Here at the E3 2008 games expo, I got the chance to spend some quality time with early builds of Nintendo's latest 'Wii Series' games: Wii Sports Resort (a sequel to Wii Sports) and Wii Music (once planned as a Wii console launch title). The early verdict: Both deliver the irreverent fun you'd expect, coupled with some crafty control methods that you perhaps wouldn't. Both are sure to be popular — even Wii Music — though I'm still not 100 percent sold on it.
Wii Sports Resort
Wii Sports Resort will require the Wii MotionPlus add-on that Nintendo unveiled earlier this week. The small accessory connects to the tail of the Wii remote to deliver dramatically better arm motion sensing. Nintendo claims it delivers 1:1 precision and having tried it, I'd have to say it goes pretty close, tracking movement even when you're pointing away from the screen/sensor bar.
That kind of response opens the flood gates to all manner of new game play styles, and Nintendo let me play three mini-games: Power Cruising (Jet Ski), Disc Dog (Frisbee) and Sword Play (because who doesn't fence at the beach).
Power Cruising reminds me of Wave Race 64 but with Mii-character style graphics. You hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuck together to form a handlebar that steers your water scooter through a series of gates, slalom style. The Wii Remote's trigger (B) accelerates and flicking your wrist initiates turbo.
Also straightforward: Disc Dog sees you throw a flying disc to your virtual man's best friend — arm movements only — no button pressing needed. You receive 100, 50 or 10 points based on your accuracy (and if fido actually catches the disc). Finally, Sword Play looks to be an early contender as the "Wii Tennis" go-to game of Wii Sports Resort. Not only does it have the highest potential to break any vase and bruise any arm within swinging distance, but it's the only activity I tried where two players could compete via split screen. Literally double the carnage! The Wii MotionPlus' increased controller precision is most apparent here; it makes chopping, hacking and lunging intuitive and accurate.
The big question then: how much will the Wii MotionPlus controller cost? Nintendo would only say that it'll come bundled with a copy of Wii Sports Resort in Spring 2009. No word on it being sold separately.