Wii Sports Resort Review

By Andrew Pfister - Posted Jul 28, 2009

Wii Sports was a proof-of-concept that turned into a phenomenon, propelling the Wii up the sales charts, heralding the new future of videogames, opening up the industry to a brand new audience, and further such hyperbole. And while its successor, Wii Sports Resort, can't possibly make the same initial impact, it's significant in another way: it completely renders the revolutionary Wii Sports obsolete.

The Pros
  • MotionPlus's accuracy enables great gameplay
  • Plenty of sports, including variations on most
  • Wahu Island gives everything a cohesive feel
The Cons
  • Cycling and canoeing are realistically exhausting
  • Wakeboarding announcer needs to calm down
  • Flying makes us sad that there's no new Pilotwings yet

Wii Sports was a proof-of-concept that turned into a phenomenon, propelling the Wii up the sales charts, heralding the new future of videogames, opening up the industry to a brand new audience, and further such hyperbole. And while its successor, Wii Sports Resort, can't possibly make the same initial impact, it's significant in another way: it completely renders the revolutionary Wii Sports obsolete.

The Plane! The Plane!

Reggie Fils-Aime introduces a new peripheral for the Wii, the Wii MotionPlus as well as one of the first games which will utilize it, Wii Sports Resort.We can argue all day long whether or not this is how the Wii should have been from day one, but the introduction of MotionPlus technology is what turns the various recreational events from very fun tech demos into incredibly fun games. And Nintendo knows it too, having the very first thing you do in Wii Sports Resort (aside from having to sit through an eye-rolling "Controllers for Dummies" instructional video) is jump out of an airplane and adjust the geometric plane of your skydiving Mii to hook up in formations with other Miis. It gets you familiar with the boosted response time of MotionPlus, and presents Wuhu Island as the hub world for all ensuing activities -- a cohesive environment that was lacking in the first Wii Sports.

As you play through each new activity, the increased sensitivity becomes indispensable. Instead of just flailing about and hoping you land a blow in Swordplay, you actually have to position your defensive stance based on your opponent's attack angle. Archery is heavily dependent on positioning, because you need to take distance and wind into account. In Basketball, you have to release your shot at the very top of your Mii's jump, as well as keep your arms straight on the follow-through.

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We Like Sports and We Don't Care Who Knows


Wii Sports ResortDifferent people will find different things to like about each of the events -- the solo player might not want to seek out the (relatively) physically intensive Cycling or Canoeing, but put a handful of energetic kids in a canoe and they'll have fun trying to keep the ship straight. What helps is that most of the events have variations or difficulty levels that either provide an even challenge for everyone in the room, or a new spin on concept. Swordplay, for example, will let you do a simple 3-round duel, a reaction-based slicing competition, or a really fun battle against a charging army of opponents. Sprinting across a bridge ninja-style, with your sword actually dragging down at your feet and at the ready for your next enemy is one of those goofy yet cool moments only possible with MotionPlus. Even an old favorite like Bowling takes advantage with a "Spin Control" mode, which presents blockers on the lane that you need to spin the ball around -- a clever way of teaching you how to properly curve the ball. And Golf is a much better experience now, unless you're naturally terrible at golf, in which it does a great job of demonstrating why you're so bad.

Because the MotionPlus technology needs to be recalibrated every so often, it can be a bit annoying to have to point at the middle of the screen before starting events, but Nintendo tried to reduce and mask this as much as possible (e.g. "reach down to grab a new basketball"), and it's a small price to pay for the improved response time.

Group Packages Now Available


Playing through the events solo, it was easy to find something to like about everything. But just like Wii Sports, most of them unsurprisingly work better when friends are in the room. Swordplay against a computer-controlled opponent is fun, and they even mix up their speed and strategies, but it pales in comparison to knocking your buddy off the ledge and then giving a quick smirk of satisfaction. The same goes for the other events, and the more people you add, the better the party atmosphere becomes.

Wii Sports ResortThe only question (one that's not applicable to 99% of the people reading this review) is how the casual Wii Sports player will adapt to more sensitive controls -- the more control you're given, the more precision is required and the less automatic things become. But Nintendo did a good job of pasting instruction screens and tutorials all over the game, so the people who do need help can get it.

We Have to Go Back to the Island


Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has said that Wuhu Island was designed as a new Nintendo "character," which means that we'll be seeing more of it in the future -- presumably as a staging area for more demonstrations of MotionPlus. If their internal design team can keep the ideas coming -- and more importantly if other developers follow suit with ideas of their own-- the technology has a bright future (even if it totally should have been there on day one).