee.
- Frisbee Dog (1-4 Players) – Throw your Frisbee at a target on the beach so your dog can run and catch it.
- Frisbee Golf (1-4 Players) – Play golf with Frisbee, it’s as simple as that. You choose from three different Frisbees based on your distance from the ‘hole’.
6. Basketball – Grip the Wii Remote in one hand with the buttons facing inward.
- 3-Point Contest (1-4 Players) – Compete to see who can make the most shots within a time limit. You can shoot up to 25 balls.
- Pickup Game (1-2 Players) – Play a 3-on-3 pickup game. On offence use A or d-pad to pass and B to begin shooting. On defence flick the Wii Remote to try to steal or block.
7. Power Cruising – this is like WaveRace from the N64 and GameCube. Hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as if you were holding handlebars.
- Slalom Course (1-4 Players) – Ride the waves and try to get through the rings in the best time. If need be you can take turns with one controller and nunchuk.
- VS (2 Players) – Compete directly against a friend split screen to make it to the finish first.
8. Cycling – Hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk upright. To pedal you alternate swinging the Wii Remote and Nunchuk up and down. If you pedal too long your on-screen Mii will need a break.
- Road Race (1-2 Players) – Just what it says, a road race.
- VS (2 Players) – Race against a friend using the same control scheme as you would against the computer.
9. Golf – Hold the Wii Remote in both hands points downward like a golf club. Swing the controller like you would a golf club. There are two courses this time around, the original and a new one specific for Wii Sports Resort.
10. Table Tennis – Hold the Wii Remote like you would a table tennis paddle. Swing like a paddle too. You can also twist the Wii Remote in an effort to get controlled shots.
- Match (1-2 Players) – Play a regular match against the computer AI or another person.
- Return Challenge (1-4 Players) – Return as many serves as you can to get points.
11. Bowling – Hold the Wii Remote in one hand and go through the motions as you would throwing a bowling ball down a lane. This is identical to the original Wii Sports action.
- Standard Game (1-4 Players) – See who can knock down the most pins in a 9 frame game.
- 100 Pin Game (1-4 Players) – The goal is now to see who can knock down the most pins when there are 100 of them set up in each frame.
- Spin Control (1-4 Players) – Avoid the barriers that appear in the land and try to knock down the pins.
12. Canoeing – Hold the Wii Remote upright and grip it with both hands. To paddle you pull the Wii Remote as if you were paddling with an oar. Alternate left and right sides to keep straight.
- Speed Challenge (1-4 Players) – Paddle your canoe and try to make it to the goal before time runs out.
- VS (2-4 Players) – Try to make it past the checkpoints on the course before your opponent does.
As you can see, there is a lot to do on Wahu Island. If there is one thing that I can say with confidence it is that the MotionPlus peripheral really does make a difference. I was amazed with the level of accuracy and how the peripheral makes such a difference. For example, when playing Frisbee Dog, the one-to-one movement is amazing. As you move your wrist up and down you can watch your Mii do the same thing on screen. To see the exact tilt of the virtual Frisbee is kinda scary as it is just that accurate. Another example is Table Tennis. The amount of ‘spin’ that you can put on the ball is simply amazing as with a twist of the wrist you can put on back, forward or even side spin for some amazing shots. It is no wonder that this game can only be played with the MotionPlus, as anything else would be a shame.
As I made my way through the various things to do in the game I found myself really drawn to archery, air sports, Frisbee, bowling, and golf, in no particular order. Surprisingly enough the Island Flyover really had me doing a few late nights looking for all the sightseeing spots around the island. Not all of them are easily found and some of them are dependent on the time of day (in game) you fly around. As noted above, the whole MotionPlus is amazing, and playing the bowling and golf modes with such makes them totally different games. I wasn’t a huge fan of the golf in the original Wii Sports, but this time around there is something strangely addictive to it.
Given that there are so many things to do in Wii Sports Resort, there is bound to be a few things that won’t thrill you, and I wasn’t too thrilled with some of the game’s content. For me the cycling game was a novelty, as there is just something strange about pedalling with my arms. Canoeing also wore thin as I just didn’t feel it, so to speak. I guess when there is so much to do that is good there is bound to be a thing or two that just doesn’t cut it. That being said, you may like ones that I didn’t, and not like the ones that I did. It all really does come down to personal taste.
For me, the biggest downfall to Wii Sports Resort is that as a single player experience it doesn’t have a whole lot of legs; however, have a few friends over and the game becomes totally different. Given that we are in the summer months right now, having a few friends over, a cooler full of one’s favourite beverages, and the patio door open while you play a round of virtual golf or archery really makes for a great time. The single player experience somewhat pales on comparison. Maybe it is the thrill of competition, or the fact that there is just someone to talk to while you play, regardless this game is much better when played with other people.
There is incentive to get better though, so you may find some reason to play the single player more then you thought. There are stamps to be earned throughout the game, and these are done as you complete various tasks. For instance, in the archery mode there are hidden targets beyond the normal ones available. You can get stamps for finding and hitting these, but they are not easy and they will have you honing your arrow launching skills. Although the stamps are incentives, some may find them to be a cheap mans achievements (editor’s note: Xbox 360 reference). In any case, at least there is some motivation to play the single player more than you might have if these were not there.
If there is anything missing it would be the lack of an online mode. In this day and age of online gaming Wii Sports Resorts really could have used something like this. Heck, even the use of the Wii Speak would have been perfect for this game as chatting while golfing, throwing Frisbee or launching a few arrows would have been perfect. For the life of me I just can’t figure out why Nintendo seems to miss opportunities like this. Oh well, as usual I will keep my fingers crossed that they embrace and utilize opportunities to do this and that the next iteration of Wii Sports, no matter what it is, goes online.
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