Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #75: Wii Sports Resort Review

Yesterday, my pre-ordered copy of Wii Sports Resort, plus an additional Wii MotionPlus, arrived in the mail. The Wii, after all, is better suited as a communal gaming experience and not for single players. (And if you find yourself as a single player for much of your Wii playing experience, that is fine, too. Just make sure your system is full of Mii-derivatives of friendly faces, and play lots of Mii-enabled games like Sports, Play, Fit, Music, Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, etc.)

Sports Resort contains 12 sports, with some variations for many of those sports. Having only played three hours of this title, I haven't played all the variations of each sport, nor have I unlocked everything there is to unlock, but here's my review anyway:

The MotionPlus accessory improves game play, hands down. The only problem is figuring out what to do with all the extra silicone sleeves that are now rendered useless by the now-longer controller (that's what she said!). Anyhow...

Swordplay is awesome. It is more enjoyable than its apparent Sports predecessor, boxing (whose true successor would be the Punch-Out!! Wii version). The speed slice game is also fun as a competitive mini-game. I have yet to play the single-player showdown mode.

Wakeboarding is decent. I can almost anticipate a Wii Balance Board + MotionPlus sequel to this sport in a future Wii title, like in the next Wii Fit. That would be awesome.

Frisbee with the Mii dog is also pretty decent. I hope it will grow on me as a go-to game to play. I have yet to play Frisbee golf, which will hopefully use the same golf course as golf.

Archery is freakin' awesome! It is a fun competitive sport, and all three difficulty modes are good. It is nearly perfect, except that all Miis shoot right-handed on screen. I'm usually left-handed, so there is a bit of discrepancy between my actions and my Mii's actions, but it really isn't much of a problem. I'm guessing that this is a space-saving measure within the Sports Resort game disc.

Basketball is also awesome! The three-point shooting contest - which gives you the option of handedness, thankfully - felt really good. I actually got some sort of rhythm going and made a few virtual baskets from downtown. The three-on-three game is also fun.

Table tennis is a vast improvement on its predecessor from Wii Play. I have yet to play the second variation of this sport - the return challenge.

Golf has been expanded to 18 holes: Nine new ones and the nine from Wii Sports. MotionPlus really shines here. You get more motion-based options when driving or using an iron. The real improvement, however, is for chip shots and putting. You actually feel like you're swing a club, rather than just flicking your wrists to control your "swing," as is the case with Wii Sports.

Bowling, however, feels like the other side of the MotionPlus coin. Due to the added controls and motion sensitivity, gone is the feeling of invincibility that came with Wii Sports. Previously strikes (and turkeys!) and spares were no problem, but in this sequel, methinks you'll have to earn the big points (like in real life). I have yet to play the two additional varieties to this sport.

Power Cruising, or jetskiing, is decent. The points-based slalom mini-game was kind of like Wii Fit's skiing, but for lazier people. I have yet to play the versus mode of this sport.

Canoeing is quite challenging. The cooperative speed challenge takes a lot of, well, cooperation to go anywhere. I have yet to play the competitive versus mode of this sport.

Cycling is as challenging as canoeing. Your Mii is given a finite amount of endurance, and coupled with tandem bicycling requires a lot of strategizing and coordination. I have yet to play the competitive versus mode of this sport, but I'm sure the Mii endurance factor plays a similar role.

Airsports is actually three discrete sports, lumped into the same location; that is, the skies above Sports Resort Island. I have yet to play skydiving, but I suspect that it is similar to (if not the same as) the introductory skydive when you first load the game on the Wii. I have to play "island flyover" as well; I suspect that it is hang gliding or something similar. The dogfight mode is awesome.

Overall, Wii Sports Resort is a worthy sequel to not only Wii Sports but also Wii Play. In any case, I wonder if Sports Resort Island is the same location as Fit Island, or if they are just similarly-structured neighboring islands. Anyway, I recommend having at least two MotionPlus accessories from the start. One MotionPlus comes with the game, so the other one will have to be purchased separately - either on its own for $20 or bundled with the latest Tiger Woods golf game ($50+). While Sports Resort's price is around $50, be prepared to spend at least $70. The game would be quite lacking as single-player only, or without access to simultaneous-player sports. For Wii owners with four controllers, be prepared to pay about $110 for the game plus three additional MotionPlus accessories. Also, you might want to max out on nunchuk accessories ($20 each), which are required peripherals for archery, jetskiing, and cycling.

In any case, have fun!

(Full disclosure: I own some NTDOY, but my enthusiasm for Nintendo products is a lot older than any direct stake in the company itself. That said, it's always nice to hope for some sort of longterm profit-driven payoff.)

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