Following the hit success that was Wii Sports, a game that came packaged with the Wii console in many territories, it was expected that Nintendo would try to build on its success. Wii Sports Resort is their attempt to do this, and it also the key title which is leading the charge with Wii MotionPlus.
Wii Sports Resort starts off with some Miis jumping out of an aeroplane. They then proceed to parachute down to the resort, and it gives a nice little introduction to Wii Motion Plus as the controller mimics the position of the Mii. Upon landing, players are greeted with a range of activities that can entertain them while they're staying at the resort, and there is quite a bit of variety.
There are 12 activities overall, with a few returning in some shape or form from the original Wii Sports. Bowling is one of these, as it's almost identical, as well as Golf. It could be argued that Table Tennis is also quite similar to Tennis, but this is where Wii MotionPlus really helps to enhance the experience. It's exceedingly responsive, and pulling off the different ranges of shots feels a lot more natural than before. It's still a bit limited though, as the AI remains in control of movement, but it's not as big an issue as before, as the playing area is a lot smaller.
Another good example of a new activity that shines is Swordplay. In this, players are tasked with wielding a sword and attacking enemies. It seems like a very simple premise, and it is. However, it can actually be quite strategic, especially when playing against the AI. Swinging the Wii Remote will act as a sword stroke, but players can also use the B button to defend against strikes from specific directions. If a strike is successfully defended, it puts their opponent off balance, and they are then vulnerable to strikes. The inclusion of a reaction test is also interesting, as players have to slice through objects in the correct direction as quickly as possible.
As well as a standard mode, each of the activities generally has two or three deviations to make things have some replay value. Some of them are quite generic, but others have some real potential. Basketball for example, is quite fun when just shooting hoops, but the addition of a 3-on-3 mini-game, while unexpected, can provide some good entertainment. Frisbee and Archery are probably some of the more innovative games to be featured and they also work pretty well, although the Archery controls are prone to breaking, which makes it rather awkward.
Not all of the activities feel like they deserve a place in the package though and this is unfortunate, with the most out of place being Dog fighting. It's fairly random in terms of the theme of the game, and it just doesn't feel like it adds anything. The controls are also quite bad, and when playing against someone else things can get exceedingly frustrating. Cycling can also be categorised in the same way, with regards to controls. To pedal the bike, players must simulate a pedalling motion with their hands, but to turn corners they must continue to do this, while rotating their hands. It's really cumbersome and doesn't really give the idea of riding on a bike at all.
Graphically, the game isn't much of an improvement on the original Wii Sports. The returning activities look near identical, and the new activities look fairly generic. The textures on scenery are quite uninspired, but they do their job. The sound is equally bland, but again, it does its job. It would have been nice to see these areas improved, given that Wii Sports came out such a long time ago.
In terms of replayability, for a single player there isn't much on offer other than beating scores. Where Wii Sports Resort really comes into its own with with multiplayer. A lot of the sports really come to life when playing with someone else, and as fun as playing against AI is, there's nothing like some good human competition. The sports where it's literally real-time are much better at this, as events such as Frisbee and Archery really lose some of the tension. Canoeing is probably one of the most fun events from this perspective, even if it feels quite random. Each of the activities also have a few secondary events, so if one particular aspect isn't liked, it can also be enjoyed in other ways.
Wii Sports Resort is essentially the game that Wii Sports should have been. With the inclusion of Wii MotionPlus, the Wii Remote now responds much better and it means that activities such as Sword fighting and Table Tennis can be enjoyed a whole lot more. Some of the activities really feel tacked on though, and the graphics haven't had any noticeable improvements. However, it's a great game to play with friends and that aspect should not be overlooked.