Wii Sports Club - Tennis (Wii U) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 25.11.2013 1

Review for Wii Sports Club - Tennis on Wii U

The gaming landscape has changed in the last five, six years. From the once fairly enclosed, potted plants of equal measure to the now blossoming and diverse industry, video games are in the homes and palms of all ages. The opening up of the market to the casual player came, in part, thanks to Nintendo who launched a range of family entertainment on the bestselling Wii console.

The first candidate for the living room was Wii Sports, a pack-in title (with the exception of Japan) that offered a range of sports games involving digital on-screen avatars known as Mii characters. A simple, yet compelling experience, Nintendo is back for more with the successor on Wii U, but can the new Wii Sports game recapture the audience's imagination a second time round?

Wii Sports returns, but this time Nintendo didn't simply settle for a mere rehashing of the original but instead opted for refined controls, various single player practice modes and a much desired online component. The game itself isn't packed in a traditional way either and is instead structured as a series of individual sports that can each be downloaded, played occasionally for a fixed fee or bought outright. It's an intriguing model that is quite removed from Nintendo's more standard, all-in, single disc approach.

Each of the sports are available as standalone downloads, introducing a set of bonus games, the main multiplayer and the online multiplayer components. The first, and arguably most popular, is Tennis. The setup in Wii Sports Club, at its core, remains identical - it's a virtual means of hitting a ball about a lush digital court without having to wander down to the local park or shell out excess funds in a club. It's still a two-on-two affair, using duplicate characters for two players, and the full roster of four for those heated doubles matches. The key difference in the flow of the game in Wii Sports Club is all down to the MotionPlus technology that's now standard in newer Wii Remote controllers, or comes as nifty attachment for the older ones.

Back in 2006 most of the strategy came in the timing of the shot; with direction and intensity adding loose definition about where in the court the ball would land. From a young child to a game-averse grandparent, it was an intuitive way of playing and understanding the appeal of video games. The real life mechanisms were in place and gone was the barrier of button presses. Fast forward to 2013 and the controller shape and rules remain the same, but the controls certainly take the difficulty up a notch. Wii Sports Club isn't just Wii Sports in high-definition, but something that certainly requires re-leaning - it's more realistic. The direction, swing, timing and placement of the Wii Remote is crucial for securing a win or to simply keep the rally in flow. For the tennis fan, it's certainly the next step up in mimicking the sport in the living room; not a substitute for the real deal by any means, but adds a great deal more thought and strategy in an otherwise waggle-driven affair. After some time with the game, the controls settle into place and offer a tighter and far more ambitious means of lobbing, going cross-court and smashing to victory.

Screenshot for Wii Sports Club - Tennis on Wii U

Despite the more responsive virtual racket; there still are some unfortunate limitations in the design: the on-rails approach still remains, whereby characters will indeed pounce awkwardly towards the incoming ball, fumbling about in a disparate bid to reach. The game is designed to be this way, though, making it as accessible for players as possible; but a more core driven extra mode, where a Nunchuck could have been an extra touch for those who have already exhausted the basic scheme.

Those who have played the previous game will need a moment or two to regroup; taking it slow and relearning the controls. This is where the additional training games come into play, perhaps being the more intriguing aspects of each of the sports, especially for those who have whiled away countless hours in the originals.

In Tennis there are three different events to play through, either solo or with a group of friends as a score-based competitive mode. The first, "Ring Master", will be familiar to anyone who's ever picked up a session of Mario Tennis, a rally against a computer player, where shots need to go through different coloured rings to build up points and good arm action. The next involves a robot duck who scuttles about the court, firing a relentless set of balls to mimic a real one-on-one scenario. The final of the three finds players armed and ready against a horde of inflatable moles. It sounds absolutely bizarre and something out of the pages of SEGA's Virtua Tennis, offering an addictive way to improve ball control.

Screenshot for Wii Sports Club - Tennis on Wii U

Local competition aside, Nintendo teamed up with the folk at Namco Bandai to finally weave in an online multiplayer experience into Wii Sports. Instead of simply going toe-to-toe with a player in Australia, America and the furthest regions of the globe, Wii Sports U relies more on localised, regional clubs - hence the name - to battle against each other. For folk in the United Kingdom, it may well be London versus Glasgow, or Manchester competing against Cardiff in the rankings and despite the sense of more contained competition; it really shows in the lack of players online. In play tests there were one or two players who'd wanted to share a game, these being within the local area in Cubed3 HQ - London.

The very notion of online tennis isn't new by any means, and SEGA's flagship series Virtua Tennis and the motion-controlled EA Sports Tennis fare far better in this space. Neither of these games replicate the precision and ambition of same-room multiplayer, the input lag and oddly, frame skipping, is always a problem to contend with when playing others overseas. The main joy comes from comments posted by members of the same club that pop-up between points, or after a match, with moments of digital congratulations or as a perk-me-up after a loss. It's a shame that these aren't live comments, or that there isn't the option to spectate matches - it all seems fairly basic in that regard.

Screenshot for Wii Sports Club - Tennis on Wii U


 

Screenshot for Wii Sports Club - Tennis on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Wii Sports Club Tennis is a good overall start to the reinvigorated competitive multiplayer sporting experience. It isn't a rehashed version, but it isn't quite a full on sequel either - a halfway house between Wii Sports and a hypothetical Wii Sports 2 by improving the controls, adding more modes and online play. Not quite the levels of more established sporting attempts, but a worthy addition to the multiplayer set-list.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It isn't a rehashed version, but it isn't quite a full on sequel either
So it's a requel! Smilie

I'm going to try my free trial next Sunday when I have friends visiting. If I like it, I'll buy the full game. Or wait for a discount, I don't know.

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