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Wii Sports Club: Five in One Review: More of a good thing

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Wii Sports Club

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Even with a terrible new version of boxing, it’s still hard to topple a giant.

Make no mistake, “Wii Sports” is a monster of humongous proportions.

The best selling game of all time, “Wii Sports” changed video gaming forever and seven years later on the Wii U, “Wii Sports Club” makes those classic games even better. Buyer beware however- your wallet may hurt a tad if you’ve been on all these rides before.

While these new versions of Wii Tennis, Boxing, Baseball, Bowling and Golf are better than they’ve ever been, those who have stuck by Nintendo for its entire new millennium run, you won’t find yourself running for updated versions of classics that have stood the test of time, but will enjoy the online capability added to the games and the other various bells and whistles. Those who have young kids have never experienced “Wii Sports” however, they’ll find themselves falling in love all over again.

Although the surprises are few for veterans of the series, but golf especially, is a pleasant one.

Simply put, the golf game in “Wii Sports Club” is probably the coolest and most realistic of the games available in the series to date and in spite of its stiff learning curve, can provide hours of fun.The GamePad integration is easily the game’s biggest selling point. Unlike the other titles in the series that play remarkably like the older games they are based on, golf requires gamers to put the GamePad on the floor and use the Wiimote to swing at the ball at the GamePad screen. Simple and intuitive, your swing strength and posture are all measured on the GamePad screen.

As long as you don’t have a hefty cat, large dog or wild toddler that’ll stomp out your GamePad, the tablet integration is a welcomed plus to a game that used to be considered the worst game on “Wii Sports.” That being said, the learning curve here is no joke. For that reason, many gamers won’t last more than a few rounds. Those who stick with it though and use the various mini-games, which stress different facets of the game such as driving, chipping and putting, will get the hang of things in time.

Things change a bit once you get to bowling however. With the changes made to golf, you’re expecting some type of second-screen experience while on the alley and what you get instead is a new coat of paint on a classic. Although bowling on the Wii U in “Wii Sports Club” is an enjoyable endeavor, it appears to be the same mini-game we fell in love with seven years ago, if not for a few tacked-on, but nifty features.

Graphically, the game looks incredibly similar to the updated version of the game in “Wii Sports: Resort.” Because of that, you’ll instantly become comfortable with the presentation of the game, but you won’t be wowed. If you’ve played the game in its other versions before, the “Wii Sports Club” version won’t be a memorable experience.

Luckily for Nintendo, the addition of mini-games and online play is what makes the stand-alone game worthy of the $9.99 price tag. Online features and mini-games that help you make spares and Miiverse messaging make the experience a fun one that is free of drama and annoyances you’ll often find while playing your favorite first-person shooter online. The new version of the classic 100-pin game also will manage to steal your attention for a few hours.

The tennis game in “Wii Sports Club” is kind of a compromise of bowling and golf. Although there’s no second-screen experience, the control has been fine-tuned and the graphics are better. It’s safe to say this version of tennis while appeal more to hardcore gamers and will even cause you to break a sweat.

But a first glance, it’s easy to ponder how similar tennis on “Wii Sports Club” is to the other versions of the game on “Wii Sports” and “Wii Sports: Resort.” After a few games however, you’ll notice several key improvements that make it the best of the Wii Sports tennis games to date.There’s a lot to do in tennis, from silly mini-games to online play. Although this is nothing new for the series the camera and controls have been super tightened to the point where you’ll want to play more than you did before. This has everything to do with the control. In older versions of the game, players could simply swat the Wiimote in any direction and the game would register a swing and a volley vest would ensue.

This time around, the Wii MotionPlus control is so much more intuitive that it’ll recognize your hand’s posture and will make sure you take the correct swing, or else. For example, if a ball comes at your forehand and your hand is positioned in the backhand position, you’re not going to be able to get the ball over the net. This seemingly small improvement makes what is often considered the redheaded stepchild of Wii Sports titles easily one of the more enjoyable ones on “Wii Sports Club.”

Much like Tennis, Baseball reaps the benefits of the Wii U controls, but it’s not easily seen at first. While hitting largely remains the same, the new pitching and fielding mechanics add another layer of depth that the originally version just never had. Even though it’s ultimately a far cry away from “The Show,” or even 2K Sports’ baseball series in terms of realism, the charm from the original game is still in-tact.

Although the old-school feel and simplicity is still there, there’s still more room for skilled players and those looking for more of a challenge to grow. While it’s not as rewarding an experience as Tennis or Bowling, Baseball certainly rounds out the overall experience and adds hours to the gameplay.

What doesn’t help “Wii Sports Club” is the inclusion of boxing. The added gyro on the Wii U controller eliminates the need for the nunchuk, so you’d think the game would control better. Instead, the game’s control is a complete mess, making it incredibly difficult to land punches. The lack of real atmosphere hurts this game too as the crowd makes no noise and there are limited sound effects. It feels almost like you're at a local boxing match, when it should feel like you're in Madison Square Garden. Simply put, Boxing is just not fun.

While the visuals are better and this was an obvious attempt to make it better, it ultimately fails on all accounts. While all of the other games have been refined for the Wii U, Boxing, although better than the original still knocks itself out.

All in all, with a host of improvements to their predecessors, “Wii Sports Club” manages to win you over. Even in the case of bowling, where there aren’t many new things brought to the gameplay table, the online options make for a more modern and well-rounded gameplay experience.

The Good: All five games that are a part of “Wii Sports Club are an upgrade over their original versions. They look better, play more responsively and have more features. Even the terrible Boxing is better than what it was in “Wii Sports.”

The Bad: Considering the fact that “Wii Sports” can be found for less than $10.00 on any used game shop on the web and the Wii U features backwards compatibility, the game isn’t exactly cost-effective, even at $39.99.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of “Wii Sports” or Wii Sports: Resort,” “Wii Sports Club” is a game you will play by yourself and with the friends and family. The addition of online play and new control schemes add a new element to the fun as well.

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