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Old 01-24-2008, 03:58 AM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo Wii
1-4 Players
Developer - Nintendo EAD
Publisher - Nintendo

My Bias

My Completion
Gold medals on all but 2 Training events

I debated writing this review because Wii Sports is a free pack in game. Since it is a game that every Wii owner should already have, it was hard to think of who a review would be applicable for. But for many, Wii Sports is a deciding factor when it comes to buying the console. I have met a lot of adults who were willing to spend the $250 console fee for Wii Sports alone. So if you’re on the edge about buying a Wii and are interested in what Wii Sports adds to the total package, this review is for you.

None. The way it should be.

Supports 16:9 Widescreen and Progressive Scan

The graphics in Wii Sports are an art form. The characters are overly simplistic and blocky. The environments are again, simple and clean. At first glance this game looks very underwhelming knowing it’s from a developer as big as Nintendo, the same people that bring us visually stunning games like Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Galaxy.

But after playing it for an extended amount of time, and playing it with family members who don’t normally play video games; it became quite clear that it looks this way in purpose. Nintendo has created a game that looks overly simplistic for the purpose of attracting people that are afraid of videogames due to their complexity. It doesn’t look ugly or sloppy, instead the game comes off feeling very simple and clean.

Even the menus are clean

The Mii characters look very cute in this game, like cartoon characters but not obnoxious cartoon characters. They are made up of simple geometry pieces and have circles for hands, but again it is by design.

The environments give off a very lush feel despite how simplistic they are. This is especially apparent in the Tennis and Golf modes. Almost everything in this game has a subtle ambient glow to it. It gives the game a nice “soft” feel to it, and is a pleasing visual effect.

There isn’t much music in this game, as most of the modes are silent. The silence gives off a more realistic setting, especially in the Golf mode. Again simplicity is key here, you won’t find orchestral choir arrangements in this game.

The main theme for this game is pretty catchy. It’s only played on the title screen so most people wont hear it for more than 10 seconds. The sub menu for each mode has its own music theme. A lot of it is really good soothing music, I especially love the guitar melody for Golf. Unfortunately like the main theme, most of this music wont be heard for very long as its just menu music.

The only mode with music during game play is Bowling, which is appropriate for the sport. And even when music plays during the game play, its very subtle and not obnoxious. It’s the kind of music that can play in the background 100 times and not feel repetitious or annoying.

Since this game is broken up into different sports, I will review each one separately. A common trait for all the games is they work best when you play standing up and perform the full motions. If you can’t stand the idea of getting off your couch and performing these motions, then chances are this game wont be very much fun for you. This is a sports simulator, not a couch potato simulator.

The beauty of all these games is that there is almost no learning curve. You don’t need to learn any button combinations, just simply swing the Wii Remote like you would with real sports equipment. I wish more games were like this, I can’t stand having to sit and learn the controls for a game for 10 minutes before I can even start playing.

Tennis is probably my most enjoyed game in this package. The game itself is very simple, your character will automatically run to the ball and all you have to worry about is swinging at the right time. It sounds simple and ridiculously easy, but gets harder as you complete more games. Like real tennis if you swing too early or late, then your ball will be sent out of bounds. Along with timing you must also decide the power of each shot by how hard you swing the Wii Remote. Then to top it off you can add spin to the ball in any direction. The Wii Remote responds well for the most part but sometimes it has trouble detecting the power you swing with. The computer isn’t too hard to beat or predict but playing other people is challenging.

Think you can beat 2 Seraphs? Think agian!

This mode is an absolute riot with 4 people.
Like all the games in Wii Sports, Baseball is a simplified version of the sport. The only controllable aspects are batting and pitching. When the ball is hit, the longer it remains in play determines how far your base runners get. I appreciate that the fielders almost always catch fly balls and make some amazing plays. It requires each player to use a bit of strategy when batting rather than just swinging with mindless power.

Batting feels really good, and it takes a good amount of skill to hit a fastball. I play real life baseball on a regular basis and got the hang of things very fast, yet my mother still cannot time her swings to hit the ball. The game detects your swing angle and speed so with enough practice you can send the ball wherever you please.

Guaranteed home run

Pitching is a bit of a disappointment. Considering all the different angles and spins the Wii Remote can detect, it doesn’t allow you to throw trick pitches naturally. Instead all trick pitches are done by holding down a button and doing the same generic throw animation.
Bowling is a hard game for me to review. I say this because when I first started playing I felt it was the most responsive game in this package. I was so amazed at how responsive and realistic this game was to real bowling.

But then one day I started playing and couldn’t perform throws that I had before. For instance I’m right handed, so throwing a right curve is difficult. I remember one night I couldn’t get the ball to curve right no matter what I did (even making full exaggerated half circle twists with my left hand didn’t work). Then magically the next day it worked fine again. It has happened a few times since then and I’m unaware if it’s my fault, my controllers fault, or the games fault. It very well could be a problem on my end and not the games.

Such an awesome sport

Regardless when it works the game is unbelievably responsive and single player wise is the one game that keeps me coming back.
Much like the real sport, Golf is a laid back and slow paced game. The controls are very sensitive and as a result make it difficult to judge the power of your swings. Thankfully you may take as many practice swings as you want to get a feel for your next shot.

After about 100 practice swings im ready

The beginner courses are very fun, but as I moved up to the intermediate and expert courses, I just couldn’t keep up. Perhaps somebody who practices a lot would have better luck than me, I just don’t enjoy this sport enough to invest time in it.
This mode requires the Nunchuk attachment. Initially I hated this game. The controls wouldn’t respond at all, and I vowed never to play it again. Recently I gave boxing another chance and found it wasn’t as bad as I had initially thought.

The key to success in boxing is to do fast quick jabs. Once I started performing my punches this way the game responded very well. It even detects if you meant to punch high or low. However I still don’t know how to pull off any special kinds of punches like hooks or uppercuts. I would think doing a hook or uppercut motion would behave accordingly, but they don’t.

You mess with Seraph, he messes up your face

Boxing is a major work out though. Your average out of shape player such as myself will be panting for air after about 2-3 games.
Wii Sports also includes a Training feature. As this mode implies, it helps you train in different areas of each sport. If your playing single player this mode can be more fun than the actual games. Training basically presents you with multiple challenges to complete, and awards you medals depending on how well you perform. Challenges range from hitting targets on a wall in tennis to trying to knock down 100 pins in bowling.

Pretty challenging but great practice

There is also a Fitness mode that runs you through some basic challenges designed to burn calories. I haven't spend any kind of time in this mode, so I can't comment.

Lasting Appeal
As a single player game, if you play games for long regular intervals then Wii Sports will not last long, I predict about 20 hours of fun max. However if you’re the type that enjoys instant quick games at the end of the day, this game can have incredible lasting appeal.

As a multiplayer game, Wii Sports has much longer legs. Since it appeals to all age groups, it is a fun game no matter who you need to entertain. I find myself loading it into my Wii time and time again to entertain guests.

Final Thoughts
Wii Sports teaches a very important lesson about video games. For years now the focus of video games has been better graphics, better story, more complexity/options, and overall bigger production values. Wii Sports takes a big step back from that line of thinking, and concentrates on what’s most important in a video game: Fun. And in this regard it succeeds where a lot of multi-million dollar budget games fail.

Unfortunately since its release Nintendo has not released much software like it, so people who really enjoy this game have nothing else to look forward to. A lot of 3rd parties try to capture the simplistic sports/mini-game feel of Wii Sports, but they all fail to capture its simplistic inviting style.

I can’t recommend this game by itself since it’s a console pack in. But if you enjoy sports and simple pick-up-and-play games, definitely place some weight on Wii Sports when considering your Wii purchase.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 01-06-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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