Game review: Wii Sports Resort, or what your Wii was made for

Back before it was the Wii, Nintendo had code-named its new console The Revolution. And when the best selling console of this generation did come out a few years back, its motion controlled game play was indeed revolutionary. And like so many revolutions, it didn't quite live up to the promise. The original Wii Sports, which came bundled with the system, offered a whole new experience – tennis, golf, baseball, bowling, and boxing that all felt somewhat, or even a lot like the real thing. You couldn't help but smile a big, delighted grin the first time you tried it. But then came almost everything else for the damn Wii. Shovels full of middling to poor games, just a few bright gems (mostly from Nintendo) trying to shine from the towering dung heap of third-party cash-ins and motion-gimmick nonsense. My Wii, like that of many gamers, sat lonely and empty and un-played.

But those big, goofy grins are back baby! Nintendo returns to the well and brings a cool refreshing disk full of fun with Wii Sports Resort – a dozen new ways to get yourself up and playing again. OK, maybe only 10 new ways, and maybe only 8 or 9 of them are actually fun – but that's still a lot of fun! The key to this new-found fun factor is Nintendo's much-needed addition to the Wii controller – the Wii Motion Plus. It's a little device that snaps into the back of your Wiimote and ratchets up the sensitivity of the motion sensor. How much of an improvement? I think the easiest way to think about it is to say that the motion sensor now finally feels just like you imagined it would when you first saw those ads for the Wii when it came out. One motion plus device comes with the game, but of course you'll need to buy more of them to play with other people – and just like the original Wii Sports, the Resort version is ALL about playing with other people. So yeah, you'll have to buy two or three more of the damn things, but it's so worth it.

The sword fighting alone is worth it. Really. I would pay full price just for the Swordplay game. It features what are supposed to be foam swords and you're just knocking opponents wearing padded armor around, but it's awesome fun. The sword moves just like you want it to, mirroring your hand movements. The harder you swing, the faster it goes and the harder it hits. Parrying incoming attacks leaves your foe open for a well-timed riposte. I love it.

There are other great games too. Bowling and Golf are back from the original Wii Sports. Golf benefits a great deal from the more sensitive controller, but it's still golf and I'm only mildly interested. I'm sure golfers get a kick out of it. Bowling is also more reactive, plus it's got the more fun than you would think 100 pins at a time bowling. Archery, Frisbee, and Table Tennis are the other three highlights. Archery is calm and thoughtful and gives a great sense of both mental and reflex based game play as you take into account distance, wind, and other factors. Frisbee is actually quite hard to get the hang of because it does simulate the real thing so well, but once you learn how to toss those discs around, either to your playful pet dog or on the Frisbee Golf courses, it's a ton of fun. Table Tennis is sort of a re-hash of the original tennis, except it's ping pong and the motion plus controller lets you pull off all kinds of fancy wrist flicks and spins and what not. I also enjoyed the basketball game, which simulated both shooting three pointers and a simplified but thoruoghly enjoyable version of half-court three on three.

The package is rounded out with a few simpler, but entertaining games like Wake Boarding (do tricks, level your Wii mote to stick the landing), and Cycling. Cycling doesn't make any sense because you're using your hands to shake the remotes up and down to “pedal.” Despite how silly this is, it's actually pretty fun. There's an airplane flying game that's also strange – you hold the wii-mote like a paper airplane and guide it around. There's jet ski racing, which is kinda “meh,” and canoing, which is just like the real thing and therefore deadly dull because when you're not actually outside looking at nature, making a rowing motion with your hands sucks.

To sum up, if you've got a Wii, you have to buy this game. Not having Wii Sports Resort basically means you've got a broken Wii, and people will probably laugh at you. Wouldn't you rather they laugh with you? Wouldn't it be even better to laugh at THEM as you defeat them in round after round of sword fighting? Of course it would.

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