Barely Even A Runner-Up
For that reason (since I still own two sets of Move and Nav controllers) I was pretty excited to get my hands on Sports Champions 2 , the sequel to Zindagi Studios original game. I was hoping for a bump in quality like we saw with Wii Sports Resort that refined the original concepts and maybe even introduced the golden goose of online play. Barring that, I’d have been satisfied with some new events added onto the original six with maybe a few refinements and expansions added to them. Alas, that was not to be.
For reasons unknown, the only even that carried over from the original game was archery, which is somewhat surprising because that was always the weakest of the initial bunch. I had been a huge fan of the bocce and gladiator duels, and while they were a little janky at times I still had fun with ping pong and disc golf. SC2 turns gladiator duel into boxing, ping pong into tennis and adds in bowling, skiing and regular golf. Sadly the events don’t match up well with their counterparts. Boxing isn’t as whimsical as gladiator duel and suffers from the same issues as a game like [game=2542]The Fight[/i] where if you don’t regularly work out your upper body you’ll be dead tired after just a few rounds and probably won’t be able to lift your arms the next day. Swinging a golf club via a Move wand isn’t nearly as fluid and natural as tossing a Frisbee while bowling is a bit played out and not as varied or fun as bocce. Tennis and ping pong is a wash, but a lot of these events feel like they were ripped right from the Nintendo classic and don’t set themselves apart the way the first game did.
On the positive side, these games tend to control pretty well. Yes, as mentioned golf doesn’t feel all that natural, but it is on par with other Move-controlled golf games (while being far less complex feature-wise) and the other events did a great job of mapping your movements. Both I and my children had a great time playing together and things were simple enough even for my four year old while offering advanced controls for those more dexterous. Most events support up to 4 players with just a pair of Move wands so it can be a fun party game.
Speaking of parties, they’ve tried to mix things up a bit this year by adding in a Party Mode that lets you set up your own little Olympics. You choose what events you want to play in and the level of difficulty and compete in all of them to earn the most points and take home the victory. It’s fairly basic but it’s a nice addition. Another nice addition is some customization for your Champions. While the first game just had a dozen stock avatars who couldn’t be altered, SC2 constantly throws new unlocked outfit parts that you can apply to your favorite Champ (there are still a group of stock avatars to base these off of) and end up dressing the up in some pretty wild outfits which change up depending on what sport you are competing in. It’s a nice little added touch that gives you a bit more reason to grow attached to a specific person.
What is still missing though is any sort of online play. If you live alone and have no friends the game will grow old fast. You can’t really gloat or talk trash to a CPU opponent, and once you get through all the challenges on all three levels there isn’t really much to bring you back. If you’ve got people to play with you can keep coming back for more but otherwise you’ll struggle to get your money’s worth even at the budget price.
When you look at the whole package, they’ve made some nice changes to the original formula, but where they dropped the ball was in the selection of the events. The first game took some chances with sports you don’t regularly see in these packages that had a little bit of whimsy and some great options. This time around you’re left with games you’ve seen for years in other releases and ones that are pretty bog-standard. What is even more mystifying is that they didn’t bother to include the original games (which shouldn’t have been too hard given their similarities to what’s being offered here). While Wii Sports Resort offered a great template for them to draw from, refining the sports from the first game while adding just as many new and original events, SC2 ignores that and instead goes in the other direction. If you own the original game it’s very hard to find a reason to invest in this entry and even if you don’t, you’d still be better off grabbing the original for a fraction of the price.