The perfect blend of accessibility and depth.
I've made no secret of the fact that I think Nintendo's latest accessory, the Wii Motion Plus, is something that could really improve the Wii. It's really the first time that something has been released that could really substantially improve a platform wiithout the need for a completely new console. The device has already had uses in two games from EA Sports in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and the excellent Grand Slam Tennis. Now it's time for Nintendo to put it's new toy to good use with Wii Sports Resort, the sequel to the best selling video game of all time. No pressure then.
The first Wii Sports did a fantastic job of introducing gamers to what the Wii was all about and it became an instant party favourite. It was probably the sole reason so many families who had never touched a video game before decided to pick up a Wii. That was almost 3 years ago and, unfortunately, all those initial dreams and expectations of the Wii's seemingly brilliant motion controls have kind of fallen flat. The Motion Plus is here to rectify that and we've already seen what it can do on the golf course and tennis courts. Nintendo have obviously had the most time to fiddle about with the new accessory and it really shows in this game because, in all honesty, Wii Sports Resort is great.
The first thing you'll notice is what a substantial improvement in terms of the amount of content Resort is over the original Wii Sports. The new game boasts 12 sports compared to the original's 5, and 10 of them are brand new (the two remaining being bowling and golf). You also get sword fighting, table tennis, wakeboarding, archery, canoeing, frisbee, basketball, jet skis, cycling, sky diving and plane flying. All of the sports have at least 2 variations so there is certainly a lot to do in Resort. Some work a lot better than others though.
Personally I loved the sword fighting and the basketball but the one that works best thanks to the added sensitivity of the Motion Plus is probably the table tennis. You can put tons of spin on the ball by twisting your wrist and it's incredibly realistic. Archery is also pretty fun and is one of only two sports that requires the Nunchuck to be attached as well (the other being jet skis). The air sports like the sky diving and the plane flying are simple fun but not particularly realistic. The bowling is just as fun as it was in the original Wii Sports but with the added precision it's even more realistic and satisfying to knock down pins. Golf and frisbee are fun but were both done better in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, but that's understandable seeing as that they were the main focus of that game. The water sports and the cycling are probably the weakest of them all. Cycling requires you to make pedal motions with your arms which isn't particularly enjoyable and the water sports don't have the depth of the other sports.
Speaking of depth, that's what's really incredible about Wii Sports Resort. The depth available to you thanks to the controls is really astounding but it's still just as fun to pick up and play for all those grandmas and 6 year old kids that just want to get up and have some fun. The sword play had me dreaming (and this time it was genuine) of the next Jedi Knight game but it still allowed my little sister to jump in and wave her arms about and still have fun. In all honesty, some of these sports are so good that Nintendo could easily just stick a decent single player and some online play into one of them and release it on its own as a full priced game and I don't think many would complain. Since that's unlikely, the way these sports have been so well presented in this game makes me hope EA Sports pick up where Nintendo left off and really create a great, full fledged game based around some of the sports in Resort.
It's not just the gameplay that'll keep you coming back though. There are plenty of unlockables in Resort, notably the Xbox 360 style achievements which are known as stamps in Resort. You can also fly around the island collecting information about all the landmarks.
The island itself is called Wuhu Island and this is where Wii Sports Resort is not so impressive, although to be fair I don't think the following criticisms really matter. The game looks no different from the first Wii Sports, meaning that it looks more like an N64 game than anything else. Other than some nice water effects the game looks poor. Sure it's bright and colourful but I think a little more effort could have been put in to making the game look a little bit better technically. Still, at least it gives the Miis an excuse to get out again and there's still something appealing about watching them compete in all the sports. I defy you not to chuckle as your cute little Miis put on their angry faces as they smash their opponents round the faces with swords. In typical Nintendo fashion, the sound sucks and in all honesty my mobile phone ringtone is better audio quality than the seemingly MIDI files in Resort.
So the presentation is lacking and some may find the lack of online disappointing but Nintendo have done what the imitators just seem to struggle with. They've made a mini game collection with enough depth to satisfy the hardcore while still retaining the pick up and play fun for the casual gamer. Even the most bloodthirsty, trash talking 16 year old Gears player will find something to love about Wii Sports Resort and for that reason, anyone with a Wii has to pick it up.
By Tom Acres - Systemlink Blog