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A review of [Wii] Wii Sports (in the category of Game)
by: tim

I *WILL* edit some pictures into this in the future.
Jump to Score Breakdown

First impressions:

Wii Sports is a collection of five games: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf, and Boxing. It implements your Mii characters, little caricature people that you can make in the Mii channel - an option built-in the system, for all of the games and even puts non-playing Miis in the crowd. The graphics are incredibly simple and certainly nothing you would use to impress someone, however it is a very fun game.
Wii Sports is very good overall. +3

Tennis: Works really well and detects your shots accurately. One can even put spin on the ball though I have not figured out how to do it myself. This was the first game where I nailed my hand on something from making exaggerated swings. Nobody who has played alongside myself has lost grip of a controller, though.

Baseball: Batting and pitching are the only things you worry about in this game, which I find to be nice, though it can be a little sad when your fielders miss an easy catch. Batting works pretty well and you can move the bat around without swinging it.

Bowling: Unquestionably the best bowling game I've played as far as controls go. One performs a true bowling motion and it is all detected rather well. Lofting and throwing the ball backwards are possible and you can even toss the ball into the adjacent lanes. I bowled rather close to my real bowling average during my first Wii Sports bowling game.

Golf: Good, though short hits are a big challenge. It's very difficult to take a swing and keep the power meter low.

Boxing: There are a lot of issues with the controls. I try certain punches and my character does not perform them. Boxing is a real letdown.

Later impressions:

The game keeps track of your "skill level" as you play. Your skill level changes only when playing against computer players, except in bowling and golf. If you play well, you gain points; if you play poorly, or at least poorer than your current skill level, you lose points. The game also keeps a little bar graph of your skill level over time. Upon getting 1000 skill points, you are marked as a "Pro"; I have done this in all of the games and haven't noticed any bonuses except in bowling, where my Mii bowls with a ball that has large sparkles on it. Personally I prefer it to not have sparkles so I can make the ball look more like a watermelon. Mmm, so juicy.

In addition to playing the games in their regular modes, there are also three training mini-games for each sport. Highlights include home run derby (baseball), and power throws (bowling). Home run derby is self-explanatory but power throws is a game where one throws his or her ball at a fresh set of pins every time. Each time, another row of pins is added in the back and there are ten throws, where the final "frame" has 91 pins! Very novel.

Tennis: I still believe that tennis is very solid. Very occasionally will it detect your swing on the wrong side or some other bad/weird control detection. The computer players are suitably challenging and I even find myself occasionally losing matches against them. It's nice to have the difficulty level automatically adjust as you play. 4-player tennis is a blast.

Baseball: There are four different pitches you can throw: fastball, curveball, screwball, splitter; five aiming variations: middle, left, up, right, down; two pitching methods: regular and sidearm; and many speeds - speed is determined by how quickly you move the remote. While I generally enjoy batting much more, striking someone out can be so satisfying. To me, the competition is fierce at Pro level; the computer becomes very good at pitching and even breaks speed barriers by throwing 100+ MPH pitches. As far as I know, it is not possible for a human player to throw the ball faster than 90-something MPH. Out of all of the games, I probably lost in baseball the most upon reaching "Pro" level. Note: the "Pro" label is removed if your skill drops below 1000. How disheartening.

Bowling: Not much has changed regarding my views of the bowling. Controls still seem to be spot-on and it's incredibly fun. Don't blame the game if you throw poorly. Your "skill level" appears to be directly related to your average. My average is around 175; if I bowl higher than that, my skill goes up and of course if I bowl a lower score, my skill decreases.

Golf: Probably my least favorite of the games likely due to control issues, though it's also the slowest-paced game in the pack as well. The game seems to leave less space for error than the swing detection allows during some shots, but I must admit that you can still do very well. Chances are I've played golf the least amount of all the games and still managed to get a score of -5 (of 9 holes) the other day.

Boxing: When I first played boxing, I would constantly throw punches - this strategy only worked for so long. If you look at my skill level chart, you'll notice a steady incline and then a turn to a steady decline. After that, it begins to rise again. A phenomenon like this is explained by a change of strategy; the steady decline began as the computer players were tougher and tended to dodge my incessant barrage of fists, rewarding them with easy counter-hits. I lost a handful of games in a row until I began to play more defense. Upon learning to play this game correctly and how to throw different punches it has become a top choice.

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Score Breakdown

A pack of five sports: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, boxing; each with a regular mode and three training modes. Also features a "Wii Fitness" mode which selects three training mini games and gives a "Wii Fitness Age" based upon how well one performs in the mini games. All games feature at least 2 player multiplayer and some up to 4 player.

Control +4
For the most part, control is extremely intuitive but occasionally lacks precision, particularly in golf and boxing, which can be frustrating. I have difficulty imagining better controls for a bowling game aside from something that connects directly to one's brain. Tennis controls are amazing, allowing an almost unlimited amount of shots possible.

Gameplay +4
Fantastic but simple. The games are easy to play and have a beautiful fun-factor. This might be a 5 if I liked the golf a little more.

Play Time +3
I find myself coming back to play this game several times a week, even if at least to simply track my "Wii Fitness Age" or otherwise just playing for a few minutes. Playing for extended periods of time when completely over-doing the motions is not recommended as it may cause one's arms or shoulders to become sore. This is particularly notable for those out of shape or first-time players.

Graphics +1
While it does feature some higher resolution textures than GameCube games, the graphics are very simple and nothing amazing, but appropriate. This score would be one notch lower if it weren't for the inclusion of Mii characters.

Sound +4
Swinging the remote and hearing a swing sound come out of the Wii remote speaker is neat. The sound is generally simple and there are a few somewhat catchy songs. Luckily the announcer is not annoying and has a couple different recordings for each phrase. Nice shot. Nice shot! Nice shot.

Difficulty +3
Incredibly easy to pick up and play, even for those who are unfamiliar with video games. If there's any game that your grandma will play, this is it. When playing against the computer, difficulty automatically adjusts as you win or lose; a fantastic touch. Players may find easy wins against the computer in the beginning but soon will find much more evenly matched opponents and even crushing defeats.

Multiplayer +5
If you have friends, family, or some other kind of associate that might spend time with you in a social sense, this is the game for you. Almost certainly the game that is driving Wii remotes and nunchuks to sell out at a constant rate (as of this review), the multiplayer is top-notch. A fantastic party game.

Twist +4
Free with Wii purchase. 4 of the 5 games only require one hand which means you can have a beer in the other. In addition, Wii Sports is the first game, as far as I know, that has gotten people so excited that they broke their televisions, windows, laptops, light fixtures... the list goes on. It is very groundbreaking (no pun intended), uses a high amount of potential of the Wii controller. It's incredibly fun no matter who you are.

Overall rating:

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