Monday, August 11, 2008

Crappy Wii Game: Deca Sports

Avoid it like the plague. Deca Sports has nothing in common with Wii Sports.

I've only tried single-player mode, but unless multiplayer is a hell of a lot better, this will be sold (or, barring that, dropped off at the thrift store) soon. The many problems of Deca Sports:
  • Weird "sports". Archery, Badminton, Curling, and Figure Skating. Mind you, I actually think the Curling is one of the best of the 10 games on the disc, but I wasn't excited about it before playing. I bought this for soccer, basketball, and the racing games, none of which turned out to be as cool as I'd imagined.
  • Static Archery. Archery doesn't really have a game. It's just target practice, against a stationary target at two ranges, with extremely minor wind variations. Boring.
  • Missed opportunity with figure skating. Special maneuvers are determined by where you are on the ice, not by what you do. This could have had an awesome minigame element if you had to spin or move your controller in various directions. Instead, a simple identical "up" swing triggers every move based on the color of the ice beneath your feet. It's very flat and, like archery, boring. This had the potential to be the coolest (and oddest) game of the title, but instead it fell flat.
  • Badminton lag time. You swing the remote, the shuttle hangs in the air for a couple seconds, and then your little almost-mii swings. It appears to be an intentional design feature, not a glitch. The result is a game that plays really, really slowly. This might not be an issue if you had control of your movement in the court, but (as with Wii Sports' tennis) the system moves you independantly of your wishes. The game is slow enough, moving yourself wouldn't be a burden. Think of those times when Wii Tennis annoys you because you're standing in the wrong part of the court - then imagine how much worse it'd be if you knew your failure a full 3 seconds in advance.
  • Basketball is dominated by stealing. It happens far more in Deca Sports basketball than in the real world, and there doesn't seem to be a defense against it, other than to outpace your foe. Since tall characters move slowly and short ones move fast, you get this weird dynamic where the shorter your team is, the better they are at basketball. That's just wrong.
  • Minimal levels. There's exactly 3 snow-boarding tracks, 3 go-kart tracks, 3 motocross tracks, and 3 figure skating routines. Even if you find one you really like, it's not going to take long to wear those out. Golf was the weakest part of Wii sports for much the same reason. These would all better handled by games focusing exclusively on them, instead of a generic 10-in-1. Get MarioKart instead.
  • Generally sedentary. It's really funny that the game has a themesong about moving your body, since most of the games can be played with no more than the most casual minor wrist action. Archery, Kart Racing, Snowboard, Supercross, and Figure Skating could all be played by a flu-sick individual lying in bed with one broken arm. I got a lot more of a work out from Wii Sports and Rayman's Raving Rabbids.
  • No Miis. Instead of the Miis you spent far too long customizing, you're stuck with just the team-mates DecaSports gave you. You can't name them, you can't change how they look, and the come in unbreakable teams of 5. This would be forgivable if they were at least cool looking or impacted play more, but the games graphics are worse than some N64 titles, and the only thing that matters in-game is their height (which, as stated, works counter to expectations in Basketball).
I'm not going to get rid of Deca Sports just yet. I need to try multiplayer, and experiment more with the challenges and leagues. If that changes anything, I'll report back, but unless you hear otherwise assume this game sucks.

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