Whether or not you're interested in Wii Sports Resort, it's fair to say that it's one of the biggest, most important releases of the year. First up, it's the sequel to the best-selling game of all time--a 45+ million unit seller that single-handedly sold the console itself. It's also the first Nintendo game to use the Wii MotionPlus, an upgrade that allows the Wii Remote to determine rotational motion for more accuracy. Finally, it arrives at a time when industry analysts are claiming Wii console sales are starting to slow down. So, does Wii Sports Resort have what it takes to live up to its heritage? Let's head to Wuhu Island to find out.
Wii Sports Resort is set on the same pristine wonderland that acted as the backdrop to Wii Fit. Wii Sports Resort throws you straight into the action, though, as you descend upon the island out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to your back. As you plummet to earth, you have to get into formation with the other holiday-makers on your trip, before pulling the chute to reveal the Wii Sports Resort logo.
Wii Sports Resort has a lot more games in it than the original Wii Sports, with 12 activities over the four in the original. True, some of these are simply revisions of the previous games--both bowling and golf make a return, but they're also hugely improved by the Wii MotionPlus technology. You can now really feel the accuracy when you put a spin on a bowling ball, while the increased precision makes golf even more realistic than before.
The new games are the real stars, though, and a few of them really make the most of the MotionPlus accessory. The three standouts are Frisbee, Swordplay, and Archery, all of which really benefit from the increased accuracy that's available. In Frisbee, the slightest change to the angle of your throw makes a huge difference to where it lands. You sometimes have to curl your shot in order to hit two targets, while the dog that catches the disc is unbelievably cute.
Swordplay is the best game of the bunch, though, as slicing through objects feels incredibly satisfying. In one of the sword games, you have to chop through the random items in the angle indicated onscreen, and in two-player mode, it's incredibly addictive. Archery is the final game that we couldn't get enough of--you have to control the angle of your bow with the Wii Remote, and then pull back the arrow using the nunchuk. It starts out easy, but you soon have to aim at far away targets while taking into account the wind factor.
It's not all great news, though. Some of the new games in Wii Sports Resort just aren't up to scratch. Wakeboarding sounds like fun, but all you have to do is flip the remote to jump waves and then balance it in order to land. Basketball is also boring and repetitive--and actually far trickier than necessary. But cycling is the one game that we can't quite fathom being in here--you have to shake the Wii Remote and the nunchuk sequentially to mimic pedaling. We'd rather try cycling up Everest than play this game again.
Like Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort is a pretty bare-bones package. There's not much in the way of extras because every sport type is unlocked from the beginning, but you can unlock new variants and courses by playing through the game. There's also a new feature that pulls in some of the most popular Mii characters from the Internet, so you might see Spider-Man or Homer Simpson standing by as you play. Wii Sports Resort will be released on July 24, 2009, and if you liked our first look at the game, check back on the site soon for the full GameSpot review.