Nothing more than a tech-demo
I have very mixed feelings about this game for the fundamental reason that I get quite a bit of enjoyment out of it from time to time, but at its core it is completely lacking substance.
When I first got my Wii, I was quite excited to try this game out and quite justified was this desire since it is quite innovative in terms of how you play it. Though, if you put aside it's unique approach to how you play games, it is generally a title lacking much to warrant more than playing it from time to time with a group of people.
Graphically speaking it is a nightmare. By todays standards it is well below par. In fact, I would go so far as to say that more than half of the PS1 and N64 era games boast better graphics. The polygon count is miserable and most of the time Miis don't even have arms or legs. Style or not, it simply doesn't look nice. Since all Mii faces are fixed, there is no variation in facial expressions which further hurts an already dull looking game. Most of the textures and polygon shading are mediocre at best, and many times you have to ponder how Nintendo put their name on such a shaudy looking game.
The sound is also nothing to brag about. While the sound effects are not so bad, and their presence on the Wii Remote brings a nice feel to the games, not much can be said about the game's other sound. The music is boring and could have used more lively music to get you into the groove with certain events. The cheers and sighs from the audience are almost always repetitive and annoying.
Though, Wii Sports is by no means a horrible game that doesn't deserve to be played either. In fact, it can be quite entertaining to pick up, especially if you have guests who are new to Wii to join in on the fun. Unfortunately, you do need a very large area to completely enjoy the games (unless you want to break something). While the game consists of five sports; tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing; you use only the Wii Remote for every event except boxing, which requires a nunchuck as well. Most of the time, the events feel quite natural and life like, although at times it feels as though it's difficult to get subtle movements registered, which can be irritating at times, especially in golf. Boxing will give you a nice workout even if you play it for only ten minutes. Most of the time you really do get a sensation of partaking in the event you are simulating, but still the little quirks here and there with sensitivity issues can get annoying. The game is also hurt by an unbalanced skill system which tends to make matches either too easy or too difficult - there is very little gray in terms of AI performance.
Disappointingly, aside from choosing if you want to play right or left handed, there are no options, no configuration and no customization menus which is a real drag. If you play the game repeatedly the warnings about watching out for nearby objects really get on your nerves and there isn't a way to disable these obtrusions. During certain events, particularly baseball, you find yourself wanting to just cut to the chase and skip over unnecessary animations of things such watching the runners run each base. It's pointless to watch when the game calculates how far they go ahead of time anyhow and even tells you but still makes you watch it everytime which can be boring when you just want to play the game.
It's unfortunate that Wii Sports was capable of being so much more but Nintendo seemed to have neglected its various problems in hopes that everyone would overlook it's faults and be awed by it's innovation. Sure, it does bring a new approach to how we play games, but not without it's fair sure of problems. You wont find yourself outright hating the game, but it may not take too long before you get bored of it. At least a daily performance tracking system was added to the package which allows you to see how well you are progressing should you play it often. If you're new to Wii then this game is a must for you, but if you know your way around the system's library pretty well you will likely encounter far more entertaining titles that also make creative use of Wii's unique control device.
Overall Score: 5.5
Gameplay: (6) A bit monotone and repetitive after a while, but can still be quite fun with friends. The small annoyances add up and get in the way of making it more enjoyable than it could be.
Graphics: (4) Horrible! What was Nintendo thinking? Of course the Wii is not exactly capable of state of the art graphics, but this was very disappointing. Fortunately, some of it is polygons and it is at least in color.
Sound: (5) Blah. Mediocre at best. Irritating audience sound effects and dull and unmotivating music.
Lasting Appeal: (7) Unique style of game play allows you to enjoy this title even after months, though you wont want to play too long at one sitting because it can get boring.