Wii Sports was a phenomenon in the world of gaming that introduced a number of non gamers to a whole new world and gave families the opportunity to play together regardless of gaming experience or a prior love. The way the game was played meant it was accessible to anyone who was willing to give it a go and we could also never deny it was fun for the most part, sure we saw a bad egg in the basket from time to time but Wii Sports was great to play. Of course Wii Sports is the game that cemented interest in the Wii and brought everybody in to see just how good motion controls could be, however notably it can be said that Wii Sports did have a few issues control wise and not everything felt as good as it possibly could have been but either way Wii Sports was still good. But moving on from the Wii is the Wii U does Wii Sports still have the same power or potential and would it still be a system seller like it was originally on the Wii?
To put it simply Wii Sports Club will not sell consoles though it is still worthy of being played particularly on a new platform and given how it has been upgraded. Before we move on to talk about the game though I will make mention that this review relates to the disc version of Wii Sports Club, the game was originally released last year for the Wii U’s eShop, however this worked as more of a pay to play model with each sport available being released separately and each one costing money to either buy a day pass for the game or buy the sport as a whole. I was not a fan of this system of release and had hoped that the game would come to disc and what do you know it did, personally I prefer to have my whole game on one disc or in one place and the original release felt like more of a ripoff on the player, but never fear the physical release is all in one place for us all to enjoy and this is how games should be.
The original Wii Sports boasted some of the best controls in a game and was easily one of the Wii’s top games, however with all this in mind could we really say the controls were perfect, surely many of us thought there was some issues that needed to be ironed out particularly where making things work as well as you wanted it to was concerned. Thankfully this is where Wii Sports Club comes in, this is not just a re-release onto Nintendo’s latest platform instead it is an upgrade with improved systems and even plenty of new ideas to benefit the game as a whole and maybe add to the basic experience of the original game.
How do we improve a game like this though to improve the sports and make it more enjoyable and realistic, well for those who have played Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort or The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword you will be familiar with Nintendo’s excellent motion plus control add on. This little device makes the control more accurate and motions more fluent with your own, and this has been added to every inch of Wii Sports Club to make the controls and the experience even better and trust me it works, well mostly.
For most of the sports on offer the motion plus is a major benefit making each one the best they can possibly be and improving over the original game in a way that perhaps makes it better. For one example I look at tennis which while it has always been one of my favourite sports available on the original game and here, but I always found that tennis was a bit clumsy and unbalanced in Wii Sports but here everything works, every time I messed up I knew it was my mistake of not aiming in the correct direction or smacking the ball at the wrong time. Though this also meant I left each game satisfied that every move I made was reacted on screen perfectly and it also meant I could perform each return or serve the way I wanted and the game would follow.
Golf has seen a similar improvement except it comes in the form of the Wii U’s Gamepad, Nintendo has used this as a tool to slightly improve key points of different sports though it is only used particularly in Golf and Baseball. For Golf the Gamepad is used as a sort of measure, you place it on the floor, hold the remote over it and as you swing you can judge the twist of the swing and the potential power presented by the hit. The Gamepad screen also acts as a sort of tee and makes golf seem much more realistic which I did enjoy, I still can’t say Golf is much fun because it is not but this the best way I have played Golf thus far.
Baseball on the other hand uses the Gamepad for pitching, in the original Wii Sports pitching was done by swinging the Wii remote and based on how fast you swung the remote the ball would respond and go fast or slow towards the opponent. The Wii remote portion of this activity has now been dropped in favour of the Gamepad but it is a better move. The gamepad allows you to choose where you aim the ball to be throw and easily allows you to choose your type of throw, and further it allows us to better prepare our throws speed based on your timing with the button. The Gamepad is a better system then the Wii remote as a whole and certainly improves the Baseball experience.
Unfortunetly this controller update has received a casualty and has made one of my favourite points about the original game just boring and just not work. This sport is Boxing in the original game Boxing made use of the Wii remote and nunchuk for quick and shot by shot action based on your swings of the controller. The new game though lacks this system and instead makes use of one or two Wii Remotes Plus for each match, I don’t honestly know why they couldn’t have just kept the nunchuk controller section in and how did anyone think that people could have as many as four controllers with motion plus add on’s. Because of this I found that many of us would be forced to play with a single controller, and that is just slow and boring, you are only able to attack with a single arm and it just isn’t much fun at all, and I was annoyed by this given that my favourite sport of the original game is no longer much good unless of course you do happen to have four Wii Remotes with Motion Plus lying around in order to get the full experience.
However even if Boxing has its issues and I don’t think anyone should want to play it the other sports do at least make good use of Wii Sports Club’s biggest change. The game offers online matches where we each join a club based on whatever country we pick and then we can compete online against other players in each sport. Online play is a lot of fun and it was great to be able to play against other people in the world and make the experience not feel so lonely, however I still say nothing beats playing locally with friends in the same room and this is where the experience is best but either way it is interesting to see how good other players are at each sport. Negatively though is matches are not always easy to find and it can slow things down, but this is only minor in the grand scheme based on the level of enjoyment presented by the game otherwise.
Wii Sports Club is the game many of us played before and loved, and while I don’t think that many of you would be willing to take another go at the game and buy the updated version, I still feel that the game is well worth it for how it has been updated. The new control scheme just makes the experience better and while I would love to see more games like this updated on the Wii U next time I would prefer a brand new Wii Sports. To be honest though I did have to question what the point of updating the game was as it is not always worth trying to update a game like this particularly when it can never recapture that same initial love that we had for the original. But regardless Wii Sports Club was still good enough fun for people to play and is a worthy game for anyone’s Wii U game collection, just avoid Boxing unless you have at least four Wii Remote Plus lying around for your game