Score: 6.5 – Nintendo Wii – $29.99
Now, I know what you are thinking. Another collection of minigames on the Nintendo Wii. Afterall, it is the defining “genre” of the system right? At San Diego Comic Con, we got the chance to sit down with Hudson and get a first peek at Deca Sports 2. The followup to their million seller, Deca Sports, Hudson didn’t set out in hopes of improving the ten sports of the original. They looked to put out ten new sports that could only be made as fun as possible through the unique control of the Nintendo Wii.
Gameplay in Deca Sports 2 is going to inevitably going to be compared to WiiSports and WiiSports Resort. Both franchises are collections of sports games, although the original WiiSports has shown it is more of a tech demo than anything else in terms of actual being a “game.” Deca Sports 2 must also overcome the stigma already attached to it from the lack of WiiMotion Plus.
Not because they didn’t wish to include it, Hudson simply didn’t have enough time after the release of WiiMotion Plus to include the new technology in the game and still keep it on schedule for its recent release. Should Deca Sports 2 have the same level of success, it is highly likely that the third in the series would include WiiMotion Plus.
But enough about Wii Sports, Deca Sports 2 includes ten different sports than the original game (thus the “deca” name). Of the ten games, Ice Hockey, Tennis and Dodge Ball utilize Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection to play online multiplayer. Darts, Speed Skating, Mogul Skiing, Petanque, Synchronized Swimming, Kendo and Motorcycle Road Racing round out the game’s different modes. Each game features a different control scheme, all fairly simple, with some requiring the addition of the nunchuk attachment.
The most basic goes to Motorcycle Road Racing which controls in similar in fashion to Mario Kart, using the WiiMote sideways like a wheel. This allows for fairly accurate feedback with the controls to what is on screen.
One of the most interesting control schemes comes from Petanque, a take on Bocce, which is one of the hardest motions to “fake” as the accelerometer measures the intensity of the player’s toss fairly accurately in the game where inches mean everything. Along with that comes Darts which encourages players to hold the WiiMote much like a real dart, including releasing the A and B buttons at the end of the throwing motion to toss the dart. This will likely be one of those games that utilizes the wrist strap more than any other to stop WiiMotes from crashing through television screens.
Like other non-WiiMotion Plus games, Deca Sports 2 suffers from some of the same motion control related problems that exist across the board for waggle controls. Occasionally, especially during Tennis and Synchonized Swimming, when a player is setting up for a particular motion like hitting a lob shot or swinging the WiiMote in a certain direction, the game will incorrectly read this which usually will cost the player that return or combo respectively. This doesn’t necessarily reflect on Deca Sports 2 as much as it does the Wii’s motion controls as a whole, though it can become quite an aggravating experience during gameplay.
Not surprisingly, the compilation of Deca Sports does not have a story to it. Instead there is total focus on the gameplay and figuring out the proper combination of players on a team to fit a gamer’s style. Challenge modes, Tournaments and customizing teams are the extent of “story” for a player. Deca Sports 2 allows for quick drop-in gameplay for as long a time as someone wants to play either solo or would a group.
Graphics & Sound:
Deca Sports 2 doesn’t push the limits of graphical abilities on the Wii but a part of that comes from the sheer volume of what is actually in the game. Definitely improved visuals compared to WiiSports, Deca Sports 2 does a good job of giving defining visual looks to each of the various teams, including “Average Joes” (whose uniforms look uncannily like that Vince Vaughn’s team in Dodge Ball).
The sound design fits well for a sports game, though the lack of any commentary during games feels odd. This is especially noticeable during games like Ice Hockey which people are so used to hearing commentary during when watching on TV. Aside from that, the basic sound effects fit well and realistic to their respective sports.
If you loved WiiSports and WiiSports Resort, or the original Deca Sports for that matter, Deca Sports 2 is a good purchase for you. The game gives a wide variety of playstyles and control types for the casual player. It even adds further depth to former WiiSports games like Tennis by introducing features like player control over their competitors position on the court, something WiiSports had done automatically. This is not a hardcore game by any means and won’t likely be something hardcore gamers will be playing outside of group party atmospheres or with family members who are not traditional gamers.
Deca Sports 2 takes a “Jack of All Trades” approach which ultimately means it is a master of none. All of the games are full experiences but don’t feel like any of them meet the level of depth that could be explored if they were not put together in this compilation format. Most importantly, all of the games included are fun and enjoyable. There is no lemon game amongst the choices here. And for a $30 price tag, there is a lot of game for the customer’s dollar.