If you own a Nintendo Wii, chances are you've played Wii Sports. If you're like me, you probably know a bunch of people who own a Wii with only that one game, after-all, it came in the box. The inclusion of that game with every Wii purchased was a brilliant move by Nintendo, a very simple and accessible offering that wonderfully showcased what the bold new console was all about.
Now with the release of the Wii MotionPlus controller attachment, Nintendo aims to once again showcase the new device with another game that everyone can play. For those who aren't yet familiar with the Wii MotionPlus, it's a new accessory that attaches to the end of the standard Wii Remote, adding an extra 4cm or so to the bottom, it's purpose being to further enhance the 3D positional tracking of the Wii's motion control resulting in a much more accurate interface between your movements and the game.
We've already seen the MotionPlus bundled with recent games Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods 10 and now you can also find one in the box with Wii Sports Resort. Not a bad deal considering they retail at $34.95 a piece if purchased separately. The downside of course being that if you want to play four-player games, you still need to buy additional MotionPlus attachments for your other controllers.
Where Wii Sports included four games: Tennis, Boxing, Bowling and Golf, Wii Sports Resort ups the ante with twelve: Frisbee, Power Cruising (Jet Ski), Swordplay, Table Tennis, Golf, Air Sports, Basketball, Archery, Cycling, Bowling, Canoeing & Wakeboarding, once again each with several sub game-types. Although the various events are supposedly scattered around a thematic island resort, selection is all done via a bare-bones menu system. You start with access to all the basic events then unlock a couple of sub-modes for each as you play through.
Like most Wii Games, it's really not much to look at - the low poly counts, simple menus and bright colours that have disappointingly become Wii standard are back again. At this point in time it's to be expected but it's still such a shame since as little grunt that the Wii has compared to it's competitors, it has been proven that games can still look much better than this with the right art-direction. Instead, we're presented with the simple and bland familiar Wii style yet again.
The rest of the game doesn't really need any explaining, it's all very what you see is what you get. Tennis is tennis, golf is golf, bowling is bowling etc. The MotionPlus does undoubtedly make these returning games feel much better than their original Wii Sports counterparts, but whether or not it makes for a more enjoyable experience is debatable. More important are the new events that are now possible with the improved precision. Swordplay, Frisbee and Archery in particular serve as decent demos for what MotionPlus can do. Just standing in warm-up mode waving your sword around in the air really shows off what this tech is all about, the enhanced movement tracking allows you to accurately aim your swings and position to parry your opponents attacks.
That's all you get here though, there's no network or internet multiplayer, no manner of tournament modes or any of the other auxiliary features you would expect from a modern sports videogame - there's not even an option to play a medly of the game's events. You chose a sport from the menu, you play, you quit, you choose another. That might have been fine in the original when there was only four sports, it was a launch title and free, but with twelve events and two years later at full-price, it's harder to excuse.
Despite all the games being incredibly simple in task, tutorials are provided for the first time, and a new Mii account selects them. A complaint here is that it can get quite tedious clicking through dialogue box after dialogue box when all you want to do is throw a damn frisbee. This all does go toward simplifying the game though and there's no denying that Wii Sports Resort is another incredibly accessible game from Nintendo - another victory for the Wii as a console for attracting people that don't usually play videogames. Unfortunately however, this once again means that there's a complete lack of any real depth in the activities and although some can still be quite challenging, experienced gamers may find their attention spans expiring long before all the modes are unlocked.
That's not to say that it's a bad game, it's great for pick up and play and there's undeniably fun to be had - just how long that fun lasts will depend on the person. It's another perfect title for children and the kind of game you can even get your mother, father, wife, gran, etc playing with little persuasion, it's simplicity and familiarity makes for intuitive gameplay for all. The MotionPlus unlocks some new possibilities for the Wii, at the cost of having to spend yet more on accessories. Some activities also require the nunchuck attachment, so if you wanted to play four-player Power Cruising, you're going to be spending a few more dollars on plastic parts.
Additionally, not every event offers simultaneous multiplayer. For things like Archery and Frisbee, it's going to be one-at-a-time hot-seat play no matter how many controllers you have. Only a few of the events allow players to team up against the clock or AI opponents - for most you just have to play against each other. That's partly just the nature of the sports being emulated, but it doesn't take a whole lot of creativity to come up with ideas for game modes that would enable some manner of cooperative play for each event and it's the sore lack of options like these that ultimately let this game down.
All said, Wii Sports Resort is still going to be a worthwhile purchase for anyone that loved the first Wii Sports - it's a fun party game and once again so simple, everyone can play. As disappointed as we are at what this game fails to include, it's hard to deny the fun you can still have with what is on offer. If you're more of a solo (or online) gamer, however, and the novelty wore off pretty fast last time, you might be better off waiting until the MotionPlus gets implemented across some deeper titles before picking one up.