Archive for December, 2009

Wii Sports Resort – Day 2

Posted: December 30, 2009 in 4 Hearts
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Imagine you’re in a plane flying over an island and to land on the island you skydive. That is the opening scene for Wii Sports Resort. From there, its a round of of games both alone and in teams. All kinds of fun that would normally be enjoyed  a tropical island vacation, translated into a version that can be played in your living room. The variety includes fairly normal things like baseketball and bowling and also things like skydiving, wakeboarding and swordplay. And beyond just making these games playable year round any where, they are almost all multi-player. And for those who chose to play with less than the maximum number of human players, there is an adaptive difficulty to the NPCs.

Adaptive difficulty. While a lot of shooter games or strategy games have the ability to change their difficulty level to reflect the abilities of the player, this isn’t as common in games that are for the most part a set of multi-player minigames that also just happen to have the ability to have computer players. The adaptive difficulty in Wii Sports Resort is very well done, giving the player opponents who are just slightly better than they were the last time they played so that the player is constantly improving. Each player is represented by their own Mii and every time they play a new sport, they get a score for it. This score is their skill level. Every time the player does well, their score goes up to reflect how well they did. Just winning doesn’t guarantee that your score goes up a lot, you also have to do well. To really increase your player score by a large number, total victory is the best way. And it works the same way in reverse. If the game is too hard, then the player score goes down and the game becomes easier.

Graphics. The adorable cartoony graphics that we’ve come to know and love from the Miis and the Wii Sports and Wii Play games has continued to shine in Wii Sports Resort. And better than just continuing use of the avatar type, if you have a Mii stored, you can use that same Mii in this game and its outfit is updated to reflect the resort vacation. Hawaiian shirts for all! The environments are beautifully rendered in such a way that they look realistic but the cartoony people and animals don’t stand out as being unusual. More than just having pretty background, the environments actually matter to the game and things change as you would expect them to. For example, if you were practicing your archery skills shooting out over a pit of lava (an environment that is available in the game) and you miss the target, your arrow doesn’t just splash down into the lava like it does in the water. The arrow behaves exactly as you would expect an arrow to behave if it landed in the lava.

The game-play for Wii Sports Resort is essentially like any other Wii title. The Wiimote is used to aim, shoot, throw, run, wakeboard, or whatever else you might need to do. All of the different sports are controlled with close simulations of the real movements required to play. Some of the simulations are a bit of a stretch (like the cycling) but for the most part the games are well designed and easy to figure out and play. And if that wasn’t enough, they also remind you how to play every time you start up just in case you forgot.

So remember to come again on Friday for the wrap-up of this week’s reviewing where I will present my overall thoughts on the game and score it.


Wii Sports Resort – day 1

Posted: December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Wii Sports Resort is the second game in the Wii Sports line-up, with the first being more or less a promotional disc that comes with the Wii console. This game is one of the first to make use of the new Motion Plus attachment and is actually shipped with one in the package. When Wii Sports Resort is first played, a tutorial video plays that teaches you how to plug in the Motion Plus attachment. The video is slightly annoying if you know what you’re doing or bothered to read the instruction booklet that came with it and there is no way to by-pass the video, but at least it remembers that you’ve watched it and doesn’t play it again. Wii Sports Resort requires that the Motion Plus attachment be hooked up to your Wiimote at all times and some of the games require the use of the Nunchuk attachment. The Motion Plus is designed to increase the accuracy of the Wiimote in capturing all of your movement and it seems to do this pretty well, although it needs to be re-calibrated fairly often. The other problem with it is that it increases the length of the Wiimote. This isn’t a problem for an adult, but if there are small children playing, they may have trouble playing games that require the Wiimote to be used like a normal controller. The added length makes it more difficult for small hands to reach the buttons.
The basic idea of the Wii Sports titles is that you can play sports in your house and actually be throwing and hitting and paddling and whatever else you might have to do instead of just pushing buttons. The original Wii Sports only had baseball, golf, bowling, boxing and tennis. They’ve added several more sports to the Resort including canoeing, wakeboarding, basketball, cycling and swordplay.  They dropped the boxing and exchanged the tennis for ping-pong. Since the original was essentially free, having such a limited amount of games wasn’t a problem at all. The games were rather well made and react well to any actions you can make. Every time a game is played, it reminds you of the buttons you need to press in order to play. While this can get annoying, sometimes the reminder is nice. Overall, the first Wii Sports game was a rather good example of the power of the Wii and Wii Sports Resort is looking like a good follow up.

Come back on Wednesday to hear more about Wii Sports Resort when I’ll be covering the game-play and looking at the difficulty.

Hello world!

Posted: December 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

Hello internet readers. Have you ever found yourself looking at a video game and wondering if you would enjoy it, or perhaps, if your child would enjoy it? Well, that’s why I’m here. I’m a college student studying video game design and analysis and I’ve been an avid gamer since birth.

Whenever you need help figuring out which games to buy and which to by-pass, I’ll be here. Posts will come Monday, Wednesday and Friday from now on and I will review and analyze a different game every week. Feel free to contact me either through comments or e-mail to suggest games for me to review. So remember, the video game world is a dangerous place to go alone, so take this.