As we mentioned previously, this week we got all close-up and hands-on with Nintendo's E3 lineup for the holidays, courtesy of a meeting in a NY hotel room deep in midtown Manhattan. And to our surprise (and clearly, Nintendo's delight), they've gone a little hardcore competitive on us all of a sudden.
We told you about New Super Mario Bros. Wii (a.k.a. "Super Mario Smash Bros."), and now we'll let you in on our three-game session with Nintendo's ace-in-the-hole, Wii Sports Resort.
While you've probably heard a lot about this game, did you know it's including updates of classics like bowling and golf? While we didn't spend time with those, we took on whole new challenges that provoked a bit of smack-talking between Jeff and Scott.
After our time with Wii Sports Resort two nights ago, it's safe to say that the sequel to the most popular Wii game is going to be a smash hit. The game only works with Wii MotionPlus, so you'll need to get extras if you plan on playing with friends (and you're going to want to). That said, the game will ship with one MotionPlus unit.
Resort features a similar presentation to the original and revisits some of the same sports as well. CNET editor Scott Stein and I instantly started a game of Table Tennis and we were equally blown away at how responsive the controls were. MotionPlus allowed for a very natural top spin and slicing effect, which also made for an intensely competitive match. Table tennis was definitely our pick for the most fun and satisfying game of the demo.
Next it was on to basketball for a little three-point competition. There's a certain learning curve we experienced here, nothing a little practice can't cure. Once you fall into that "flow," you'll be sinking shots left and right. Here, MotionPlus is able measure the slightest of movements to determine when you "release" the ball.
Finally, Scott and I had a go with archery. The control setup here was among the most different we've seen, but once you learn the logic behind it, it's actually quite brilliant. Here you need to compensate for wind and distance, and we were impressed with how sensitive the aiming was.
Wii Sports Resort is set to ship on July 26 and will come with one Wii MotionPlus accessory. Extra units can be purchased for $20 and are available now. Make sure to check out our first impressions with two games that already use the technology, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis.
We knew Wii Sports Resort was big--Nintendo's been teasing it for over two E3s, and Wii Sports is the main reason why people even own Wiis in the first place. But it's also pretty damn competitive. Our demo covered three of twelve minigames, all we had time for. It seems that bowling, tennis and other classics are getting revisited on Resort with Motion Plus enhancements, but we went for the new stuff.
Skipping the tempting Swordfighting, we began with Table Tennis. You have the idea: motion-sensitive paddles, small table, lots of wrist action. The game play makes Wii Tennis look antiquated, and conjures up memories of what I used to like about Rockstar Table Tennis...except here, you spin the ball by actually using paddle motions. Jeff and I traded blowouts and had a third competitive game to finish.
Archery uses the whole nunchuck+Wiimote as a virtual bow and arrow, and the feel is amazing. We tensely took on round after round set in a world that looked like it almost escaped from Link's Crossbow Training. Wind direction and distance takes a clear effect, and while I almost shot a bullseye once, a few brave misfires went over the ledge of our breezy rope bridge into the town below.
Next we tried some hoops in the three-point shooting contest, which felt like the arcade hoops games at Dave and Busters set a half-court. Interestingly, there are no buttons used for the shooting: we just aimed and tossed, and the remote sensed our "release." Working against the timer, it was a pretty intense mix of Zen concentration and beat-the-clock. I won narrowly, but Jeff and I apparently set NY editor records for percentages.
That took us through just a fourth of the selection, and we were already sold. Come on, like I said, this is why you bought your Wii. Just know that it's every bit as good as Wii Sports, and in most cases, considerably deeper and better. And more smash-talky by far. Just imagine if we had locked swords.