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JEV3

{TGE} Wii Sports Resort - Review

The Gaming Experience

Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports Resort Box Art

 

 

The Wii markets on the functionality and the appeal of its more unique control capabilities more than extraordinary graphics or online capabilities. Wii Sports, which comes included with every Wii is a good example of what these controls can do, and there have been a huge number of other applications over the years, some of which worked and some of which didn't. Nintendo announced MotionPlus as a peripheral to enhance the Wii Remote's capabilities and make some of the gametypes that didn't work so well before bear much more potential.

It's not hard to adopt a cynical attitude toward this new peripheral, but with its release comes a sequel to Wii Sports that does an excellent job at highlighting the difference. With more minigames than the first one and a new setting, Wii Sports Resort


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Premise

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The game takes place on an island resort where your miis are vacationing. There really isn't any story to it all, but the game focuses on immersion. The game begins with a skydiving activity which not only introduces you to the setting but gives you a chance to toy with the controls before actually playing any minigames. This immersion is heightened by the fact that the slightest of details on the island has been added, an almost ridiculous notion for a game focused around multiplayer minigames. Your miis will partake in activities at designated points all around the island, and these events are recorded automatically for the title screen like a scrapbook. These detail shines the most in the airborne events, where you play above the entire island, and can actually see each individual playing field. A fan may spend an awful lot of time just exploring the island as if they really were sightseeing.

The island paradise also offers twelve different events which are further divided into variations of the event that use the same mechanic but often play entirely differently. These include the returning events of Golfing and Bowling, along with must-have events like Fencing and Archery. While not all of them may seem tempting enough to attract your attention, the events are generally polished enough that you'll have a solid package even if you only ever play a few.

 



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Gameplay

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Overall the game is extremely polished and rather intuitive. Controls are explained to you in detail prior to each event, and the game is almost too eager to make sure that you know how to connect the Motion Plus peripheral to the Wii Remote. Generally speaking, however, each game will have its own qualities and nuances.

Fencing is obviously the biggest star, and it actually lives up to its potential quite well. Controls are responsive and perfectly coordinated with your motions. This is a double-edged sword however, because parrying actually takes much more precise judgment. Fencing is easy to pick up, but judging how best to perform the actual parry or counter another's parry makes the learning curve a little less forgiving. You can still have an intense game with two players near the same skill level, and two players not normally accustomed to the game will still enjoy themselves, but there does not appear to be much of an equalizer. However, this also means that there is an element of skill in the game, which should be good news for the more competitive players. The first unlockable variation, a slicing game which focuses on precision and timing, is just as refined if not more so than the standard gametype due to being a more distilled concept, while the hack-n-slash parody is a little less intuitive as a game in its own right and is more for players that get a kick out of chopping down dozens of enemies.

Wakeboarding is a stunt-based game. The controls take some time to get a handle on, but for those with the patience to figure it out it allows for some really satisfying stunts. Again, this is an incident where the more precise controls give it a stronger skill element, but if one does not have the patience to take a few spills before getting it right, that player will likely end up steering clear of the event altogether. There are difficulty levels, but the challenge is already plenty on Easy.

Frisbee is one of the most natural events included in the game, with controls that are easy to grasp and gameplay that is forgiving enough for new players, while bonuses for those skilled enough to shoot for it. This actually does make it easy enough for a game between an inexperienced player and a practiced opponent to not feel too one-sided without feeling unfair. The variation, Frisbee Golf, is less forgiving but is much more progressive, bringing the same contest of accuracy to a larger scale field.

Archery can feel strange at first, but generally makes sense. Aiming is smooth and intuitive, and the difficulty levels actually have a fairly decent curve. It will take good practice to make some of the tricky shots on the higher difficulties, with obstacles and plenty of wind to keep you guessing. While it is rather fair, missing a target can be a little too punishing, particularly on the easy difficulties where you are more likely to hit the high-point regions when you do actually hit the target.

Basketball can be hard to judge. It works well, but the core gameplay is more simplistic than any of the other events. Chucking the wii remote over your head as if it were holding a basketball tosses a ball. Aim and strength are factored in, as well as rhythm, to make sure you consistently get balls in the basket without taking too long. It's fairly easy to pick up and play, but it only gets really competitive when the players are skilled. The unlockable gametype is a pickup game where you can pass between a team of three, dribble toward the basket, shoot, or on defense block and steal. Dribbling up to the middle and taking a slam dunk is the best way to net a few points, but a good defense won't allow it. The realistic learning curve is much more balanced here between players, and players just fooling around will find it fun regardless of how many points they get.

Table Tennis is straightforward and actually could have succeeded even if the controls were broken. Everything is polished and you have perfect control over the paddle, for better or worse. Timing the hits is the first thing a new player will have to figure out, but later on, he will notice that hitting at a certain angle and time gives more power, or that you can control where the ball goes and try to make it impossible for the opponent to return the ball. The return challenge is straightforward but is more geared toward score fanatics or those who just want to practice their timing, because its not very rewarding as a competitive experience.

 

Golf should be easily recongized by anyone who's ever played Wii Sports. The old holes are there as well, alongside a batch of new course that offer their own challenges. You can choose only to play a few easier ones or take on all eighteen holes. Golf in general requires patience, but allowing the player to choose how long its going to last does make it easier to attract a few more players.

Bowling returns as well, giving you more control over the ball but while being almost identical to the old rendition. Players looking for something more will welcome the two new game modes, one challenging the player to knock down 100 (!) pins in each frame, and the other placing obstacles in the alley and challenging the player to bowl around them. The players that usually grow restless by frame five don't have any relief in sight, however, as all game modes take a full nine frames.

Power Cruising looks cool, and is quite enjoyable. However, it is exceedingly awkward to control and the players may grow tired easier than normal. You hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuk like handlebars to steer and boost, which works quite well.. but holding each out like this does not have much anchorage. The games themselves are both quite enjoyable, but for this particular event the controls can be a deal-breaker for some. The difficulty curve seems slightly irrelevant with the control setup, but the game functions like an old slalom wave-racing game leaving plenty of room for competition.

Canoing is fairly dodgy at best. It's hard to judge where the distinction between left and right paddle lies, and how each cut into the water will affect your canoe takes a while to get used to. Fooling around is still enjoyable for those looking for a good time, but competitive games will lead most gamers to frustration.

Cycling is a game that comes far out of left field. It has the handlebar steering, pumping the remotes like pedals to go, using the terrain to moderate endurance, and similar aspects all at once, which are overwhelming for first-time players. As a joyride through the beautiful yet humble Wuhu Island, it can still appeal to some fans, but once again the competition will fall a little flat.

The Air Sports can be either the best part of the package, or the worst parts of the game. Sky Diving functions similar to the opening of the game with you controlling your orientation and trying to connect with other Miis for a good snapshot. The Dogfight is the only multiplayer event there, but balloons showing up to restock one or the other pilot tend to distract them from actually battling each other. The flyby is more of a sandbox gametype. You have five minutes to fly all around Wuhu Island. Take in the sights, shoot some balloons, or just let off some steam. This single event can offer quite a range of experiences, as those who just enjoy relaxing while flying over the island will never tire of it while those that love self-imposed challenges may try to see how many balloons or sights they can fit into each flight. The steering for the plane is perfect, almost too perfect, because there really is no perfect way to hold the Wii Remote so that every single tilt or turn of the wrist is perfectly natural. Given that the event normally offers more outside of the competitive department though.

 

The nuances of each game will likely attract different kinds of fans each, but the sum of these actually average out to A-grade controls even if one or two feel more awkward to some than others.


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Sound/Music

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The theme of simplicity led to Wii Sports having very straightforward sounds, without a lot of real variation. Little cues for when options are selected or when the screen progresses are easy to listen to and generally the only thing worth noticing. There is some ambience, which is welcome especially in the more atmospheric gametypes, but the sound is generic and that is the way it tries to win its audience.

The music is also easy to listen to and doesn't feel too awful unique, but with the resort theme its been given some attention that actually do give the title identity rather than simply sounding like elevator music.

 

Overall, the sounds and music are nothing outstanding, but they really don't need to be, as it really seems to be the overall point.


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Visuals

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Like the audio, the visuals are kept simple so as not to distract from the actual gameplay. There is a charm, however, to the fact that such simple features really give the attention given to the game an opportunity to shine. The game's details will surprise you, but not because of actual textures or models. Again, these are a success because they are so simple, almost to the point where it feels stylized in its very own way.

 



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Personal Experience


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With a large family, this game was an easy buy. The family spent most of its time on fencing, archery, table tennis, and frisbee. We'd habitatually alternate between fooling around with the whole family to more serious competitions between the more skilled players. Despite all of this, my parents seemed far more comfortable playing the bowling game, which was generally all they played in the first game. It was very rewarding to play a game that was not only quite fleshed out, but had such a variety as this.

What really made an impact however, was after the rest of the family had gone to bed. With the lights out, I hopped into a plane and went to explore Wuhu Island. I took in the sights, and while at first I was puzzled by the fact that there was so much detail for such a simplistic presentation, I later just immersed myself in the game. I learned how to cut the engine, and set myself up to glide slowly earthward. I sometimes ended up plummetting like a rock, but other times, I soared like a bird.

 

Because of the confusion my home generally sees, multiplayer games don't always get a lot of activity, but the activity they do get almost always prove to be far more rewarding than otherwise. Playing the game against AI doesn't quite feel right, but just exploring the island solo after the house is quiet never gets old when I can find the time in my busy internet life to stop and smell the flowers on Wuhu Island.



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Score

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{TGE} Grade:  B-
*Editor's Recommendation*

  • Story - N/A
  • Design - 8 (With plenty of variety and polish, it's generally superior to what most video games have to offer even when the events are a mixed bag for some fans)
  • Gameplay - 8 (Control is generally intuitive across the board, though there are nuances that will make games appeal to some more than others and there is the occasional awkward application.)
  • Presentation -10 (Simplicity not only serves its purpose well in this title, but does so in such a way that no other approach could ever work )
  • Total - 9


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  • Audience - If the console has good potential for local multiplayer, the game is generally a must-buy. The game doesn't always get a chance to shine without a friend though. It is, however, far more rewarding for compeitive players than its predecessor.
  • Other - Getting the Motion-Plus controllers for the whole family can get a little pricy. The game does come with one, and as a bonus, a newer package adds another one for only ten dollars (limited time?). On the plus side, after getting this package, you will have Motion-Plus controllers for other games that support it.


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Wii Sports Resort is a getaway that offers a good variety of minigames and almost always easy to get a grasp on. The difficulty curve provided by the motion plus makes the events realistically fair to both the uninitiated and the skilled, with few exceptions. The multiplayer experience is very rewarding, but even after everybody else has gone, you can give it a chance to shine by simply taking in the clean, simple beauty of Wuhu Island.



Links:


Official Site - http://www.wiisportsresort.com/

Store - http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/iGnKcC3xIs0WX4L3v6TedMHsQhZCKMsQ


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