Wii Sports - Tennis, Bowling
Genre: Arcade Sports
|FIMP: Wii Sports - Tennis, Bowling [Wii]|
The somewhat paltry scene around Wii Sports last Tuesday, November 8th. It was packed later that week.
Tennis feels remarkably good, as you may have gathered from other impressions already. There isn't any disconnect between your actions and the on-screen responses, so there's no need to over-compensate for any lag you might fear existing. The swings also mimic your movements pretty well, so if you find yourself swinging early you can attempt to swing again if you're fast enough - unlike traditional button-based tennis games where the swing animation is pretty much canned.
Tennis not only responds to the direction you swing your arm, but also to how you've tilted the controller. Tilt it the right way and it seems that you can control topspin and backspin. You're also able to control the speed with which the ball travels by putting varying degrees of strength behind your swings. I've seen elsewhere that a forehand swing, which is "supposed" to send the ball leftward bound, sometimes results in the ball going right. Vice versa with a backhand swing. This didn't really happen in my experience; in addition, in REAL tennis - you know, the real life sport that this game is based on - it is possible to backhand or forehand a shot that results in the ball going almost straight. Also, this might happen because when a person brings his "racket" from right-to-left in order to prepare for a backhand (a left-to-right swing), that action of bringing it back could be interpreted as a swing.
The problem I have with this game is that you can't control your players. This has been a pretty well-known aspect of the game, and the rationale is that they want players to just make with the swinging and get on with it. I would have liked to see an option, at least, to allow for players to attach the nunchuk analog stick or even use the remote's D-pad to move the players with your thumb. As fun as it is swinging the racket, feeling the little vibration in the remote and hearing the "pock" as the ball is hit, it also feels a bit dumb not being able to get your character to move to the ball of your own volition. I imagine deeper tennis games in the future would allow you to use the nunchuk to control your player, even letting him dive by thrusting it forward.
I understand that this is a pack-in, but the shallow feeling of not even being able to control your guys makes it seem more like a pack-in tech demo than a pack-in game. Nevertheless, the game still manages to be fun; just make sure you're playing it with people and not the AI. The experience got a bit old playing this game alone.
As a final note - it is true that you don't have to make huge swings with the remote but instead just flick your forearm or even wrist. Some people call this a flaw. Other people call this cheating. I disagree. Most importantly, it doesn't make the game any less fun, and in fact it gives you more control over your top- or backspin since you can more directly control your wrist movements. The feeling, for me, is all about moving as opposed to pushing buttons - regardless of how much or little I actually swing, the bottom line is that it's intuitive and enjoyable either way.
Bowling is quite incredible in terms of mechanics. It replicated my typical bowling session - that is, I got a not-so-hot score, and my bowling ball always slightly veered to the left when I didn't watch myself. The mechanics are simple: choose where you stand and how you face the pins with the d-pad. Then, bring the remote up vertically to your face while pressing the B trigger. Bring it back, just as you would any bowling ball, swing forward, release B, and follow through. That's it. The only difference is that you're not holding an 11+ pound ball in your hands.
Before the approach
Well, I tried to get this guy throwing. Unfortunately, this store employee was bigger than me. Otherwise I would have threatened him to move him out of the way.
You really do have to pay attention to how your hand "releases" the ball, because spin will occur at even the slightest incorrect orientation - just like with a real bowling ball. So far I've absolutely had to use the full motion, unlike in tennis where you can merely flick your wrist. Now, there are some unrealistic aspects to the release mechanism; first of all, the fact that you're holding a remote and not a ball does make it easier for little ones to throw strike after strike by just zinging the remote. In all fairness, who wants to play a family bowling game with his or her son when the kid can't even catch a break? There's also the matter of you releasing the ball too high up. I found myself releasing the B-button when my hand was already at chin level. In real life, that means that I'd be lobbing the ball from up high. This is exactly what happens in the game, but then after the ball lands and starts rolling, it's as if no ill was done.
I've heard elsewhere that Bowling is the most well-done out of all the Wii Sports games. After watching people play Boxing, Baseball and Golf, I can say from an outsider's perspective that this "looks" to be true. From first-hand impressions, I can definitely say that Bowling is far more enjoyable and accurate than tennis, and is likely the more interesting of the two when by yourself. Both games, however, look to be great fun for group sessions.
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