E3 2008: Wii Sports Resort Hands On
How Nintendo is going to take over the world once again.
There was a joke early in the Wii's life that people were buying Wii Sports and finding to great surprise that they'd also bought a full videogame system. That was probably the case for a large number of Wii buyers. And I bet it's going to be an even more frequent occurrence once Wii Sports Resort comes out.
Making use of Nintendo's latest control gizmo, the Wii Motion Plus expansion pack, Wii Sports Resort promises more accurate on-screen reproductions of your real-world Wiimote motions. That holy grail of one-to-one motion mapping is at last achievable, as you'll quickly figure out by playing just one of the Resort minigames.
I'm referring to the "Sword Play" game. This sword fighting game puts two players on a platform and has them duel it out with swords until one person runs out of life, or falls off the platform.
Each player has a first person view of the action. When playing two player (a single player "training" game is also available), the game is viewed in split screen so that both players get the same perspective.
As with past WiiSports games, your character control is limited. The game does not use the nunchuck attachment. With all character movement handled automatically, all you have to do is concentrate on slashing.
Before you begin the real fight, the game puts you through a quick training procedure where you can try out some of the available moves on inanimate objects like logs and man-sized pencils. Actually, you're not really trying out "moves" per say. No matter what strange variety you come up with, your sword slashes translate perfectly into in-game slashes. You're free to slash the logs and pencils vertically, diagonally, or horizontally. And you have plenty of time to get in multiple slashes, breaking the objects into multiple pieces.
While not demonstrated in the tutorial, you also have access to a block. Press the 2 button, and your character holds his sword up as a shield. This doesn't guarantee a block, though. Your opponent can perform attacks both high and low, so you need to make sure your block is positioned correctly.
Once the duel begins, things really heat up in an intense and, thanks to the blocking, strategic battle. Slashing away at your opponent is exhilarating. It can also be quite the workout. My arms got tired pretty quickly, but I was slashing away like mad as my opponent (Nix from IGN) patiently blocked.
You might be skeptical about the lack of movement control over your character. I didn't even notice it in the few rounds that I played. Position is important, though, as your character can fall off the platform (as mine did, costing me the match).
Nintendo had two other games set up besides sword fighting: Power Cruising and Disc Dog. Disc Dog is a simple frisbee game where you toss a frisbee at a cute little dog, who fetches and returns it to you. Power Cruising is a jetski game.
The benefits of having added precision in motion detection should be obvious for the frisbee game. An on-screen version of your frisbee moves with perfect precision as you wave the Wiimote back and forth. The game uses no buttons. You simply mock a frisbee wind-up and toss, and the in-game frisbee follows accordingly. Your goal is to toss the frisbee as accurately as possible to targets.
The jetski game makes use of both the nunchuck and Wiimote. Consider the devices as the handles of your machine. You turn them on an axis to steer, pull them up or down to make your jetski bob or down in the water, and can even give the Wiimote a little twist for a boost. Your goal is to get through a series of gates, with extra points awarded for how quickly you pass from one gate to the next.
The frisbee and jetski games -- especially the jetski game -- were tremendous fun and do a great job of showing off the advantages of the MotionPlus accessory. But the real killer app within the killer app here is the sword fighting game. Nintendo can put this thing in retail demo units and sell a million copies of Wii Sports Resort to new audiences, who'll also eventually figure out that they have a complete videogame system as well.
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