Wii Sports Resort with MotionPlus

The Nintendo Wii is a polarising device. Ask a gamer, and most of them will agree that the PS3 is overpriced, and the XBox 360 is unreliable. These are facts. The Wii on the other hand polarises people between love and meh. The graphics are decidedly last-gen, and the controller is either miraculous or just a pointless add-on, depending on who you ask.

MotionPlus, with and without the silicone case.

MotionPlus, with and without the silicone case.

I owned a Wii for a while when it first came out, but eventually sold it for a 360 when I realised that (a) none of the “major” franchises that I enjoy would ever come out for the Wii; (b) I can’t watch videos from my PC with the Wii; (c) the Wii wouldn’t drive my HD TV at decent resolutions; and (d) the waggly controller is fun for about 3 months.

None of this has stopped Nintendo from making the Wii more … waggly I guess. The engineers have engineered a new add-on for the Wiimote. This comes in the form of a small extension that you attach to the bottom of the controller. It incorporates a tuning fork angular rate sensor, but that doesn’t sound sexy so: MotionPlus. Apparently the MotionPlus increases the accuracy of motion, and enables new styles of gameplay. The MotionPlus also removes any doubt that Nintendo were serious about the padded silicone case for the Wiimote. The plug comes embedded in a silicone case with room for the Wiimote to slot in above it, forming one complete, padded unit.

Does it work? To be brutally honest, unless you play regular Wii Sports then Wii Sports Resort with MotionPlus one after the other, I’m not sure you’re going to tell the difference. There’s still no force feedback, so you’re left with a reasonable simulcra of the sporting motions required, but none of the feeling.

Wii Sports Resort comes with some improved and some brand new sports that ostensibly benefit from MotionPlus. A quick rundown of how I felt after a week with the console:

  • I’d say golf is slightly improved – it feels like you have a little bit more control over the hook/slice mechanic.
  • Swordplay is a better mano-a-mano option than boxing ever was, with a more satisfying strike and block system. Speedslice makes you feel like a total samurai, slicing sushi and flowerpots and … umm… giant pencils.
  • Bowling is almost identical in mechanic. They have changed my favourite “Power Bowling” to a full multiplayer game of 100-pin bowling, which is remarkably satisfying. It’s like a combination of dominos and bowling.
  • Frisbee is alright, perhaps better called golf-lite?
  • Wakeboarding is a little frustrating. It’s hard to work out what makes you land correctly and what makes you nosedive.
  • Canoeing appears to be designed as the optimal way to show just how frustrating a lack of force-feedback can be in a game.

But it all comes down to this: you get out what you put in. Watch any newbie using a Wii (or a promotional video), and you’ll see people thrashing about like epileptic cats, thrusting and swiping and poking with their full range of motion. Watch someone who has used a Wii for more than a few days, and you’ll find them sitting on a couch barely moving their wrist. Sure the Wiimote and MotionPlus will mirror your gigantic Tiger Woods golf swing, but it will just as happily register the same movement using a wrist-flick.

Ultimately, I think the Wii (with or without MotionPlus) has lasting appeal only for kids, and gamers who need their Mario and/or Zelda fix. This is not a Bad Thing.

Here’s a little video to illustrate, with compulsory Yakety Sax. In the final scene we’re having an epic sword battle, can you tell?:

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I was thinking about pre-ordering Wii Sports Resort but the early reviews weren’t great so I left it.

    I didn’t upgrade to a PS3 because PS3’s in NZ don’t play PS2 games, even though US models will. When I called Sony about this they said it was a marketing decision based on research, which only makes me think Bill Hicks was right. The US devices have a software emulator so there’s no additional cost to provide it and the work’s already done (apart from the NTSC – PAL port).

    The XBox 360 is still dogged by the red ring of death. The guy in my local game shop says they still get a 1 in 4 failure rate and you have to send it for repair three times before Microsoft will replace it. I find it staggering that they haven’t managed to fix this yet.

    So we got a Wii and the kids (10 and 13) love it. I’m hoping that the introduction of MotionPlus leads to some better sword fighting games, and maybe a light saber one. I bought Lightsaber Duels for the Wii before reading the reviews and we played it once and put it back in the case – great idea, awful implementation. I’ll just stick to PC games for now. ETQW anyone?

  2. I believe the the 360 varies with users. Mine died on me once so far in 2 years, which I guess isn’t too bad. The best bit is that all 360s come with a 3 year warranty from the date of purchase so after that I could justify getting a new one (hopefully mine dies when a Natal Xbox comes out). Also there are 360s with the Jasper chip which does prevent the red-ring but you gotta look out for them.

    As for the Wii, I have some issues with the total price of the system.
    Wii+extra wiimote and nunchuck+Component cables+Insert funny accessories you buy on impulse+Motion Plus makes the whole shebang close to getting a 360.
    And I don’t think it’s for everyone. You gotta be either an old school console gamer (15 years of gaming experience or more) or a really casual one to really appreciate it.

  3. I’ve had my 360 for a couple of years now with no issues at all. Wouldn’t count myself as a hardcore gamer, but we use it probably a couple of hours most nights for videos, and maybe 3-4 hours per week for gaming.

  4. Heh. Looks to me like the new school gamer is having the best time of all… Q: would he even notice if the screen responded totally randomly to his input? (Cf. Malcolm Gladwell on bankers and the control effect, in the latest New Yorker)

  5. LOL, crackup video – “Enthusiasm fades”

  6. There is a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points.

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