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Wii Sports Resort Review

Contributor:
Adrian Hatwell
Adrian Hatwell

Nintendo launch their detection-enhancing peripheral MotionPlus with a second smorgasbord of sporty shenanigans in Wii Sports Resort. Like its predecessor, the Resort offers an array of simple exercises that show of the Wiimotes new abilities to an addictive degree.  

Wii Sports is currently the best selling videogame of all time, though the achievement is a little misleading, as the game wasn’t ‘sold’ so much as bundled with the incredibly popular Nintendo Wii system. At any rate the game served its limited function wonderfully, showcasing the basic purpose of the motion-tracking system over a handful of accessible sporting minigames. In launching their MotionPlus gyro-enhancement Nintendo have quite sensibly decided to follow the exact same path with Wii Sports Resort.

Nintendo unveiled their MotionPlus device at this year’s E3, promising that it would deliver 1:1 motion representation, something many thought the Wii should probably have been capable of from day one. The expansion clips on to the bottom of the remote controller, boosting the hardware’s existing accelerometer and Sensor Bar capabilities with an additional dual-axis angular rate sensor. The result is basically everything we have been promised, quick robust movements and tiny twitches are represented accurately and smoothly in-game.

These new abilities are exploited in a range of mini-sporting events that take place on perennially sunny Wuhu Island. At the Sports Resport player’s Mii avatars can kick back and enjoy a range of fun activities including swordplay, wakeboarding, cycling, basketball, canoeing, and archery. The game also features the return of two previous Wii Sports games, golf and bowling, which remain largely unchanged but benefit from the added accuracy of the MotionPlus. A much-improved version of Table Tennis from WiiPlay also appears at the Resort.

As in the previous title, certain games work better than others, some offering a mildly amusing one-time jaunt while others are sophisticated and compelling enough to return to time and again.
    
The most immediately gratifying activity on the list is swordplay; the first thing any real geek thinks of upon picking up the Wiimote is ‘can’t wait for the lightsaber game’, so it’s surprising that sword-based games aren’t more prolific already. From one-on-one duels to running a multiple-enemy gauntlet, waving your sword about like a drunken master instantly gives the impression of just how much the MotionPlus improves the Wii’s capabilities.

Other games suggest the improvement more subtly, picking up slight motion and using that intricate input to influence the more precise events. The Frisbee games demonstrate a surprising depth, requiring total arm and wrist control to truly perfect the trajectory of a disc. Frisbee golf became a quick favourite around my television, and the challenges involving a faithful canine catching your throw became true contests of skill.  

Archery is another area in which the MotionPlus gets to strut its sophisticated accuracy. The challenges are all basic target attempts, but the distance and amount of obstacles thrown in your way quickly escalates to an alarming level, and minute attention to position is required for success.

Each game that constitutes a solid experience in single-player mode becomes a sensational party game with the inclusion of friends. Most games can still be played with multiple competitors using just a single Wiimote shared among athletes, a welcome mercy for the cash- and hardware-strapped, but the game’s finest moments are undeniably the simultaneous multiplayer matches. Going toe-to-toe with a fencing partner or taking your opponent to the rim in a three-on-three basketball match is the kind of exuberant spectacle that convinces the uninitiated to abandon their inhibitions and give gaming a shot.  

While none of the games fall down on a technical level there are a handful that aren’t quite robust enough concepts to justify their existence. Wakeboarding is like a rudimentary on-rails skateboarding sim in which your only trick input is to jerk the control abruptly. Similarly cycling doesn’t manage to map the controller to any realistic simulation; instead the player is forced into the absurd role of peddling with ones hands, Wiimote and nunchuck acting as peddles. Minigames like these feel forced and don’t demand repeat play; luckily they’re a minority in the otherwise enjoyable collection.

There’s a lot of fun to be had messing around with Wii Sports Resort, casual gamers will be able to jump right into the intuitive little skirmishes and seasoned gamers will enjoy playing like beginners again. Though Sports Resort offers a lot more gameplay opportunities than Wii Sports did it still feels as though the title could have been pushed a little further, perhaps including some of the career-based modes that are de rigueur for other, more serious sporting titles.       

Whatever its shortcomings, there’s really no feeling ripped off with Wii Sports Resort, it packs a great deal of entertainment with wide appeal and comes with the excellent MotionPlus expansion, essentially for free (though you will have to shell out for additional units for multiplayer, mind). It’s a fine hardware demonstration, a first-rate party game, and an unashamed return to the glee we felt when the promise of the Wii first dawned upon us a few years back.

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