The motion control plus makes a big difference, and the game has a surprising amount of lasting value.
When I first saw the announcement for this game, I was underwhelmed. Frisbee throwing? Skydiving? Bicycling? They built a game around that? Why not just release high fidelity versions of the sports in the first game? When I started playing though, I understood pretty fast why this game was made the way that it is. Nintendo did an excellent job of finding the activities that best make use of the precise new controls. This is not to say that all 12 sports in this package are great. Bicycling and wakeboarding are uncomfortable, and the controls for jet skiing and canoeing are too poor to make those games fun. The rest of the sports, however, range in quality from decent to great.
The "good" sports include sword fighting and basketball. The sword fighting sort of works, but it's too simple and spammy to have much lasting value. The basketball 3-on-3 game is too stripped down to be much worth playing, but the 3-point shooting contest works out well. The game does a good of detecting your jump shot motion and altering the ball appropriately. Some of the principles that make for a good jump shot in basketball are at work here. This is one of the many examples in Wii Sports Resort where the game does a good job of translating real life mechanics into game form and keeping it fun..
Table tennis and bowling are a little bit better. They are upgraded versions of tennis and bowling from the first game. Table tennis is more challenging and requires quick hands than Wii Sports tennis. It also does a great job of capturing the delicate nuance of the sport. You have to hit the ball with just the right touch, forehand or backhand, to get it onto the table, and sometimes you get an opening where you can smash the thing with all of your might. The improved precision in bowling allow you to control the level of spin that you place on the ball, which allows you to make shots more consistently. A 100-pin game is now part of the package. It doesn't have the lasting value of the regular 10-pin game, but there is a primitive pleasure that you can get from tossing the ball and watching it smash into bunch of pins, which then fall down like a series of dominoes. If you played Wii Sports tennis and Bowling, then table tennis and Wii Sports Resort bowling won't blow you away, but they are improvements.
The great sports, the ones that really make this package worth having, are frisbee, golf, and archery. Even though golf was in the first Wii Sports, the motion plus makes such a huge difference here that you'll never want to go back. The game detects so many nuances in your swinging motion that you
might get irritated with it at first – in this way, the game kind of mimics real golf. Making sure that you make square contact with the ball adds another whole dimension to the game, in addition to just making sure that you hit it with the right amount of power. It is this increased challenge that gives you a reason to play it over and over again. Controlling your power is a little easier this time, thanks to the precise controls. The game offers 12 new holes and also lets you play the 9 holes from the first game. Since the old holes feel brand new here, there is a lot of value just from this one sport.
Archery also makes terrific use of the motion controls. You hold the Wii mote vertically in front of you like the shaft of a bow, and then you pull back the nunchuk as if you were drawing back a bowstring. It isn't necessarily the most accurate way to do things, but it feels more realistic than a mouse and keyboard or a standard controller. It is this feeling of realism that makes the Wii + nunchuk combo the most fun way to show an arrow. The game offers you four rounds, each of them more challenging than the last. Like golf, the level of challenge will give you reason to play the game more than just a few times.
The best new application for the Wii motion plus is the Frisbee. Yes, you read that correctly – the Frisbee. There are two Frisbee games – a target practice game where a dog runs and catches your Frisbee, and Frisbee golf (which uses the same courses as regular golf). The game picks up your motion almost perfectly, and it curves the trajectory of the Frisbee accordingly. This simple mechanic provides you with almost an infinite way to play these games, and you will have to rely on curvature heavily if you wish to reach the pro level. In the dog game, you earn the maximum points by hitting a bull's-eye, and you can earn bonus points by popping a balloon. In order to hit that balloon, you have to throw the Frisbee to one side and do it in such a way that it curves back into the bulls-eye. This is no easy task. You may find yourself spending a long time trying to perfect your toss.
In addition to having some great sports, Wii Sports Resort also ties them together in a totally unexpected way. The resort island where you play all of these sports has been built as its own little world within the game. The game has every bit the "holiday resort" feel that was intended. It lends the game a cohesive feel that Wii Sports did not have. It feels as if the game is actually taking you away on a fancy vacation, and all of the sports fit in perfectly with this unique setting. You can tour around the world in a flying game that is way more fun than it has any right to be, finding little secret areas and getting a bird's eye view of the setting. The flying controls are excellent – they are easy to grasp immediately and very precise. With the Wii controller, you easily can control the angle of the plane with a level of precision that is almost impossible with an analog controller. What a shame that it took so long to find a mechanic like this that works so perfectly, and actually works better than it would on another console. It's an even bigger shame that nobody else picked it up and built a game around it (other than the new Zelda game – sort of).
Wii Sports Resort's biggest flaw is one that pretty much every Wii game has – the outdated technology of the console. Does this game look good for a Wii game? Yes, it does, but does that even matter? It does a good job of getting the most out of what the console has to offer, but if you step back and look at it for a few minutes, you can see the jagged edges, low polygon counts, primitive textures, and everything else that goes along with the Wii's 2001 technology.
Perhaps the biggest compliment that I can pay to this game Is that I play it with my attention span-challenged three year old son, and that I continue to play it sometimes, long after I bought it. The game is highly accessible, yet it offers depth for experienced players. In this respect, Wii Sports Resort hits that magical "easy to learn, hard to master" spot that so many games attempt to hit, and end up missing. It is for this reason that I highly recommend the game, especially if you gave up on your Wii a while ago, or if you need an excuse to get an extra Wii Motion Plus controller. Chances are, you'll find more than one game that you like, and that you will like it for some time.