E3 Hands-On: Wii Sports Resort

I, like many others, was skeptical when first hearing about the Wii’s new MotionPlus attachment, designed to further enhance the accelerometer capabilities of the Wiimote. It seems like all Nintendo has done this generation is provide us with things to snap our Wiimotes into (Wii Zapper, Wii Wheel), and none of them really enhance the experience. At least, I believed that about MotionPlus until I actually tried it, and now I’m a believer.

The E3 show demo of Wii Sports Resort featured three mini-games (Disc Dog, Power Cruising, and Sword Play), each of which demonstrate that the new MotionPlus attachment holds great potential to really make the Wii’s motion controls totally immersive and endlessly fun. The new Wiimote protrusion does so much in order to make even the subtlest movements register that you may spend so much time marveling at it all you forget to play the game.

The first game to show off this new level of accuracy was Disc Dog, a playful game of fetch where you toss a Frisbee and send your canine companion after it. Targets are displayed before each throw, and the closer the dog makes the catch to that specific spot, the more points you get. What’s incredible is how every movement you make, no matter how subtle, is translated perfectly on-screen. As you hold your disc in preparation to throw, each slight twist of your wrist is accurately portrayed, giving you full control over your toss. For a console with games that have suffered significantly due to this lack of refinement, it feels like we’re all receiving present that is long overdue.

Another challenge that takes full advantage of MotionPlus is Sword Play, a sword fighting game that allows you to parlay your movements into a series of strikingly accurate horizontal, vertical, and diagonal slices. Playing this particular mini-game you get the feeling that this is what Red Steel was supposed to feel like but never quite achieved. Obviously, seeing that we now have proof the Wii can handle accurate 1:1 sword swings with MotionPlus, we now have every right to expect some incredibly fun sword fighting or, dare I say it, lightsaber dueling games.

The final game shown didn’t do much to utilize MotionPlus, but it was still fun all the same. Power Cruising (jet skis racing around an ocean track) utilizes both the Wiimote and Nunchuck, held horizontally so as to replicated the handlebars of a jet ski. Tilting the controllers forward, backward, and side-to-side control steering and balance, while a quick twist of the Wiimote will allow you to “rev” your engine and get a brief speed boost. While precision controls weren’t on display for this particular game, incredibly physics were, as the choppiness of the water would realistically affect your jet ski, and trying to cut a corner too fast and too sharp would result in you tumbling off. You can bet that we wouldn’t have seen anything near so advanced with the original Wii Sports.

Walking away from Wii Sports Resort, I am willing to claim that this game, if the early demos are any indication, will be a worthy heir to the Wii Sports throne. The few games already an display are a lot of fun, and there are sure to be plenty more great challenges where these came from. Also, considering the fact that the MotionPlus will come bundled with Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo is guaranteed to sell a ton of copies, the same way people bought up Wii Play for the extra remote. Unlike Wii Play though, this looks to be the genuine article, a game that anyone can enjoy and will likely take many hours of pleasure in. Book your reservation now, you’ll want to be on the list once this resort opens.

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