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June 2, 2015

Wii Sports Resort (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here!

Hey guys and girls, welcome back to my review of Wii Sports Resort! …For the Wii. It’s still a pretty basic game, with the main draw being to play sports for fun, Pro mode or achievements be damned. Well… that’s partially true. You can try to play for those, although it’s anything but necessary. And yet, some sports contain some form of progression. That’s odd, but try to follow me on this one: There is no overall progression to this game, no “100% completion” to speak of, and everything is optional… At first, you’ll just unlock variations on the sports, but then you’ll notice some of the variations are divided into “levels” of sorts. Here are some examples:

There are too many.
-When you unlock Showdown in Swordplay, at first only one of ten levels is available, and you unlock each level by beating the one that came before it. For obvious reasons, every new level is harder than the one before. I haven’t been able to beat the seventh level so far…
-In Archery, you unlock Intermediate by beating Beginner, and you unlock Expert by beating Intermediate. Pretty usual stuff, really.
-There are six levels in Power Slalom. All but one are locked at first. And of course, the later ones take place on dangerous waters, because for some reason the makers of this resort island want to kill you. Thankfully, no Mii can actually die, so I guess they resort (pun) to option number 2: Injure or maim the Miis as much as possible!
-Bicycle races start off as six short trips, then two longer trips consisting of three short trips each, and finally a giant race comprising all six parts. You snooze, you lose!

Facing off the champion? Better hoe you're ready!
So, in a way, there is some form of progression in the game (unlocking everything), and yet at the same time there isn’t. You’re not bound to go Pro everywhere or get every single achievement. AND YET… oh yeah, this Shrodinger’s Challenge is gonna get even more complicated. When you become Pro in a VS sport (as in, 1-VS-1), you’ll end up facing that sport’s Champion, and you’ll get some small rewards when you manage to beat him/her. However, most of the time, when you beat the champion you’ll just unlock an extra mode or get another cosmetic award. Just try to imagine that: Advanced Frisbee Golf, advanced Golf, advanced Archery! Isn’t that great? You can play basketball at night now! AT NIGHT!

…Well, that depends if those are sports you like to play on the Wii. I never really got to go up against any of those Champions, but since they’re only encountered when you’ve become Pro on certain sports, chances are you’ll never encounter them. Unless you really want to and you do everything possible to meet that champion and defeat him/her.

In all honesty, I actually like this idea. The existence of those “champions” isn’t even hinted at in the game, so they come off as a surprise… well, unless you look for cheats on the Internet, in which case you might learn about their existence without encountering them. Even then, maybe the rewards aren’t quite worth it. But doesn’t a certain proverb says that the feeling of accomplishment is more important than the reward? …I probably just made it up.

On another subject, one thing I really like is that many sports take place at different spots on the island. You can see every section of the island simply by playing sports, progressing in some of them. The six short bicycle trips go all around, passing by every interesting spot of Wuhu Island. During the swordplay showdown, your Mii will be battling on ten zones of the island. Other sports let you visit numerous locations; among them, there’s archery, power cruising, and of course the air sports. In fact, Island Flyover is all about this, more so than any other sport in the game… because in that event, you decide where you’re going.

I don't remember ever getting a full plane-flight mode in which
you were visiting a place, like a tourist.
Google Maps doesn't count.
And that’s great! It’s a complete exploration mode. You just need to learn to pilot the plane, and that’s not too complicated. You hold the remote in front of you, horizontally, pointing towards the screen. Just rotate it in your hand, or raise or lower it, and the plane will respond. You can move the remote forward to get a short speed boost. You can also press A to shoot little paint balls.

In Island Flyover, there are 80 touristic points of interest to look for. Some of them are very well-hidden. Also, for some strange reason, your plane can go ANYWHERE. No limits whatsoever. You are encouraged to fly so close to the ground that you’d risk killing someone. Heh, good thing no Mii can die! You can zoom through the streets, across the bridge, where no sane pilot would ever go. You can go through the mountainside’s tunnels, in the caves below the island… and if you want to test just how much pain a Mii can take, how about a dip in the freaking volcano? No, really: You can do that if you want. And if you fall in the lava, well…

So many places to see... Fetch me my camera!
…nothing happens. Your Mii just ejects him/herself from the plane, and seconds later he’s back in a new plane, close to where he crashed. Gee, good thing they’ve got a few thousand spare planes! Where do they keep those, anyway? There’s not a single hangar to be seen at miles around! In fact, there isn’t even one among the 80 touristic points! Talking about those, you’re not limited to Wuhu Island, either; you can go to the Golf Club island, too. It takes about a minute to get there. If you prefer, there are some smaller islands used to launch fireworks at night. There’s also about ten touristic points located on the big sea, so you might spend a while searching.  And of course, for a touristic point to be recorded in the game, you have to fly into the white circle decorated with a lowercase I. Don’t just go near it.

Last but not least, there’s a fun little “side-challenge” of sorts in this one. As you fly around the resort, you’ll notice that almost all the bystanders are holding balloons. And there are balloons attached to the boats. You can shoot them with balls to pop them. Go ahead, try to get as many as possible! …and then, try to beat your preceding score! Oh, by the way, you have time limit of five minutes. It’s impossible to get every single point in five minutes. I doubt it would be possible to get all of them in twenty minutes.

Your face on the zeppelin. You are a superstar!
Also, this is the sport that offers the best rewards. Eight of them, to be precise, one for every 10 touristic points you discover. After 10, larger balloons containing dozens of smaller balloons appear around the resort. After 20, you unlock the possibility to play Island Flyover in the evening. Yay. At 30, your plane starts shooting two paintballs at once. At 40, you can now play this mode at night! …In-game night, of course, because you can already play Wii Sports Resort at night if you want. At 50 points, Night Flyover becomes easier as lights show up everywhere. At 60 points, you now have a backseat and a passenger (who is picked randomly among the other Miis in your save file). At 70 points, your Mii’s face appears on the blimp (and that cosmetic award can be seen at all times!), and at 80 points, your Mii earns his/her own private house at the resort! Nice. Not challenging enough for you? Try getting all 80 touristic points at daytime, during the evening AND at night! A grand total of 240 points to look for!

So, uh… yeah, I think that’s all I had to say about this one. Time for my final thoughts!

3 against 3. Who is gonna win? You decide... not really.
I love this game. It’s great. It offers a lot of great “minigames”, and some that aren’t as great… but that doesn’t matter. Your list of favorite sports in Wii Sports Resort could be radically different from someone else’s, because every sport here has the potential to be enjoyed by someone. You can tell they worked on each of those much more than they would have if those had been normal minigames. …Wait. That’s not minigames, but that’s not entire games… what’s a term for that? It doesn’t exist. Oh. Um… I think I’ll call them “medigames”.

Not a fan of swordfighting, well except Speed Slice. But it
sure looks great.
Every “medigame” is fun on its own, but as I said, the great thing here is that there are 24 of those. And 12 different categories, so if you’re not satisfied with one, just try another! You’re guaranteed to find a couple sports that you really like, and chances are you might overlook the others in favor of those you enjoy. However, if you buy Wii Sports Resort, I seriously suggest you try every sport. But once you’ve found which one of those 24 medigames you really liked, you should play the others every once in a while.

Those waterbikes really make one feel cool.
Whereas the original Wii Sports was meant as a tech demo of sorts for the Wii’s movement detection, Wii Sports Resort is meant to showcase the capabilities of the MotionPlus. At the same time, the variety of sports it offers to the player result in many, many ways to use the Wii remote (and often the Nunchuk). Highlights include using them like a bow and arrow, swinging the Wii remote like a sword, or holding the remotes like a handlebars in Power Cruising. And in most cases, it works very well! There are, perhaps, two or three sports where this isn’t at its best (canoeing comes to mind, due to the complex movements required to make it work). However, thanks to the MotionPlus, any slight movement will be detected. That’s important in many medigames, such as bowling (where even twisting the wrist the slightest can lead to the thrown bowling ball deviating from its trajectory) or swordplay (where your Mii will try to place his sword so that he’s always in the same position as you are).

Three words:World of Warcraft. Er... I meant... One word: WOW.
Wuhu Island is still amazing. It’s a beautiful piece of land, a perfect location for such a game. Of course, I enjoy the free exploration around it thanks to Island Flyover, but the closer glimpses we get of it thanks to modes such as Showdown or bicycle Road Races are also pretty great. The music is okay, nothing too great or memorable, just what’s needed to add some sound to the different sports and give this game a bit of musical ambiance.

When it comes to gameplay itself, the controls are explained very well for each sport. There are very few, if any, ambiguities and it’s easy to learn how to play each sport.

Nothing can dethrone the classics.
It’s a great game, no doubt there, but I do have some points of criticism. A few sports can be very exhausting. The bicycle Road Races are a prime example; your arms ARE going to hurt by the end. It could be worse, though. Also, it’s a bit annoying that you’re forced to recalibrate all of the players’ Wii remotes every few matches. After all, you can do it at any moment when pressing the Plus button… The later levels in some sports can get quite difficult, though that’s pretty normal for things to get harder as you progress. Similarly, some of the medals/achievements have some crazy requirements that will take you hours, maybe days to complete.

As for the stuff that is missing, I know there are more ways to explore the island, but I would have liked a mode where you can just walk – or drive – around and go sightseeing. I guess that didn’t quite fit in with the “sports” theme, but… isn’t “taking a walk” some kind of sport? Sure, it’s not running or even jogging, but that has to be something, right? As for other modes, I wished we had updated versions of tennis, baseball and boxing; after all, bowling and golf did get their update here, why couldn’t the other sports? …Well, alright, there’s Mario Super Sluggers, Punch-Out Wii, and the like, so I suppose they would just come off as superfluous… oh well.

Here are my five least favorite sports (or versions of sports) in the entire game:
-Swordplay, Showdown; I keep discussing it, but it’s very difficult, and at some points you’re facing too many enemies at once. Plus, some enemy Miis take two hits, know how to defend themselves, and can dish out damage to you as well if you turn out to lose your balance due to hitting their defenses.
-Basketball, Pickup Game; never really got to enjoy it much. Basketball isn’t really interesting in this game, it has been done better in many other games, so I don’t like it much.
-Table Tennis, Return Challenge; I never get a lot of points in that one.
-Bowling, Spin Control; Bowling with obstacles on the strip between you and the pins, and you have to control how your ball rolls! This one is plain awful, I never got any higher than 120 points by the end.
-Air Sports, Dogfight; it’s just a VS mode with planes. I didn’t get to try it much, but I always felt it was kinda boring.

I guess that’s all I had to say. Great game, a few defects, some sports are better than others, but still a strong addition to any collection of Wii games. This Friday, I’ll make a Top 12 list of my favorite sports in this game. Don’t miss it! Or, well… try not to! …Or read it whenever you want, once it’s up it’s never gonna be taken down. Or… Ah, I don’t mind when you read it, as long as you read it someday! Goodbye!