Thursday, January 28, 2010

Game Review Series Volume 4


It’s winter again and the kids are back in school but that does not mean that the fun has to be over. Last year was no short on good Wii releases but, none of them gives you that “fun in the sun feeling” in the same way as Nintendo’s, “Wii Sports: Resort”. "Wii Sports Resort" is the sequel to the 2006 pack-in, release, "Wii Sports". Where "Wii Sports" was used to get Wii owners open to the idea of using a Wii Remote and Nunchuck, the sequel, also serves a purpose. In June, we saw the release of the "Motion Plus" accessory. This device plugs into the bottom of the Wii Remote and allows for 1:1 (pronounced 1 to 1) control. Every copy of "Resort" includes a "Wii Motion Plus" device.

At first look, one might wonder why they should pick up this game. Compared to the five games offered in Wii Sports, the Resort version features 12 games, two of which (bowling and golf), are enhanced revisions from the first game. Swordplay, Wake boarding, Frisbee, Archery, Basketball, Table Tennis, Power Cruising, Canoeing, Cycling and Air Sports are the new entries. Wow, that was a mouthful!

Each game is pretty much self-explanatory but better, each game features alternate versions and or variations. Upon starting the game you are introduced to a three-minute video of how to install and handle your "Wii Motion Plus" device. Speaking of Motion Plus; the device is the true star of the game. None of the events in Resort can be played without one. As I said earlier, each game does not need to be deeply explained. What I will do is tell you about the games I enjoyed the most and how well they use the Motion Plus accessory. First off "The game works!" This is absolutely, one of the best examples of what the Motion Plus can do. If you think you have experienced everything Wii motion controls can offer, think again! Since seeing this game back in 2008 I have always wanted to play the Archery mode. Obviously it’s the first game I played.

Normally when you think of archery in a video game you would expect something of a first person shooter setup. That is very far from what you get in "Resort". In this mode you hold the Wii Remote vertical like a bow and you use the Nunchuck to draw back the arrow, while holding down the "Z" button. To release the arrow, you simply release the "Z" Button. In this game you do have a targeting reticule but the IR Pointer at the tip of the remote does not control it. To best describe targeting, you have a "targeting circle" that you have to align with the bulls-eye. Unlike a traditional reticule, you will not get a spot on shot. Instead, you have to rely on your whit and your eyes (like in real archery) to estimate where your arrow will land.

I had a great time with this game. The challenge of working with the "targeting circle" and angling my arrow against the wind was pretty amazing. I loved the overall feel of the setup. I am also pretty amazed how accurately the Wii Remote (with Motion Plus) can be used to aim at something on the screen. You normally don't see that level of targeting control unless it’s through the remote's infrared pointer. It really shows how versatile the Wii Remote is.

Another game I had a lot of fun with was “Power Cruising”. In this game you hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in your hands horizontally, like a big handlebar. The “A” button is used to accelerate and you turn the controller parts left and right together to turn in the desired direction. The goal of the game is to drive your jet ski to the many checkpoints within the allotted time, until you reach the end of the course. You also have a meter beside your Mii character. That bar shows you how much boost power you have. In order to use your boost, you simply rotate the controller parts forward like a motorcycle handle. The beautiful part about Power Cruising is the feeling of being behind a fast moving vehicle. By holding the controller properly for this certain game, your mind is allowed to imagine and be apart of the scenery created by this game. In essence, that has always been the beauty of the Wii. You hold the controller in different ways to ”bring” you into the game.

“Air Sports” is another game that shows off the sensitivity of the Motion Plus accessory. This game is very simple but just like all of the other resort games, there is a lot of fun to be had from this game. Air Sports is divided into three parts; skydiving, island flyover and dogfight. In “Island flyover” you hold the Wii Remote in its native position. Your plane automatically accelerates, the “B” button can be used to stop your propeller and the “A” button allows for you to shoot out pellets, which allow for you to pop balloons. Every slight movement is measured by the Motion Plus add on. To turn your plane, you simply move the Wii remote in the way you would a toy airplane. You can twirl the remote 360 degrees to do a barrel roll or just do two quick 90 degree turns to reach the same effect. You can also thrust your remote forward for a quick speed boost. Movement seems very natural to the point that many “core” Nintendo gamers that play this game will ask their selves, “Where’s my Star Fox Wii game?”

Another great part about “Island Flyover” is the ability to explore WuHu Island, the home of your Mii characters. While “Wii Sports Resort” might not be packing in the polygons arena, the game is nothing less than beautiful. Once again Nintendo shows that they are the masters of turning something simple into something beautiful. Every part of WuHu Island is crafted in fine detail and flying your plane around it and exploring the island is an experience that no Wii owner should miss out on. I almost wish that Nintendo will use the island setup again and create an adventure game just for the Mii characters.

Aside from the 12 different games and their multiple variations, “Wii Sports Resort” also includes an achievement system. You can do certain things within the game and gain recognition for them. Different types of icons represent the different achievements and you can compare your accomplishments with that of your friends and family. The only thing that seems to be missing from this game is an online component. You can use the Mii characters that you collect from the separate “Check Mii Out” channel but as for a direct online mode between the game disc and the “Nintendo WiFi Connection” service, there is none.

If you are a Wii owner I definitely recommend this game for you. If you are not a Wii owner, I still recommend this game for you. There is something simply magical about “Wii Sports Resort” and its use of the “Motion Plus” accessory. This game takes things back to the core of what video games are about. The ability to imagine, to experience and to enjoy having fun with the people close to you is what gaming is about. “Wii Sports Resort” will be a game that will stay in the hearts of people for years to come.

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