Monday, August 3, 2009

A Resort Worth Going To... The Wii Sports Resort Review

If you ever played a Wii at least once throughout its lifespan so far, chances are you played Wii Sports, which is arguably the perfect pack-in game for a console like Nintendo's Wii. You were likely hanging out with family or friends trying to beat them at bowling, tennis, golf, or baseball. As much of a phenomenon Wii Sports is for the past three years especially among the casual audience, there is more what Nintendo could do to make it a definitive experience for the Wii, which is why the sequel, Wii Sports Resort, is out to improve on what was missing and expand on what the Wiimote is capable of. Speaking of expanding on what the Wiimote is capable of, that is indeed the case for Resort being bundled with the Motion Plus add-on for more accuracy and precision with the motion controls. Nintendo already established the formula for casual gaming success with the first game and the sequel is more of expanding on that formula being a great showpiece for the Motion Plus.

Once you first boot up Wii Sports Resort, you have to deal with a tutorial regarding the Motion Plus with attaching it on your Wiimote and then seeing the true difference with the new add-on in an introductory skydiving sequence to Wahu Island. After finishing that, it is pretty much more Wii Sports from there with more mini-games and diverse activities for players to mess with. There are certainly some standouts out of this sequel that take advantage of the Motion Plus while other sports either do not offer much to the table or basically not fun at all. Those specific standouts are swordplay, table tennis, and archery. Swordplay consists of three games which are duel, speed slice, and showdown. A duel is a straight up one-on-one contest as the objective is to knock your opponent out of the field, which is sort of like American Gladiators in a way. It is definitely a personal favorite of mine especially against a human opponent as you can play it in two completely different styles either by being precise or waggling like crazy. Speed slice and showdown are good diversions from the swordplay duels as speed slice is just about trying to out-slice your opponent at certain objects while showdown takes the gameplay to a brawler-like scenario taking out random Miis. Table tennis is pretty straightforward with your Wiimote as the paddle, but fully takes advantage of the precise motions adding along the spin and all that jazz. Archery though surprisingly impressed me the most being more fun than I thought it would be. With the Wiimote and Nunchuk, it feels like holding a bow firing arrows at targets to score points. Even though there are the standout mini-games in Wii Sports Resort, the other ones just feel okay or not as fun as intended.

Returning from the original Wii Sports are golf and bowling. Golf is pretty much the same old game you played last time if you played the original just with Motion Plus. Then again, there is already a better golf game that takes advantage of the add-on with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 even though if you just want a simple game of golf without all that depth Tiger has, Resort's golf is still fine. Bowling at its core is also unchanged being the same old classic game you love for three years. The new big addition to this mini-game this time around is a 100-pin game, which is pretty self-explanatory being the same game just with more pins. Bowling is still as fun as it is especially playing with friends. Other new mini-games to this sequel are frisbee, basketball, wakeboarding, canoeing, jet skiing, cycling, and air sports. Wakeboarding lets you use the Wiimote sideways to steer around while flicking up lets you do tricks. This mini-game is not that bad, but a little harder on tougher courses to come up with a big score. Basketball also has its fun moments with the three point contest and a light version of a 3 on 3 pickup game. The three point contest is the standout out of that mode as you try to get the perfect rhythm of nailing shots while the pickup game is a stripped down version of a normal basketball game with less rules, lots of slam dunks, and lack of strategy. Frisbee can be enjoyable if you enjoy that activity letting the Wiimote be the frisbee making the motion to throw it, but I did not see it as fun. Most of these other sports depend on personal taste which is the case with me not enjoying jet skiing, cycling, canoeing, and air sports. The jet skiing and cycling do not utilize the Motion Plus that much as they feel like generic racing mini-games. The jet skiing is arguably the closest thing Nintendo will do to bring back Wave Race, but it feels like a wasted effort as it is just a slalom time trial trying to get high scores. Cycling also feels generic as you just drum the Wiimote and Nunchuk to accelerate, but also stamina is a factor in these races, so going at a nice consistent pace is recommended. Canoeing and air sports at first feel like decent diversions, but in the end they are just boring mini-games. Even though Wii Sports Resort has a lot to offer with tons of mini-games, it is likely you are not to enjoy all of them depending on your personal tastes.

Graphically, Wii Sports Resort looks like just another Wii whatever title with the same style seen in Wii Play and Wii Fit. Sure, some effects have been improved especially when playing the water sports, but obviously this game is not meant to be a graphical beast on the Wii. As for the presentation, everything feels organized and simple to access menus especially for short pick up and play sessions. There is also an achievement-like system in the form of stamps of performing certain tasks like a hot streak on the three point contest or a turkey in bowling. These stamps are nice to have around especially for goal-oriented players that want to complete everything. Wahu Island itself feels like the perfect place to fit all these activities in, but I'm not completely sold on it being a character like Shigeru Miyamoto intended it to be. The sound also feels like another title in the Wii whatever series with tunes that will fit certain themes, but do not expect too much from that either.

Despite its hits and misses, Wii Sports Resort is still another must-have game on the Wii. It is great to have it around for short sessions along with playing it multiplayer with more than two players in which the game truly shines. There are definitely some standouts in this mini-game collection with swordplay, table tennis, and archery that utilize the Motion Plus to its full potential. However, there are certainly some clunkers that feel like generic games like cycling, canoeing, and jet skiing. The other mini-games have their fun moments as well along with the returning ones from the original game providing those same good times throughout the years. It is also recommended to have another Motion Plus around for at least two players even though some games let you pass the Wiimote around to take turns, but other games will require more than one Motion Plus for competition among friends. In the end, Resort is a great showpiece for the Motion Plus add-on as well as a great Wii game at the same time which will be another hit among the casual crowd even though hardcore audiences will have fun with it as well.

Score = 8.5/10

  • A great showpiece for the Motion Plus
  • Standout mini-games archery, swordplay, and table tennis take full advantage of that same add-on as well as being great mini-games in general
  • Still fun for family and friends especially multiplayer
  • Not all the mini-games are great as some are indeed clunkers, but still it depends on personal tastes of the sports
  • One Motion Plus might not be enough for multiplayer as another one is needed for some of the head-to-head activities

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