Nintendo sure knows how to demonstrate its new technology. In the Wii’s case, the Japanese video-game giant bundled in Wii Sports, the perfect software to showcase the merits of its new motionbased system, allowing players to swing their Wiimotes to whack virtual tennis balls and knock down virtual bowling pins. This time around, WiiSports Resort has been launched to showcase the merits of the new MotionPlus accessory (bundled with each copy of Wii Sports Resort). It’s essentially an attachment for the Wiimote that enhances its existing motion-sensing capabilities.
It’s perhaps in the two returning sports – namely golf and bowling – where the true merits of the MotionPlus accessory can be seen. For instance, bowling (which soon became a favourite in my household) now allows you the ability to put 'spin' on your bowl as you release it with a flick of your wrist. And golf is now less forgiving, requiring a much more realistic action. Both are improvements on the Wii Sports originals and make them feel that much more realistic.
Some of the new activities also do well to further demonstrate the enhancements of the MotionPlus accessory and the extra dimension it can bring to your games. For instance, in the Frisbee event you can watch as the disc in your Mii’s hand mimics the movement of your Wiimote and how its angle changes as you tilt the Wiimote in your hand – something that’s simply not possible with the Wiimote on its own. The Power Cruising (jet skiing) activity makes for perhaps the most inventive use of the Wii controllers in the game; holding the controllers horizontally – the Nunchuk in your left hand and the Wiimote in your right – you tilt your 'handlebars' in the direction you’d like to steer. If you want a speed boost, you simply 'rev' the right handlebar by tilting it back towards yourself, much like how you would on a real jet-ski or motorbike. And the cycling is also pretty innovative; you once again hold the Nunchuk and Wiimote like handlebars (but vertically this time, emulating the handlebars of racing bikes), and you pump them up and down alternately to pedal while leaning left or right to steer. Simply put, if there was a missing dimension in the Wii’s motion- control capabilities, the MotionPlus attachment goes a long way to plugging that gap.
MotionPlus enhancements aside, Wii Sports Resort is much more substantial than its predecessor which, for all its strengths, did feel like more of a technical showcase than a fully fledged game. There are 12 sports in total compared to the first game’s five. Ten of these are brand new, and each sport has some unlockable variants. For example, swordplay starts off with an American Gladiator-style event where you must knock your opponent off a platform and into the water. Playing this event, you’ll eventually unlock a mode where you must race against an opponent to slice objects in a certain direction communicated by onscreen prompts. And the third unlockable swordplay mode (and easily the most fun) will see you clearing stages of multiple Mii opponents of varying difficulty before squaring off against a 'boss' at the end of each level. Playing through the bowling mode will unlock a 100-pin variant and then 'spin' mode, which actually requires you to make use of your newfound spin abilities to negotiate obstacles placed down the owling lane. It’s a nice and well-executed pacing effort that ensures that you won’t tire of what’s on offer too quickly
Like Wii Sports before it, Wii Sports Resort is an accessible party game that’s likely to draw in all manner of players – even those that are typically uninterested in gaming. While it’s not the sort of game that you’d likely play on your own, it really does shine in a group environment.