Wii Sports 1.5
I have to admit, I was really getting excited for the game as we drew closer to its release. I think I was just ready for another of Nintendo's "big" games, and the light-hearted nature of the package didn't hurt any, either. After doing plenty of killing in other games, I was looking forward to something that didn't take itself too seriously, especially since I can share the experience with my entire family.
First off, I certainly wasn't blown away by the presentation. I pretty much knew the score beforehand, having read previews and watched video of the game, but it's still a little disappointing how they just kind of plop the games in front of you with no rhyme or reason. Yes, you get the skydiving event at the very start, but it's a useless addition to be sure.
In any case, let me give you my own personal lowdown about the games. Swordplay has been grossly over-rated by most reviewers, and though it can be fun in very fleeting bouts, it just ain't that great. The sensor detection for your sword quickly falls out of alignment, and the games themselves are extremely shallow. This might be a mini-game collection for all intents and purposes, but when you've only got 12 different areas of concentration, you damn well better make them count.
Table tennis has, I believe, also been unjustifiably praised, though it is enjoyable for an occasional bit of multiplayer. Again, though, the motion sensing falls out of alignment too easily and too frequently for it to be worth much to me.
What do I love about WSR? Frisbee Dog, by far, has gotten the most play from me and my family. It's a very simple premise, but it's fun, takes time to master, and there's plenty of room for competition. Frisbee Golf is equally valuable as an addition to the WSR package, though it's not something I am personally ga-ga over. The improved golf from the first Wii Sports is now a whole lot more enjoyable, and bowling, too, has been fine tuned to make for a better game.
I've also gotten a surprising amount of mileage out of Wake Boarding, though it does take its toll on your arms. Cycling isn't nearly as "worthless" as most media outlets make it out to be, and there's a certain Zen quality to it that I find enjoyable in short stints. The water-cruising mini is decent, but for some unknown reason they don't offer a left-handed option, and it feels awkward for this southpaw.
The dogfighting (airplane) mini was one I was especially looking forward to, but unfortunately, I find it to be pretty disappointing. The controls work fine, but it's just not at all exciting or compelling. Canoeing, too, works fine, but after playing through it once, I was like, "meh." I've since given it a few more laps around the lake, but it hasn't taken for me.
There are other highlights, such as archery that really make wonderful use of both controllers, but there's not enough there to keep you coming back again and again. The basketball options are really fun, but again, they're fairly simplistic and shallow additions. The main issue is the game doesn't have a cohesiveness that makes you feel like you're on Wuhu Island. The graphics get the job done, but it's a mixed bag of really good-looking elements and really poor-looking ones. The water looks fantastic; cliffs, grass and such not so much. The sound effects and music are pretty much more of the same, which I loved from the first game – pure Nintendo.
All in all, I think IGN (U.S. team) got it the closest in terms of score (and I very often disagree with their assessment of games). It's a game that pretty much every Wii owner has to, at some point, own, but it could have been so much more. Online gameplay is a huge omission, and fanboys who claim otherwise are simply kidding themselves. The stat system has actually been reeled back from the first game, and though the stamps are a neat idea, they're kind of meaningless without the ability to flaunt your winnings to the world. Wii Sports Resort ultimately is a decent package that has had much more marketing effort put into it than gameplay creativity. I like the game and almost love it, but it falls short.