Previews

Hands-on: Wii Sports

Tennis, baseball, golf and flying with the Wii-mote - and not one single titter about that name

After months and months of agonized waiting, we've finally managed to get our hands around Nintendo's hugely unconventional new controller for its next-gen console, Wii - and OMFGetcetc, it's a brilliant, phenomenal bit of kit. Everything you've heard and hoped for is true - you ain't seen nothing quite like this before sunshine. We'll go through the ins and outs of the Wii-mote elsewhere and hop straight to those all important games. First up, the most accessible - and damn, if it's not the single most concentrated pile of immediate fun we've ever had in a game - Wii Sports.

You'll have seen this already if you were watching Nintendo's media event on Tuesday - it's the game Uncle Reggie, Mister Iwata and King Miyamoto challenged one lucky winner to, in the form of Wii Tennis. Also bundled in with Wii Sports - already confirmed as a launch game - you'll find Golf and Baseball. Nintendo's also suggesting there might be a couple of additions to the sports package - potentially Airplane, which is showing under the Wii Sports umbrella here at E3.

We've got some first hands-on impressions below, as well as a couple of screens snapped directly from the show floor. It's worth pointing out that Wii Sports is in no way indicative of the power of the console from a graphical perspective. They've all been designed to be simple, stylised and approachable. As with all the Wii games on display, everything ran at a constant 60 fps - and when you see the gorgeous Mario, Zelda and Metroid in action, you're going to be mighty impressed.

TENNIS

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Undoubtedly the jewel in Wii Sports' crown is Tennis, which sees up to four players wielding the Wii remote in wholly intuitive racket stylee. Like all of the offerings in the package, it's a doddle to pick up and play, but it's incredibly basic as far as a sports game goes. Although you can perform all the usual tennis tricks like forehands, backhands and serves (by flicking the remote upward then volleying it as hard as you can), your onscreen representations will find their own way to the ball automatically, meaning you don't need to worry about positioning. Really, all you're tasked with is deciding how to hit the ball and how hard, with the remote detecting the speed of your swings.

Despite it's simplicity though, it's a brilliant piece of design as far as introducing the world to Nintendo's new philosophy goes - and it's incredible how unintrusive the Wii remote actually is, fitting snugly into your hand. Of all the game's we've played so far, this is the one most likely to convince you of Wii's brilliance, in the shortest amount of time. As far as longetivity goes, it's a bit questionable, but as a party game, it promises to be a ball.

GOLF

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Admittedly we're less convinced by Golf and Baseball - both are even further simplified versions of the sports, without the thrill of the simultaneous multiplayer hijinx found in Tennis. It's hard to talk about Golf without pointing out that we're absolutely rubbish at it in the real world - so it probably speaks highly of the Wii remote's ability to replicate real-life activities when we say we were shit at Wii Golf too.

Having selected whether you're right or left handed, you're presented with a traditional behind-character view of the golf course. Next, unsurprisingly, you adopt your favourite golfing posture and swing away. Initially, you can take as many practice swings as you want - hold down the trigger or top button though and its the real deal. As you'd imagine, the remote senses your swing speed, effortlessly - and utterly intuitively - translating all that into how far the ball travels and where it ends up. Adjusting your intended path is a bit more old-skool though, achieved by pressing the d-pad either left or right.

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