Crispy Gamer

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

When I got done writing my Wii Sports Resort review last week, I looked around at some of the other reviews out there to see how my opinion matched up with the consensus. I wasn't that surprised to see other critics give the game generally good but not spectacular reviews, earning it a good but not spectacular metascore of 80 on review aggregator Metacritic.

What did surprise me, however, was the wide range of opinions on each individual sport within the game.

There were a few offerings that the critics universally loved or hated, but opinions on the majority of the WSR mini-games ran the gamut from exquisite to execrable. While most of the final review scores for the game fell into a relatively narrow range, the particular way each critic arrived at those scores seemed to vary wildly. And while Metacritic gives a good aggregate opinion for the game as a whole, it doesn't break down the critical consensus on each individual sport.

To fix this oversight, I decided to use a bit of pseudo-statistical analysis to figure out which sport was the generally agreed-upon "best" one on the disc. Call it boredom, call it morbid curiosity, call it a need to have my opinions validated by an outside force; but I just had to know. And once I knew, of course, I had to share it with you.

Methodology

For each of the 40 reviews I looked at, I tried to break down the writer's opinion of each individual sport into Crispy Gamer's "Buy It/Try It/Fry It" review rubric. While this process was a tad subjective, it was usually pretty clear whether a writer was projecting love, hate or ambivalence toward a specific sport. If a sport wasn't mentioned in a review, or if the review didn't have any discernible opinion about a sport, it was disregarded (this is why the review totals don't add up to 40 for each sport).

Once this was done, I gave two points for every "Buy It," one point for every "Try It" and zero points for every "Fry It." These results were broken down into a weighted average and then ordered into the rankings you see below. So, without further ado:

The results

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

12. Cycling
"Buy It" reviews: 3
"Try It" reviews: 6
"Fry It" reviews: 30
Weighted average: 0.31

Critical consensus: Almost universally panned by critics, the Cycling mini-game was derided for hard-to-use turning controls; dull, tiring gameplay and the confusing use of hands instead of feet to pedal the bike. While a few critics somehow managed to find some enjoyment in it, the vast majority felt the game would be a better fit in something like Wii Fit Plus.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

11. Canoeing
"Buy It" reviews: 8
"Try It" reviews: 11
"Fry It" reviews: 16
Weighted average: 0.77

Critical consensus: Despite the generally negative outlook, Canoeing definitely has its boosters in the critical establishment. Those that hated it complained about the slow pace, difficulty with turning the boat and tiring, repetitive control motions. Those that liked it mainly heralded the frenetic four-player modes, which created lots of good times both competitively and cooperatively.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

10. Wakeboarding
"Buy It" reviews: 6
"Try It" reviews: 12
"Fry It" reviews: 12
Weighted average: 0.8

Critical consensus: Another heavily split critical decision, Wakeboarding just barely beat out Canoeing in our rankings. Many writers complained that the game was too simple and too touchy, and didn't allow for enough customization of tricks. Others saw the game's simplicity as its greatest strength, though most acknowledged it didn't have enough depth to stand up to repeated play.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

9. Power Cruising
"Buy It" reviews: 7
"Try It" reviews: 13
"Fry It" reviews: 9
Weighted average: 0.93

Critical consensus: This mini-game invariably suffered due to constant comparison to the classic Wave Race 64. While some critics were able to overlook these comparisons and enjoy Power Cruising it for what it was, most reviews were of the "failed to live up to expectations" variety. Some reviewers also complained about the overly sensitive controls, which require holding out your arms in an awkward position for long periods.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

8. Basketball
"Buy It" reviews: 12
"Try It" reviews: 14
"Fry It" reviews: 7
Weighted average: 1.15

Critical consensus: Most of the outright negative determinations for Basketball seemed to come from the non-American press, unsurprisingly. While opinions on the three-point contests were generally positive, the three-on-three pick-up game option split the critics. Some called it a brilliant simplification of a complex sport and praised the slam dunks, while others called it a simplistic, random, hard-to-control mess.

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The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

7. Frisbee
"Buy It" reviews: 18
"Try It" reviews: 11
"Fry It" reviews: 7
Weighted average: 1.31

Critical consensus: This result surprised me, as I thought the Frisbee games were some of the best of the disc. Not everyone agreed though, with some critics complaining about their inability to get the Frisbee to fly accurately and the lack of depth in the Frisbee Dog target-throwing mode. Other critics found the control intuitive and realistic, and said the deeper Frisbee Golf mode was a favorite.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

6. Air Sports
"Buy It" reviews: 15
"Try It" reviews: 11
"Fry It" reviews: 4
Weighted average: 1.37

Critical consensus: This was a tough one to evaluate statistically, with many critics splitting their own decisions on the three air sports mini-games. While Skydiving was generally criticized for being too simple, the Island Flyover and Dogfight mini-games were more controversial. Some critics called them slow-paced and boring, while other called them slow-paced and surprisingly enjoyable. There's no accounting for taste...

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

5. Golf
"Buy It" reviews: 16
"Try It" reviews: 16
"Fry It" reviews: 2
Weighted average: 1.41

Critical consensus: This was another tough one to evaluate because most critics simply compared it to the original Wii Sports Golf without actually saying what they actually thought of the original Wii Sports Golf. While many critics said the Wii MotionPlus didn't make much difference in the play, an equal number were impressed how the unit interpreted the form of their swing. Only a couple were outright hostile to the changes, saying it made the game overly tough.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

4. Bowling
"Buy It" reviews: 18
"Try It" reviews: 15
"Fry It" reviews: 0
Weighted average: 1.55

Critical consensus: The only sport for which I wasn't able to find a single outright negative review, Bowling didn't really "wow" the critics either. While some claim that the Wii MotionPlus made the game harder to cheat and more accurate at detecting the spin they put on the ball, nearly as many couldn't tell any difference between this and the popular Wii Sports version.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

3. Table Tennis
"Buy It" reviews: 29
"Try It" reviews: 5
"Fry It" reviews: 1
Weighted average: 1.8

Critical consensus: One of three games consistently included in the "good sports" section of reviews, the vast majority of reviewers saw Table Tennis as a more accurate, faster-paced version of Wii Sports Tennis, with the welcome ability to spin the ball as well. The few complaints generally focused on the lack of a four-player mode and occasional control wonkiness.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

2. Swordplay
"Buy It" reviews: 31
"Try It" reviews: 5
"Fry It" reviews: 1
Weighted average: 1.81

Critical consensus: After suffering highly inaccurate sword-swinging in countless Wii games, it's not surprising most critics were impressed by how well the on-screen sword matched the motions of their Remote in these games. The addition of a 10-stage single-player mode helped push this one to the top of many critics' lists, too. The few reviewers that complained said the two-player duels fell apart into Wii Sports Boxing-style random swinging and didn't require much skill.

The Battle for Wii Sports Resort

1. Archery
"Buy It" reviews: 30
"Try It" reviews: 3
"Fry It" reviews: 1
Weighted average: 1.85

Critical consensus: Just edging out Swordplay in the aggregate rankings, this surprising favorite wowed the critics with its incredible accuracy and verisimilitude. Many critics also appreciated the slow progression from shooting at close, stationary targets to hitting moving targets across vast, windy, obstructed expanses. Complaints were few and far between and generally minor.

Final thoughts: By my unscientific determination, that's three sports (Archery, Swordplay and Table Tennis) that were generally well liked, one (Cycling) that was generally disliked, and eight that fell somewhere in the middle. Among this great middle, most reviewers were able to find at least two or three sports they generally liked, even if they weren't able to agree on which ones were likeable. To make a guess based on this sample, I'd say you'll probably like five or six of the 12 games on offer. If you asked me which games those would be, though, I'd have to say I don't honestly know.

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Comments

Nice reviews. I couldn't agree more. Actually, I already anticipated this result. In fact, I can include myself among those who like most the three sports such as Archery, Swordplay and Tennis. - Brenda Lee Reed

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