Deca Sports Review

It is the year 2008. The world’s athletes are ramping up for the largest International event in history. Even though it is being hosted by a country with questionable-at-best methods for economy and freedom for its people, China is ready to show a peak behind its Big Red Curtain for a chance to shine. What better opportunity for the game companies to step up and be the ancillary diamonds along with the Summer Olympics could there be?

But there are dangers to be sure. When stepping up this high on the platform one must be careful plant a sure foot lest ye fall and die. Or worse, try and blind the masses with glitz only to be a smoke and mirror trick the people see through and attack. No one likes a scam and that goes infinity for a scam during times of great gain or great loss.

So, is Hudson ready to step onto the platform and accept its medal or are they thieves in the night?

The graphics in the game are sharp and clean. The buttons are out of the way in the corner, but have a certain stickiness to them to help those of us suffering from adrenaline rush, or feebleness perhaps, click with ease. Buttons are laid out and plenty large for even young hands for getting around. Each sport has several options for customization, and a menu for different kinds of maneuvers necessary to play. Once you are ready for that, there is a seamless transition from scoreboard to the environment to let the games begin!

It would have been nice if the buttons that show you the controls were a bit more interactive, or even animated. The static image of the Wiimote and/or Nunchuk’s purpose for the upcoming game was accurate, but the timing of when certain moves were necessary was difficult without actually being on the field. I cannot truly subtract points for this, but you can pretty much bypass these buttons and just learn on the fly a little easier.

The unavailability of Mii integration is also irksome, but not deductable for this category. The players on the field certainly get their point across and the field itself is entirely functional. Everything was quite smooth and the Wii is not one to suffer frame rate issues or lag.

This was a missed opportunity. There are virtually no sounds at all. The menu has a forgettable jingle and the games themselves have almost no immersion factor with a few knocks or squeaks. The crowds are like children; to be seen and not heard.

The options for teammates calling for a pass, or setting up the spike, or motor noises in the motocross or Kart racing…none of it’s there. There’s no soundtrack to speak of and there’s just very little to make noise about.

The controls were also a bit of a letdown. On top of the actual instructions being as useful as a sheet of paper that you might use to build a bike (insert tube b into slot π…), the execution can be a bit sloppy. As different as Tennis and Badminton are, the controls are relatively similar, but swings don’t always register and timing of a smash is aggravating at best. The centering pass in the soccer game is very touchy. Turning on a motorbike is really not that hard in real life, and there are a dozen other little niggling things that make some events more aggravating than challenging.

I’m not sure if this is a case of trying to do too much with too little, lack of testing, or if a week locked in a closet with this game just isn’t enough time to master the subtleties therein. There are, after all, 10 different sports on the one disc. Was their focus lost, or do I just need more practice? Time shall tell. Oh yes. It shall!

The decathlon brings back memories from the late 80’s when Reebok tried to bring Dan & Dave into the spotlight. Two star decathletes for the United States ready to take the show company to the top on the tail of a meteor. Then Dan Jansen failed to qualify for the US Team and threw an unnecessarily large monkey wrench into the whole thing.

Ten sports is a monumental task! Hudson certainly has enough experience with the Wii to know what they are up against. They gave us Kororinpa: Marble Mania and Fishing Master so they know how the controller works. Yet it seems they spread themselves too thin on this project. This may either be from not wanting to go into detail on fewer games, or simply trying to add as much value into the package by diluting the disc with a bunch of minor projects.

The huge miss on this one is that it’s not about the Decathlon. It’s not even about the right games! Why would you put ice skating on a disc as summer boils the northern hemisphere? Kart racing and snowboard downhill are more of an X games sort of thing, but honestly the game does not say it is related to the Olympics. Still, they’d have been much better off going with a Pentathlon and devoting some serious tuning into 5 games as Wii Sports has shown this is a much better game plan.

Still, the opportunity to have 4 players competing simultaneously is a big bonus, and the games themselves are no disaster. They’re just a bit short and require some practice and patience with their shortcomings.

As mentioned before, there’s plenty of value when you get 10 games on a disc. You even get 10 interesting games rather than 2 or 3 great titles and some fluff on the side. With some of the games being able to support 4 players, the whole family has a chance to enjoy, but you also have opportunities to go head-to-head and even 2 vs. the CPU. At $29.95 MSRP, that’s $3 a game, and you’re bound to enjoy at least a handful if you’re into the Wii and sports at all.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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