Editor's Grovelling Introduction: With Wii Sports Resort due out this coming Friday, many of you have made it clear that you felt our review should have spent more time describing the specific way that the Wii MotionPlus is put to use. Our reviewer, Christian Donlan, did what I asked him to do, so don't blame him - I should have realised that rating the first Nintendo game made for the Wii MotionPlus, of all things, called for more precision. Eurogamer exists to serve you, so I asked Christian to write a supplementary piece that reports on each event's MotionPlus implementation individually to give the review more context.
Duel introduces the basics: knock your opponent off a circular platform suspended over some water, and do it by bonking them over the head with your sword a few times. Swinging the remote launches attacks, while holding B allows you to adopt a defensive stance. The main MotionPlus difference is just how closely your swings are mirrored, allowing you to exploit the tiniest openings for precise attacks, and block from any angle.
It's not direct 1:1, but the slight skittishness seen in the original Wii Sports baseball is entirely absent. Speed Slice sees you racing against an opponent to chop up a selection of items dumped in front of you, ranging from watermelons - that perennial physics demo favourite - to wooden logs, giant cupcakes and diamonds, the hook being that you have to slice each object in the direction shown by the on-screen arrow. Speed Slice is a foregrounding of MotionPlus's enhanced movement-mirroring accuracy, in other words, but it's also a lot of WarioWare-flavoured fun.
One of my favourites in single-player, Showdown sees you fighting your way through hordes of one-hit swordsmen across a variety of WuHu Island locations, without taking more than three strikes yourself. There's a combo system for unbroken chains of knockdowns, making for a very replayable experience. The only problem is that, in the middle of a frenzied attack, the MotionPlus can occasionally lose its bearings, reversing your movements until you've paused the game to recalibrate.
Hold the remote at both ends, in the universally acknowledged steering position, and prepare to be dragged around behind a boat. The object is to chain tricks together by getting air from crossing through the wake, and then shaking the remote to perform moves. Anybody who's familiar with a very similar control scheme in Shaun White Snowboarding will immediately appreciate the increased accuracy of MotionPlus at simply registering sudden movements. However, the camera can be slightly sluggish to follow you across the sea, and the automatic nature of the tricks means the experience is a little shallow.
Frisbee Dog is not as inhumane as it sounds - the hound's simply there to return your platter. After choosing between automatic and manual styles (manual puts you in charge of releasing the Frisbee by pressing B), you swing the remote in an arc to loft your Frisbee across the sands, aiming to get as close to the target area as possible. It's not impossible to imagine Frisbee working fairly well without MotionPlus, the main difference presumably lying with the degree to which the tilt of the controller effects the curving. The Frisbee also returns for Frisbee Golf, which offers a range of disks for different distances. Gauging the power of your throw can initially be rather difficult, but at least you can often now skip across the surface of water hazards.
The remote is the bow, the nunchuk is the string, and Z fires an arrow. As the difficulty increases, wind and distance become factors, and, eventually, targets move around and are blocked by obstacles. The remote may spend most of the time pointing at the ceiling, but thanks to MotionPlus precision games like this are now rendered smooth and responsive, whereas previously they could be rather juddery.
In 3-Point Contest you hold the remote out in one hand, tilt it down and press B to pick up balls, and then swing up quickly to jump and shoot at the basket. Memorably demoed at Nintendo's E3 press conference, accompanied by some of the worst trash-talking in the history of verbal communication, this streamlined target practice actually moves too quickly for you to really notice much of a MotionPlus difference. Taking the shooting mechanics from 3-Point Contest, 3-on-3 presents a more elaborate - but still sensibly pared down - take on basketball. Pass the ball to highlighted team-mates by pressing A, steal the ball from opponents with a flick of the wrist or block their shots with an upwards stroke, and shake the remote up and down to dribble. It sounds complicated, but it quickly becomes second-nature, and it's one of the meatier options in Resort.
When compared to the original game's Tennis, a regular Table Tennis game in Match mode really highlights the MotionPlus' greater accuracy, allowing you to angle your paddle a fair amount, and switch to backhands. Rallies build with a real tension, and the game moves at a nice pace. Return Challenge focuses on hitting a series of balls without having to worry about serving or rallies, and is more a test of speed than accuracy.
Golf and Bowling
Golf returns, but there's a new range of courses, and a greater degree of accuracy all round. Elsewhere, I couldn't really tell if Bowling had gained much in the transition to Resort, other than by having 100-Pin mode and Spin Control freed from their hiding places in the original game's Training menu.
Slalom Course places you on P Diddy's favourite form of transport, the Jet-Ski, and gets you racing between bobbing rings to earn enough time extends to make it to the finish line, the remote and nunchuk held out like handlebars. Due to the speed and water, it's also hard to tell how much the MotionPlus is adding to the experience here, but twisting the remote to boost is a nice touch. Versus mode sends you racing to the chequered flag passing through the rings in any order. (Please note, almost all events in Resort have some kind of multiplayer mode, not just those with a Versus option.)
Speed Challenge introduces the basics, using the remote held down like a paddle, and swung from one side and then the next to move you forward. The MotionPlus' accuracy is on full display, as the angle of your oar and the speed with which you cut it into water all seem to count. Versus mode sees you racing past checkpoints to beat your rival to five points.
Road Race sends you pedalling around the island, conserving your energy on the downhill sections, pumping the remote and nunchuk up and down to power you forward. With all that shaking going on, the MotionPlus can occasionally lose its calibration - and when it is calibrated, it's often slow to register your movements.
Holding the remote flat to mirror your body as you sail through the air, Skydiving has you tilting it to move around, linking up with other divers for a photo challenge, and eventually passing through a series of rings. This is MotionPlus at its most quietly effective, registering all your moves, even if you often have to contend with wind resistance and a gently reluctant camera. Island Flyover uses the same controls to send your biplane whizzing around WuHu, with simple pleasures like a treasure hunt and some balloon popping in store, and Dogfight makes it all a bit personal.
With all this in mind, check out our Wii Sports Resort review to see how we felt about the game in summary.