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Wii Sports Resort
By now, one thing is clear: whether you like what Nintendo has done to the games industry or not, whether you think Wii is a novelty or not, Nintendo knows what it's doing with mass market games. After the intriguing but ultimately disappointing blip that was Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort is an unqualified return to form. As a showcase for Wii MotionPlus, it's every bit as effective as Tiger Woods 10 or Virtua Tennis 2009.
While still far from flawless, and still subject to the criticisms that have dogged nearly every major Wii release, it's a game that will reassure those who were getting board of the Wii, and inspire a new wave of punters to buy one. This is the second coming of Wii Sports, and it improves on the first one on nearly every count.
In short, it's really good.
Of course, you could be miserable and dismiss Nintendo's latest as another lazy hodge-podge collection of sports-themed mini-games. Maybe you hate puppies, sneer at pop music and spend your spare time bemoaning adults who would rather watch Harry Potter than the new Lars Von Trier. Well, maybe you're right, but, if so, then at least Wii Sports Resort has a lot of mini-games, nearly all of them work, and the best can keep you entertained for ages.
What's more, Wii Sports Resort does at least make some attempt to tie it all together, with the idea being that the game is a holiday island - a polished version of Wii Fit's WuHu island - where your Miis can enjoy a selection of sports activities.
Whereas Wii Sports had just five - tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing and golf - Wii Sports Resort has a total of twelve, namely Swordplay, Frisbee, Table Tennis, Basketball, Golf, Bowling, Wakeboarding, Archery, Cycling, Canoeing, Air Sports and Power Cruising. In addition, many of these activities are made up of multiple games. Frisbee for example , gives us a cheerful disc-throwing tournament where you get points for hitting targets and popping balloons, but also a version of Frisbee golf. In terms of mini-games for money, Wii Sports Resort gets a stonking score for value.
All the mini-games make use, to some extent, of the improved accuracy and more responsive feel of the new MotionPlus-equipped remote (one MotionPlus dongle is usefully bundled with the game). Activities like Swordplay, Golf and Table Tennis immediately benefit. There's a new sense of precision to your swing in golf, and more opportunity to add snap and spin to your forehand and backhand shots in table tennis.
Swordplay knocks any previous Wii duelling options aside, MotionPlus translating swings of the remote into overhead, sideways and diagonal slashes with, well, maybe not quite 1:1 accuracy, but certainly something close.
Frisbee, meanwhile, seems incredibly responsive to every movement of the arm, the exact position and alignment of the remote and every flick of the wrist you take before throwing. It's far easier and more intuitive to add spin to the ball in Bowling than it was in Wii Sports, while shooting hoops in Basketball is about as lifelike as it's going to get when you're pretending to throw a small chunk of rubber-clad plastic instead of a hefty, half-kilo ball.
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