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. With the device debuting so late in the console's lifespan, would every game be able to take advantage of MotionPlus?
Wii MotionPlus was released back in June, but Nintendo did not have any first-party games available at the time to show off the new technology. Instead, we were left with third-party titles that did. Now that we're able to get our hands on Wii Sports Resort--the title Nintendo is launching MotionPlus with--we have a much better idea of what it's like playing with the attachment. It's tough to make a final judgment on MotionPlus, as you'll have no choice but to use it if you want to play certain games. Instead, all we can do is talk about how it feels and whether or not it does a better motion sensing job.
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 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 MotionPlus games out there that will require you to play in horizontal mode.
As far as we can tell, MotionPlus does not noticeably affect battery life on the Wii remote. Unfortunately, most older Wii rechargeable docking stations won't accommodate the remote's new shape--you'll most likely have to remove MotionPlus before you recharge. That said, we really liked the Energizer 2X Induction Charge Station, which is able to charge a Wii remote with MotionPlus attached.
For the most part, it does offer an impressive 1:1 representation of your movements onscreen. We tested the game out with two early games that can use it: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis. We'll get to our testing with Wii Sports Resort later.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 seems to only use MotionPlus for performing draw and fade shots. During your backswing, you need to twist your wrist left or right in order to make the ball slice. A meter appears onscreen (unique to those with the accessory) that measures the slight movements in your grip of the Wii remote.
We couldn't tell the difference between actual swinging, however. It seemed the Wii remote was just as accurate in detecting our pullback regardless of whether or not MotionPlus was attached.
During our testing with Grand Slam Tennis, the MotionPlus control was even less impressive. 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 ball in play.