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Wii Sports Resort review

Excellent
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AT A GLANCE
  • Simple ideas with smart controls
  • Wii MotionPlus makes the difference
  • A lot of fun with friends
  • Graphics won't blow your eyes out
  • Some weak events
  • Playing alone isn't so great

For the first time in two and a half years Nintendo has a game that plays exactly like it does in the advert. Guy hiding behind the sofa during Resident Evil 4? Liar. Lady lunging across the living room in Wii Sports Tennis? Sick in the head. Wii Sports Resort, however, doesn’t lie. Nintendo could front the campaign with a chorus line of MotionPlus doohickies and we’d still believe in its miracle powers.

The moment it clicked? It was more of a swipe, really. Facing another Mii in a sword duel we delivered a stinging shot to his right thigh followed with a hearty whack to the left ear. And it’s exactly what we wanted to do. All of a sudden we were ten years old again, belting the neighborhood kids with fallen branches. The opponent swung back and we dropped our hand to parry. You’re still leading an avatar on screen, but his faded silhouette tells you what you already know: you don’t need him there anymore.

You can sense Nintendo’s affinity for slicing ’n’ dicing from the fact the swordplay has multiple modes. Where in Wii Sports every event came with three training variations, Resort plays fast and loose – if the chaps at Nintendo EAD have a fun variant, you’ll play the fun variant. Speed Slice is a directional cutting task complete with amazing lumps of physics-enabled cake to hack. Carefully shave off a sliver and away it peels. Mentally replace the procession of cake, sushi and diamonds with Zelda’s Moblins and you get very giddy indeed.

Similar anticipatory synapses fire up during archery. Tilting a vertically held remote to aim a bow may smack of Mario & Sonic’s similar Olympic controls, but the real smack is the sound of Sega developer hand on Sega developer forehead as they see MotionPlus bring the goods. As delicate as pointer control, though obviously slower, it’s a great little bit of make believe mimicry. Okay, so pulling the string taut with the Nunchuk is phony (it’s the Z button that pulls the string, the Nunchuk gesture just zooms you in faster), but the twang and thwack belong entirely to you.

Resort’s big surprise is canoeing. Now, how to explain in a clever, writerly fashion? Er, pretend you’re canoeing and you canoe. What would have been (and was, in Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings) crudely handled with flicks now feels like a proper water scoop. They’re perfect controls for pursuing Mii ducks (joining Wuhu Island’s zoo’s worth of dogs, seagulls and whales) around the pond. Multiplayer speed race is also a highlight, as thrashing fools disrupt your god-like strokes.

These disciplines are the A-listers, the beautiful faces blazoned across Resort’s brochure. The next strata of games houses subtlety. Reggie’s E3 basketball face-off looked unremarkable; MotionPlus’ grasp of angles and spin as the ball leaves your hand is anything but. A second outing for Wii Sports Bowling is particularly telling. All those times you weren’t sure the ball recognised your spin? You weren’t crazy. MotionPlusless, the remote can be a bit flaky. With it, you’re Woody Harrelson in Kingpin. Pre-hand-loss, natch.

Golf’s return also answers to wrist twist – the power meter now sways to show spin – but would it have hurt Nintendo to find new outlets for motion trickery? Bowling and Golf are only two of 12 options, but they boast more attention than better, newer events. Perhaps we’re tainted by Tiger’s giganto golf package, but even with an island dedicated to it, it’s hard to get excited about Resort’s golf. Bowling’s reliable new spin sees it fare better, if only for ludicrous trick shots (encouraged in a revamped version of Wii Sports’ spin control training).

Not to resort to playground catcalls, but Resort’s Frisbee is better than Tiger Woods’ Frisbee. EA have the added benefit of enough golf courses to wrap around the world three times, but the motion of Nintendo’s disc feels a smidgen more realistic, more tactile. Whether throwing one to appease a spherical mutt in Frisbee Dog or playing more straight-laced Frisbee Golf, your Mii’s hand is perfectly synchronised with your own, setting a new standard for one-to-one control. And yes, just like real frisbee it’s way too easy to lob it into the stratosphere.

So, eye-opening tech and thoughtful games all round? Alas no. Nintendo’s world famous quality testing ensures it all works, but a few events fail to prove their MotionPlus worth. There’s nothing in the plane air sports, for example, that couldn’t be done in Wing Island. Imagining the remote as a plane fuselage is not exciting and fresh. Extra slaps on the wrist for not being Pilotwings. And how is flicking the remote and Nunchuk up and down to pedal a bike not a colossal waste of MotionPlus’ time?

The weakest, however, is Power Cruising, which has the audacity to pair up MotionPlus with Nunchuk tilt control. The Nunchuk was the idiot child of the family before MotionPlus came along; seeing it stick its grotty prong into the magic box is quite awkward. One cancels out the other. Sorry, folks, this is not the Wave Race Wii you’re looking for. Not even close. Hell, canoeing is closer – in that it involves water and is, y’know, actually fun.

Through Resort’s 12 core events, MotionPlus’ future flashes before our eyes. Some games will dazzle. Some will subtly change things for the better. Some will miss the mark completely. Amazing how one tiny white cube can clean the slate for Wii. In this sense, Resort is every bit as vital in your collection as Wii Sports – don’t you want to be there when it all begins? Of course, your collection had no choice but to have Wii Sports. And so the grubby issue of price appears…

Fifty bucks for a nubbin, a gross rubber skin and an island of activities to show it off? Sounds fair to us. But what of the wealth of multiplayer modes? The most fun we’ve had with Resort has been against fellow humans. Table Tennis is designed for two. Sword fights are lonely with one combatant. Four men in a canoe is a hoot. Even the miserable biking becomes entertaining when a tandem enters the equation. With every extra MotionPlus unit, the fun climbs.

This is the problem: the adverts don’t lie. MotionPlus does enable emotive control. Wuhu Island is a fun place to be. Buying three extra peripherals and playing with others will make you happier. If those three others happen to be the rich, good for you: they can fork out for the lot. The rest of us, as always, will have to save up for that perfect day in the sun.

Jul 26, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jul 26 2009 - Wii (US)
Jul 24 2009 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Family
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Violence
PEGI Rating:
3+

We Recommend

33 comments

  • fartinapot - June 18, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    I got this game a few days ago. It is super fun. All the games are great. My favorites are basketball, skydiving, wakeboarding, frissbee dog, archery, sword play, and table tennis. I disagree with one part of this reveiew. I honestly think the graphis are fantastic.
  • fartinapot - May 31, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    In the new wii bundle for $200, wii sports and wii sports resort come with it ( It also includes the motion plus) I'm going to get the bundle.
  • Smiffy99 - December 29, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    I am a proud owner of a PS1, PSP, 360, and a Wii. I first saw this after playing Modern Warfare 2 and thought, "What a piece of crap." But I had around $70 of giftcards laying around and I'd already reached 70 in MW2, so I got it. And I don't regret it. By far, swordplay is the best (I ALWAYS use the Purple sword now, for those who know what I'm talkin' about). I do fencing in real life, and I have to say, for a second I thought that my Wii remote was actually a sword. Sure, you may have to recenter or re-calibrate Wii Motion Plus every now and again, but I still like it
  • Metroidhunter32 - December 25, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Just got it, surprisingly good. And yeah, this review is pretty accurate except for the fact that the flyover air sport is just nice shallow, doesn't need a point fun.
  • legory - September 12, 2009 10:20 p.m.

    This might get me to finally buy another Wii game. Looks good!
  • Jokebox231 - August 28, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    @kubes and AuthorityFigure if your gonna hate on something at least give a reasonable reason. @GalenMarek, yes wii games dont have to have great graphics to be good. But it would still be beneficial if it did. most of the great multiplatform games are only on ps3 and 360 because the Wii is so underpowered. I personally have a wii and I do have fun with most of my games, its just sad when you compare the great games of the 360 to Wii. Mario and Zelda are classics. they are fun. but twilight princess and Galaxy really dont compare to Gears of War, or DOA4. you can argue that wii was built for party games, the fact is, only a handful of wii's good games are even multiplayer. what have you got, Brawl, Sports, Sports Resort. Metroid, Zelda, Mario, WarioLand, Animal Crossing, Conduit, the list goes on. they are all singleplayer. Online multiplayer hardly counts on wii, even with the conduit. (cause, if you cant talk to them, what are online opponents then just harder cpu's? and you may argue with Wii Speak, I've used it and, it doesnt work.) Even so, I will probably still get this, just for the hope that real games will come out for wii.
  • Susan - August 12, 2009 4:47 a.m.

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Susan http://onlinemariogames.net
  • SPIKEtheHEDGEHOG - August 9, 2009 3:47 p.m.

    Just yesterday i was on all of your sides. (most that is..) i told myself "i'm never buying this!" looks gay! but then my dad came home with it and i decided to give it a whirl. Turns out it is 500% more fun than i expected. I'm not saying "EVERYONE GO BUY THIS NOW!" im just saying give it a try. i under-estimated it. just like most of you did.
  • gopikmin - August 2, 2009 2:07 a.m.

    The air sports and swordplay are my favorites. I think bowling and frisbee are just a bit too sensitive. sometimes the arrow doesn`t fire in archery which can get annoying.
  • earthmii - July 30, 2009 4:35 a.m.

    what a rip off--never again wii lie to us saying you can play without wii motion when you cant and must buy another to play two players
  • Csheroe - July 28, 2009 12:50 a.m.

    I got this sunday... At 10 Am... At Toys R" Us... And let me tell you it's amazing. The Fluid swordplay mode is my favorite. The Showdown variant. Cutting down down enemy after enemy with a plastic sword can never be more fun! And yes Wii Motion Plus works. You feel like you have a sword in your hand. They're gonna use it for a lot of new games too.
  • c03n3nj0 - July 27, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    I'm definitely getting this.
  • Xplosive59 - July 27, 2009 10:51 a.m.

    werent you complaining about how wii mp doesnt do much in the hands on review or was that someone else reviewing?
  • Dengar13 - July 27, 2009 1:13 a.m.

    I picked this up today and think it is excellent. I don't know why it should be cheaper since it is bundled with the WMP. I think it is a great deal, and a hell of a lot of fun. This is not just some slop with mini-games at all. I highly recommend this and think the review is spot-on...just my opinion though.
  • Cyberninja - July 27, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    i might get this if i run out of wii games to buy or i have extra money
  • jar-head - July 26, 2009 10:51 p.m.

    when i cant do any of these sports anymore i'll buy this, cause, what's the difference from free falling in my living room versus halo nighttime freefall from 80,000 feet? Not much i presume?
  • grappler51 - July 26, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    This looks pretty good, I might actually get it. They're also using wii motion plus for Red Steel 2, which looks pretty cool.
  • skyguy343 - July 26, 2009 7:21 p.m.

    @southparkkenny4life as you could tell from the first page if you read it, yes, it seems to be really good @harmon20 not if they force it on every wii game to come out starting now
  • SOUTHPARKKENNY4LIFE - July 26, 2009 6:13 p.m.

    this game looks and sounds cool but what i want to know is is the motion plus any good?
  • jeffrey3133 - August 16, 2009 3:51 p.m.

    awesome

Showing 1-20 of 33 comments

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