Saturday, July 17, 2010

Video game number two hundred and five: Wii Sports Resort

Video game review number two hundred and five in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Wii Sports Resort "

For the first year of the Wii console, Wii Sports was really the only good game Nintendo had released. Sure, there were other titles, but this one was all anyone played....or even wanted to play. I bought a few others (including Wii Play), but whenever I played the Wii, I'd always end up going back to bowling. I was always wondering when they'd make a sequel to Wii Sports, and here it long last. And yes...there's more bowling.

Making a good sequel to a "killer app" probably isn't easy. Perhaps that's why it took Nintendo almost 4 years. Still, I think they've got it this game is different enough from the first one to feel completely "new", yet easy and fun enough to feel worthy of being the one game you show people when they want to see what the Wii is all about.

Sports Resort starts you out by having you jump out of a plane. You get to play the skydiving game before you ever land on the island this game takes place on. The controls are very intuitive, and it's pretty fun. When you land, you're given choices between 12 different game modes.

I started out with Wakeboarding. You hold your controller sideways, like you might hold the rope when wakeboarding in real life. It was ok, but nothing incredible. Next, I moved to "Power Cruising", which I was hoping was an updated version of Wave Race for the N64.

Wave Race is one of my favorite video games of all time (I dumped countless weeks into that one), and I'm sad to say, Power Cruising does not capture that magic. You hold the Wiimote and Nunchuk like handlebars on a bike (opposing each other horizontally)...and you rev up the engine by pressing B. The controls are ok so long as you're going in a straight line, but as soon as you start turning, you can often miss your goal. It's not terrible...but it's definitely noting like riding a jetski (I actually think Wave Race still has the market cornered as far as that goes).

I played some of the "Air Sports" next, including Skydiving and Island Flyover. These were my favorite games so far, both being very intuitive and fun to control. Skydiving is much like the opening credits scene, except now you have to meet up with other skydiving Miis in mid-air to make formations. You get your picture taken when you do this, and at the end, they add up all the pictures, and give you points for facing the camera. Fun stuff.

Island Flyover is one of the more interesting games I've played on the Wii. They instruct you to hold the Wiimote like you might hold a paper airplane, and then you control this plane that flies around the island. It works exactly like you want it to, and I had a lot of fun playing this. THIS is what motion controls are all about....and I think Nintendo has nailed it with this mini-game. Playing this one reminded me of flying my X-wing fighter around when I was a kid (or maybe last week)....only this time, the object you're holding controls a "real" video game plane. Cool stuff.

After my flight games, I played some basketball (3 point shootout), and it was ok. I didn't really find my groove, but I can see the concept. I didn't feel like trying golf, ping-pong, archery, canoeing or cycling....but another game caught my eye: Frisbee Dog!

Yes, that's get to throw a frisbee to a dog and have him catch it for you. Actually, you throw frisbees at targets, and the dog runs to those. You can pop balloons on the way for extra points. It actually feels like throwing a frisbee, and is pretty cool. I think I'm a little better with a real life frisbee, but probably not by much.

Last but not least, for the grand finale...I chose bowling (of course). One thing I have failed to mention so far is that Wii Sports comes with a little "motion plus" accessory, which is basically a hardware patch for the Wiimote. It makes it work like it should have worked from launch, and makes it a lot more precise. As a result, Wii Bowling is even more fun than it was in the last version of this game. Not only does the game feel more like bowling than it ever have a lot more control over where your ball goes. It's awesome.

Overall score? This is easily an 8/10, and if the other games I didn't feel like playing are as good as the rest of them, I could see myself raising this score. The million dollar question is whether or not I'll want to pick this up and play it again....and I'm really not sure what the answer is there. Right now, all I'm playing on the Wii are Gamefly rentals for my project and New Super Mario Brothers for fun. Will this find it's way into the mix? Only time will tell.

One thing's for sure....I'm looking forward to playing it against other people next time I have a friend over. :-)

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