Wii Sports Resort, the follow-up to the game that defines Nintendo's console, is released next week. I decided to play it for one hour exactly. Here's what happened.
00:00 - Dust off Wii. (Kidding!) 00:01 - The MotionPlus add-on comes with its own latex grip, so you just slip the Wiimote inside and click it into place. The nunchuk then connects at the bottom. Really, setup couldn't be easier. It doesn't feel much heavier either. 00:02 - After putting the Wii Sports Resort disc in, I'm greeted by an unskippable video demonstrating how to connect and disconnect the MotionPlus as well as how to attach the nunchuk and wrist strap. I realise I've forgotten to connect the wrist strap, but decide to live dangerously for once. 00:03 - I'm in the game! Actually, I'm in a plane. My Mii is, at least. I jump out and skydive, my Mii closely mimicking the movement of the Wiimote as he freefalls. Neat. 00:04 - As I'm falling, other Miis are falling too. We link up in formation. They all started somersaulting in time with me. We open our chutes, land, and the title screen appears. 00:06 - I choose the first available activity, Swordplay, and find myself on a pontoon elevated above the water, dressed in fencing attire and facing some straggly-haired dude called Ryan. Swinging the Wiimote swings your sword, while holding B adopts a defensive stance to parry blows. It's quite comfortably intuitive and there's a sense of authority as you feel confident in directing your sword precisely where you want it to hit your opponent's body or deflect their blows. The "whoosh!" noise emitted by the Wiimote speaker adds to the spatial awareness. 00:09 - Ryan's a pushover - literally, as he falls into the water twice in quick succession, victim to my cunning counterattack strategy. I win my first bout and unlock a new mode. 00:11 - The new mode, Speed Slice, sees me pitted against Ryan the disgusting hippie once again. This time we're racing to be first to slice in half a series of random objects hurled at us by a middle-aged man. Once again, I emerge triumphant, trouncing Ryan 10 pts to 3. 00:14 - Think to myself that both Swordplay events would make for entertaining drinking games. But I must first remember to watch instructional video to learn how to attach the wrist strap. 00:16 - Hey, I've unlocked another new mode, this time called Swordplay Showdown. Decide to try Wakeboarding instead. 00:17 - Here you hold the Wiimote horizontally, turning left and right to steer and flicking it up to jump off the wake and perform tricks. Land a trick successfully by returning the Wiimote to its horizontal position in time and the boat gains speed, allowing you to pull off more daring tricks. 00:21 - I score 618 pts on my first attempt. Ryan's not around, so I can't rub it in his face. I fail to unlock any new modes. My arms are tired.
00:25 - Next up I hit the sand for the first time with Frisbee. Or, more accurately, Frisbee Dog. Here you throw
your dog a disc towards a target marked in the sand and your dog chases after to catch it before it hits the ground. The closer to the target, the higher your score, while hitting balloons in the air add bonus points.
00:27 - Like Swordplay but perhaps absent in Wakeboarding, there's an instant connection between your arm motion and its on-screen translation that feels natural. I knew when I'd released the disc too late or too soon or at the wrong angle. I hit the centre of the target 4 times out of 10 and unlocked Frisbee Golf mode. My dog seemed pleased.
00:29 - I kicked sand in Ryan's face.
00:30 - Onto Archery now. This time I have to plug the nunchuk in. Wait, let me watch that video again...
00:34 - You hold the Wiimote vertically to form the limb of the bow and hold down Z on the nunchuk to draw back the string. In Nintendo's ads you'll see people moving the nunchuk back alongisde their ear to aim, but this doesn't actually have any effect. The awesome stretchy noise as the tension increases compensates for this.
00:37 - Accounting for variable distance and wind conditions produces the challenge here, like a simplistic golf driving range. I score 94 out of a possible 120 pts.
00:39 - Back out at the menu, I decide to skip past Basketball, Table Tennis, Golf and Bowling. Power Cruising (aka Jet Skiing) looks more entertaining...
00:40 - ... but it's no Wave Race, sadly. You hold the Wiimote and nunchuk like handlebars, tilting them to steer, pressing B to accelerate and twisting both controllers to boost. It feels the sloppiest of the events so far, mainly because there's a distinct lag on the steering. Despite that, it's still far too easy to hit every checkpoint on the slalom course.
00:43 - I think Power Cruising suffers because it's so close to - yet so far from - an existing dedicated jet skiing game in Wave Race. But if Nintendo can hone some subtlety into the steering controls, then I can see future potential for a MotionPlus-based Wave Race game. Fingers crossed. 00:45 - Sticking with the aquatic theme, next I traded in my jet ski for a canoe and paddled for calmer waters. Perhaps surprisingly, Canoeing provided the most vigorous work-out of all the activities thus far. Ditching the nunchuk, you hold the Wiimote like an oar handle, tilting it to the side as you sweep it past your body. The course I paddled was a simple U-shape, which failed to present any challenge in itself. If you can barge into each other in multiplayer, however, this could be lots of fun. 00:48 - My arms are now really tired. 00:49 - Out to the menu once more, I briefly consider cycling... but my assumption that it involves a Canoeing style workout prompts me to move on instead to the final selection, Air Sports. I pick the Island Flyover activity. Here you hold the Wiimote like a paper aeroplane, tilting to steer, thrusting forward to boost and back to slow down. The only objective is to explore the island and find then fly through dozens of symbols which mark specific sightseeing locations. 00:50 - This feels great. I've done a loop-the-loop and a barrel roll (at Slippy's request). 00:52 - I've flown through four symbols now, including one death-defying low dive over the town square. This really does feel good. 00:54 - Oh well, time's nearly up. Do I want to give Cycling a quick go? 00:55 - No. I totally need to fly to the top of that volcano... 00:56 - ...Oh, and that cave over there, I reckon I can... just... squeeze through... Yes! 00:59 - I wish Nintendo had sent me two MotionPlus add-ons so I could try the Dogfight mode. 00:60 - And that's a wrap.
So, the big question is... Do I want to keep playing beyond the first hour?
On my own, probably not much longer. I can see myself returning to Island Flyover to find all those symbols and perhaps Swordplay to test out the tougher opponents. And I'll give all the events I missed a quick look. But with one - or better, three - more MotionPlus-equipped Wiimotes, there's some serious party game competition here.
Wii Sports Resort is a clear demonstration that MotionPlus works. At least in the simple activities on display here, it delivers much greater fidelity and, in turn, far more involving gameplay. Although still obviously geared toward the same type of audience, this is a much better game than Wii Sports.