Unresponsive is the Name of this Game.
Ubisoft is known amongst Nintendo fans for not always putting their best efforts into their launch titles. Still, going into this game I thought it had potential. With no other casual sports title on Wii U at launch, this could have been a good business opportunity for Ubisoft. Unfortunately, the poor quality of the game holds it back.
ESPN Sports Connection consists of six sports. Variety is the spice of life, but it’s not much of a life when no good choices are available. Depending on which sport you want to play, you will either use the GamePad, a Wii Remote with Motion Plus, or both. I usually went with the GamePad but there was not a huge difference for most of the sports. The only way to cover this game is to cover every sport, so here we go:
Karting: With multiple tracks to choose from, Karting seems like fun but the controls spoil the fun. Whether you use the Wii Remote or the GamePad, both controllers can either use motion or button controls, and both are unresponsive and awkward. The tracks are uninteresting, and pop-ins in the background are highly distracting while playing.
Tennis: Like in Wii Sports Tennis, you will swing the Wii Remote like a tennis racket. The motion controls are unresponsive, like Karting, so the racket usually does not swing the way you want it to. A multiplayer mode is present, which has one player using the GamePad to fire tennis balls at the player with the Wii Remote. This works well, but the badly implemented racket controls always hinder the experience for the other player.
Baseball: The only halfway decent sport in this collection uses the Wii Remote to swing the bat, which is not accurate to your movements even with Motion Plus, and the touch screen to aim your pitches. Even when the controls work, the game feels underwhelming due to uninteresting visual design.
Football: This game, like baseball, has the player switching between a Wii Remote to throw the ball and GamePad to control offense and defense. The Wii Remote almost never picked up my motions so I usually was tackled immediately. The GamePad’s touch screen is used to navigate players, but it is hard to do since you can only move one player at a time while the field is still constantly changing. Even with all of those complaints, picking plays is the worst aspect of this sport. The game tells you to pick plays based on what the other team is doing. Unless I missed something, you never know what the other team is doing, making the entire affair a guessing game. This may be the worst sport in the collection.
Soccer: The GamePad analog sticks control the players in this game. If aiming the ball into the goal made any sense, and if moving the players worked, the game would go somewhere. Sadly it doesn’t. Instead, you watch avatars run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Golf: The Wii Remote acts as the golf club in this game. The power of the swing is measured by how high you start your stroke. This would be fine if the game had working controls to begin with. Again, like the sports above, the motion controls did not work well and many times did not catch on to the player’s movements.
Graphically, the high resolution of the Wii U provides clarity but beyond that there is nothing nice to say. Creepy avatars, which all look like they have been run over by a truck, and the laggy and sometimes weird animation make this game ugly. One of the funniest moments in this game was a glitch that showed footprints being formed in sand well after the character had walked there, so that is a plus, I guess. The music is repetitive, but I bet you could have guessed that from the rest of the game’s quality.
One or two interesting ideas show up in ESPN Sports Connection. Sadly, these ideas do not make up for the rest of the game’s shortcomings. Between terrible controls, iffy graphics, and lack of any coherency, I cannot recommend this to anyone to play. This is one of the worst Wii U launch titles and should be avoided like a baseball to the face.