Almost Better Than Cancun
August 22, 2008 – When the Nintendo Wii first came out, Wii Sports provided the first real opportunity for many players to test out the system’s new fangled motion controls – an exciting prospect for both experienced gamers looking for something new and casual players coming into gaming for the first time. Admittedly, the sports collection was largely successful, even if the overall controls were not quite as tight as some expected them to be. Next Spring, Nintendo will offer-up a new collection of sports-minded games bundled with a little gadget that’s expected to open up a whole new realm of realistic controls on the system.
For those who loved the casual fun of the original launch title, Wii Sports Resort offers a new batch of motion-centric activities to dive into. However, the accessory to be bundled with the game, called Wii MotionPlus, has broader implications for future game development on the Wii. It appears this small, nub-like device that plugs into the base of the Wii Remote may finally meet the expectations of players who have wanted something more from their motion controls.
Cheat Code Central recently went hands-on with demos of several of the games included in Wii Sports Resort at E3, and we’re excited to report Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus isn’t just some snake-oil gimmick; this is the real deal in truly precise 1:1 motion response – something we’ve been waiting to see since the system launched. The accessory registers movements in 3-D space with far greater accuracy than the Wii Remote’s inherent capabilities alone, even picking up wrist rotations and subtle motions. Essentially, the increased control sensing capabilities allows the in-game movements to mirror your own with a surprising level of real-time responsiveness.
Though 10 different activities will be included on Wii Sports Resort, only three have been officially announced and detailed so far. All the games take place on a colorful and upbeat tropical island resort, giving the collection more of a vacation-like feel than the traditional sporting events found in the first installment. The mini-games themselves certainly follow suit with the relaxed vibe. So far, they seem to be a mixture of fairly shallow recreational activities with an easy pick-up-and-play nature designed to showcase the tightened controls. However, that’s not to say you can’t find fun in simplicity.
In Disc Dog, you’ll hit the beach for a game of catch Frisbee with a cute little puppy that has a very Mii-like appearance. You can tilt the Wii Remote and turn your wrist in all directions, and your Mii will react accordingly by adjusting the angle of their hold on the Frisbee to match your precise movements. This allows you to fine-tune your throws nicely. The goal is to toss the disc well enough for your pooch to catch it, and extra points are rewarded for landing a catch closer to a target on the screen.
Power Cruising plops your Mii onto a jet ski and sends you zooming around across the waves in an island water race. This mini-game employs both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and you’ll be holding them in front of you horizontally. It’s a lot like grasping the handlebars of an actual jet ski, and the controls are similarly intuitive. You can rev the engine by twisting the Wii Remote forward, and moving both together allows you to steer. The demo only features a gated time race, but it will be interesting to see what other, if any, gameplay variations are included in the final release.
Up to this point, sword fighting on the Wii has been a mostly disappointing experience bogged down in needless, imprecise waggling. However, Sword Play, the most promising mini-game revealed in the Wii Sports Resort collection, shows there’s still hope yet. In the game’s sword fighting duels, you and your opponent are perched on a small circular arena suspended high in the air over water. You’ll compete in sword combat to knock each other off the platform to win a round, and gameplay reaches a tense sudden death mode at a tie. Character movement is automatic, but sword swipes and blocks are all manual. The velocity of your movement is also taken into account when determining the strength of your attack.
It’s a little too early to tell for sure whether all the activities in Wii Sports Resort will be equally engaging, but the first few offerings seem simple and entertaining enough. Also, many of the plastic peripherals churned out for the Wii lately may be destined for the garbage bin, but MotionPlus is shaping up to be a must-have item for Wii owners. Keep your eyes peeled for this hot package just in time for spring!