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Review #298

Wii Sports Resort
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Sports/Mini-Games
Release Date: 07/26/2009

The original Wii Sports came as a pack-in with the Nintendo Wii at launch. Although immediately dismissed a tech demo by critics, gamers around the world fell in love with it instantly. It’s not an understatement to say it is this game, and this game alone that single handedly won the Wii this generation’s console war (so far). According to some dodgy figures by Edge Online, Wii Sports is the best selling game of all time. Because it is a pack-in, it’s hard to take those numbers, like Super Mario Bros. seriously because you had to get the game no matter what. Still, 45.7 million copies of Wii Sports have been sold worldwide which is staggering.

Now here we are a few years later with Wii Sports Resort. I have to admit, as much as I enjoyed the original Wii Sports, fifty dollars for a dozen new mini sports games seems a bit pricey. I became more skeptical when I learned it didn’t have online play (although the Wii is more about face to face interaction anyway, so this was more a minor quibble) and that two of the sports were repeats from the original. Why do that? It’s not like every North American with a Wii doesn’t already have access to those games?

However, to sweeten the deal, Nintendo included the new Wii MotionPlus with the game. Still, even with that pack-in, fifty dollars still seemed a bit pricey for a mini game compilation. However, like many I underestimated Wii Sports at first as well, so I decided to give the game the benefit of the doubt knowing that I may beat repeating the same mistake.

So how is Wii Sports Resort? Does it have a chance of winning our Sports Game of the Year award like the original did back in 2007, or was Nintendo unable to recapture the same magic twice?

Let’s Review

1. Modes

Although the game advertised twelve sports, there are actually a lot more than that when you count all the variants of those sports available. These variants can feel like completely different games entirely, which adds a bit of life to the title. Here know is a quick rundown of each mini game and whether it is worth your time or not.

1. Swordplay – Duel. This game is similar to the American Gladiators’ game Joust. You’re on a large playing field and the goal is to knock your opponent into the water far below. Best two out of three wins. This is actually my favourite game in the collection. It’s a lot of fun and it’s of note that the computer AI is terribly confused if you use your Wiimote like a rapier or foil (I used to fence) rather than a Kendo sword (Which I also used to do). 1 for 1.

2. Swordplay- Speed Slice. Here you compete against a friend or the computer. The object is to cut the falling item not only faster than your opponent, but in the direction it shows you too. Nice. 2 for 3.

3. Swordplay – Showdown. This was an unexpected surprise. It’s a beat ‘um up game where you have to go through ten levels and a ton of enemies. You get three hearts per level. Lose them all and it’s game over. Shockingly fun and addictive. 3 for 3.

4. Wakeboarding. This didn’t really do it for me. You just waggle the wiimote through waves and try to make sure the board your character is flat when you land from your jumps. As the original Wii Sports were meant to feel like you were actually playing those games, this kind of missed the point. 3 for 4.

5. Archery. Although aiming seems a little off (Aim higher than you think. Trust me), this felt like usuing an actual bow somewhat, minus the sheer strength you need to do it in real life. Nice outside the box option. 4 for 5.

6. Frisbee Dog. What a cute idea. You chuck a frisbee and this little Mii dog tries to catch it. The goal is thee folded: Get the dog to catch the frisbee, get the frisbee to land in a certain spot and pop any giant balloons that come up. 5 for 6.

7. Frisbee Golf. I enjoy playing real frisbee gold and this really felt like it. The controls were a little off, but it was still fun. 6 for 7.

8. Basketball – 3 Point Contest. Wow is this awful. Controls are off and it’s nothing like real basketball. If you even try to play it as such, you will fail miserably. 6 for 8.

9. Basketball – Pick Up Game. This is a 3 on 3 Basketball game, but only two humans can play. As lame as the three point shooting. 6 for 9.

10. Power Cruising – Slalom. This is riding a ski-do like craft. Your goal is to make it through all the markers and earn points while doing it. The steering is a bit too sensitive and it’s a bitch to turn around if you somehow need to, but it IS fun. 7 for 10.

11. Power Cruising – Vs. OH my god, is this awful. It’s split screen but it’s really hard to see in this mode, and with the hair trigger sensitivity, this was lees fun than profanity inducing. 7 for 11.

12. Cycling - Road Race. This is okay for what it is, but it’s in no way shape or form close to really riding a bike. I can’t deny it’s fun though, especially trying to knock other Mii’s into a deep gorge…which Idon’t think is intended. 8 for 12.

13. Cycling – Vs. PvP vertical split screen racing. This is okay but I can’t give it a point as the amount the screen is split really obscures your view of the track compared to the road race. 8 for 13.

14. Golf – This would be an automatic fail anyway because they did this one already. HOWEVER, they really messed with the controls this time to the point where it feels almost unplayable compared to the original. This was probably my least favourite in the package. 8 for 14.

15. Table Tennis – Match. I hate real table tennis, but this was surprisingly fun. 9 for 15.

16. Table Tennis – Return Challenge – Here you are just returning as many balls as you can as fast as you can until you fail. More fun than it sounds. 10 for 16.

17. Bowling – Another automatic fail as it was already in the original. 10 for 17.

18. Bowling – 100 Pin game. Jesus god, here’s a fun challenge. Each frame has 100 pins rather than 10. I actually enjoyed this as it was so off the wall. 11 for 18.

19. Bowling – Spin Control. Bumpers are added into a lane so you have to spin and angle a ball correctly to get to the pins. Not my thing, but it is well done. That’s what counts. 12 for 19.

20. Canoeing – I wanted to like this as I like canoeing. However this is actually KAYAKING and the controls are poorly implemented. I found that the Wii had trouble distinguishing when I switches from left to right and how hard I was stroking. Heh heh. How hard I was stroking. 12 for 20.

21. Air Sports – Skydiving. Not only is this nothing like real skydiving, but it is useless and pointless. 12 for 21.

22. Air Sports – Island Flyover. This is a weird little extra. You fly a plane around the island, collecting points of interest. It’s not really a sport, but it is fun in a weird Scavenger Hunt sort of way. 13 for 22.

23. Air Sports – Dogfight. Horizontal Split Screen PvP. Not that fun as once again, it’s hard to see compared to the single person mode, but it works and you can have fun with it depending on your mood. 14 for 23.

So a 61% quality rate, which isn’t bad considering the number of options. There are a few single person only modes, which I found a bit disappointing considering the nature of the game, but the majority of the games are great multiplayer action. Overall I’ll bump it up a bit since there are so many modes and any gamer out there will find at least one thing to enjoy here. Maybe not something to LOVE and probably not $50 worth of enjoyment, but I know I’ll be doing a lot of sword fighting and frisbee golfing on here/

Modes Rating: 6.5/10

2. Graphics

Eh, it’s a mini-game collection that uses those fugly Mii’s. As such, part of the graphics are only as good as your creativity or what you’ve taken from the Check Mii Out Channel. The backgrounds are nicely done in comparison to a lot of other Wii games, and the Mii puppy is adorable. It’s hard to find fault with either the static or moving background images but man, I have never liked the look or feel of Mii’s themselves.

Visually there is little change or improvement from the first Wii Sports save for the background. What’s here is serviceable, but that’s it.

Graphics Rating: 5.5/10

3. Sound

Again, here is something that is passable, but nothing that leaps out at you or even impresses you. Background music (when it exists) is akin to elevator music: it’s just there and you barely perceive it while you play, and it’s instantly forgotten as soon as you shut the console off.

Sound effects are where the game shines in this category as everything from the yipping Mii dog to the buzzing of your airplane sound quite realistic, even if it doesn’t look as such.Some of my favorite sounds included a swordplay opponent falling into the water and the thunk of an arrow as it hits a target.

Much like the graphics, the aural aspects of Wii Sports Resort was not one where Nintendo put a lot of time and energy into. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means just…acceptable.

Sound Rating: 5.5/10

4. Control and Gameplay

Like all Wii games, you’ll be playing this with either your Wiimote or the Wiimote and numchuk combination; it just depends on the game. Although everything was practically perfect in the original Wii Sports which sold millions of Wii consoles, Wii Sports Resort does have some serious issues depending on the games – namely the Basketball titles in general. The hair trigger turning sensitivity with Waveboarding, and Power Cruising, the horrible way Golf now plays including curving your strokes even when you hold the wiimote perfectly straight and that the game seems to register everything as a extremely hard hit even when you barely move, and a bit of trouble aiming to a side of a screen opposite your preferred hand in a few. These things can all be frustrating and pretty bad at times, but you either get used to the issues with the ones you can play around, or you just don’t play the ones that outright suck.

At the same time, there are several of these games that are completely brilliant. All of the swordplay titles are exceptionally well done, and I’d have paid money just for these three modes alone, although not fifty dollars worth. Only Golf and Basketball seemed to have severe enough issues to make me say, “Screw this” and never play them again after a few attempts. The other modes are all playable and fun to a certain degree. It’s just that you have to remember some games have extremely sensitive aiming while others are a bit more sluggish. This by no means kills the game, although you can get some temporary culture shock jumping from say, Archery to Waveboarding.

Then there’s the brand new Wii MotionPlus accessory. I have to tell you, I didn’t notice any improved detection or the like from using it when compared to the original or any other Wii games. It also bothers me that the box says that the “Wii MotionPlus” is REQUIRED to play this game. As you only get one in the box, it means this fifty dollar game jumps up in cost if you want to play it with friends and I really can’t get behind needing to buy a wiimote, a numchuk and now a Wii MotionPlus for each friend who wants to join in with a single mini-game. Not cool Nintendo. This is not cool at all.

Overall the controls are solid, save for a few rare exceptions. Anyone can pick this up and have fun with it and there’s no slowdown or any noticeable bugs. Those of you who don’t know their own strength might want to murder the people who redesigned the golf game and we’ll all have to learn to move controls only millimeters in racing games with this, but it’s a tight game with the only (severe) caveat being the need for multiple Wiimotion Plus pieces, which is lame and a bit of a scam from my time with it.

Control and Gameplay Rating: 6.5/10

5. Replayability

With twelve categories and 23 different games to play, you can spend hours at a time with Wii Sports Resort. I know I did. With a group of friends, you could spend an entire afternoon having a sword tournament or playing 18 holes of frisbee golf. There’s a lot to do here, far more than with the original Wii Sports and some of these games are even better than in the original package (although only the Swordplay games measure up to Wii Sports Tennis.) You’ll certainly get your money’s worth out of this game if the potential for time spent on a game is what you are looking for.

WSR also continues the Wii Sports tradition of earning individual points for each Mii as you use them in a game. Once you hit 1,000 points, you get the pro level of a game. You can also earned stamps (ala trophies or achievements) for your Mii, although you won’t know what they are until you get one, like making it through a level of Swordplay-Showdown without getting hit or getting a chip-in in golf. There’s definitely a lot to see and do here.

Replayability Rating: 10/10

6. Balance

For most of these games, the computer AI grows with you. As your Mii earns more points, you’ll encounter tougher and tougher opponents. This is a great way to really build your skill and make sure the game always offers you a challenge. There are also many games where the only person you are competing with is yourself, trying to get a higher score than you previously held.

Playing against your friends is where the real challenge will come from, and even then it’s constantly a crap shoot because you never know who will be good at what and by how much until you give it a try.

All in all, you can always expect a challenge from Wii Sports Resort as long as you play it long enough for the computer opponents to catch up to your skill level or you’re all about getting the best high score you possibly can.

Balance Rating: 7/10

7. Originality

Wow. It’s another sports-themed mini game collection for the Wii. I don’t think I’ve seen more than several dozen of those right? Now frisbee gold, frisbee with a dog, archery, swordplay and cycling are pretty original, but the rest of the games have been done before on other compilations, two of which were even on the previous Wii Sports, one of which was vastly superior the first time around.

At least Nintendo tried for a bunch of outside the box activities here compared to what else is available on the system. The format might be tired, but Nintendo’s been able to squeeze a bit more blood from this stone.

Originality Rating: 5/10

8. Addictiveness

Even when I was aghast at the controls of a game or utterly suck at another, I would still have a hard time not playing that game two or three times in a row simply because there was something so well…adorable about each mini-game. For the ones I liked I really couldn’t stop playing. Over an hour would go by and I’d still be on the same bloody mini-game. I actually spent an entire day doing the swordplay duel from beginning to the champion without stopping (or losing!). That’s the kind of commitment to a game I just don’t have these days, but WSR brought it out.

However, a bad game like golf or basketball can just kill your enthusiasm once you realize it’s not you that sucks, but the controls. Thankfully these are rare moments and WSR remains one game for the Wii you’ll have a hard time putting down.

Addictiveness Rating: 8/10

9. Appeal Factor

Like the original Wii Sports, WSR will easily find an audience willing to give it a try. However unlike Wii Sports, WSR does NOT have the same captive audience. Instead, gamers will have to shill out fifty dollars for this and buy several Wii MotionPlus accessories in order to optimize the multi-player experience. Now I don’t know about you, but Wii Sports was successful and popular because it was free, not because it was as good as it was. WSR has no hope of being as successful, especially with the package saying “REQUIRES Wii MotionPlus.” I’m still really annoyed this wasn’t made optional, as the game jumps up to $110 in price if you want the full four player experience, and that’s ASSUMING you already have four numchuks and wiimotes. This makes the game pretty pricey when you actually look at the total cost for the full multi-player experience. It’s not Crystal Chronicles for the GameCube bad, but it’s getting up there.

If you’re looking for just the single player experience, WSR is worth at least a rental and you’ll find something in the collection to make you smile. It’s up to you how much you want to invest into the multiplayer aspects though. Enjoyment may vary.

Appeal Factor: 6.5/10

10. Miscellaneous

Okay, on one hand I really like some of these games and it’s one of the more fun experiences I’ve had with the Wii this year. It’s not a top tier 2009 release like Gold Gym’s Cardio Workout, HOTD: Overkill, OneChanbara or Overlord: Dark Legend, but it’s still a fun one.

On the other hand, requiring an add-on to play the game, much less several isn’t cool and it makes me wonder how renting this game will work. This really should have been optional. Hell, even Link’s Crossbow Training didn’t NEED the Wii Zapper to work, and it too came with that accessory. As much as I really liked this game (and my staff can tell you I thought it was awesome) I cannot get behind any game that says it requires multiple required add-ons. DDR? You only need one pad and it comes bundled with the game. Then you can buy pads separately or later versions of the game without the pad. You can still have fun taking turns playing DDR with one pad. You can’t enjoy certain aspects of Wii Sports Resort without multiple players at once meaning multiple MotionPlus accessories. In Nintendo’s defense, a lot of the games let you take turns playing and in doing so, you can all share the one wiimote with the single MotionPlus accessory. It’s this aspect that kept me from really working up some ire about this game. Instead I was able to concentrate on how fun it was and how most of it was well done. It’s not the optimal programming decision in my book, but like much of the game, it’s acceptable and it’s not something that will affect the majority of people playing this game. Plus they included a free one so overall, the pluses outweigh the negatives here.

Miscellaneous Rating: 7/10

The Scores
Modes: 6.5/10
Graphics: 5.5/10
Sound: 5.5/10
Control and Gameplay: 6.5/10
Replayability: 10/10
Balance: 7/10
Originality: 5/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal Factor: 6.5/10
Miscellaneous: 7 /10
Total Score: 67.5
FINAL SCORE: 7.0(GOOD GAME!)

Short Attention Span Summary
Although Wii Sports Resort won’t turn the entire gaming industry on its head like the original Wii Sports, it is a fun and addictive romp through twenty-three different mini games spanning twelve categories. It’s not much to look at and it’s annoying that the game requires one MotionPlus accessory for each wiimote used in the game, but thankfully most games allow you to share the same wiimote, cutting the cost down for the full enjoyment potential somewhat. There’s something for everyone to enjoy here, no matter what type of gamer you are and what gaming preferences you have.

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