Looking more like something used for nefarious deeds than a game controller add-on, Motion Plus comes bundled with Wii Sports Resort - the follow up to the spectacular Wii launch title. The little Motion Plus box is couched in a silicon sleeve that fits over your Wii Remote. The plug snaps into place where the 'chuck usually sits, and is replaced by a covered port at the base of the contraption. Leaving aside the technobabble, Motion Plus makes your Remote sense stuff better-er. For games like table tennis, this wee beastie will allow you to spin harder, angle more devilishly and generally boost the performance of the game mechanics.
The game itself is a sequel's sequel. It is so sequel-ish it almost seems like you're just playing unlocked content on the original. But that doesn't mean it's not a heck of a lot of fun. Graphically and aurally, Wii Sports Resort (I might as well get this out of the way) looks and sounds just like its predecessor. Okay, so some of it is a bit sleeker, perhaps, but there's nothing going on visually that will make you sit up and take notice. Relying completely on the 12 sports games bundled herein, Wii Sports Resort is merely trying to bring some new stuff to the table.
The original game was excellent, right? You know it was. I don't have to tell you and, if you have a Wii and Wii Sports, then you probably still play it to this day. The tennis, boxing, bowling etc should have provided you and your family hours and hours of entertainment and good-natured ribbing. If you're a seventeen year old boy, chances are you and your friends have stood around your parents' LCD TV and questioned each others' life purpose, while swinging, flicking and jerking that Wii Remote into the wee small hours. It's a game everyone can get into and that everyone found something to like about.
Well - the least one can say about this game is that it is as good. Better? Hem-haw. I dunno. Probably maybe not perhaps sort of.
In Resort, you use a Mii just as in the elder game, and there are options for up to four players, depending on the sport. Wuhu Island, where all the action takes place, has a range of locations for you to explore as you play. Bowling and golf reappear from the original, although with the Motion Plus add-on they require you to be rather more accurate - and a lot more careful - with your balls (you can insert your own joke, and thank me later). Making an appearance for the first time are swordplay, power cruising, canoeing, archery, basketball, air sports, wakeboarding, cycling, table tennis (although naturally this is much the same as tennis) and Frisbee. Of course, some are better than others, but that 9/10 for gameplay isn't hollow - Wii Sports Resort is tonnes of fun. And it would be, right? The same style and grace has been carried over from Wii Sports.
Archery was by far my favourite, with an incredibly realistic use of the Remote and 'chuck to hold, draw and release the bow. The arrows have a very believable parabola (huh - I told my old maths teacher I would never have a use for that, I guess I was wrong) and they hit the target, assuming you're controlled enough, with a satisfying thwack. Let's say you're a righty: you'll hold the Remote in your left hand, up-and-down like you would a real bow. In your right will be the 'chuck, which you use to draw the string. You need to hold Z, which draws the bow slowly and evenly, but you can jerk the 'chuck back if you want to add extra power and speed. To release, you just let go of Z. If you mime that motion out as you read this - or go and test your own Remote and 'chuck to see - you'll notice that you finish up in more or less exactly the same position you would if you were firing an actual arrow. Your aim is controlled by the tilt and position of the Wii Remote, and a slowly closing circle will help you centre your shot.
Swordplay, another star, is a lot like Wii Sports boxing, but this time you'll keep both hands on the Remote. Attacking and parrying require no more than a bit of intuition, which is why games like this succeed across almost every demographic. In each best of three round, you'll try and knock your opponent into the water surrounding a circular platform. At first, you face pretty easy foes, but as you progress, surprise surprise, things toughen up. This game, as with all of the others, has unlockable content that comes to you based on how well you do. Some games require that you beat opponents in straight games, others that you reach a certain level of points. Either way, don't expect the goodies to run out in a hurry, because Resort has quite a few extras.
Wii Sports tennis was a game I returned to over and over again, and while the table tennis game in Resort won't replace it, there's that same addictive allure. With Motion Plus, gamers have far more options for tricky maneuvers like spin, which should give anyone who has time to practice a huge leg up during those late night sessions with your mates.
And what doesn't work so well? The cycling is almost too much work. You might as well get a real bike and ride on a real road and fall off and get real concussion. Pedalling with your hands is maybe a bit easier than with your legs, but not by much. Certainly the cycling section asks a lot more of you than, say, wakeboarding. The Frisbee, I found, was disproportionately hard, and seemed to require the sophisticated dexterity of a Japanese robot yet to be invented. If you've got the time to invest and you really, really want your dog to catch that thing, then it could be fun. Unlike the rest of it though, Frisbee is lacking that pick-up-and-playability.
It sucks that you need to go out and get Motion Plus for each and every set of controls you want to play with. The cool thing about the original game is that you only need to have friends with Wiis, not friends with Wiis and games that use Motion Plus, or friends with the fat cash required to pick it up - this add-on is not optional. This is going to limit the game's appeal, even if the similarity to Wii Sports doesn't.
If you have spent so long at the helm of Wii Sports that you crave another challenge, then this will be the game for you. If you're a moneybags who never played Wii Sports and wondered what all the fuss was about, then this will be the game for you. If you're a newcomer to the Wii, then there's no reason you can't start here and, well, ditto. If you don't fit into any of these categories, then a knockout archery sim might not be enough, but I'm not going to sit here and run the game down for that. Wii Sports Resort perhaps doesn't go as far as a good sequel should, but it's still - yes, yes - damned good fun.