Ratio: Wii Sports Resort

Only three days to go and the year will be over. Little time to get a review out there, but one game, at least, has to be granted that honor. This is the first review, or what we call it here, ratio on Flying Fisch. Wii Sports Resort was released in the first half of 2009. Its most noteworthy feature was the reliance on MotionPlus, which didn´t debut in this game, though. Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods PGA for Wii were released prior to the Nintendo-developed sports-game, and both came bundled with a MotionPlus-device. What is maybe the biggest advantage of Wii Sports Resort over these third-party games is its sheer variety. And sword-fighting.

The moment you start Wii Sports Resort…you want to punch the TV. An introduction video of how to put the MotionPlus-attachement onto the Wiimote that cannot be interrupted is shown. About three to five minutes later, you can finally proceed in the game. And for anyone that wants to rewatch that video, there´s an option in the menu. For whatever twisted reason one should want to do that. You´re on an airplane. The screen is shaking. It´s your turn to jump out. And off you go. You´re free-falling down the sky. You can feel the air while passing through it. You can feel the speed. And you can freely move your Mii-character. The Wiimote perfectly matches your ingame-avatar. Turn the Wiimote upside down to make your Mii fall faster, get it into a horizontal position to slow down. Move it in ways to make your Mii fly forwards, backwards, whatever way you want. It is only seconds later, at least that´s what it feels at that time, that you´re reaching the planet´s surface. Your paraglider opens up and your fall comes to an abrupt stop. The camera moves upwards, showing the scenery from above, as many other Mii´s join you. When all is ready, the paraglider reads “Wii Sports Resort” and thus, the game welcomes you.

One great thing about Wii Sports Resort is that you never feel obligated to do anything. You are free to choose from all the different kinds of sports. Within these sports, you can also decide what to do and most importantly, how to do so. That is rooted into the title´s genre, of course. Wii Sports Resort is a game-compilation. You have various disciplines to choose from the very beginning. There is, however, an unexpected depth to each of these games. Mainly because of the MotionPlus-controls, but that´s not all there is to it. Let´s take cycling for an example. When I played that my first time, I thought of how annoying it would be to have to shake both Wiimote and nunchuck in rhythm to drive my way through the race. Reality is, you only have to shake the controller so much as you have three hearts that will deplete if you keep shaking. If only one heart is remaining you´re better off stop shaking, unless you want to exhaust your Mii for a short amount of time, making him lose all speed. Instead, you can look for one of thirty opponents and drive inside his slipstream. That will not only give you additional speed, but also replenish your empty hearts. If the chance arrives, start shaking and passing the opponent. There´s also a lot of environmental structures to look out for. Steering is a bit clunky, which seems weird due to MotionPlus enhancing motion controls, but it´s nowhere near broken. Just more rough. In the end, you´ll find yourself driving upwards, downwards, around sharp corners and other interesting areas, only to reach for the top of the group. It´s fun as it is, but that´s just where the fun starts. After finishing a race as explained above, you get more modes to choose from. That is, leg races. Now it´s not just a single round around the course, it´s a multi course-race. There´s about fifty opponents now and it´s rather impossible to come in first after just the first round. You give it your best and maybe make it into the top 30 after the first course. Some stats and on to the next course of the race. You make another ten ranks, and it´s the last course of the race. That´s it then. If you chose a three leg-race, that is. You can choose an even longer lasting race. It is that kind of depth that no one expected from Wii Sports Resort and, unfortunately, still doesn´t expect, which is why the game earned itself a weird niche-position around self-proclaimed core-gamers, while still selling millions of units to the rest of the gamer population. Let´s just say that the above makes only a single sports from overall twelve. And every single one shows a certain kind of depth if only you´re willing to give it the time to show that depth.

The sports that the whole world waited for, though, is the sword fighting. Not that sword fighting is something rare among videogames, but Wii Sport Resort has what certain Wii-game´s developers claimed to have at launch, and other console manufacturers make their fan population believe only they are going to do it right. Wii Sports Resort does it right, now, ever since it was released: 1:1 sword controls. One to one means that however way you move the Wiimote, your ingame-sword resembles that movement. There is a certain aspect that remains to be seen if it can be solved for future games (the sword has a fixed neutral point and is moved only from there. You cannot move the hilt by will.), but it isn´t a problem in this title at all. The moment you start your first round of sword fighting is a magical moment. Remember when the Wii launched and you realized how great the Wiimote-pointer worked? It´s that same feeling. It just…works.  You´re lifting the Wiimote and thus you lift your sword. You lower the Wiimote and your sword is lowered. You turn it right, it turns right. Turn it left, turns left. It´s a moment of sheer joy. They even included a forward thrust, though that move feels more like a typical triggered movement instead of 1:1 movement. Aside from that, you can do whatever move you want with your sword. That´s when you enter the fighting stage and find yourself in front of your first enemy. You hit him from with a slash from the upper right to the lower left. You follow up with a horizontal slash and finish him off with a thrust, that makes him fall of the platform down into the water. While still in awe of the natural feeling controls, you want to try out the next sword discipline, where objects are thrown at your and you have to slice them from a certain direction, being faster than your opponent. I swear to god, give me a game where I can run around freely and cut things like that and I´d love to pay a lot of money for that. That slicing-mini game is a masterful combination of three components: 1:1 controls, that let you slice all the different objects (bread, water melon, diamond, wood, etc.) exactly the way you want to. An unexpected level of detail to all these objects that, if you cut them, show their proper innards. And last but not least, the perfectly subtle rumble effect for each of these objects. Destroying stuff has never been as fun before. And that´s when you discover the third and final sword fighting-mode: The Zelda-mode. Okay, that´s not its name, but if they´d just let you control your Mii yourself with the nunchuck´s analog stick, it´d be exactly that. Here, your Mii is running on-rail, on a set path, while a plethora of sword-wielding enemies comes running towards you. Your task is to make beat every last enemy, and you have only three hearts, so you cannot let yourself get hit more than two times. Easy in the beginning, this becomes a real effort after a few of the surprisingly many levels. If you didn´t play the duel-mode more, you´ll finally find yourself to use the B-button to use the defense stance. Here your Mii will hold the sword in front of his body. It´s not automatic, though, so you still have to closely watch how an enemy is about to strike you. If he´s hitting from above, you´ll have to hold the sword horizontal. A crucial mechanic once you encounter enemies with more than just one heart of life power. And that is sword fighting in Wii Sports Resort.

I guess you noticed, but I am honestly enthusiastic about this game. Which is why I chose to write this ratio. There are ten more sports, and I could write texts like the above about each of them. Of course, you won´t like all of them. That´s why it´s that great to have that many. Canoing is kind of clunky, and Wakeboarding seems too random. But that´s just two out of twelve I didn´t grew to like. Other people might love these. Aside from all the gameplay-depth all these sports feature, you have your scoring-system from the first Wii Sports, that kind of rewards you all the time. It´s a strange motivation, but every time that little graph grows a little higher, you feel like you have accomplished something. And don´t think that there´s no stuff to unlock. Regarding that matter, my second, no, third, no…forget it, I cannot decide how to rank them. Regarding that matter, the airplane discipline is a shining example. Look forward to unlock the stuff in just that sports, really rewarding. Not to speak of how great controlling the airplane feels. The Wiimote literally becomes the airplane. Remember how you played with little airplane-models as a kid? Yeah, it´s exactly like that, only that now you´ll have a little bit more response from moving an object in your hand.

Wii Sports Resort is a Wii-game, and a great-looking one. Visuals are sharp, but stylized enough to keep the game from looking too bare. One nice decision the game made was to let every sports take place on one island. Wuhu Island is the place where every discipline is set up, and if you keep an eye on it, you´ll find all the tournament places while flying the airplane. I´ve never been someone that judges a game´s quality by its resolution, so maybe there´s something my eyes just cannot see. But the game looks really good, at a fluid, constant framerate. Games with such a refined visual look are a rarity, and sometimes, when you´re flying at night, the moon in front of you, you forget that you´re playing a sports collection. Then you´re out there for adventure and nothing else. And that is where Wii Sports Resort´s limit is reached. There is no adventure. Wii Sports Resort is a great compilation, an even greater tech demo for upcoming, more complex MotionPlus-games…and thus the first glimpse at The Legend of Zelda Wii. But let´s not brand this game with any sort of “it´s just a demo“. Wii Sports Resort is the real deal, it´s 1:1 controls right there, done right. It´s what all future videogames will be based off. In other words, it is the Super Mario 64 of the successor to the third dimension. And to finish this text, let´s just say: I didn´t even mention that there´s also local multiplayer. Thanks for reading. Your feedback is appreciated.

3 Responses to Ratio: Wii Sports Resort

  1. […] Ratio: WiiSports Resort « Flying Fisch […]

  2. Hi!. Thanks for the blog. Ive been digging around looking some info up for a building project, but i think im getting lost!. Google lead me here good for you i guess! Keep up the good work. I will be comming back over in a few days to see if there is updated posts.

  3. Hello, I thought I would drop you a line and inform you that your page layout is really screwed up on the Firefox browser. Seems to work fine in IE though. Anyhow keep up the good work.

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