|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson Soft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
When it comes to defining gameplay on Wii, nothing quite says it better than the new Wii Sports franchise. From its humble beginnings as a mere system pack-in, the series has captivated mainstream audiences and still remains one of the most-played games among current Wii owners. With that in mind, it's no surprise to see third-party publishers follow suit, hoping to take a bite of Nintendo's now-sizeable install base. Deca Sports 2 from Hudson has a presentation and premise that's ripe for the picking, but is this compilation worth your cash?
Like Wii Sports, Deca Sports 2 offers no story. In fact, the very first options you'll be presented with are Offline Mode and Nintendo WiFi Connection Mode. The menus are attractive and easy to navigate, with large buttons and a simple system that makes jumping into gameplay a breeze.
Offline options include Single Play, Team Play, and the Locker Room. The Locker Room is where most folks will want to begin, since it offers tutorials for each of the 10 included sports; it's also the place to check out personal records, as well as edit teams and characters.
When creating or tweaking characters, you'll make use of an editor that greatly resembles that of the Mii Channel creation tools. There are a few unique features and options here, but on the whole, it's nothing most Wii owners shouldn't already be well familiar with. Team editing, however, is much more limited, with merely a selection of preset emblems to represent your team, as well as the option to name your team and change out characters.
Once you've acquainted yourself with the Locker Room, you can get on with the actual gameplay. Regardless of whether you opt to play alone or with friends, the options are mostly the same. Single Play modes include Open Match, League, and Tournament. Open Match is your typical free-play mode, allowing players to quickly jump into any of the 10 included sporting events. League mode tasks you with playing through all 10 sports, and finally, Tournament allows you to focus on one particular sport, competing against various teams in hopes of winning a championship.
The multiplayer is much the same, though, of course, you'll have versus options for up to four players. You're occasionally afforded the opportunity to choose a certain type of landscape or determine the length of each game, but the options are otherwise fairly basic. Certain events do have a left-or-right-handed option, but, oddly enough, the sports that would otherwise benefit from it the most - those that use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk - do not.
The mini-games on tap here include: hockey, tennis, kendo, speed skating, synchronized swimming, petanque, road racing, mogul skiing, dodge ball, and darts. All of the sports make use of motion control in one form or another, though with varying degrees of success.
Hockey is probably the most fleshed out game of the bunch, and it plays, in some respects, like Mario Strikers. You'll use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk for hockey, steering your player with the analog stick and shooting the puck by shaking the Wii Remote. Control feels pretty tight, and with a bit of practice, hockey promises a fair amount of entertainment.
Tennis will likely be an easy event to jump into for anyone who's already played Wii Sports, but there are a few notable differences here. For one, there's a slight delay from the time you swing the Wii Remote to the time your character swings his or her racket. Additionally, pressing the A button allows you to move up toward the net, and pressing B moves your character further back. These extra mechanics come in handy for lobbing the ball, which is executed by swinging upward with the Wii Remote. Unfortunately, the controls are super sensitive, and subtle movements are often misread as swings.
Kendo is the game's take on swordplay, and we'd have to say it's the weakest of all the sporting events. The kendo mini-game amounts to little more than performing vertical and horizontal swipes with the Wii Remote to execute attacks, and gestures are consistently misread. Blocking and lunging add a bit of strategy to the mix, but the gameplay feels archaic when compared to the sword fighting in Wii Sports Resort.