Hands-on at E3 / Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports is a bit divisive for the average gamer. On the one hand it’s the epitome of the casual revolution that many credit with destroying the gaming industry forever, but on the other there is no denying that it’s fun. Not a technological achievement, not deep and involving, just plain fun. Picking up the Wii Remote and bowling just doesn’t get boring and it works so well.

Thus it was with this inner turmoil that I approached Wii Sports Resort, wondering if yet another collection of sports games was something I wanted. About ten seconds into archery I knew that Wii MotionPlus had brought about yet another game that was going to just be pure simple fun. You read it here: archery is the new bowling and everyone is going to be doing it. It’s for the same simple reason bowling was such a hit too. It just works and it works well.

I got time with three of Wii Sports Resorts sports of my own choosing and decided to partake in basketball, sword fighting and archery. If I had any doubts that one-to-one motion wasn’t going to be that cool they are gone now thanks to Wii Sports Resort (and a few other third party games we’ll discuss later). It seriously picks up on almost every movement you do, which is going to completely destroy me in golf, but makes almost everything else way more fun and interesting than the previous motion-equals-button-press of the standard Wii Remote.

I had my biggest doubts about basketball as the Wii Remote doesn’t really look or feel like a basketball. The shoot out you may have seen at the press conference was the mode I played with the game (each sport has three modes and the games waaay bigger than Wii Sports in both scope and simple number of sports). Players pick up the basketball with the B trigger then hold the remote above their head and shoot. Sure enough after a few shots I was lifting up both arms like I was shooting a basketball in reality. It took a while to get use to because you shoot the Wii Remote like you would shoot a Wii Remote, but it plays like a basketball so you have to adjust. Once you do though sinking it becomes easier and when you mess up the ball reacts almost perfectly. With the competitive modes in this, it should be a blast, and great for people without a basketball court in their house.

I jumped into sword fighting next where I took on Noah, our friendly tour guide/Nintendo PR rep. The sword moved perfectly with my motion and it was easy to start blocking by pulling the B trigger and then moving the sword. What really was impressive was that it wasn’t just a random hacking foray like I thought it would be. Swinging like a mad man won’t work if your opponent has any skill with a blade as they can block and knock you back into a daze. So instead you actual parry and thrust and think about your attacks. Until you hit an opening that is, then you whack away like a mad man trying to knock the other guy off. For those curious ones; the first round was a tie, the second I won, the third Noah won and then I won sudden death where the platform becomes much smaller. That VideoGame Blog: 1 / Nintendo PR: 0.

Finally I dove into archery, which is by far the coolest. Archery uses the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to create a imaginary bow. Players hold the Wii Remote up vertically and when they feel centered they press A, which centers the character on screen. You then hold down A to lace the arrow and bring the Nunchuk up to the Wii Remote like you would an arrow. Hold down Z to notch the arrow and begin to pull back, aiming all the while with your vertical Wii Remote. As you pull back the aiming circle gets smaller showing the bow getting tighter. Release the Z button (not the A like I kept doing) and the arrow flies through the air. I hesitate to use the word awesome in reference to a minigame, but it is. I started on easy so I was hitting bullseyes, but it got way harder and way more real as I played on. So it looks like Wii Sports Resort might offer up some more challenge than Wii Sports.

Stop rolling your eyes now. The truth is you’re going to play this game at some point. Even if you don’t buy it, you’ll be somewhere where it is being played and you’ll start having some fun with it. It’s inevitable, let’s just hope the whole game offers enough to make it worthwhile because I’m guessing that not all of the games will be quite as fun as the three I got time with.