Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review of Wii Sports Resort with MotionPlus Controller

Remember the "this is so cool" moment you had when you first swung a baseball bat in Wii Sports or bowled your first strike? Get ready for the feeling again.

Wii Sports Resort is the much-anticipated sequel to Wii Sports. It comes with the MotionPlus controller, a small cube-shaped attachment you snap onto your existing Wii-mote (you can see pictures and a more detailed description in my review of EA Sports Tennis). What makes the MotionPlus special? It gives new life to your old Wii-mote by allowing games that are designed for it to react not just to your arm movements, but to the angle of your wrists and the speed of your motion.

And just like Wii Sports was the perfect way to show off the Wii-mote, Wii Sports Resort is the best way to show the capabilities of the MotionPlus.

Like Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort is made up of several sports simulation games, with your Mii as the star of each game. Here's a breakdown of each sport, along with a video plus my observations on how useful it is for exercise.

Air Sports:
Fun *** - Workout Intensity *

When you start up Wii Sports Resort for the first time, you see your Mii on a plane heading for Wuhu Island, where the Wii Sports Resort is located. Your plane doesn't land there--you parachute out, forming in-air formations with other parachuters. It's a neat little way to present the title sequence, and you can replay it by choosing one of three "Air Sports".

The other air sport has you holding your Wii-mote like a paper airplane, and flying around the island collecting. You can literally spend an hour flying around slightseeing and never getting tired of it. Not much exercise value, limited replay value, but nonetheless a very, very cool introduction to the game and a demonstration of the Wii Sports Resort developers' attention to detail.

Fun ***** - Workout Intensity *

This is one that is nothing short of amazing. You hold your Wii-mote in your left hand, and you hold your Nunchuk in your right. You aim your Wii-mote like you're holding a bow, and you pull back on the Nunchuk like you're pulling an arrow. This game makes great use of the sensitivity of the MotionPlus.

Fun ***** - Workout Intensity ***

This one takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do you'll find it does a fairly good job of simulating a real basketball workout, both as a classic NBA-style three-point contest and a game of three-on-three. For the three-point contest, you pick up a ball from a cart by reaching with your Wii-mote pointed down and pressing the "B" button to pick up the ball. In one motion, you lift the Wii-mote in an arc (which will make your on-screen player jump), and then make an arcing motion with your hand (just like you're shooting a real basketball). You let go of the ball by releasing the "B" button, and just like in the NBA you repeat until you've finished five racks of five balls. It'll be frustrating at first, but you'll soon find out that (just like in real life) you need to exert a different amount of force and spin for each location you shoot from.

The pick-up game uses similar controls for shooting, except you have to avoid defenders, and you also play defense by blocking shots and stealing balls.

The trick to this game is to release the ball when you're at the top of the jump, to flick your wrists to put spin on the ball, not putting too much or too little force in your throw, and to aim the ball right at the basket when you let go. Try it a few times and you'll get the hang of it. The more you envision yourself shooting a real basketball, the better you'll do.

Fun **** - Workout Intensity *
This is a remake of Wii Sports Bowling, but with controls that are much more precise and subtle due to the MotionPlus. It does take some "re-learning" to do properly; instead of getting strikes for just flicking your wrist, you'll be rewarded now for using proper bowling technique like curving the ball with your wrist.
Fun *** - Workout Intensity *****

I'd say this is the most intense of all the games on Wii Sports Resort for exercise. You hold your Wii-mote like a canoe paddle, row to the left, and row to the right. The MotionPlus can tell how fast you're rowing and how deep in the water your paddle is. You'll find yourself flailing your arms trying to reach the finish line before time runs out, and your heart will be pumping.
Fun **** - Workout Intensity ****

Reminiscent of the running game in Wii Fit, this is a brilliant game where you simulate the strategy of a bicycling race like the Tour de France or Olympic cycling. You alternate waving your Wii-mote and Nunchuk to simulate your biker's pedaling. Wave too hard, and your biker will go out of breath or even need to stop for a bottle of water. Wave too lightly, and you'll be left in the dust. Like in real cycling, you can "drift" off of other riders by riding behind them, you'll move from pack to pack of bikers, and you need to conserve your energy for a mad sprint to the finish line.

Fun **** - Workout Intensity *

This is another incredible game that really shows off the MotionPlus. You basically hold your Wii-Mote like a Frisbee, and you can aim it at any angle, control the spin with your wrists, and throw it at any speed. One of my favorite parts of this game is the cute little digital dog who always fetches and returns the Frisbee to you, something that doesn't always happen in real life.

Fun *** - Workout Intensity *
Another huge upgrade to the golf in Wii Sports. You can consider this a "lite" version of Tiger Woods Golf. Like Tiger Woods Golf, you basically hold your Wii-mote like it's a golf club, and you try to swing it like a real one. Like a real golf club, you want to keep your wrists rigid throughout the swing. Twist your wrists or fail to properly follow through on your shot and it'll be off.

Power Cruising:
Fun **** - Workout Intensity **

I've driven a Sea-Doo once in my life at Walt Disney World. I have to say that this experience was amazingly close. You basically hold your Wii-mote and Nunchuk as if they're the right and left handlebars on a Sea-Doo. Twist the controls to rev up your engine and go faster. Turn to the left or to the right to control where you go on the water. You basically have to maneuver through a slalom course. The only thing missing is the feeling of water splashing on you!

Fun=* * * * *, Exercise Intensity=* * * *
Swordplay sort of reminds me of Wii Boxing. Like Wii Boxing, I imagine that the workout intensity will increase the more levels you increase. Basically, it's a fencing game. You wield your sword, and you can swing it high or low and in every direction. You can fence against a computer opponent, but my favorite game is when you compete with the computer (or a friend) to see who can be the first to slice an object thrown at you (ranging from sushi to a diamond to a boiled egg).

Table Tennis:
Fun=* * * * *, Exercise Intensity=* * * *
This is another one where you scratch your head and wonder how they got it so close to the real thing. The MotionPlus makes your control of your paddle extremely accurate; you can tilt the racket and use differnt amounts of force to aim shots and spin the ball. It's one of these games that may not be the most strenuous workout, but it's so addicted you'll play over and over again and get pretty decent exercise. If you've played ping-pong on Wii Play or Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, prepare for a whole new experience.

Fun=* * * * *, Exercise Intensity=* *

In this game, you hold the Wii-mote horizontally (as if you're on jet skis holding onto a tether), and waterski in the boat's wake, doing jumping tricks and collecting points.

To summarize, Wii Sports Resort isn't an exercise game, per se. If you're going for pure exercise, you're still better off with games like EA Sports Active and Gold's Gym Cardio. But like Wii Sports, it's incredibly fun and will certainly get you off your backside and moving your arms and shoulders. Like its predecessor, overall I'd rate the fun a solid * * * * *, and the exercise value a * *.



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