Over the past few months I have been reviewing games that I received from my fiancée in an effort to keep me away from the Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft. I decided that two could play this game and so for Christmas I attempted to purchase a Wii for dear Patrick. I finally got my hands on one closer to Valentine's Day. I also picked up a copy of Zelda: Twilight Princess to keep him glued to the television while I was plastered to the computer. I am pleased to report that it worked surprisingly well.
However, I took a solemn vow never to play a Zelda game beyond the original so you won't get a review of that game from me (I'll tell you the story behind that vow another time). But I can tell you all about the game that comes bundled with the Wii console, Wii Sports. This game is specifically designed to show off the Wii's unique controller, which uses motion and buttons as input. Since more than button pushing is required and I am a spaz, I suspected that I wouldn't do well. Pat argued that because I am the type of player who moves the controller wildly while playing, that this new controller might work to my advantage. It's too early to pass judgment, but things are not looking good.
I will give you the most amusing example to demonstrate. The game has several sports to choose from, tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing, and golf. I decided to try tennis first, thinking that would be the easiest and most straightforward. While it was the easiest game to master the motions for, I have deemed myself to be an abject failure at it. I have actually played tennis in real life, so the motions for swinging the racket were not a problem. Even serving was relatively simple. It was when it came to the actual game play that everything went horribly wrong. For some reason, my character continually rushes the net. I stand in place swinging the remote back and forth and the game interprets this movement as needing to run up to the net, thus making it next to impossible to return any balls. It's rather comical. I return the first one or two shots without a problem, but then my character begins her slow, inexorable movement to the net. I have yet to figure out a way to stop this or a way to simply back up. Backpedaling until I trip over the couch doesn't do the trick, although everyone watching me play seems to enjoy it.
Thankfully, I am good enough at Wii baseball to not feel like a total failure. Of course, I've played softball since I was eight so it comes as no surprise that this is an area in which I excel. They made me the clean up hitter for a reason, after all. All I had to do was adjust my swing slightly to accommodate a plastic remote instead of a hefty aluminum bat and I was set. The hardest part was getting used to swinging with only one arm instead of two. I had to make a similar adjustment when playing Wii Golf, but bowling and boxing were right on. Well, as far as I could tell the boxing was just like in real life. Having never boxed or even gotten into a decent fight, I couldn't say for certain.
This is a game to be played socially, it is nowhere near as much fun to be spinning around your living room like an idiot without an audience. However, the Wii only comes with one remote and so we have yet to enjoy a multiplayer experience. I look forward to it, though. While I'm sure that Pat will kick my ass at tennis (I mean really anyone could), I imagine I can teach him a thing or two about baseball. I'm also anticipating a lot of amusement from a sparring match with him, although it will be obvious to any and all that I punch like a girl. Bowling is the easiest sport to play with only one controller and a group of people. All you have to do is Switch off the controller between frames. Just like in real life.
All in all this game does exactly what it set out to do, demonstrate how the new Wii controller works and how it will affect gameplay. WiiSports even goes beyond that and is actually fun to play. It has been my experience that whatever game comes bundled with a new console is just something to tide you over until you can get your hands on whatever game you actually want to play. It was refreshing that this wasn't the case. I wouldn't go so far as to tell you to run out and buy a Wii – after all I have yet to play any of its competitors or any other games on it. But I will mention that if a friend has picked it up, you should invite yourself over and challenge them to a boxing bout. You won't be disappointed.