It's fast. That's what really strikes you, almost more than the increased accuracy: with the Wii MotionPlus dongle attached to the base of the Wii remote, there is absolutely zero perceptible lag translating your movements to the screen. No woolliness, no wobble either. It is fluid, smooth, instantaneous, natural.
Wii MotionPlus is what we were promised, what we expected, what we wanted all along. It's what the Wii remote was always supposed to be - and just in time, as all that enthusiastic novelty was starting to wear off, and frustration setting in at its shortcomings. Whatever magic Nintendo has packed into this mysterious little plastic cube - we have absolutely no idea, and can't get an answer - it works.
It isn't perfect, not quite. There are some slight hitches in the animation still, a few barely noticeable flickers of uncertainty. It's hard to be sure from a half-hour play test, but Nintendo's claim of 1:1 fidelity may be mildly - only mildly - exaggerated. Still, we've gone from an experience that was maybe 60 per cent convincing and satisfactory to an easy 90 per cent plus. It's a huge leap forward.
Nintendo can be forgiven for not making a similar leap in the software. Wii Sports Resort - which will have a MotionPlus dongle packed in with it when it launches next spring - is, in two of the three games we tried, a case of "look: this is what we meant the first time".
The motions involved in Disc Dog - in which you throw a frisbee at a target for your gambolling puppy (puppii, probably) to catch - are strongly reminiscent of Wii Sports' Bowling. But this time there's no lining up to be done, not even a button to release to let go of the frisbee. The direction, attitude and timing of your throw are dictated by your positioning, movement, aim and wrist action, and nothing else. It's far less cumbersome and fiddly, a very liberating feeling.
The game is extremely simple - you get seven or eight throws, the target shifts position each time, your puppy will catch the frisbee within a fairly wide area, but precise throws win cuter animations and more points that are totted up at the end. There's a perfectly relaxing soundscape of breaking waves and little flute riffs.
Sword Play, meanwhile, recalls Wii Boxing in its split-screen, first-person, energetic and visceral duel. Before you get to the fencing with family-friendly wooden swords, however, you get ample opportunity to play with the real thing. After a few practice swishes, logs and giant pencils fall from the sky for you to slice up however you like, purely for the - admittedly glorious - fun of it.
This is when MotionPlus is simultaneously at its most impressive and disappointing; strikes don't do what you want them to do unfailingly, connecting only two-thirds of the time, but when they do connect, it's with astonishing, surgical precision. Cleaving a log into four by splitting it vertically and then chopping laterally before it even begins to fall is without doubt the most satisfying interaction we'll have this E3 (including social ones, but that's probably just the jetlag).
Then it's into the three-round bout, more crisp and tactical than boxing - largely thanks to a more definite block command, on the B button - and over quicker, making it less of a war of attrition and festival of lactic acid agony. You'll need to knock your opponent out of the ring to win the round, otherwise it's a draw. If it's undecided after three rounds - as our match was - there's a sudden-death finale on a tiny ring that's over in a couple of blows. Take that, lifestyle press.
The third game is more of a departure: Power Cruising, essentially a cut-down version of Nintendo's classic jetski racer, WaveRace. Remote and nunchuk are held laterally like the handlebars, and tilted to steer, with B acting as the throttle and a twist of the controllers giving you a boost. It's currently a simple single-player checkpoint dash; no word on whether split-screen will be added later.
The waves are gentler than WaveRace's, but the handling is unmistakable, and hugely tactile. It was, however, harder to see what MotionPlus brought to this mini-game. Steering of this sort has been done perfectly well on Wii before. What's more, it could be accomplished with just one hand, and didn't seem any less responsive with the nunchuk than with the remote. We didn't have time to investigate this one thoroughly enough, and to be fair, it doesn't matter: Power Cruising is great.
With its holiday theme, playful presentation, oddball games and gentle sense of humour, Wii Sports Resort seems even more inviting and accessible than its world-conquering predecessor. It absolutely won't provide any more depth or sophistication, but it absolutely will provide more realism, and a more genuinely direct and rewarding control experience, thanks to the mysterious MotionPlus.
Wii Sports Resort is due out worldwide next spring.