Wii Sports (Wii) review
"Those expecting a return to the blockbuster-console combo releases synonymous with the Nintendo of yesteryear will be disappointed. Wii Sports is free, and though it is an impressive technical display of the abilities of Nintendoís new system, it also demonstrates that the technology by itself is somewhat shallow and perfecting it may be a long and drawn out process. Those focusing on these fallbacks can at least take comfort in this though; Sports matches the depth of some recen..."
Those expecting a return to the blockbuster-console combo releases synonymous with the Nintendo of yesteryear will be disappointed. Wii Sports is free, and though it is an impressive technical display of the abilities of Nintendoís new system, it also demonstrates that the technology by itself is somewhat shallow and perfecting it may be a long and drawn out process. Those focusing on these fallbacks can at least take comfort in this though; Sports matches the depth of some recent audacious titles Nintendo has been marketing at full price, namely the portable WarioWare mini-game series and the equally insulting Brain Age math tutor.
The critical problem with Sports is as follows: it feels like Nintendoís pitch to big time developers (namely, big time sports game producers like Electronic Arts that will move consoles) that its technology is worthwhile, but the main problem plaguing Sports is the imprecision and impracticality with its technology. Sports offers five mini-games: baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis, all of which are played by manipulating the Wii remote. In order to bowl, move the remote in a bowling motion. Step up to the tee and swing it like a five iron. Place the remote in one hand and the nunchuck in the other and put up your dukes to go at it in boxing. The fact that this kind of censor technology has been implemented this well is impressive.
Unfortunately, the technology still hasnít achieved the consistency and precision necessary to make this widely marketable. After just a few frames youíll discover the secret to bowling: find the right line and just swing the remote as hard as you can every time for a consistent strike. Not only did the time gauges on older console bowling titles better replicate the element of chance, they didnít leave your arm with a general feeling of stiffness and discomfort the next day. Meanwhile, golf suffers due to over-sensitive censor technology; itís equally as challenging to land a 150-yard iron shot on the green as it is to sink a three foot putt. Yes, plenty of practice will overcome this problem, but one needs to question why something this simple requires practice in the first place.
The impracticality of the technology is displayed through baseball, where you are only capable of hitting and pitching. A batted ball will either register as a single, double, triple, homerun or out based on where it lands, with no elements of base-running or fielding present because the censor controller was not designed with a complex enough button layout to handle both. This doesnít make the technology appealing to a 2K Sports designing the next MLB title; it only makes them wearier of attempting it because this Nintendo output demonstrates how difficult the problems are to overcome.
In contrast boxing and tennis are fun to play, especially with friends, and demonstrate that the technology does have some merit. Tennis gives hope that one day the Wii will have a superlative tennis title reminiscent of the Dreamcastís Virtua Tennis (though more likely, less stellar and dubbed Mario Tennis), while boxing gives hope for a future homage to the lovable Punch-Out. The technology needs to be implemented with more depth but the basics are there and honed well enough to make play challenging and fun.
Wii Sports deserves credit in one more aspect; of the three Wii titles Iíve played to date, the other two being The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, neither makes the censor technology as critical a facet of the game as Sports. Both the aforesaid titles may be more fun, but the technology feels tacked on; Zelda and Budokai would be quality titles regardless. Sports utilizes the technology to actually carve a niche. If one year from now Sports is still the best usage to date Nintendo has a problem, but today it provides a glimmer of hope, even if the glimmer is further away than we think.
Community review by drella (September 12, 2007)
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