When the Wii was released, each system came with Wii Sports, a game which was meant to show off the console's motion-sensing capabilities, as well as it's ability to market towards the casual gamer. The game was a smashing success in the casual market, but at the same time, it exposed some of the flaws that the Wii Remote possessed.
The main issue was that the Wii Remote did not possess one to one motion sensing, something that Nintendo recognized and attempted to remedy with the Wii Motion Plus accessory. What better way to market the new accessory than to make it mandatory for and bundled with two of the most anticipated Wii titles of the year, Wii Sports Resort and Red Steel 2.
The concept of Wii Sports Resort is simple; take the winning formula that was introduced in Wii Sports and expand it based around the Wii Motion Plus accessory. Nintendo decided that they wouldn't completely scrap the games list from the original, but rather make a couple of those games more accurate based on the technology.
Back from the original are Golf and the ever popular Bowling, but the main attraction will obviously be the new additions. New to the Wii Sports line-up are Wakeboarding, Frisbee, Archery, Basketball, Table Tennis, Power Cruising, Canoeing, Cycling, Air Sports and the new most popular Wii Sports game, Swordplay. Each of the titles does a great job showcasing the new accessory.
One of the most hyped of the new mini-games was Archery. In this game, the player holds the Wii Remote vertically with the Nunchuck at the side. Mimicking the motion of pulling the back end of an arrow back, the player pulls the Nunchuck towards them while aiming the arrow as they would a real bow and arrow. The motion feels incredibly natural and works better than any other mini-game on the disc. Players will also encounter varying wind conditions and distances that will require alterations to a possible winning formula that they craft up.
Another hyped mini-game on the disc was the Swordplay. Ever since the first time anyone picked up the Wii Remote, they envisioned it as a sword of some kind, whether it be a Lightsaber or otherwise. Unfortunately, the first Red Steel title failed in its attempts to emulate the sword-fighting motion. The issue turned out to be the hardware of the Wii Remote, so with the Wii Motion Plus, Nintendo has decided to try its hand at sword fighting to please the masses. It works rather well, though sometimes the Remote will get a little confused and won't translate your movement in real life perfectly to the game. Though those moments can prove frustrating, the goods far outweigh the bads in this mini-game. Nintendo assumed that players might resort to spamming swings at their opponents, and while that may work a lot of the time, they instilled a fighting system that will usually reward strategy over spam.
Another game that works well is a game that has been somewhat fantasized about since the inception of the Wii; table tennis. While tennis has worked alright in the previous iteration of Wii Sports, table tennis adds another spin to the game. With the new one to one motion tracking, players can put spins on the ball like never before and it works very well. Other than the slightly different serving motion, the game controls very much like the popular tennis minigame from the first Wii Sports.
Outside of those games that work best with the new accessory, there are a few that range from being good to forgettable. The first thing you will do in Wii Sports Resort is to skydive to the island where all of the games take place. During this free fall, you'll fly through hoops, link up with other Miis and do tricks as the Wii Remote controls very well the body of the Mii one to one. As you link up, the Miis will smile and a photographer will free fall next to them and snap a picture. As the skydive ends, you'll form up and land on the island safely. The skydive looks great and plays even better, but it fails to do anything more than serve as a pretty tech demo and introduction to the Wii Motion Plus.
Frisbee, Power Cruising, Airsports, Golf and Wakeboarding fall victim to the curse of the majority of the titles of the original Wii Sports game: they play great and are fun, but get old quick and don't bring enough to the table. Airsports is probably the closest to achieving vertical movement in the hierarchy of the best minigames offered in this title. Either way, each of these minigames serve as interesting tech demos and work amazingly in the party setting.
The two minigames that don't quite achieve what players hoped they would are certainly canoeing and cycling. The titles work well enough, but they don't utilize the power of the new accessory as well as they should. The canoeing can't help but feel more like a chore at times and often-times the Mii will actually stroke on the wrong side. When the motion sensing works well, the game is fun to play, but it can lead to various frustrations when competition between two or more players is introduced into the formula.
The final minigame left to cover is the ever-popular bowling. The game was definitely the most enjoyable in the first Wii Sports title, and it continues to be a blast in Resort. The core part of bowling remains very similar to the original, but there has been a lot of content added. There now exists a few minigames within this minigame. In one game mode, you'll find yourself going up against over 100 pins at once. This adds a brand new spin (no pun intended) to the bowling and also helps the game retain it's title as a great party game.
Visually, Wii Sports Resort looks great. The game implements the Miis flawlessly into the various situations, which was an original draw to Wii Sports. It's always fun seeing your Mii playing the numerous sports featured and the fact that you can see other Miis in the crowd during many events is a great bonus and definitely adds to the fun. Since the setting of Resort is an island, the game is beautifully (and very blue-fully, as you can see in the screenshots here) rendered and shrouded in the tropics.
Overall, Wii Sports Resort reverts back to the issue that plagued the original title, which was being nothing more than a glorified tech demo for the Wii itself, but with the addition of Motion Plus, as well as the extra content to the returning sports, the purchase can be justified. The title will definitely do well in party situations and it really shows off the potential that this new accessory has. Only time will tell if the Wii Motion Plus will be a successful or failed venture, but as far as this title is concerned, the Motion Plus is very successful.