Ah…Wii Sports Resort, the follow-up and sequel to Wii Sports, the best-selling Nintendo game on the Nintendo Wii and on any Nintendo console period. Normally, I wouldn’t review a sequel, but since I’m trying some new things out and taking a break from the usual stuff (pun intended – and the fact that Wii Sports is extremely bare-bones), I think I’ll let it pass. At the time it was released, the Nintendo Wii was still seen as a great system and motion controls were still cool, but little did Nintendo know that later in 2009 was their doom as they soon became the casual console for having weak hardware, gimmicky motion controls, terrible looking graphics, and inferior online infrastructure.
Around its development, people began noticing and criticizing Nintendo for the forced and gimmicky motion controls (which was also the time that the Wii U started to exist…in development), so they decided to invent and sell this thing called the Wii Motion Plus. And what better way to market it then making a game just to show off its capabilities? It was their last ditch effort to appeal to the complainers by making this add-on with improved motion controls before realizing that the Wii was a total failure and a primitive system meant for casual slaves…I mean casual crowd.
I was actually convinced right from the start to buy this game because I was still young and a Nintendo fanboy. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t get me the game as they thought that purchasing sequels were bull-shit and they both hated (and continue to hate) video games. So in 2012 when I became independent with materialistic goods, I went out to Wal-Mart and bought it myself…but with no Wii Motion Plus as Nintendo had discontinued the bundle by then (I instead got the Wii Remote Plus which is the add-on built in). I won’t really spoil the game now, but let’s just say that it didn’t turn out quite as expected and I eventually realized that it was simply re-hashed material from the original with extras.
Wii Sports Resort is similar to its predecessor – using the remote’s motion controls to play a variety of sports with in-game avatars called Miis. This time, there’s around 12 sports, each with their own mini-games and play styles. You also use the Wii Motion Plus or the Wii Remote Plus (which comes in 4 different colors), essentially an accessory for the regular Wiimote that increases the accuracy and sensitivity of the motion controls to make it seem more natural and realistic; in other words, making it 1:1 of what people imagined them to be. Though honestly speaking, it’s just a sad excuse for not implementing good controls since day one (as the Wii Remote lacks a gyroscope which is basically what the Wii Motion Plus is – oops, um…spoilers?)
If you’ve played the original Wii Sports, then Resort shouldn’t be really new to you. The only mechanics in this title are the Wii Remote itself and the all-new Wii Motion Plus. While the gyroscope does what you imagine it to do, it shouldn’t even have existed since the Wiimote should’ve had that feature from launch (or rather, said component). It’s the quality, not the quantity; and Nintendo still never learned from their mistakes as they made the NEW! Nintendo 3DS because the old 3DS’ 3D capabilities were mediocre. The accessory (Wii Motion Plus, not the NEW! Nintendo 3DS), constantly malfunctions as it frequently requires re-calibration which can take up to 20 seconds or more.
Just like the prequel, the game is split up into several sports which are sort of like mini-games. There are 12 sports in all – Table Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Dog Frisbee, Archery, Swordplay, Canoeing, Sky-Diving, Power Cruising, Surfing, Cycling, and Piloting. Each sport has their own set of mini-games; depending on the type, there may even be either/or stages, levels, and difficulties to choose from. Most of the sports are optimized for single player, though some do have multi-player; however, each person requires their own Wii Motion Plus or Wii Remote Plus (which are unfortunately sold separately).
The sports overall are easy to learn and fun to play, and there really isn’t anything exceptional about them. There’s nothing to praise nor is there anything to criticize, but overall it gets boring real fast once you’ve played through and unlocked everything. These mini-games just don’t appeal to me as I’m not that into sports games (like FIFA!!! Oh, I’m sorry…that was an inside joke), so I guess you’ll only find it fun if you have such interests. I gotta admit though, it’s fun to play when you begin it and progress through unlocking everything. The high scores, personal bests, leader-boards, and skill-level graph returns from Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit.
WuHu Island is the main area and “hubworld” of the game as certain areas are used for different sports; you can even explore the island through cycling and piloting indefinitely. It’s divided into the volcano, town, mountain trail, temple ruins, cave, spring, forest, suburban neighborhood, hotel, beach, cliffs, bridge, and the ocean itself. There’s even another smaller island nearby with golf courses, restaurant, and another hotel (as well as another island that is vacant until certain conditions are met). As you can probably tell, I love WuHu Island for its size, diversity, and layout. It’s so good that it was even used again as the hubworld in Pilot Wings Resort; multiple race tracks in Mario Kart 7 and a fighting stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
A casual sports game like this isn’t something you would really find challenging. In fact, only the leader-boards, pro-skilled opponents, and the expert difficulty actually poses any sort of real challenge at all. The rest is simply ranging from easy to absolutely insulting to hardcore gamers. Since there is no online, you cannot even at the very least compare your skill level and scores to others nor can you play with other people. There is the Check Mii Out Channel (which, along with the Nintendo, Everybody Votes, News, Forecast, and Mario Kart Channel, have been discontinued since 2012), but it’s nothing special as all you do is download Miis, so overall the challenge is extremely low like I just said earlier.
Before I move on to the controls, there’s still something else I want to briefly review – the plot. I understand that there is no plot but there is an interactive cut-scene that shows only the first time you boot up Wii Sports Resort (right after the wrist strap reminder screen) that serves as a prologue – so here it is. It starts off in first-person view of you, the player, with a sky diving expert and a bunch of Miis in a small plane. Then, he opens the door and you and the other tourists jump off and begin to sky-dive to reach WuHu Island before it fades off into the title screen. I find it to be a neat little thing as it gives a good first impression and allows you to play the sky diving mini-game right from the get-go.
The Wii Motion Plus is the main gimmick of Wii Sports Resort and something that I neglect to fully explain in detail. It’s a plastic attachment for the Wii Remote that is meant to increase the sensitivity, accuracy, precision, and detection of the remote’s motion controls. This allows the controller to exactly understand and execute your movements without any lag or misinterpretations (basically what people imagined and expected motion controls to be way back when the Wii was announced back in 2005). It’s a cool concept, but thing is that a gyroscope is doing all of this as the Wii Remote doesn’t have it since it only has an accelerometer (hence the only logical explanation as to why the Wii Remote Plus manages to have the add-on built in without becoming bulky).
Depending on the game you’re playing, you will always have to follow a specific set of instructions. In other words, there is no definitive description for controlling the Wii Remote. It’s mainly pressing A and B for primary and secondary commands; + and – for the menus; and the d-pad for the re-calibration of the Wii Motion Plus (or simply through the pause menu). The gyroscope enables the user to tilt, swing, slice, throw, steer, aim, catch, and do other hand gestures in all possible directions and angles with ease and precision. Some sports also use the Nunchuk combination as a needed requirement or an option.
Music in this game…oh, you expected me to review the game’s graphics, did I catch you by surprise? Anyways, despite seeming extremely generic, the soundtrack for Resort is actually decent. There are quite a few diverse genres, such as rock ‘n roll, techno, jazz, and instrumental, and many of the compositions are memorable for its nice arrangement of notes and instrument choice, and overall great performance. Though most of its sound effects are brought from Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit (and even Mario Kart), they fit well with the game’s overall setting and atmosphere, but there are some newer sound effects as well.
Sound quality is also extremely good for this installment. There seems to be no sound drowning out others or vice versa as they’re all perfectly balanced out. It’s also extremely clear and realistic with almost HD-like sound quality that cancels out additional, background, static, or unnecessary noise. Sound coming from the Wii Remote’s speaker is great as it doesn’t echo nor is it playing from the television simultaneously. There’s not much I can really talk about further for Resort, which means I’ll stop here and transition directly to the graphics.
Just like in Wii Sports, the graphics are high quality and some of the best on the Nintendo Wii. Textures are realistic, clear, and complex, making the game look like it has high definition graphics, and a typical game on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, heck, or even the Wii U. Nothing in Resort seems to be pixelated or blurry as the graphics engine is a mix of cartoon (for the Miis, objects, vehicles, and other basic models) and realism (for stuff like floor, walls, buildings, and so on). The only complaint is that some models and textures look a bit jaggy.
Resolution and frame-rate for Wii Sports Resort is also very high and enhances both gameplay and graphics. It runs at 480p standard definition and at an astounding 60 FPS. The animation is smooth and the controls are precise, adding to the high frame-rate to provide fast paced gameplay. When upscaled to progressive scan with the component cable or, say, the Dolphin Emulator and the Wii U, it looks graphically intense with the high-rez models and textures.
Models would probably be the weakest part of the graphics. Yes, they’re accurate, but only with large and basic models (sort of, but nowhere near as crappy, as Mario Kart Wii). If it’s small and complex, they become jaggy around the edges and look sort of like a cardboard cut-out. Fortunately though, most of the models are the large and basic types, and the smaller models are usually blocked out by the former or seems to look accurate due to the manipulation of the camera angle and the lighting effects. The high resolution textures and graphics engine also does a good job of camouflaging the jaggy models (which is taken from Wii Sports).
Okay, scratch what I said before; the lighting effects aren’t that great either, well, sort of. It does its job correctly – accurate and opaque shadows; bright and vibrant colors; and the lighting changes based on the weather conditions and time of day/night. What I dislike though are the bloom effects. It’s so bright that it makes many models and textures seem as if they’re made out of plastic, or they glow like they have an internal light source (kind of like a fire-fly). This mostly applies to Miis and sports equipment, but thing is that the game is full of them. On the contrary, it’s nowhere near as bad as Mario Kart Wii or The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Hmm…this review was a short one, and speaking of length, this game’s replay value is lacking as well. Sure, there’s 12 sports and each consists of either/or mini-games, levels, and difficulties (which is superior to Wii Sports) but that’s just about it. Once you try, play, unlock, and beat everything, it gets boring real fast (which I said earlier, and this I said before as well; man, gotta use a thesaurus next time). Besides multi-player; attempting to have the highest skill level; and beating your personal best, there’s not else to do afterwards. It sounds alot, but trust me, it’s very underwhelming and short as the game only takes about one to two weeks to beat.
As always, let’s discuss the game’s pros and cons. I actually like how the mood and atmosphere of the graphics and hubworld make you feel that you’re really on an island as a vacation just to play sports and have fun. I love how the game appears to be complex but really is quite simple and easy, if you understand what I’m trying to say. What I dislike though is that Wii Sports Resort is a cash-cow to sell and market the Wii Motion Plus – and that’s it’s only based around this one lame gimmick. And it’s products like these which make people loath motion controls, resulting into the forgotten waggling kiddie toys they are of today.
To end off this review, Wii Sports Resort is a great sports game that appeals to all gamers and uses the Wii Motion Plus to great potential. Despite being similar to Wii Sports, in which it lacked replayability; has full of gimmicks; and a peripheral that should’ve had its features implemented into the Wiimote itself since day one; Resort still has amazing graphics, memorable music, accurate and innovative controls, and a fun experience altogether. Should I recommend this? Yes, it is a must-have after all (or at least to every single gaming network on the web) and there are other games that cannot compare to the quality of this game. Wii Sports Resort equals to an 8.1 out of 10.