Wii Sports Resort landed overseas in Japan last week, and we give you our impressions.
It has been a bit of a wait, but last week Nintendo finally graced the Japanese public with the follow-up to its Wii tech demo and best-selling game of all time, Wii Sports. Last Thursday, eager to find out what Nintendo's opening implementation of Wii MotionPlus had in store, I dropped on by my neighborhood video game store to check it out. They were sold out. I was unsurprised, given the status of its predecessor, and so I decided to try a bigger outlet - the Yodobashi Camera in Kawasaki. There I found a display showing both Wii Sports Resort and the soon-to-be-released Dragon Quest IX, as well as plenty of copies of the game. I quickly purchased my copy as well as an additional Wii MotionPlus accessory.
When I returned home, I popped the game in and was ready to go. As other impressions have pointed out, the game starts with a Mii getting ready to parachute from a helicopter. Once you've calibrated your Wii MotionPlus by placing the controller, button-side down, on a flat surface, you hit the A button and the character makes the jump. During the jump the character's body is represented by the way you tilt the controller - pointing the Wii Remote downward sends the character darting head first towards the earth while holding it parallel to the ground flattens his or her body out in order to slow down the velocity at which he or she is falling. While I had not noticed any particular instructions or benefits, during the fall other Miis come falling with you, hands outstretched. If you choose, you can slow down your fall and try to catch them, thus creating a circle formation. Eventually, the Miis all pull the cords on their parachutes one-by-one, leaving you to be the last, and with that, the title screen for Wii Sports Resort is shown.
The first thing I noticed after heading into the game's sport selection menu from the title screen was the sheer number of activities offered. Wii Sports gave the player an opportunity to try out the Wii's simplified versions of tennis, bowling, baseball, golf, and boxing - five different sports in all. Wii Sports Resort gives you more than double the activities with a total of 12 different sports to enjoy. These include a Kendo-style fencing activity, Frisbee disc throwing, archery, basketball, ping pong, wakeboarding, jet-skiing, and even canoeing. In addition to the massive amount of sports the player can try out, each different sport has several different sub-categories. For instance, fencing can be played as a one-on-one exhibition mode where you attempt to knock your opponent off a platform into water below; a pattern recognition mode where you are given targets to slash with the sword; and a final on-rails type mode where you are given multiple opponents to defeat with a final boss at the end of the level.
From what I've played the motion control is very well-implemented. The aforementioned fencing game mimics the direction in which you swing the sword very closely, to the degree that you can even perform a diagonal upwards slash by pointing your blade in the diagonal direction and swinging as such. The three-point shootout involves you first holding the Wii Remote down to your side as if you were going to pick up a ball from a rack, holding in the B button to simulate grabbing the ball, and then bringing it above your head and flicking your wrist as if to shoot it. The accuracy seems to depend on how straight you keep your wrist through the shooting motion. I also seemed to obtain more accuracy by waiting until the apex of my jump to release the ball.
While I have yet try all of the sports, I was most surprised by canoeing. First of all, this is not an activity I even imagined would be in a Wii game. Secondly, paddling does not seem like the kind of activity I would enjoy recreating with motion control. Be that as it may, I found that I quite enjoyed simulating paddling to my left and right and watching my on-screen avatar do the same. Prior to starting an event, you are given the opportunity to acclimate yourself to the controls with a small activity. For canoeing you are free to paddle around a roped-off area of the moat at Princess Peach's castle from Super Mario 64. And, if you so choose, there are ten baby ducklings swimming about that you can row towards, collect, and try to bring back to their mother. If you crash into an obstacle, such as a rock, the ducklings scatter and you have to recollect them, though they do not go very far from where you crashed. Once you have returned all ten of them, the game lets you know how long it took you, so it seems you can attempt to beat your best time.
The first activity for canoeing, outside of the control acclimation activity, is a simple race to beat your best time on a small 100m course. As I mentioned before, I enjoyed the control that the canoeing had to offer, and even realized that it was giving me a bit of a work out; I noticed doing that motion was working my abdominal muscles quite a bit.
While I have yet to play the game in depth, Wii Sports Resort seems like a massive expansion to the satisfying casual pick-up-and-play game mechanics of its predecessor. Its hook is its immersive motion control, and the combination of the controls and the gentle learning curve makes this game a very satisfying experience for people that just want to have some fun without having to invest hours into a game. On the other hand, given the sheer number of things you can do, it seems like there is a decent amount of depth in this package for anyone who would choose to master each different task. The amount of time I have put into this game has barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer, so expect further impressions in the near future.