Wii Sport Resort
Wii Sports Resort is an important game for Nintendo. It’s the successor of the just about most sold game ever. It has to confirm the long term strategy of Nintendo by proving that casuals may not buy many games but get the big releases with unseen loyalty. And it also has to justify yet another accessory for the Wii: the Wii MotionPlus. An accessory that, especially by hardcore gamers, has been criticized due to the fact that it offers functionality that should have been present in the original remotes already. And of course it would be nice if it would be a fun game.
Nintendo is probably having a huge party by now. As usual the game sold immensely well and nobody is having any doubts that sales will remain in the top ten for the coming months, and maybe years. And this time it isn’t injust. While we could criticise that the first Wii Sports was a collection of stupid minigames only of use for when grandma, game-virgins or somewhat intoxicated relatives came by, Wii Sports Resort has more variation, a couple of games with more depth (not that you need to expect Fallout 3) and more effort has been put into making everything look more family friendly with colorful graphics, a pleasing setting and the typical happy sounds.
Concerning our biggest question we get thrown in purgatory by the devs. The Wii MotionPlus often comes in hany, indeed shows its higher precision in some games, but all too often just shaking your remote is still equally valuable, and sometimes even more effective to get good results. On top of that the game asks you just too much to put your remote on a surface to recalibrate it. That’s not something we call progress and is quite puzzling for a game that mainly wants to be accessible and all but technical.
Having said this, a lot of gamers and non-gamers will manage to pour quite a lot of fun out of the game. Swordplay (where you use the Wiimote as a sword) is total fun. It allows you to play against the AI or a human opponent, you can choose to chop melons or sushi and you’ve got the possibility to go through a limited singleplayer “campaign”.
Table Tennis is probably the game that will be played most. The perfect successor to Wii Tennis, with an excellent control over your hits and an addictive gameplay. Frisbee is fun and looks so cute, including puppy, that anyone who’s watching will jump up to try it out themselves. Too bad that you rarely get the opportunity to play with four players at the same time but always have to take turns. Bowling, by the way, is also back and it’s still fun, something we can’t say about Basketball and Cycling. You can also get going in the air but only the parachute jumping managed to put a smile on our face, amongst other things thanks to the nice pictures you can take on the way down and, again, the funny sounds.
I also found Archery to be one of the better parts, but it’s too bad that again we don’t get a little more depth and competitive precision offered. The advertising movies make it look just a bit more professional than it is in reality. It remains a very loose, arcade interpretation of the sport, but nobody will complain about that. Same for Golf and Skateboarding; both very nice and different from the rest of the package but critical gamers will find better in more specialised titles.
Mixed feelings: some games like Table Tennis combine the ingenious and addictive gameplay as only Nintendo can offer it with a good implementation of the more precise controls. Next to that there are a ton of games that are either too thin or don’t work well enough to interest you for longer than thirty minutes. Also the makers themselves seem to wonder whether they want to use the improved precision to create more depth and challenge or improve the current controls without forcing the need for more concentration onto the casual gamer.
If we take into account that you need to calibrate too many times and too often will have to wait too long for what in essence is a party game then this holiday resort has too little holiday feeling and casual fun on offer to seduce us to a visit each day off. A bit like going to Turkey with a cheap tour operator, so to speak.