Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wii Sports Resort: Cycling

Part 2 of my rambling review of Wii Sports Resort.

has been unfairly maligned in every other review I've encountered. Why others prefer the likes of Wakeboarding and Basketball is beyond me. Maybe it's something to do with what you look like when you're playing it, since cycling has you pumping your arms up and down frantically to move the pedals while tilting left and right to steer. It's certainly not the most elegant of control systems, but all that movement does help you feel like you're actually competing in something, as opposed to simply waving a magic wand around to make figures on the screen perform all your feats for you. There are moments when I've crossed the finish line unconsciously leaning forward like a sprinter going all out for the last few feet, then realised, as the results come in, that I'm actually pretty breathless.

Unfortunately, a system of 'energy' hearts makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Rather than simply being able to armpump all the way to the end of a race, you have to watch out for how the wind, gradient and surface is taking its toll on your Mii's energy. Push him too hard and he goes blue (presumably from lack of oxygen in his blood) then has to stop to chug a Lucozade. For a while, I found this infuriating, as he seemed to spend half the race on his last legs, puddling the track with massive sweat drops while other cyclists sailed past him on basket bikes. After some time, I worked out that moving your arms at a leisurely pace is pointless - instead, you have to alternate frantic pedalling with complete rest. That way, he lasts a lot longer. I wonder if it has something to do with the limits of the motion sensor technology, since the movement of your Mii's feet on the pedals seems to be only tangentially related to where you're holding your arms and he rarely matches pace with you.

The best thing about cycling is the feel of breezing around the expanse of the island to some jolly, continental-style music. Nearly every other sport takes place in a small arena, but cycling takes you in and out of the volcano's core, all the way around the beach, through the town centre, over various types of bridge and even off the edge of a cliff with the wind behind you. One course even goes full circle round the island. The only thing missing - and this is the case even more than in the swordplay - is the ability to roam entirely free. I was hoping that this would be the last option to unlock on the menu screen and instead all I got was a six-course race. Ugh.

Which brings me to the other major defect. Every race starts you off in last place out of 30, 50 or 100 bikers. That's a bizarre way to run a competition. You have to spend the whole time trying to overtake people, which sometimes isn't much fun, as the other cyclists tend to have the compulsion to try to barge you off course, particularly if 'off course' means into the water or off the edge of a mountain track. Which in turn brings me back to the first problem - I can't help imagining how much fun it would have been if, having taken the plunge down the sheer rock slope, I could half-cycle, half-pinball my way to the bottom instead of disappearing into thin air and being put back on the course.

Why did Nintendo go to all the trouble of making this gorgeous fantasy island, only to restrict you to an aerial view? Touring it by bike (while possibly still in your swordplay gear) would have been, I think, a legendary moment in gaming history. It would be like the Grand Theft Auto
games, except without the dull gangsta characters and the downpour of inane policemen waiting to gun you down the moment you do anything fun. Imagine: you're on your bike with your plastic fencing sword, coasting through a sunny town, knocking down Hitler and other look-a-like Miis like a computer-age Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Then you ride straight into the table tennis table and fly into the swimming pool.

Two player cycling is good fun though, especially as you have the option to either race against each other (and five other randoms) or take on the pack with a tandem.

1 comment:

Wii Sports Review said...

Nice one.. Looking forward for more information.