Deca Sports Review (Wii)
Many gamers who played Wii Sports when it first came out were excited about the possibilities of the Wii’s controls in relation to sports games. Wii Sports was not a blockbuster in terms of quality, but a lot of people have had tons of fun with the game.
Enter Deca Sports, the next in a line of multi-sport compilations. Deca was looking to pick up where Wii Sports left off but unfortunately, Deca Sports fails at most every sport in the most basic sense, fun.
Deca Sports features multiple game modes which try to satisfy your urge for league or tournament play, and each in and of themselves are not bad. In fact, the offerings in terms of modes are far better than anything Wii Sports had to offer.
Another advantage Deca Sports sports has over its counterpart is the ability to choose different teams with different skill sets and abilities. This creates a bit of strategy when picking which team to use for which events, but the strategy is really quite shallow in the end.
The kart racing and motocross sports in Deca Sports will leave you dizzy, frustrated and overall, confused after you are done with them. The controls require you to hold the control sideways in order to steer while pushing the 1 or 2 button to gas and brake.
The good news? The game tells you how to… oh wait, you aren’t given any instruction on how to use the controls in the game. My very first kart race was a disaster because of the lack of instructions.
Snowboarding is not that much better, as the controls seem rather clumsy and there really is no reason to pull off tricks.
Once you finally master the controls, the fun really doesn’t improve as the racing action itself is just dry in personality. In all honesty, the racing modes in Deca are just plain bad.
While the single player action for these games is dull, the multiplayer can be fun with no AI dragging things down. The controls aren’t terrible for these games, and volleyball with all human players would be a lot better than you playing with three computer players.
If you are playing single player though, don’t even attempt to play either game as they will bore you to tears. I had some fun playing each at first, but the fun dissipates rather quickly when you see there is nothing really to this mode outside of flick wrist, wait, flick wrist, wait, flick wrist, score.
Admittedly, I was a bit reluctant to try out figure skating. Who wants to control some ballerina wannabe doing a dance across the ice? After a stint of convincing myself, and a call to the official man-card office to make sure I was safe, I finally dove into Deca Sports’ Figure Skating.
Honestly, I can see the potential in this, and I think a full game built off of something like this would be a really fun and interesting game that would play to many people's creative sides. However, the mode simply isn’t that functional and makes zero sense.
The mode works by following yellow circles along the ice for your routine. Along the way, there are big colored circles on the ice where you are to land your tricks. If you miss these, you just pass right on through and they disappear. However, if you miss them while doing a trick your skater falls on his or her butt.
And it will happen randomly again and again with seemingly no rhyme or reason as to why the figure skater is falling. The figure skating mode is full of potential but falls way short of where it could have been.
Both team based sports are not completely terrible. They really come off as miniature versions of something like NBA 2K or FIFA, without the glamorous graphics and souped up gameplay. Both games are rather simplistic in their pass, pass, shoot formula, but they are both functional and both make sense. But, each sport offers only average gameplay at best with little depth to them.
There really is no strategy involved, and for fear of giving away the 15
minutes you would realistically spend before finding best ways to score, I'll just say that once you figure out the ways to school the AI, the game becomes ridiculously easy.
Multiplayer is not much better, as you are still dealing primarily with the AI. In all honesty, both games simply don’t offer that much fun, and when you are trying to make that the focus of a game, there's clearly a problem.
Though it's likely not a first, curling does make an appearance in a video game for the first time in quite a while. Out of all of the sports, curling is probably the best one. However, the most frustrating thing about this mode is figuring out how the game works, and how to control the players.
Spending time in the manual will give a little bit of help in terms of how to shoot and sweep, but the game itself offers little in the way of how to play curling or how the rules work. When you figure the rules out, the curling mode in Deca is quite fun. I’m not so sure that curling will be on the top of your friends' to play list, but curling offers what is probably the best possible balance of functionality and fun in Deca Sports.
Another very solid effort in Deca is the archery mode. It is simple, but with archery that is probably a good thing. The process of shooting arrows is rather simple, draw your bow, aim with your hand while taking into account wind speed and direction, and then release.
When playing against a friend, archery becomes even more fun as you try to pull your inner Robin Hood out. Overall, the archery mode is an enjoyable, functional and well designed mode.
On The Field: Deca fails at its most simple premise, functional yet fun games. Some are functional and not fun, some are neither functional nor fun. In the end, only two sports out of ten end up being functional and fun.
Graphics: The graphics are very basic and aren’t all that pretty. You could sum up the graphics in one very simple word, average.
Sound: The menu music isn’t terrible and the sound effects aren’t bad either. But in the end, you really don’t see anything cool or exciting being done with the sound.
Entertainment Value: Unless you want to be bored to tears while playing all but archery and curling, there isn’t much fun to be had. You might be entertained by playing some of the other sports, but I wouldn’t say it is likely.
Learning Curve: I actually had to play for a bit to master things, but I never lost to the computer again after playing the game for about an hour.
Conclusion: Overall, two out of ten sports is a terrible ratio. In baseball, Deca would be batting .200, which for those of you who may not know, is quite bad. The overall package shows a lot of promise, and even beats Wii Sports in a few areas. But when it comes down to it, for a multi-sport compilation to work, it has to boast simple, functional, yet fun games and Deca Sports only achieves that in a very small sense.