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Wii Sports Resort with Wii MotionPlus (Wii)
Game Reviews

Wii Sports Resort with Wii MotionPlus (Wii)

The next iteration of the Wii Sports franchise is the perfect showcase for Nintendo’s much-improved motion-sensing capabilities.

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Nearly 3 years after the introduction of Nintendo’s Wii and its breakthrough hit Wii Sports comes the next in line of the series with Wii Sports Resort. Expanding and most certainly adding upon the activities of the original Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort takes you on a 12 sport tour through the lush island paradise known as Wuhu Island, a digital tropical paradise whose name sounds an awful lot like the company’s mustachioed mascot’s trademark yelp. And for those paying attention, the island also made an appearance in Wii Fit, too.

What’s there to do while vacationing on Wuhu Island? Why, there’s sword fighting in the coliseum, wakeboarding in the ocean waves, archery by the mountainside, Frisbee play on the beach, basketball in the resort courts, jet skiing in the island seas, biking through the island trails, ping-pong at the coast lawns, canoeing off the island docks, and hang gliding in the clouds. If that’s not enough for you, then how about a little golf at the links or bowling in resort lanes? Yes, golf and bowling from the original return in Wii Sports Resort, but with suitable improvements to justify their inclusion here.

But the most exciting prospect of this new compilation is the Wii MotionPlus add-on (packed-in with game), which delivers a 1:1 ratio of motion-sensing ability to the Wii Remote. In other words, the gadget absolutely captures your true motions, for better or worse. This mandatory peripheral for the game – and how to work it – is introduced in excruciating length on your very first play. Much like Wii Sports was the showcase piece for the Wii console, Wii MotionPlus and its extra accurate reading of motion acts as the showcase for Wii Sports Resort.

In this showcase, the 12 sports categories (with their varied modes within) give you a much more robust playing experience than the original Wii Sports. And similarly to the original, you may find yourself getting unintended exercise from some of the activities in the sports.

The category Swordplay contains 3 modes (2 which have to be unlocked during play): Duel, Speed Slice, and Showdown. You see how well the sword follows your movements in these fun, frantic slicing and dicing games. The Wakeboarding category shows you equilibrium the hard way as you trick jump those water waves. Archery especially tests your motor control when Wiimote and Nunchuk become Bow and Arrow in increasingly difficult bull’s-eye-aiming contests. In the Frisbee category are 2 modes: Frisbee Dog and Frisbee Golf (unlockable). One of the best displays of WiiMotionPlus’ technology, the first teaches you how to aim your disc at spots on the beach with a little help from your canine friend, while Frisbee Golf delivers on its namesake.

Basketball has 2 modes: 3-Point Contest and Pickup Game (unlockable). The first mode is very fun and simplifies basketball shooting like Wii Sports did for its 5 sports. But the second mode shows a mix of promise and disappointment, as what could have been a simplified game of B-ball soon turned into a disjointed affair with the action stopping for every shot and steal made. Each time this happens, the other side gets the ball to toss in. That’s simply not the game of basketball. The play mechanics are sound but are ruined by this herky-jerky game flow.

The category Power Cruising has 2 modes: Slalom Course and Vs. Hanging onto the jet ski with Wiimote and Nunchuk while aiming for the rings gives you a taste of Nintendo’s Wave Race. Cycling’s 2 modes are Road Race and Vs. and you pedal with Wiimote and Nunchuk in a exciting race against 30 bikers while trying to conserve your breath in the trek. Golf returns with the option for a full 18 holes and more emphasis on making straight shots (no more wild shot-in-the-dark swinging). Table Tennis has 2 modes: Match and Return Challenge. The first is a more involved version of the Table Tennis seen in Wii Play while the second tests to see how many balls you can send back to server (and how much you can control your hits). Bowling returns with 3 modes: Standard Game, 100-Pin Game, and Spin Control. Just more spruced up versions of the original Wii Sports’ Bowling with more control (love 100-Pin Game!).

Canoeing has 2 modes: Speed Challenge and Vs. THIS category will get your arms in shape, especially the competitive multiplayer Vs. mode! Finally, the Air Sports category contains 3 modes: Skydiving (you get a sample of this upon first play), Island Flyover, and Dogfight. All modes are controlled solely by Wiimote where you freefall to touch other divers (and get pictures taken), you sightsee Wuhu Island in a plane for landmarks and peace of mind, and you battle other planes to pop their balloons. While not the most exciting display of aeronautics, the MotionPlus was remarkably accurate in capturing the movements of the Wiimote.

Just as with the original Wii Sports, the enjoyment factor of Resort multiplies with more live players, together and rocking their controllers together; its certainly the penultimate party game if there ever was one. However, there are those who may be disappointed the game doesn’t make use of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for online play, with no international stats or leaderboards to speak of. While the game has the option of using the Check Mii Out Channel by importing its Miis to be audience or opponent, it largely remains an in-house game only.

And be warned, some people may lose patience fumbling with the Wii MotionPlus protective sleeve when inserting/removing Wiimote and Nunchuk, to say nothing of the constant recalibration the MotionPlus adapter occasionally forces players to sit through. Hopefully one day that functionality will become streamlined with future Wiimotes.

Small nitpicks aside, Wii Sports Resort delivers on its promise to showcase the abilities of Wii MotionPlus with an enjoyable variety of well-designed games that are guaranteed to help make those family and friends get-togethers competitive and fun. This is not a lazy Wii Sports rehash and is worth the price of admission. You’ll definitely express plenty of Whees and Woo-hoos when playing at the Resort. Just remember to bring some friends along!

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07/26/2009

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Nintendo

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About the Author: John Lucas