Deca Sports (Wii)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Friday, May 30, 2008

Graphics: 4.00
Sound: 7.50
Gameplay: 8.50
Replays: 8.50
Gamelength: 10.00

Hudson’s collection of sports themed games, “Deca Sports” for the Wii is at last on store shelves and is easily better than the preview version I discussed a while back.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: “Deca Sports” is a collection of sports themed games and is very much like similar games, such as “Summer Sports” or even Nintendo’s very own “Wii Sports”. However, the games in this particular collection stand out above many of the others, even if the controls haven’t exactly been altered much from previous formulas used across other various Wii titles. Put on some comfortable sports clothing and come with me for some sports entertainment as I experience everything that the events of “Deca Sports” has to offer.

Appearances definitely aren’t everything and that’s something made very clear here in “Deca Sports”. The graphics have not improved at all since the preview build and in some spots, the final product even seems a bit sluggish in this department. There are many spots with low framerates, which includes entire games. Soccer is a primary example, which appears to be running around 20-25 frame per second at times. There doesn’t seem to be any excuse for this, considering the PlayStation 2-like quality of the graphics. I admit that some of the lighting is great, but otherwise, this game has no real excuse to be running sluggish at any point in time. I personally think that even the PlayStation 2 would run everything included on this disc at a solid 60 frames per second. While I don’t quite understand why this problem exists, it doesn’t really ruin the game at all because nothing runs so slow that it’s unplayable at any point in time.

Sound effects and music are also unchanged, with the same awesome electronic (mostly Europop) tunes found in the preview build. In this case, that’s a great thing if you like the Europop genre of music. Sound effects are all pretty clear, but there’s not really anything unique here at all. It’s as though the sound effects were ripped straight out of other Wii game collections and slapped onto the disc when needed. Who really cares about that in a sports game collection, though? I sure don’t. Everything sounds good enough for me and I’m certainly never bothered by any of the sound content.

“Deca Sports” has a whole lot of content, with 10 full games to play in both single and multiplayer modes that have tons of replay value for the whole family. On the title screen, you’re presented with 2 very simple options: Single Player and Multiplayer. In Single Player, you’re presented with 6 choices, which are as follows: Open Match, Deca League, Tournament, Deca Challenge, Controls and Locker Room. Open Match is very much like the “Wii Sports” approach and has you pick a game, set up your preferences and go at it. Deca League is an event which pits the player against 3 other teams in all 10 sports events to see who comes out on top overall. Tournament is a classic single sport tournament and is probably where many aspiring serious players will want to play. Deca Challenge helps the player to become more comfortable with the controls of each sport by putting him or her through various minigame challenges. Locker Room is more of a “Status” area, which shows the stats and profiles of the various teams, as well as any trophies the player has collected. Of these selections, the one that stands out to me is the simple inclusion of a “Controls” game mode. Previously, you had to go slightly out of your way to figure out the control scheme for each game and it wasn’t always very clear, so a mode specifically dedicated to teaching new players how to control each sport definitely kicks ass in this specific case. The Multiplayer works a bit differently and only allows open match game play. Pick a game, pick teams, set preferences and play. It works just like any other game collection, but I think the single player to be the highlight of the game in this case. That’s not to say that the multiplayer is bad, but I had much more fun with the single player stuff than I did with the multiplayer. The single player enhancements make this game stand out above the rest and help to keep the replay value extremely high, so before you write this game off as “just another minigame collection”, take that into consideration. Not to mention the fact that the multiplayer is still very solid, even if it’s not the best portion of the game. There’s a lot of fun to be had with “Deca Sports” and I think the final product came together very nicely.

Overall, Hudson did a very good job with “Deca Sports”. I like it and I see myself playing it for quite some time.

Pros:
-The 10 games are all very fun.
-Huge amount of variety, from racing to figure skating.
-Perfect difficulty curve for all ages.
-Tons of single player content.
-Inclusion of a “Controls” mode really fixed what appeared to be a broken game.
-Deca Challenge minigames are all really fun.
-Solid multiplayer.
-Great music.

Cons:
-Graphics are comparable to a generic PlayStation 2 title.
-Frame rates seem very low in some games.
-No option to use Mii characters, but that’s not Hudson’s fault.
-Sound effects are extremely generic.

Bottom Line:
If you own a Wii and you’re looking for a great bang for your buck, “Deca Sports” is easily a contender for that title. Even if you don’t like sports, the games included on the disc are so well-rounded that anyone of any age will most certainly find something they can enjoy. If you’re unsure, the best option is always to rent before you buy, but I’m very confident that any Wii owner will thoroughly enjoy this collection of awesome games.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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