Does Nintendo's MotionPlus controller really make the new Wii Sports that much better? Yep.
First, let's talk about the MotionPlus controller, which will be bundled with Wii Sports Resort. It's optional, much like the Nunchuk, plugging into the bottom of the Wii Remote for those games that choose to take advantage of it. Which is hopefully a lot, because its precision is simply fantastic. The tiniest movement is replicated with absolute perfection. It makes the original Wii Remote's control abilities look clunky and awkward by comparison.
I tried two of the Wii Sports Resort games featured in Nintendo's press conference this morning: the sword fighting and the frisbee toss. The sword fighting is a workout and a half, because the harder you swing, the harder you hit. You and your opponent start at opposite sides of a raised platform; the object is to knock him back enough so that he falls off. It's great fun against an actual human opponent, but probably not nearly as engaging against the computer. Just like the rest of Wii Sports, really.
I must confess, when I saw the disc tossing game this morning, I thought it looked pretty stupid, but it was surprisingly fun. You throw the frisbee, your puppy chases it and catches it. You're given a target at which to aim the disc; the closer you are to the mark, the more points you score when your dog makes the grab. Making the tiniest adjustment to my wrist could drastically change the trajectory of the frisbee, but it was fun to try new angles and techniques. The concept is easy to grasp and learning how to play and improve is remarkably intuitive. Good, simple fun.
According to Nintendo, there will be at least ten games on Wii Sports Resort. While they wouldn't specify what they were, they suggested you think about activities you would enjoy on a beach or island vacation. I'm guessing fishing, badminton and shuffleboard will be included, but feel free to offer up your own suggestions.
Wii Sports Resort, and the MotionPlus controller, will be out in Spring 2009.