Review – Wii Sports Resort

July 27, 2009 — Leave a comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

If you have a Wii, you’ve played “Wii Sports.”

Heck, even if you don’t have a Wii, there’s a good chance you’ve played the now famous mini-game collection. The game comes bundled with the Wii system, and it has taken over houses, dorms, and retirement homes the world over.

While that original package had five great games to help people learn the basics of the Wii Remote and have fun with family and friends, the sequel, “Wii Sports Resort,” goes to great lengths to surpass the original in every single way.

The first and most noticeable feature in “Resort” is the inclusion of the “Wii MotionPlus” add-on. Many people might be getting tired of buying additional peripherals for their Wii, and understandably so. From nunchucks to balance boards to plastic guitars, there has been no shortage of new hardware to try to convince you to part with your money.

But Wii MotionPlus is different. In essence, it makes the Wii Remote do things people have wanted it to do ever since the system was released in 2006. Namely, true one-to-one motion control.

What does that mean? It means that no matter which angle you hold your remote, and no matter how slightly you twist your wrist, the remote can now mimic it in gameplay exactly. Before, game developers had gotten away with faking this as well as they could with the technology they were given. The results were still often fun, but noticeably off and flawed. Wii MotionPlus makes the game experience much more intuitive and precise.

And what better way to show this off than with games? Nintendo has crammed 12 mini-games into “Resort” (10 of which are brand new, two of which are improved versions of older games), up from the five of the original “Wii Sports.” Many games also have various different modes which change up the games considerably. While some games are certainly more fun than others, they all do a very good job at showing off what the Wii MotionPlus can do.

A good example of this is honestly one of the best games in the collection: “Sword Fighting”.

When the Wii Remote was first shown to the public, most people almost immediately thought, “Dude, that could make for an awesome sword or lightsaber game!” It was a nice thought, but most games that have tried to do this haven’t turned out especially well. The Wii Remote can detect if you’re slashing it or stabbing it, but it can’t pick up any of the real finesse that you might be trying to put into your swings.

Wii MotionPlus changes that. In the “Sword Fighting” game, every one of the player’s movements with the remote is taken into account. This allows for much more strategy to be incorporated into battles. A little kid can no longer win a match simply by swinging around a remote like YouTube’s “Star Wars Kid” while having a seizure. To really succeed, you’re going to have to be careful about your swings and blocks.

While “Sword Fighting” may be a highlight, there are plenty of other enjoyable experiences to be had here. The Frisbee game, for example, accurately replicates the movement and experience of throwing a Frisbee. So playing the “Frisbee Golf” game feels natural and intuitive.

Archery is another fun game. As someone who owns and shoots a real bow, I can’t say it’s exactly like a real-world bow hunting experience, but it’s certainly not a bad imitation, and is definitely a lot of fun.

“Table Tennis,” “Canoeing,” and “Power Cruising” also feel quite natural, and “Basketball” is a lot of fun.

Some games – such as “Sky Diving” and “Dogfighting” – don’t force you to mimic real world sports as much as simply move the remote in various angles, but they’re still fun little games that can be a lot of fun with a group of people.

While I feel that Nintendo did just about everything right with this “Wii Sports” sequel, there are some things I wish the game had. For example, as a former wake boarder, I really feel that the “Wake Boarding” game could have benefited from use of the Wii Balance Board, for which there is no support in “Wii Sports Resort.” While there’s certainly something to be said for releasing a game that people can play right out of the box, I do sort of wish that Nintendo rewarded owners of their other hardware with some extra features.

Some games are also a little weak, with the “Cycling” game coming to mind. The game has you moving the Wii Remote and Nunchuck with your hands as if you were peddling a bike … with your hands. And the experience feels somewhat clunky.

You’ll also need to plop down at least another $20 for an extra Wii MotionPlus add-on if you want a full multiplayer experience. While many of the games are “pass-and-play” and involve taking turns (“Bowling” and “Golf,” for example) games like “Sword Fighting” require each user to have a Wii MotionPlus.

All said, though, “Wii Sports Resort” is an outstanding sequel that does almost everything right. It provides accessible, family friendly gameplay that can easily be enjoyed by all ages, and crams in enough content to keep gamers coming back for awhile to unlock everything.

The Wii MotionPlus add-on could provide a bright future for Wii games, and “Wii Sports Resort” is a perfect indicator of that. Pick it up if you own a Wii.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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