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12 Reviews

Wii Sports

Review: It might be free but is it any good?

There was a split in opinion when Nintendo first showed off Wii sports back in May at E3. Some were stunned and excited at the prospect of waving the Wii Remote around to hit the ball in tennis, while others took one look at the graphics and went back to the Xbox 360 booth.

Wii Sports is a package of five simple sports games: tennis, baseball, boxing, golf and bowling. As you can see, it doesn't sport much in the way of depth, neither in the graphics department nor its features, but the straightforward gameplay shows off the capabilities of the Wii very well.

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Tennis is undoubtedly the best game in the package. Although you don't control the movements of your character - the computer does that automatically - you are in full control of the timing, positioning and power of your shot, all done by swinging the Remote like a tennis racquet, and it feels great.

You serve by flicking the remote above your head (like you're throwing up the ball) then, with good timing, you swing the Remote to smack it over the net. The game even tracks the way your swing the 'racquet', so you put lob on your shots, top-spin or apply some curve by swinging your arm like you would in real life.

It's not as super-intuitive as you would at first assume - it takes some getting used to and at first it's all a bit hit and hope. But once you get to grips with the basics, you then start to discover the intricacies of the gameplay.

There's also a series of training mini-games, like a game that has you hitting the ball at targets on a wall, which tests you accuracy.

With four players playing a doubles match, tennis is brilliant fun. It's all about the feel - you're all on your feet swinging your arms and, just to add to the illusion, each player's Wii Remote speaker will make the hitting sound and give out a short punch of rumble as the ball hits their racquet.

Bowling is our other favourite because, while tennis is a fast and highly physical game, Bowling manages to be equally as engaging and fun in multiplayer, yet due to the nature of the sport, is a far more subdued play experience.

Again, you treat the controller like you would the bowling ball, with a hold on the A button representing your grip. You swing your arm forward and release the A button at the right moment to send the ball down the alley.

Your direction, speed and curl on the wrist is all transferred to the ball, which is fantastic. Although Nintendo's promotional photos of whole families jumping around in front of their TV might be a bit idealistic, this is the one game that'll get your granddad playing.

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Golf is also relaxing, but there unfortunately doesn't see to be as much skill or depth to it as in bowling or tennis. The main challenge of the game is getting the right power on your shots. A bar on the left indicates roughly how much power you need to reach the hole, and how much power was in your swing.

The problem is, out on the fairway, you just want to hit is as hard as possible but it penalises you for swinging too hard. The putting is a bit better, but that's not enough. Maybe a crazy golf game would have been better (there's an idea for you developer people!).

Boxing is a disappointing mess of confusion and defective controls. The Nunchuk and the Wii Remote act as your hands, and you punch out in front of you to attach, or position the controllers in front of your face to block. In two-player, the screen is split in half and you're both given a first person view from your fighters' eyes.

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