Parent Talk: ESPN Sports Connection is rated E for everyone because it’s a collection of several sports mini-games featuring no offensive material whatsoever.
Plays Like: Played Wii Sports, excellent you know more or less what to expect here. Truly, the characters even look similar in design, except more Xbox avatar-like.
Review Basis: Tried all the different games.
Conceptually ESPN Sports Connection is awesome. Collect baseball, football, soccer, tennis, gold and racing together and allow players to play full games of each, not just short casual versions like seen in so many other titles like this. Ironically this is exactly what ends up happening though.
+ ESPN Sports Connection makes good use of the Wii U’s HD capabilities. Character models are clean, and all the various sporting events have nice environments.
+/- Tennis, kart racing and golf are about the only games that play fairly well, but that’s only half the collection, and each plays identically to what’s been done before.
– Controlling each of the various sports is extremely cumbersome. A Wii Motion Plus controller is required to play, but not used so it feels as though players are simply playing another Wii Sports clone except not in short bursts, but for extended periods of time.
– The Wii U Game Pad is also used in bizarre ways. Players have to move the Pad around in weird motions and angles in order to catch an incoming ball in baseball, and then make the most simple of gestures to call a play in football. It never comes together.
– Bizarre A.I. issues make different plays almost impossible to perform. Whether it be a ball going nowhere near where it should in a game of golf, or a football play coming out disastrously wrong.
– Motion controls aren’t up to part. ESPN Sports Connection feels as though it launched on the Wii, not the Wii U. Motion controls have been done much better elsewhere in the past six years.
– Horrendous load times hamper gameplay.
– Technical hiccups frequently occur during multiplayer, especially the more players you have join.
Wii Sports, you remember, the pack-in game that launched with the Wii, is significantly more impressive than this.
ESPN Sports Connection is one of those launch titles you can steer very clear from. It doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done better before. Ubisoft has put out some really good Wii U launch titles, but this surely isn’t one of them.
Final Score: 3.5/10