Go Vacation (Wii)

Game Review

Go Vacation Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mark Reece

Be prepared for economy class... if you're lucky

Since the launch of the Wii and the success of its pack-in title Wii Sports, it seems that there isn't a major publisher or developer that hasn't had their finger in the mini-game collection pie. Most of these copycats have either been inoffensively average or outright terrible. In fact, when it comes to other games featuring a myriad of sports, only Nintendo's own Wii Sports Resort springs to mind as being of any significant worth; refining existing sports, adding new ones and introducing substantially more accurate controls in what is inarguably the definitive multi-sports package. And yet, despite the blatant futility in trying to beat Nintendo at its own game, the imitators keep flooding in. Go Vacation is the latest, and it's safe to say that Nintendo shouldn't lose any sleep over its existence.

From the offset, all of Namco Bandai's efforts seem to have gone on making sure that Go Vacation outdoes Wii Sports Resort wherever possible, but its successes are few and far between. Like Resort, the game takes place on an island resort, only this one is split up into four distinct areas — marine, city, mountain and snow — and each one contains a variety of different sports and activities. Credit where credit's due, "variety" is an apt description of Go Vacation's selection of minigames, as there are around 50 available. And it's not merely contemporary sports that are covered either; sports such as tennis, volleyball and baseball are accompanied by more extreme offerings like skydiving, snowboarding and bungee jumping, as well as various races on horses, snowmobiles, jet-skis, ATVs and suchlike.

But Go Vacation's problems lie not in quantity, but rather in quality. While the copious amount of sports on offer should be applauded, the vast majority of them fail to offer any entertainment as each and every one stumbles in a key area. This is more often than not by way of a poorly conceived or unintuitive control scheme, with the rest of the activities just not being a very good idea in the first place. Even the races, which games like Mario Kart Wii already laid down the framework for, are ruined by controls that simply aren't responsive enough, and when your game can't even get the simple act of tilting the Wii Remote side to side right, well... you know you've got problems.

Should you be able to muster the patience or masochism to endure Go Vacation's minigames, the game still makes it as difficult and tedious as possible to unlock and play them all. You can't merely access every activity from the outset, rather you need to explore each area of the resort and search for the next available activity. Only when you've played a sport once can you access it in Free Play. This is certainly a novel way of injecting some longevity into Go Vacation for the lone player, but making your way around the resorts is so plodding and monotonous when on foot that you'll likely tire of doing so very quickly. Vehicles and other equipment are available to make travelling over longer distances more bearable, but issues arise here as well, once again courtesy of those unintuitive controls. The vehicles all handle just as poorly here as they do in the races, while the manual equipment — skis, snowboards, rollerblades and so on — all involve overly active measures in controlling them. For example, using cross country skis to traverse the snow resort seems like a good idea on paper. But that involves the action of pushing yourself along with both arms, which is fine for a few minutes at a time — not so much when it'll take you twenty minutes or so to get to your next activity. The fact that most of the vehicles require the Nunchuk to be plugged in while most of the minigames make you unplug it is also an issue, as the constant Nunchuk in-and-out is a pain. Alternatively, you could use the Wii Balance Board, but don't expect that to serve you any better; even MotionPlus does nothing to improve the infuriatingly imprecise and unresponsive controls.

Sparsely littered around each area you'll find opportunities to take photos, find treasures or have any Mii characters on your console join you in the activities as AI-controlled teammates and opponents but, aside from that, unlocking stuff in Go Vacation is a tedious slog. At least a lot of attention has been lavished upon each area in regards to their aesthetics as all four resorts are impressive in size, distinctly designed and populated by other holiday makers embarking on various activities. However, even this illusion is ruined by the fact that hardly any of the NPC's in each area will actually talk to you. Even if you hop onto an ATV and plough into someone at full speed, they'll have very little to say for themselves when they get back on their feet. In fact, it's fair to say that one of Namco's biggest achievements in Go Vacation is how it's constructed worlds that are both bustling and lifeless at the same time. It's like you've been transported into the end of a horror movie: you're there, but no one can see you.

Playing Go Vacation with more than one player makes matters even worse. The game allowing up to four players to make their way around the resorts on the hunt for new sports is a great idea in theory, but the aforementioned pretty visuals mean that comes at a price. Even with only two players present, the frame rate gets unbearably choppy, especially when both players are riding on vehicles. Go Vacation's sound design fares no better. Its opening gambit is a jaunty song — all about going on vacation, funnily enough — that plays when you boot up the game, and it will more than likely awaken a strong desire to gouge out your own eardrums, while the rest of the game features musical pieces that are irritating and forgettable in equal measure.


The brilliant popularity of the Wii can likely be attributed to Wii Sports and its sequel, so it's understandable that other companies would want to try and ape that success. Unfortunately, Namco Bandai have focussed all their efforts on making Go Vacation bigger, with little to no regard for how polished and finely tuned Nintendo's titles are. Go Vacation's main problem is that its controls are, nine times out of ten, too unresponsive to make it any fun. If you own a Wii, then you likely already own Wii Sports Resort, and you almost certainly already own Wii Sports, and there's little in Go Vacation that makes it worth playing over those two games.

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User Comments (46)



alLabouTandroiD said:

As bad as it is but this game seems to describe the third party situation on the Wii best. I mean as much as Nintendo advertises this in Europe you would think it's at least nearly as good as Wii Sports Resort. Hyping it up so much seems to show Nintendo's desperation to get any nicely sounding 3rd party game to the people now.



Thwiidscube said:

I was thinking about buying it later because it looked so good... I guess I won't now, since this review says it sucked.



Arthedain said:

Too bad they can't release a patch fixing the controls. That'd be awesome (the controls are horrible at times). Personally I think it's worth more than a 4. It's nice to have so much to explore and do at your own pace.




I have played 6 hours of this game and understand where you're coming from with the controls in many of the mini games. However, with most of them u get used to them and as a complete package its a 7 (metacritic has it around that I believe). The actual mini games show great imagination and its a travesty they haven't been tried yet. Great content too in number and interesting mini games. They also branch into different stages and levels to make it like playing 100 mini-games in a sense. With common sense controls it would b a 9, but as it is its a 7.



Kage_88 said:

4/10? That's a shame...still, may try this one some time down the road..



Mr_Reece said:

@LEGEND_MARIOID you shouldn't have to get used to them just because they're bad though, should you? The controls should just work.

Yes there are wide open worlds to explore and lots of minigames, but the core mechanics just aren't up to scratch.



Olorin said:

Odd, I've been hearing nothing but good things about this game. Most of the games apparently have an advanced controls option the second time you play them and exploring the island and looking for hidden treasures looks like a lot of fun.



SunshineWii128 said:

Personally, I enjoy this game. It's definitely not perfect--the driving/riding controls are awkward, some of the mini-games are iffy, and there aren't awesomely addictive ones like in, say, Wii Sports Resort. But, it's not bad by any means. Walking around is enjoyable, I love being able to use your Miis and recruit others to play with you, and some of the mini-games are quite fun. Since this is a bargain priced game ($30 USD), I don't regret my purchase.



accc said:

In my opinion, the controls aren't nearly as bad as the reviewer makes them out to be and many of the minigames are quite fun, as is exploring the island looking for treasures. If you're interested in the game, don't let this review discourage you from trying it out!



Mr_Reece said:

@accc I think the controls are bad. When reviewing Go Vacation, at least half of the time was spent playing with my wife, who agreed that the controls were bad. In fact, if she'd written this review, she'd have been a lot less lenient than I've been.

You might not agree with the review or the score - a quick look at Metacritic shows that scores range from high 80's to scores as low as mine, so many wouldn't agree - but at the end of the day, a review is part objective analysis and part opinion. You might not agree with mine, and that's fine.



SteveW said:

One of the four resorts is basically the resort in the "We Skii" game... Go Vacation has that entire resort and at least 4 times more new content but got a 4 and We Skii got a 7? with that in mind I'd easily give this at least an 8. This is one of the best games that came out this year.



NiBar said:

This is actually a pretty fun game. The motion control is very responsive and intuitive, but perhaps maybe some alternative boring analog controls would have been ok to include. The free roaming world is great and a joy to explore, and the activities is generally a blast and the characters is so cute to watch and beatifully animated, just like Namco's earlier Family Ski. Surely a lot of work has gone into this game. This game clearly deserves a better score, so I will give it a solid 8.



cyrus_zuo said:

Been seeing good reviews on Amazon for this and positive general feedback, though feelings are controls are split. I will GameFly it and see what I think .




Just been playing a couple of hours MORE on top of what I already have. Have to say the 4/10 scoreline is a bit mad tbh. Well written revw and I am a fan of NL quite frankly, but can't agree with the low review score at all - sorry. There are some duds, but the vast majority of mini-
games are good and the control mechanisms only take 2 or 3 goes to get used too in vast majority of cases - if that. Even my son and his cousins 8 years to 12 years age range, with moderate wii experience, got the hang of it quick enough.

The control choices should have been a lot better in many cases, agreed..but it certainly is no where near the disaster indicated here. If you merged wii sports resorts/wii party control schemes to these mini game ideas and this wide exploration - you'd have a 9.5/10 imho - no pap!

High 7 or just scraping an 8 for me.

Thanks for th revw and respect your opinion an that



Rainman said:

I completely disagree with the reviewer's score. I have been having a lot of fun with Go Vacation. I have probably put in at least 12 hours so far and still haven't seen everything or found all the secrets and side quests. Exploring the resorts is relaxing and very enjoyable, and the controls for each mini-game work just fine. There are some mini-games you may only play once, but there are many others that will have you going back for more.

It's too bad this score will drag down overall reviews for this very entertaining title. It is an easy 7 out of 10 for me.



srkmish said:

No i Disagree with the review, the controls for races work perfectly well like mario kart and the exploration controls with ATV and all take at max 30 mins to get used to. Many of the mini games are enjoyable. Good game



accc said:

@Nin-pal Don't let this review put you off from trying the game, it's only one man's opinion after all. Your opinion may very well differ from his.



Pete_Stooge said:

Reece could be right about this game, but i don't agree with Reece that Wii Sports Resort is the definitive sports pack: just remember how your sword always gets out of control, or your peddle goes the other way (and let's not get into biking...). So, speaking of bad controls...WSR has a few of that as well. I wonder how this will turn out in Skyward Sword.



Burning_Spear said:

This is going to be $20 at GameStop on Black Friday. Even with the bad review, it may be worth a shot for $20.



zachts98 said:

WOW Ign saw the real features of this game gave it a much higher review!!!!. 20$ on black friday!!! I will so be getting that!!!!!!!!!!!!!



phobox said:

I got it today (Black Friday) at GameStop for $9.95! Oh yeah! already unlocking resorts... pretty fun!



TheKingMgee said:

I got it for christmas and boy, what a waste of time and money! The graphica are decent (thats the 1 good thing), but the gameplay sucks. I thought you could go aound a play something, but you have to unlock everything! the controls are really dodgy because it cant really register my movement very well! over all, about 2/10



ILuvMusic14 said:

This game is not all bad. Its very realxing and fun, if bandi were to make a Go Vacation 2 i would recomend they put more resorts then 4 because it can get a little boring. Other then that i give this game a 8/10



MarioSS7 said:

I don't find the controls something you get used to, and there are some pretty fun games like Kayaking, Pie Throwing, Snowball Fight and Water Gun Battle. The free roaming is really fun and I think it is what Wii Sports Resort lacked. If the exploring is too tedious, you can go to the map and click a warp since all the minigames are close to one. Overall this game deserves an 8/10 in my opinion.



1wingKalas said:

Absolutely horrible review of this game.
I would have given it a 9/10

Very good graphics!
Excellent Motion Controls!
Very big open worlds to explore!
Fun mini games to play
Replay value: High



Shayna345 said:

This review is awful and an injustice to the game. I have played this game and myself and my whole family likes it, which is surprising because everyone in my family who likes it likes different types of games, and they all like this game for different reasons, exp. My little sister likes it because it's entirely free-roam and you can have your own house which you can use all the furniture in, and your own pet dog. You really don't run out of things to do in this game, and I have no problem with the controls and neither does my 11 year old sister. There is no way Wii Sports is better at all, this game gives you more things to do than Wii Sports ever has and neither myself nor my family or friends even like Wii Sports, it's just the game that came with the Wii that we tried playing and ended up throwing out



njechranjec said:

I disagree with reviewer - controls are not perfect, but they are good, and I had, and I still have a lot of fun, playing this.

For me - 8/10



Drobotic said:

I actually enjoyed the game except for the controls.It's fun to just go riding on a horse or do some skiing.Overall,this was a good game to me.



Number_6 said:

I know this game has been out forever now, but I picked it up recently, and this is one review I do not agree with. It has a lot of variety, and actually being able to move around the world instead of just choosing events from a menu list changes the feel of the game completely. It's a world to explore that has games in it, many of them pretty fun ones at that. There are a few that aren't great, such as skydiving, but many are entertaining and the game controls are usually fine. There are some instances of clunky controls, volleyball being the worst, but even it isn't THAT bad.

This is the time to buy Wii games that you missed for next to nothing, and Go Vacation is well worth it if you find it in the bargain bin. I'd give it a 7 or perhaps even 8 if I was scoring it. Oh, and my 10 year old prefers it to Wii Sports Resort.



Reshiram78659 said:

What the heck is wrong with this review! Everything is perfect except the quick draw. Well to me anyways.



VinceGamerX said:

This review is absolutely wrong. I first had Wii Sports Resort (it came with my Wii) and enjoyed the swordplay and wakeboarding. Although, something was missing: Freely Roaming around the island. Then I got Go Vacation. I loved the roaming because im a sucker for 3D free roam stuff. I mean, yes, the controls for ATV, Off-Road Car and Snowmobile are a bit hard to turn, there's nothing really wrong with the game. Ive had many fun times on this game and still have lots of fun. I dont see whats wrong with the multiplayer. I only have 2 Remotes and Nunchuks so i play with my brother. We both love the game and most certainly always will. 4/10 is wrong. So wrong. I give this game a Huge, Definite, Solid 9/10



estaples said:

YOU CAN TELL A GAME IS GREAT WHEN PEOPLE HUNT FOR AND PURCHASE IT BRAND NEW, YEARS AFTER IT'S RELEASE. Go Vacation is one of those games—look up Amazon consumer review and sales data.

For folks coming in with the presupposition that it's a mere knock-off attempt, it's easy to miss the differences and fail to see where Go Vacation really shines: the immense island exploration and RPG-like side quests (which Wii Sports Resort didn't offer), aside from those mini games that are unique and considerably deep (surfing, scuba-diving—years before Wii U, etc), some of which could almost be stand alone titles! You really need to invest some time to get a clear view of the game.



Lemon said:

I totally disagree with this review! I really like this game and I think its plenty of fun. I have certainly enjoyed it much more than Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, with the pristine island and the concept of free roam! I have spent many happy hours exploring the island with my sister and have had plenty of laughs. I do agree that some of the mini-games are a bit iffy but most of them are pretty enjoyable. This review is completely wrong (4/10? What?) and I give it a 9.5/10.



speeddog73 said:

Well... Obviously you can't see why the game was made, and focus on sequels to popular games. It was supposed to be a free-roam+minigame based on vacationing. Not a copy of Wii Sports Resort. What minigames do those have in comon? Tennis? Go Vacation has about 40 or more games not even related to what Wii Sports Resort has. Is skydiving in Wii Sports Resort? How about water gun battles? Or, how about.. THE ACTUAL FUN OPEN FREEROAM? I've played both games, and I find Go Vacation a lot better. And, what did you say about the hardness and touchiness of the game? That's actual gaming! Wii Sports Resort is supposed to be an easy, game, that the ESRB could rate C+, and not just E, if they didn't feature all Mii's to be sweating, and such when playing a minigame. Go vacation actually has challenges, not like Nintendo, where is just one game, and one gamemode, and no other things to do. Go Vacation is a party game and also a singleplayer and multiplayer rivalry. And, have you forgotten the feature of playing the minigames to unlock keys to build the ultimate vacation villa? Does Wii Sports Resort have something like that? No! It's just a party game! Nice one with the late responsing of the controllers. What is it, .01 seconds is unresponsive to you? I have this game, and the other, and they both have the same response to the controller. If it bugs you, get a new Wii bro. And a new controller, since you've probably worn it out thinking of negative things in a game, and saying how, "THIS SUCKS CAUSE 'blah blah game' WAS FIRST!!!!", and posting all of it online. Shut it bro, cause some real people like IGN need to talk, not just one guy like you, with a screwed up mind, writing reviews that Patrick Star can do better. I hope you be honest sometime, and not be some guy who just cares about other games cheaping off this one cause the developers thought they didn't do good enough. Nice one bro, nice.



speeddog73 said:

@Thwiidscube Don't listen to this noob. He won't even invest one minute without thinking of how other games were first and that other companies who make games afterwards like it, ALWAYS make rip offs of the first games, and not thinking of them either them making it better, or making a completely different game, that accidentally connects in a very small way.

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