When Nintendo revealed its plans for the Wii MotionPlus accessory yesterday morning— almost a full day before its E3 press conference proper—I was a little confused. If this was truly the improvement that it was billed to be, wouldn't it be better suited as the show-stopping announcement to close out the company's list of announcements?
Firing up a round of Wii Sports Resort's fencing game Sword Play, the Nintendo rep gave me ample time to become acquainted with the revamped motion control. Unlike what you might see in the original Wii Sports, the motion of my character's fencing foil on screen very precisely matched my own—I was encouraged to wield the Wii Remote with both hands to better get into the mood. I turned my weapon with slow and swift movements alike, manipulated it into odd angles and unusual gestures, and my character responded in kind. Solid start, but how 'bout some combat?
Prior to our match a series of wooden dummy targets were dropped in front of me for practice swings. I took them apart with ease, cutting from top to bottom, left to right, lopping off inch-thick slices off the top of a tall wooden pole. The match began and we were off, holding the B button on the Wii Remote and lifting our swords to block, making opportunistic slashes at one another when the moment was right.
Disc Dog, meanwhile, showcases a more easygoing experiences with the new peripheral. Once again, the position of the frisbee was very in tune with my movements, but the required actions were much simpler and slower—a light flick of the wrist to send the disc on its way. Nothing too spectacular—like Sword Play, after a fashion, in that tech demo sort of way. Same goes for the jet skiing game Power Crusing, which was fun, but the control seemed to have only that one application—unless anybody's keeping an eye out for motion-based motocross racing, of course.
Nintendo's press conference came and went without so much as a peep on their promised game for the hardcore gamer crowd, or rather nothing explicitly stated as such. But if I was to venture a guess, I'd say that Wii Sports Resort—odd though this may sound—is the best news out of Nintendo's E3 conference for the core gamers, not so much for the game itself, but for the possibilities promised by its accompanying MotionPlus peripheral.
What the MotionPlus offers is a chance to do everything you really wanted to do with the Wii when you first became aware of the system's existence—it's a reinvigoration of the hope deflated after ten minutes of Red Steel. Keep your eyes on this device.