Being bundled with every Wii console sold outside of Japan has meant that the original Wii Sports is technically the best selling game of all time. For obvious reason this sequel can’t even begin to live up to the success of its older brother but with a longer development cycle, more mini-games and support for Wii Motion Plus (which comes bundled with the game) Wii Sports Resort can at least be better than its predecessor, right? well no, not exactly. That’s not to say Wii Sports Resort is a bad game, I’m sure you’ve already seen that I’ve awarded it a decent 6 stars, but the problem is more realistic controls doesn’t always equal a better game.
For the past 2 and a half years Wii Sports has been the centerpiece for every social gathering I’ve hosted, whether it’s Christmas day, a Birthday Party or just a good old family gathering. The reason why Wii Sports succeeds is because almost any person of any age and IQ can simply pick up the Wii remote and instantly know how to play without any question. Wii Sports also proved that less is more by only featuring 5 different sports (Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Baseball & Boxing) all of which were simple to learn but could also be mastered with a bit of practice insuring you’d never be beaten by your Grandma who just swings the remote around randomly. Wii Sports Resort on the other hand is far less casual and most of the sports (and I use the term sports loosely) requires a lot more practice which goes against the pick-up-and-play nature that the series is known for.
When you boot up Resort for the first time you’ll be treated to a brief Free-Fall section as your Mii jumps out of an airborne plane. This intro was designed to show just how seamlessly your on-screen character can mimic your every move thanks to Wii Motion Plus, which begs the question “Why couldn’t the Wii remote just work properly in the first place?”. From there on you can choose one of 12 different sport types each of which have 2 or 3 sub-categories, this bring the total number of games leaps and bounds above the amount found In the original Wii Sports. Unfortunately though most of them aren’t very good. Each of the Water Sports (Jet Skiing, Canoeing, Wakeboarding etc) control poorly, especially the Wave Race-esque Jet Ski game which has you holding both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in front of you like handlebars and thrusting them to perform a boosts. Although this control method is technically realistic, it feels clunky and I’m baffled as to why Nintendo didn’t use the tried-and-tested tilt controls found in titles like Mario Kart Wii & Excitebots. The Air Sports mini-games are also sub-par, Sky Diving is nothing more than a Wii Motion Plus tech demo and Exploring and Dog Fighting in airplanes aren’t as fun as they should have been as the planes severely lack speed.
Resort also features more traditional sports like Basketball, Table Tennis, Cycling, Bowling and Golf. Basketball is a complete disappointment as the controls simply don’t work during Free Throw Shootouts and the 3 On 3 vs. mode is primitive and void of any fun. Cycling is just as bad, if not worse and after you try it out for the first time you probably won’t ever return. Table Tennis however will keep you coming back for more even though it’s not as engrossing as the Tennis game found in the original Wii Sports, speaking of which two sports from the original game (Golf & Bowling) make a reappearance with Wii Motion Plus enhanced controls, Bowling appears more or less the same but Golf features a host of extra courses which I’m particularly thankful for. I know I’ve come across as pretty negative towards Resort so far but he true magic of title lies in its Archery and Sword Play modes. Archery is probably the best portion of the game and any inspiring Robin Hood’s out there will have endless amounts of fun trying to shoot arrows dead center in to targets like a Pro. The Sword sports are also exceptional fun and they work to prove just how responsive Wii Motion Plus actually is, whether you’re dueling American Gladiator style against a buddy, slicing through objects as quickly as possible in the Slash Contest arena or battling through a swarm of Mii’s in Survival Mode.
Wii Sports Resort is a neat package and certainly the best mini-game collection available on the Wii (with the exception of the Raving Rabbids series), it just feels very half-baked and would have been much better if Nintendo dropped half the modes like Cycling and Canoeing and spent more time focusing on the good stuff. Also the Wii Motion Plus itself doesn’t particular set off on a good start with this title as you’re often required to place the remote face down on the ground before events and you constantly have to press down on the d-pad during intensive sports like Swords Fighting to keep the Motion Plus calibrated properly. Since every one who owns a Wii already owns Wii Sports I find it hard to encourage anyone to pay $75 (or £60) for Resort and an extra Wii Motion Plus unit for multi-player sessions. Casual Wii Sports players may find Resort’s learning curve outside of their comfort zone and I’m sure hardcore players have better thing to do than drop a small fortune on a mini-game collection. I had and will continue to have fun with Wii Sports Resort but unless you have a spare Wii Motion Plus lying around or you really, really want to throw a Frisbees to a dog this is one Nintendo first party title you might want to avoid.