Wii Sports Resort is the second game to feature the Wii Sports name and improves on everything from the first one. The main difference is the inclusion of the Wii MotionPlus peripheral that comes packaged with the game. Using this allows for a much higher level of sensitivity and really makes playing the game feel great. The 1:1 controls make you feel like you’re performing the actions more than any other game on the Nintendo Wii and boost this game beyond any previous mini game compilation.
The bundled Wii MotionPlus accessory plugs into the bottom of the Wii remote controller and adds more sensitivity and greater accuracy to the movements you make. For example, instead of the game knowing you made a diagonal slashing movement with your hand, it now knows the exact angle you swung your controller at. This causes each one of the games to feel more realistic and bring a new level of control to the console. The downfall with this is that it is mandatory that you have the Wii MotionPlus accessory in order to play. Wii Sports Resort is only shipped with one of these so you will not be able to play any multiplayer unless you purchase an addition peripheral. This brings the game up to around an $85 retail value just for wanting to play with one other person; any more people wanting to play at once will bring the price up that much higher.
This leads to the biggest problem with Wii Sports Resort; it can be a little boring when playing the game alone. Playing the game single player isn’t the best use of this game. Wii Sports Resort is designed as a multiplayer game and each activity is short enough to keep a group of players’ attention for a good deal of time. Taking the multiplayer aspect out of it defeats this purpose and will shorten your play time quite a bit.
Wii Sports Resort plays off the same gameplay set up as the first game by giving you a selection of sports and activities to play. However, this time there are far more options to choose from - five in the original and now twelve in this game. These choices consist of activities like Archery, Swordsplay, Basketball, Table Tennis and etc. Golfing and Bowling are also part of the list and make a return from the first Wii Sports game. Each game is set up very differently than the others and require much different hand movements in order to play them. Games like Frisbee will have you gently flicking the Wii remote horizontally while Canoeing will have you make stroking motions.
Of course, not all the activities are the best or work well with these controls. For example, Cycling has you shake the Wii remote and nunchuk up and down to make the bicycle move. Obviously this isn’t how you would normally ride the bike. It would have been better if they at least made you move the controllers in a circular motion to replicate the pedaling motion. However, most of the other games feel realistic and great to play.
Swordsplay is one that stands out above the rest by letting you take place in sword fights. You have the option to swing your sword in any direction you want. The ability to block is what really brings in some strategy to this game. Holding down the B button will cause your character to begin his blocking stance. From here, you need to watch your opponent’s strikes so you know which way to block. If your enemy attacks vertically, you need to block horizontally (and vice versa). This really brings some depth to the game for it allows you to strike back against anyone who thinks just waving the remote as fast as possible will lead to an easy win.
Frisbee is probably the next most intuitive since it allows you to tilt your disk to perform curves. Holding the Frisbee level will make it fly straight and the speed you flick, along with the timing of your release, will change its flight. Tilting it down will curve it in opposite direction as an upwards tilt – if you throw right handed and tilt it down, the Frisbee will fly more left. Along with the option to throw forehand the game really allows for some skilled throws. With the added difficulty of more targets to hit during one throw and wind speed, the game can get very challenging.
Another fan favorite is Archery. You play with the Wii remote in your left hand and hold it vertically in order to aim. Holding down the nunchuk’s Z button will zoom in while pulling back your right hand – that holds the nunchuk controller – will zoom in even further. From here you can carefully take aim as the cross hair-like ring slowly gets tighter. This allows for more accurate shots. The target is set up in rings; hitting closer to the center will award more points while the outer rings will be less. There are also many levels to play on and three difficulties to try out. Each stage will be at a new area on Wuhu Island (where Wii Sports Resort takes place) and shows off some of the unique characteristics of the area. Some courses will be on a rickety bridge while others will have your shooting inside a volcano. The higher difficulties will also add obstacles between you and the target. This allows for less planning time since you have a smaller window to shoot through. To make things more interesting, every stage has a hidden target to be found on it. These targets are much farther away than the main target and require a very exact shot to hit. This is a great feature that can keep you coming back for more, even if you’ve already mastered the highest difficulty.
A personal favorite is the Air Sports category. It consists of Skydiving, Dogfight and Island Flyover. Skydiving has you fall out of a plane and tilting the Wii remote in order to drift around and catch onto other skydivers. After you link up with someone a camera will count down and take your picture. Dogfight is the only competitive mode in this category and has you controlling a plan and using the A button to try and shoot at the opponents. You are set up with balloons that act like points and there are several locations on the island that will respawn with new ones. Your mission is to shoot down the other planes’ balloons while trying to collect the most for yourself.
Island Flyover is my personal favorite from all the Air Sports. You get five minutes to fly a plane all around Wuhu Island as you search for special locations. Each location is indicated by an icon that floats above it. Flying into the icon will award you with “collecting” it and some information about the spot. What makes it so great is that you can see everything the island has. This can range from the Swordsplay ring and the Bowling alley all the way to the inside of the volcano or the winding tunnels underneath and throughout the island. It really is a lot of fun to search for these spots while getting to see and learn more about this unique and fun resort. This mode can be played at three different day times: Daytime, Evening and Night. There are 80 spots to find and new information will be posted there depending on the time of day.
Along with all the sports to play, each on has its own set of stamps. These act like achievements that you can unlock during the game. For example, Island Flyover has one for collecting all 80 information points. Some are as easy as that, while others can be incredibly hard. You will come across ones asking for a bulls eye on every Archery course or completing the Table Tennis’s return challenge with over 200 points. These are a great addition to the game since they boost the replay value through the roof. You will constantly have something to try and unlock. Along with that, you are awarded levels each time you play the games. Each game has its own level to increase and doing well will make it move up higher. After reaching level 1000 you will unlock harder difficulties and from there can strive to reach level 2000. This makes the game last so much longer and allows the player something to work towards no matter how good they have become. This also helps give someone playing this game by themselves more to do. The inclusion of these stamps really helps fight the slightly dull aspect to playing Wii Sports Resort alone.
The graphics are also nice as far as the Nintendo Wii goes but do look updated from the original Wii Sports game. The water is great looking and despite some odd ripple effects it looks very realistic. There are also some nice sunlight effects to be seen, for instance, when playing Island Flyover during the evening. Other than that, you’re getting pretty standard Wii graphics. The music in the game is also nice and calm to really drive home the ease of play this game has. And along with cheery congratulatory remarks from the game when playing, it becomes that much more enjoyable.
Overall Wii Sports Resort holds up as one of the best mini game collections on this console to date. It improves on everything the original game has and adds tons of new features. Almost every sport is incredibly enjoyable and can be played for quite some time. The inclusion of a level system and the unlockable stamps lead the game to some very long replay value and cause you to play the activities in ways you wouldn’t normally. The only shortcomings are that playing alone can be a tad dry and with only one Wii MotionPlus accessory bundled with the game, multiplayer can end up costing you more than the standard video game retail price. However, when you do get some friends together, there is so much content for you to explore and enjoy.