[GAME REVIEW] Wii Sports Resort: Better Than the Rest?


Republished with permission of gamepeople.co.uk game reviews.
Wii Sports Resort
Rating: E
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

Wii Sports Resort takes the Wii Sports seed of genius and cultivates it into a fully grown gaming tree. Whereas the launch title was a magical place to visit, Wii Sports Resort is somewhere to loose yourself for days. Experts, novices, and everyone in between will be hooked for a good long time.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge wince that first motion validating outing for Miis in the Wii Sports games that came with your console. Wii Play showed that even a sketch of an idea could be enough to drive strong controller sales and still ranks in the top selling titles each month. Wii Fit in particular has seen Nintendo better incentivise and gently encourage players towards activities they may like.

The passage of time and technology may have stalled other lesser developers when it came to delivering a follow up. But Nintendo again show they are experts at steadily expanding upon simple ideas without losing the initial spark, while also genuinely offering new experiences. After all what is Mario but a series of increasingly engaging settings in which to jump on things?

Wii Sports Resort introduces players to the new MotionPlus controller from the off with a sky diving tutorial that is as enjoyable as it is intuitive. A new protective cover with the MotionPlus block built in is provided in the box for one Wii-mote. This simply plugs into the end of the controller, making it slightly longer and more substantial. You need to buy another of these (around USD 19.99) to get the most from the package by playing with other people in the family. Either way, by the time your Mii jumps out of the plane and lands on the island you have, almost without realising it, the basics of the new controls down.

Then to the new servings of fun, twelve this time as opposed to the original’s four. A group of more pure sporting activities include a return for Golf and Bowling, along with Table Tennis, Kayaking, Basketball, and Archery. Each of these events wonderfully bear a video game treatment that is both physical and simple. Everything depends on the world of the game connecting to the player’s instincts; no numbers or options are there to fall back on, just the ability to control the action with that diminutive white TV remote.

This excels for the games that we’ve often played in what becomes apparent was a video game approximation. Golf, by its stripped back simplicity, makes a joke of the plethora of options in Tiger Woods and proves it’s not variety that’s needed but depth of experience. The exaggerated features of the Mii that ape real life so perfectly are a perfect analogy for these games. They are at once such approximations yet such perfect caricatures that reality is magnified in a way that is lost in the reality of Tiger Woods.

Stand out amongst the serious sporting activity has to be Table Tennis. Many happy evenings can be spent playing this game alone, and add a friend into the mix for endless fun. There is the degree of pin-point control that’s hard to imagine. Players soon adopt proper table tennis tactics, working each other around the table to gain an advantage, this much was expected. What was more of a surprise was that you soon start serving with your back to your opponent in real life, so as to obscure your spin, or jockeying for position as you get your footwork right. Magical and enthralling.

Golf offers another fleshed out experience. This adds a second course to that found in the original and adds in the nuanced control possible with Motion Plus. As a result, everything feels more solid and controllable. This enables players to let go (in true Star Wars fashion) and go with their instincts. The result is a Golf game you really feel in control of and is all the more engaging as a result.

Wii Sports Resort also offers some more extreme sport activities. These include Sky Diving, Stunt Plans, Wake Boarding, Jet Skiing, Frisbee, and Sword Play. While they are a little more novelty and don’t feel as if there is quite as much depth here, as you play on there is still plenty to discover. And because they are all built in the same world of the more common sports, they also benefit from that physicality that so well connects to the Motion Plus controller.

Frisbee, for example, offers a challenge to throw your disc at a target. But you need to do so in such a way to enable your dog-partner to catch it before it hits the ground. This is then extended by placing bonus point balloons around the place for those with more ambition. It’s a game that players of any age can quickly take to. However, once you have mastered the throwing you can go on to play a full round of Frisbee Golf on the proper Golf courses. For novice or young gamers this is a great introduction to the game, which then hooks them in for a fully fledged sporting experience.

We could go on, but we’ll leave the hints and tips to the Family Guide. Suffice it to say that throughout the games we have yet to find a real ringer. Each one feels to have had substantial development and investment.

Wii Sports Resort is all we could hope it to be. It expands on the original in both expected and surprising ways. It proves the possibilities of MotionPlus, even out-doing the impressive Grand Slam Tennis. It opens the door to a second generation of potential Wii gamers, those who were two young or uninterested a few years ago will surely now be tempted into Nintendo’s friendly fold.

But more than all this, it delivers an experience that even expert games can appreciate. For all its simplicity and stripped down aesthetic, make no bones about it, this is as deep and engaging a sporting video game experience as there has been on any system to date.

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