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Wii Sports Resort Will Sell Like Hotcakes, Hands-on Impressions

Illustration for article titled Wii Sports Resort Will Sell Like Hotcakes, Hands-on Impressions

Wii Motion Plus is a surprisingly robust upgrade to the current Wii remote, I discovered yesterday while playing around with three of the mini games in upcoming title Wii Sport Resort.

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When the game ships it will come with a single Wii Motion Plus add-on and a disc with ten or so games. They haven't made the final decision on which and how many games will be in the final product, Nintendo's David Young told me.

Wii Sport Resort, which will include single player and two player mini-games, will not work without the Wii Motion Plus, so those people who want to play the two-player games will have to buy an extra Wii Motion Plus add-on separately.

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Nintendo had only three games on display at the show this week: Disc Dog, Power Cruising and Swordplay.

In Disc Dog you throw a frisbee out into a field for a dog to catch. The object of the game is to have it land as close to a marker as possible. The closer you get it, the higher your score. You control where the disc lands by the angle and speed of your throw. I found the game's precision quite impressive. Twisting the remote with its Wii Motion Plus add-on right and left made my Mii twist their hand with the frisbee in real time and it seemed incredibly precise.

The game was a bit of fun to play, but felt more like something you're going to play around with for 30 minutes or so and forget about. It also only supported single-player gaming.

Power Cruising had me zipping around the rolling waves of a water race course on a jet ski, using the remote and nunchuk to steer. Holding in the trigger on the remote operated the gas and I could kick in a short turbo by twisting the remote. It was a workable game, but not quite as fun as Disc Dog. Again there was no head-to-head racing, which is quite a shame.

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The real stand-out of the three games was Swordplay, which has you wielding a two-handed sword in bouts to knock either an AI-controlled mii or a friend off the raised platform you're fighting on.

The precision of the controls was, in a word, astounding. I found that I could move the tip of the sword around in tight figure eights, an old training exercise from my fencing days. I also didn't have to rely on broad swings from either side and above to hit my opponent. The controller was able to sense thrusts as well.

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The game itself had you attacking and parrying with swings of your two-handed sword. Attacks were performed with thrusts or slices, while you parried by holding a button and holding the remote in the proper position. It actually seemed to have some sloppy representations of the three basic saber parries built into it.

The game had a little trouble keeping up with fast attacks, but if I slowed my attacks down a bit it was easy to direct and land attacks and parries. The best two-out-of-three matches left me thirsting for me. I can see this being the top game of the pack unless they drop something just as spectacular in the remainder of the games.

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Overall holding the now longer remote seemed fairly comfortable. It is a bit heavier, but not so much heavier as to be distracting.

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DISCUSSION

To summarize:

1) Nunchuk - Required for some single player games (but then you already have one that came WITH the system. A number of first party titles (including major releases such as Mario Kart and Smash Bros) offer alternative control options for Wii Remote only. Nintendo cannot be held responsible for 3rd party dev behavior.

2) Zapper - Fully optional.

3) Classic Controller - Required for some Virtual console titles. Though many of these also offer control options for Cube controllers.

4) Wheel - Fully optional.

5) Balance Board - Games will be specifically designed for this.

6) Motion Plus - So far only one game has been annouced which uses it. You must use it to play this game, but it comes with this game. There is no further information regarding future implementation.

Nintendo's history:

1) Smash Bros Brawl. - Players could choose to use Remote, Remote + Chuk, or Game Cube controllers. I believe they could also use the Classic Controller. No additional purchase required (except for extra remotes)

2) Mario Kart Wii - Players could choose to use the new Wheel, or could use the standard Remote + Chuk option. Game Cube controllers are also an option (with no loss of features). I do not konw if it is Classic Controller compatible.

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There is no evidence that Nintendo is going to force Motion Plus on people. In fact, using the two MAJOR titles above I have shown they've allowed people to actually AVOID using additional add-ons...and at times even allowed PREVIOUS GEN tech to be used. (Gee, what motivation do I have to buy more Remotes when I can just use Cube controllers?)

Saying Resort is an example of future required use is like saying Guitar Hero proves I'm going to need a guitar controller going forward.

Wii Sports Resort is a means of promoting Wii Motion Plus use to the casual gamer. Nintendo based on previous behavior, will likely continue to support BOTH control types in their games, leaving it up to the gamer if they want to have enhanced control or not.

You can't look at Resort as an example of "OMG Nintendo is going to rip us all off!" It didn't happen with the Zapper, and it didn't happen with the Wheel. There's no history of Nintendo forcing people to buy Wii accessories.