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Game Review

Wii Sports Club: Baseball + Boxing Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Swing and a miss

Wii Sports Club has had a rather odd history to date. Released in increments that have been surprisingly spread out, it's attempted to recapture the magic of the Wii bundle title while throwing in Miiverse, MotionPlus controls and GamePad features. Online play has also been a vital inclusion, yet the piecemeal distribution and pricing experimentation with day and full passes hasn't helped the download offerings to gain momentum, and now Nintendo is going ahead and releasing a physical retail edition anyway.

Question marks over marketing and distribution aside, the first three sports offered were mixed in terms of how well they transitioned to Wii U, and we think it says much about Nintendo's confidence that it's bundled the final parts together with Wii Sports Club: Baseball + Boxing — one is a rather decent effort, and the other is a disappointing throwaway freebie.

Let's start with the sport that works nicely here, Baseball. Always an entertaining option on Wii, it also incorporated a pitching action that endangered TV sets and shoulder blades, as it tempted you to fling the remote forward in pursuit of more deadly fastballs. Pitching and some fielding is now moved to the GamePad, as you use the motion sensor and screen to pick a spot before using a simple button press to choose from alternative balls — power is determined by your timing on a power gauge. When the batter hits an 'air ball', meanwhile, you have to follow an arrow on screen to tilt the Pad up, locate the ball and line it up for a catch. It's all exactly the same as what was briefly shown at the Wii U's big reveal during E3 2011, but works nicely; it's one of the best examples yet of the GamePad serving as a window into the game world, giving a fun sense of sort-of augmented reality in its execution.

Batting remains the same, though is a little more accurate with the MotionPlus Remote; it was a bit of a stand-out on the standard Wii Remote, regardless. There are no button presses, you simply swing, and it's far harder now to trick the system into registering a lazy flick of the wrist — you don't need a full swing, as such, but a little effort does help with timing. It's sheer simplicity, which was part of the original's success.

Matches work as well as always, and our online games seemed fairly reliable on our admittedly quick connection. It's three innings regardless of local or online play, and it's certainly a fun experience taking on an opponent in the same room — hiding the pitching screen from the batter and psyching out a rival as they attempt a catch is a treat. In the online stakes you can exchange pre-prepared messages, and some minor delays waiting for the opponent to pitch seemed to be the game pre-processing to minimise lag, which was perfectly acceptable. With CPU opponents also on hand in your quest to improve your grade, all bases are truly covered for matches.

There are three training modes, too, which simply add minor twists to the core gameplay — Home Run Hero is a time trial to whack as many out of the park as possible, Smash Hitter challenges you to aim your shots at coloured areas, and Pitch for Prizes tasks you with hitting moving boxes as you pitch. All are functional but unremarkable.

Baseball is an example of a remaster that works well, with natural uses for the GamePad and MotionPlus, also delivering a fun local multiplayer experience. Boxing, on the other hand, remains the weakest of these events, and we've been left disappointed after testing out the potential of its improved controls. Notorious as "that crazy waggle game" on Wii, in which two gladiators would frantically flick their wrists and look rather silly, this is now a fiddly, awkward experience.

There are two control options, first of all, the best being two MotionPlus Remotes — one in each hand. We headed straight for the Training modes to test them out: Pro Puncher, in which you aim punches as quickly as possible, Speed Bag in which you follow instructions to hit passing targets, and Duck and Dodge, where you avoid tennis balls and knock out targets. They all work reasonably as exercises, though it can be a challenge to convert your motions into accurate punches, our lack of accuracy being brutally exposed in these exercises. Adjusting the height of punches is the biggest issue, while registering hooks and uppercuts can be tricky if the Remotes keep registering jabs while positioning the controllers — this could be a minor problem in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, too, though that was a largely fluent, impressive experience once mastered. Boxing, on the other hand, still seems to register gestures too readily rather than tracking the hands, leading to false shots and an instinct to simple flick the wrist to jab; playing properly will probably result in crushing defeats online.

Fighting others online is functional and seemed reasonably lag free, for us, though with the stilted controls and awkward manoeuvres even a bit of lag doesn't influence proceedings a great deal. We didn't feel like we were engaged in a skilful bout of elite sporting combat, but rather like a slightly frustrated gamer wondering why our goofy Mii threw a hook when the gesture was clearly an uppercut; it's a failure in immersion. When playing Boxing it feels like the free afterthought that, ultimately, it seems to be in reality.

We said there were two control schemes, the second of which is a one-handed mode in which you just use one Wii RemotePlus controller. It's basically the same but with your boxer only throwing one set of punches — Nunchuks aren't supported due to their limited motion detection capabilities — and it feels rather silly. While practical for those without lots of compatible Remotes — we used it for some local splitscreen play — it's simply not enjoyable.

Of course, both of these sports come within the same app as those that came before, so your wins and losses contribute to your regional Club's online standing, while you can customise messages through Miiverse; it all works well, so if you've enjoyed these features up to now they're integrated into the latest entries. A note on presentation, too — both titles have had basic upgrades to HD, though Baseball has had a cleaner update than Boxing, the latter of which has some rough aspects. Both are entirely functional and pleasing enough to look at, however.

Conclusion

When considering whether to buy this final offering on Wii Sports Club, as a download, our advice is simple — it's worth considering for Baseball alone. Rather like Bowling and Golf it's a smartly implemented upgrade, and joins the latter in giving the GamePad an impressive, indispensable role. Boxing, on the other hand, is thoroughly mediocre, with MotionPlus merely replacing one flawed control scheme with another; it's passable at best.

As both of these downloads come for the price of one, we recommend Baseball as worthy of consideration, which is a far stronger pitch than we can give to Boxing.

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User Comments (58)

Mega719

#1

Mega719 said:

I find it strange how the original seems to be better than this, I would expect everything to be significantly improved

SavoirFaire

#4

SavoirFaire said:

I think wii sports gets a lot more hype than deserved due to being bundled with the wii. Not that it's bad, just that people aren't necessarily buying the wii to play it.

That being said, I hope Nintendo promotes this a bit, at least to the point of putting a "U" on the retail box so ppl will pick it up. I enjoyed the first one and enjoyed the free trial games so will definitely pick this up!

JaxonH

#5

JaxonH said:

Love the baseball. As for the boxing, eh, probably the worst of the 5 sports.

All in all, Wii Sports Club is a great buy. The Golf ALONE makes the game worthy of purchase- I mean, the golf is good. Da** good. One of the funnest games on Wii U, and one of the best uses of the Gamepad to date, if not THE best. The Baseball and Bowling are also fantastic, though nothing can match the Golf. Those 3 sports right there constitute the Wii Sports Club experience imo. But Tennis is moderately enjoyable too, and it's inclusion just makes the game that much better.

NintyMan

#6

NintyMan said:

That's a disappointment about the boxing. I was never a huge fan of Wii Sports Baseball, so I think I might ultimately just stick with Bowling.

sinalefa

#7

sinalefa said:

I will get the trial, but there is a huge chance I won't buy this one. I don't care about online, and if boxing is still broken then only Tennis makes it passable. I already have Resort which sports a WM+ bowling and golf.

yokokazuo

#8

yokokazuo said:

While I found boxing a bit difficult at first, I was able to get used to the controls and it wasn't too much of a problem. I do not like the single wii remote at all though.

theberrage

#9

theberrage said:

I've said it before, this should be a freebie to all the current and loyal Wii u owners.

minotaurgamer

#10

minotaurgamer said:

@SavoirFaire That's stupid. People bought the Wii in droves only for Wii sports. That's a fact.

No matter how hard you try to ignore that fact or pretend that the industry's myths of "casuals are dumb!" "it was marketing" are real, the truth is that wii sports sold wiis. Get real.

Jazzer94

#11

Jazzer94 said:

I kind saw this coming rather silly nunchuk isn't supported I'm not in any rush to get Wii Sports Club honestly.

Phantom_R

#12

Phantom_R said:

@SavoirFaire Were you keeping up with current events back in 2006/2007? People actually were going nuts for Wii Sports. It's just that a lot of the clueless non-gaming folks who bought it for Wii Sports didn't buy much else. The Wii was a huge craze but those kinds of people viewed it more as a plug-and-play thing without an understanding of how consoles actually work.

... Those are also the people who aren't buying the Wii U because they don't know it's a new system. Technically their fault, but still also Nintendo's goof for that name.

Gonzo1

#13

Gonzo1 said:

I wasn't too keen at first but once you get used to it, boxing isn't too bad at all.

GreatPlayer

#14

GreatPlayer said:

I found tennis really really fun even though the control occasionally does not register. I was thinking whether to buy the whole game package due to boxing... well.

dizzy_boy

#15

dizzy_boy said:

I have no idea why they chose not to include a nunchuck option for boxing. I'd rather play two handed with slightly accuracy than single handed.

TruenoGT

#16

TruenoGT said:

I thought the extra boxing games (plate smasher, etc) were pretty fun, but in general I did expect more from the controls. I haven't even tried baseball yet, but maybe this weekend.

Hero-of-WiiU

#18

Hero-of-WiiU said:

Boxing is just fine to me but I am angered by how someone can do a light jab and get the 10 count while I just did a big ol' combo with a powerful uppercut, and the opponent gets up at 4. Baseball is great but swinging requires much more skill, Golf is spectactular, Bowling is great for local play but by yourself not worth it, and Tennis is fun.
Best to worst- 1. Golf 2. Baseball 3. Tennis 4. Boxing 5. Bowling.

Gen0neD

#21

Gen0neD said:

Bummed. I'm ok with the baseball, but the boxing (which was my favorite) is craptastic. No more slow-mo ko's, the stands are packed with people from the 1st fight and i cant even get off my patented triple jab combo. Dammit. The boxing gets a 5/10 from me.

Iggly

#23

Iggly said:

A nunchuck option would be nice, though I have a feeling Boxing will be the mode I'll play the least once I buy the retail version of Wii Sports Club.

ACK

#24

ACK said:

Baseball is truly excellent. One if my favorite arcade-style takes on the sport in a long time. The original turned my son into a slugger and I can already see him comprehending the tactics of pitching from Wii Sports U. He is hard to hit! Changes speeds, picks the corners, and shuffles his pitches like a pro.

xj0462

#25

xj0462 said:

i will wait for the retail version, anyone know if i have to pay for unlimited use of the games in the retail version?

BulbasaurusRex

#26

BulbasaurusRex said:

Wow, I never expected them to actually add a fielding component to Baseball, which one of my complaints with the original version. Well done, Nintendo! I'll certainly be picking up Baseball along with Bowling and Tennis once I get a Wii U.

That's a shame about Boxing, though. I was hoping the punching accuracy would be greatly improved over the original version. Maybe they could've used a MotionPlus sensitivity option like in "Rage of the Gladiator." Oh well, it was always my least favorite out of the five sports, anyway.

SavoirFaire

#28

SavoirFaire said:

@Phantom_R Actually I didn't get back into consoles until 2010 or so :) I will fully admit the Wii craze passed me by at it's peak.

The thing is, something doesn't add up here. If Wii Sports sold half the Wii Consoles ever (let's just say), and the new, polished up and expanded version is coming to Wii U, then wouldn't it be logical to expect a pretty substantial marketing campaign? This seems to be akin to a new Star Wars movie coming out, with no buzz, trailers, or promotions. Sure, people with a Wii U know of the updated sports, but how about the rest of the potential buying-it population? It seems Nintendo is making a huge no-marketing mistake, which is something I think everyone agrees was a problem with the Wii U, and that just doesn't make any sense.

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

As much as I enjoyed watching my kids play a couple of matches of baseball all I kept thinking was - why is this so gimped?!?!

its not like the japanese dont know baseball, Tanaka is the ONLY good thing in NY baseball right now and we have 2 pro teams.

Baseball is NOT 3 innings, its 9. Why cant runners be controlled with the Dpad. Why xant we choose teams. I would pay $40 just for baseball if this were like Sluggers. Theyve had 7 years to improve Wii Sports baseball and all we get is pitching? So disappointed.

Guitardude7

#30

Guitardude7 said:

Waiting for the retail version of all the sports. Not gonna waste my system memory with downloads.

Gameday

#31

Gameday said:

They are both fun indeed. Online motion controls are always going to have issues when playing in this spoiled i must win at all cost world. Speaking of lag here's a video to show case and point ~

FJOJR

#32

FJOJR said:

So how long until we start seeing the "Resort" games redistributed?

CliveWinston

#34

CliveWinston said:

@JaxonH glad to see someone else is as impressed with the golf as i am, to me it's far better than the other sports, very addictive... just never seems to get boring, as it takes quite a while to master, and becoming good ( say -8 or -10 for 9 holes ) is really satisfying ... i've played it nearly every day for the last 3 months...only issue i have with it is that in local play the wiimote works flawlessly, but when i play online i'm constantly having to hit the trigger and set it down for a few seconds to try and recalibrate it as the club will slowly creep past the ball even when i hold the wiimote motionless, or the swing registers faster on the gamepad than it should... you ever have these issues or hear of it?

dinosauryoshi

#35

dinosauryoshi said:

Not in a rush to get this either. Will get the set as a physical copy when the price drops a little so I can play it against my little brother when I'm babysitting him. I'd never really play these alone and online doesn't really appeal to me.

awesomeunclet

#36

awesomeunclet said:

I've got to admit I really like the boxing. It took some getting used to, but the controls work pretty well once you get the feel for it. I think it's an improvement over the original, and online is a lot of fun. Baseball is an even better update. I'll be playing this one a lot.

BulbasaurusRex

#37

BulbasaurusRex said:

@rjejr It's still a budget title designed for casual players, and they did at least add a partial fielding component this time. This isn't meant to be a complicated sim-like experience. Besides, is it really worth choosing teams without an MLBPA license, and would you really want to completely exhaust yourself by swinging around the Wiimote like that for a full 9 innings?

Laxeybobby

#38

Laxeybobby said:

I'm wondering if with this version is more likely to be patched / updated via automatic downloads by Ninty to improve the faults with Boxing. I've noticed games like pikmin, wonderful 101 have all received automatic updates to rectify issues.

Sean_Aaron

#39

Sean_Aaron said:

I think the boxing could use a patch for sure: it's not possible to do the speedy one-two punches you could in the Wii version, so despite being more "accurate" you have the same issues with gestures being mis-interpreted of the original without feeling like you're actually boxing due to the length of time required to deliver a simple jab accurately.

If they were sold separately I'd have totally skipped boxing, though I do enjoy the workout I get from it. I miss the old motion-controlled pitching, though the extra precision and immersion of catching fly balls compensates. I'm thinking it would be cool to play a single player game with two players: one batting and one pitching - just to avoid taking off the remote strap.

Tsurii897

#42

Tsurii897 said:

I really regret, that I didn't try Baseball on the weekend :/
Sounds like fun.

And geez...boxing SUCKED. I actually prefer the old control scheme and that was really darn terrible already.

sinalefa

#43

sinalefa said:

@SavoirFaire

I hope they start advertising it. Before July it does not make much sense as not all sports were there and there was not a physical version either. So I will not be surprised if they announce a bundle for the holidays with this as the game included.

SetupDisk

#44

SetupDisk said:

I have It but I haven't gotten to play it yet. As the case was with the first version of boxing I am guessing that if you actually practice and get the hang of the controls it will play fine.

If not I stand corrected.

Anguspuss

#46

Anguspuss said:

love the baseball but the controlls for boxing are all over the place. Maybee can be fixed in a patch but not really impressed with it. but for the two games together its okay deal

rjejr

#48

rjejr said:

@BulbasaurusRex - Yes, yes and yes. Well ok, maybe not me. But I have two sons, ages 9 and 11, and they would really like to choose up teams of all our family members of Miis. After all the years they've spent playing Sluggers and MLB The Show on PS3 they don't want to play this. If they could play even 5 or 7 innings and choose Miis they would want to play it a lot more. Base running is something they really really have fun with, though I honestly wouldn't expect it here.

If Nitneod would make a new Sluggers w/ Gamepad pitching support we'ld buy it day 1, even w/o the neat tacked on RPG component.

JaxonH

#49

JaxonH said:

@CliveWinston

Can't say that I have. Although, I've only played online a couple times. Try a different Wiimote and see if that helps?

I think the Golf is best when played via local multiplayer. Sometimes I bring my Wii U over to my friend's place, and me, him and his room mate will all take turns golfing. They golf for real so it was interesting to hear both of them say they were impressed with the game. "We can golf in the middle of the Wisconsin winter" they said. And it's true. It really does feel like you're actually golfing.

Mr_3DS

#50

Mr_3DS said:

I absolutely love baseball in Wii Sports. I'm gonna wait to get this when it comes out on disc, but I can't wait!

tanasten

#51

tanasten said:

Nintendo really loved the Wii Sports. They play worse than the originals... and the online sucks. They shold be very embarrased with this and fix these games ASAP. The IP was strong enough and look at huw much they lasted to put the Club to the 5 original games and they all play far worse... it's incredible.

Than God I still own the original games...
Please watch the profanity — TBD

timp29

#52

timp29 said:

That's disappointing. I always thought boxing had the most potential and used to enjoy boxing on the Wii, it was a good workout lol.

ZukutoBen

#53

ZukutoBen said:

I liked boxing the best though i rather sacrafice more accurate Motion controls so I can use a Nunchuck again since I don't have a 4th WiiMote Plus but I guess I have the original Wii Sports which I can play with.my friend on.Still it would be nice if there was a 3rd control option.I enjoyed playing Baseball with my Friend anyway.I've got Tennis aswell which I quite enjoy playing now and again.

beautifulstrong

#55

beautifulstrong said:

@tanasten
Bowling is WAY better, baseball is WAY better, golf is WAY better, tennis is the same and boxing is the drizzlin' poopiedoodoocacapoopledoopledoggiepoopledoops!!!!!
However, I can definately see someone being perfectly happy with the original over the new ones.

TreesenHauser

#56

TreesenHauser said:

It's a shame that Boxing requires two Wii Remote Plus controllers in order to be fully realized. I still have yet to activate my 48-hour trial to activate both Baseball and Boxing, but I think I'll do so just to try Baseball out. Still considering getting the retail disc option since I never got around to buying any of the individual sports.

earthboundlink

#57

earthboundlink said:

Thinking about taking the plunge and buying the whole set, though games like this I don't really want in physical copy. Minigames like this are best when you can just flip to them quickly without changing discs. These are always fun to break out at parties and when friends come over. Problem is that my game backlog is already massive and I have no time to complete the ones I'm currently playing. When the 3DS first released, I couldn't imagine this would be such a problem...

toben7l

#58

toben7l said:

very, VERY disappointed that you need FOUR controllers to actually box properly. my son and i play the game together, and we're the only ones in the home that use the system. why on earth would we buy FOUR controllers? hoping Nintendo patches in the ability to use the nunchuck like the original Sports game

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