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First Take: Wii MotionPlus

We take Wii MotionPlus out for a spin in this early First Take hands on.

When Nintendo announced Wii MotionPlus at last year's E3 2008 press conference, it certainly raised a few eyebrows. First off, we wondered why this technology wasn't included in the original Wii remote to begin with. Would every game be able to take advantage of MotionPlus?

We've had a few days to play around with Wii MotionPlus along with a few games that take advantage of what it offers. That said, we're not convinced that these games maximize its capability and therefore we're not giving it a score yet. We're going to wait until Wii Sports Resort is released--the first game that is supposedly fully optimized for MotionPlus--before we make any final judgments.

Regardless of a final score, we got to experience what MotionPlus is mostly all about, and for the most part, it does offer an impressive 1:1 representation of your movements on screen. We tested it out with two early games that can use it, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 seems to only use MotionPlus for performing draw and fade shots. During your follow-through, you need to twist your wrist left or right in order to make the ball slice. A meter appears on screen (unique to those with the accessory) that measures the slight movements in your grip of the Wii remote.

We couldn't tell the difference during an actual swing though. It seemed the Wii remote was just as accurate in detecting our back swing regardless of whether MotionPlus was attached.

During our testing with Grand Slam Tennis, the MotionPlus control was even less impressive (or present for that matter). Sure our player's racket was moving perfectly with our Wii remote before a serve, but that control didn't translate well during actual gameplay. In fact, we found that MotionPlus made the game even harder to play. When we took off the device, we had a much easier time keeping the tennis ball in play.

As it stands right now, it's pretty clear that we're going to get a more intuitive experience with a MotionPlus compatible first-party Nintendo title. When Wii Sports Resort is available, we'll hopefully be able to properly examine just how well Wii MotionPlus can be utilized. Additionally, we'll update this First Take with a full review and score. For now, let's examine the actual attachment itself and how it hooks on to your Wii remote.

All you'll find in the packaging is the plastic piece and a new rubber sleeve to accommodate the Wii remote's new length. Wii MotionPlus itself is only about a square inch and easily hooks on to your Wii remote using two prongs. When inserted, you'll slide the rear lock switch so that it won't fall out during gameplay. A plastic trap door sits at the base of the device so that you can also hook in your nunchuk controller.

Using the MotionPlus attachment occasionally felt a bit clunky. It does add a noticeable length to the Wii remote. If you turn it horizontally, it makes hitting the "1" and "2" buttons very difficult. Let's just hope there are no games out there that will require you to do so.

It's been announced that older Wii games will not be able to use MotionPlus. That said, some titles down the road will actually require it, like Ubisoft's Red Steel 2.

Whether we need motion control in games aside, right now it looks like Wii MotionPlus might add a degree of difficulty to games that some users may not be ready for. We'll know much more when we get our hands on games made specifically for the device.

Stay tuned for our full MotionPlus review when Wii Sports Resort is released in July.