Not that Nintendo has shied away from more complex controls. Archery, for instance, expects you to hold the remote in your left hand like a bow, then simulate the pulling back of the string with the nunchuck and the Z button, before steadying the remote to aim and releasing the Z button to fire. It sounds tricky, but you’ll pick it up fairly quickly, and once you do you’ll notice how much more satisfying a game of Archery this is than the equivalent in Zelda: Twilight Princess. There’s no lag, no weird aiming and no judder. You pull, you aim, you fire.
Still, as in Wii Sports, Nintendo has mostly focused on ‘everyone can play’ accessibility over accurate simulation. Swordplay isn’t fencing or kendo, but a Gladiators style knockabout competition where you essentially hack at your opponent, occasionally blocking, until one of you tumbles from a platform into the sea.
Golf now has eighteen holes and an improved putting system, but it’s still all about fantasy scenery and the simple pleasures of a well-hit drive or jammy putt, not repeating Stewart Cink’s win at the Open. Unlock the 3-on-3 basketball mode, and you get a nice, streamlined take on basketball, complete with passes, blocks and tackles, but nothing with the depth of NBA Street.
Wakeboarding, with you tilting the remote to shift left and right and jerking it up when you hit the wake to pull off stunts, might not have the sophistication of an SSX or Tony Hawks, but there’s enough skill and timing to keep it interesting, and enough luck to make it unpredictable.
The key things are that these are all games you can enjoy playing with mates, girlfriends, mums, dads, grandparents and eight-year-old cousins, and that the hit rate is higher than in Wii Sports, where Boxing and Baseball were slightly duff. This is Nintendo’s best and most consistent compilation yet.
As in Wii Fit, the inclusion of unlockable activities and extras is a major hook in the early stages. Triumph through the early stages of Duel in Swordplay, for example, and you open up Speed Slice, where you compete against an opponent to be the first to slice through a watermelon, log or display with a single slash in a specified direction. Perform here and you open up a personal highlight, Showdown. In a sort of Nintendo take on Kill Bill or Shogun Assassin, it’s up to you to slice and dice your way through a horde of Miis in a selection of scenic island locations. Slashing wildly left, sweeping viciously right, it’s one of the few games out there where you get the chance to batter complete strangers senseless in a light-hearted, good-natured fashion. Quite cathartic after a tough week in the city, I can tell you.
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