Wii Sports is unlike anything I’ve ever played since I was first introduced to videogames 16 years ago. While that says a lot, it doesn’t make this game perfect by any means. But it convinced me that when Nintendo cried the word ‘Revolution’ to the world, they meant it. So even though Wii Sports isn’t perfect, it’s the perfect title to showcase Nintendo’s revolutionary regime. Indeed, it was smart of Nintendo to pack in this game with their Wii consoles.
What makes Wii Sports stand out, you ask? It’s the controls, obviously. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Nintendo has been promoting motion-sensitive controls like mad scientists for the past year. Simply put, you have to play Wii Sports to believe it. Aside from some very minor hitches in Wii Boxing, these controls simulate real-life sports perfectly. There’s a hidden depth to each sport, too. You see, Nintendo intentionally left out the deep controls from the in-game tutorials and instruction manual, opting for the simplistic “all you need to know on how to play” explanation. Presentation-wise, this was a very smart move because it will attract both first-time gamers and experts. Think of it this way: it’s the first time you approach a game as innovative as Wii Sports, you try Tennis and find how simple it is to play by swinging the Wii remote like a racket, then you start thinking, “so what if I try slicing or lobbing my Wii remote, will it work?”, and finally you try these moves and lo and behold; it’s like you’re in a real Tennis match. All the other sports in this package have the same amount of control depth, too. Uppercuts and liver blows are possible in boxing, curve balls are possible in pitching, curving your ball is possible in bowling (along with some funny Easter-egg screw-ups), and so on and so forth.
Not all is great in the realm of depth and presentation, however. It’s no secret that Nintendo’s intention with Wii Sports is to show people that you’ll see more depth later in the Wii’s lifespan. Thus, no matter how deep the motion controls are, you will be left with a demo-like experience. It’s like eating the icing and leaving the cake. Examples include; being limited to a certain mode of play, not controlling your character and the inability to choose you’re the type of your terrain in Tennis, limited holes and no detailed statistics of your terrain in Golf, very simplistic use of the baseball sport, etc.
The graphics also contribute to Wii Sport’s not-so-awesome presentation. To put it simply, the quality and style are average at best. This game is definitely not the Wii’s showcase title if you’re looking for graphics and graphics only. Props to the developers for at least giving this game a clean look, some colorful environments, and instances of nice special effects…but I think that there’s no excuse for the DreamCast-quality character models and restricted animations. And what’s with the Lego rip-off of the Mii character designs? If you want some really cool Lego graphics, go play the Lego Star Wars series. Nintendo should take note of Traveler’s Tales’ work and put it to their advantage.
Wii Sports’ sound fortunately fares better than its graphics. The game’s soundtrack won’t blow you away, but it’s clear that there’s some effort put here. You’ll notice a variety of catchy tracks and different genres like country and blues. There’s also the occasional annoying tune (a.k.a. Victory Tune in Wii Boxing) but it doesn’t hurt the “news channel-like” vibe the composer created for this game. The sound effects are also well-produced, even the ones coming out of the Wii remote’s speaker.
Most of the replay value will be found via multiplayer. Single-player gamers are limited to a handful of mini-games if they’re bored from the regular play.
Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with Wii Sports in case you own Nintendo's latest console. That’s the main reason why that demo-like presentation won’t bother you much. After all, you get what you pay for. All negatives aside, the physics and motion controls will impress the heck out of you…you can be so impressed that you’ll forget about the lackluster graphics and presentation. It makes you wonder about the future, though. I would be very interested in EA’s Fight Night and Tiger Woods series if they’re going to have Xbox-quality graphics and controls as deep as Wii Sports.