It's Spring. You know, that annoying inbetween period that gets in the way of Summer. With everyone donning t-shirts like they want the blazing heat to hurry its sweet butt over here, now seems to be as good a time as any for EA to showcase some new sports games for the Wii. SPOnG took a trek to the publisher's offices to take a peek at Tiger Woods 10
and the recently announced Grand Slam Tennis
Both games might surprise as they will most likely be the first to use the new-fangled Wii MotionPlus accessory. That's a dongle that connects to the bottom of the Wii Remote to make motion-sensing a lot more accurate. With Tiger Woods
, EA Sports is gunning for true 1:1 motion with the peripheral, while Grand Slam Tennis
benefits from more accurate shots and classier curve balls.
First: Grand Slam Tennis
. You may have noticed that it takes a rather interesting departure from most EA Sports games in that it doesn't carry the usual mark of ultra-realistic graphics. The presentation is obviously geared to encourage a broader range of players to take to the virtual court, and the almost cartoony-but-recognisable appearances of Henman, Federer and Nadal seems like a throwback to the brightly coloured sports games of the 16-Bit era.
Gameplay will be familiar to anyone who's played Wii Sports
' tennis game before, albeit with a few quirks. Serving is exactly the same as the launch title and returning the ball to the left, centre or right of the court is still a matter of how well you time your swing. However, there's a greater degree of control in the motion sensing, with angled swings resulting in slices or top spins, while holding A or B buttons during your return will perform a lob or drop shot respectively. Rushing to the net and back is as simple as pressing up or down on the D-pad.
It's fun when you're playing against a human opponent, and while the motion sensing was a bit janky overall (I was playing an early build) connecting the MotionPlus attachment makes the game a whole lot more accurate than the Wii's pack-in tennis game. The main difference when using MotionPlus is that, excepting the net-rushing, all the controls are set to your motions, the buttons otherwise rendered useless. The game more accurately registers the power and curvature of your return, so you can get the ball almost exactly where you want it to be.
Whereas Grand Slam Tennis
features a sport that EA has never explored before, Tiger Woods 10
is the opposite - the latest in a long-running golf series that has proved more than profitable for the label. I played some early code, which did not yet have the 1:1 motion or the newly announced weather conditions (that change coming according to the data reported on the Wii's Forecast Channel), but still feels like a solid experience even at this stage.
It's largely what you would expect from a golf game on the Wii, only there's a fair bit of refinement present - you can curve your shots as you smack the ball and add spin as it's flying through the air. As you near the hole, you're treated to a new putting system that works by calculating your back swing and fore swing.
Using a bar on the side of the screen that tracks how powerful you're making your putt, it was difficult to know how powerful our fore swing was going to be until I realised I'd hit the ball with the force of a thousand elephants. EA hinted that online play will involve tournaments and the creation of Golf Clubs, which can communicate with one another and even take part in special competitions for prizes.
Although EA weren't willing to divulge when Nintendo plans to release the MotionPlus accessory, Senior Product Manager Oliver Hughes revealed that Tiger Woods
will be released on the 16th of June, with Grand Slam Tennis
following close after on the 19th June. Just in time for Wimbledon...and a maybe certain new peripheral release?