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Wii U: ESPN trounces Game Party

Jan 23, 2013

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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ESPN Sports ConnectionNintendo's latest gaming console, the Wii U, is one of the very pleasant surprises this holiday season. And with any new console comes a library of launch titles aimed at satisfying everyone from your Aunt Mildred to your brother Michael who spent 4 fours along on creating his Mii. In the second in a series of articles, we play through the Wii U launch library and give you our take on the good and the bad.

ESPN Sports Connection

Years after its initial release, one of the most popular and successful games for the Wii console is Wii Sports. No matter how many times you've dust off the disk, it never gets old.

The reason Wii Sports was so successful is Nintendo did a masterful job of taking the most enjoyable parts of all those sports and transforming them into simple, intuitive experiences.

When grandparents are taking on their grandkids, you undeniably have the ultimate pick up and play title.

With that legacy shadowing them, Ubisoft teamed with sports broadcaster ESPN to produce ESPN Sports Connection, a release that could've easily resulted in another in a long line of Wii Sports knockoffs but instead, ESPN Sports Connection is Wii Sports for the new Wii U system.

ESPN Sports Connection Incorporating the Wii U gamepad and Wii Remote Plus, Sports Connection offers new ways to play baseball, football, soccer, tennis, go-karting and golf. Those familiar with sports games on the Nintendo DS or 3DS, will have no problem adopting the gamepad control system.

In baseball, you pitch by swiping and using different curves and catch by centering the ball in the glove image on the gamepad. You use the same swiping movements to play tennis. The standard and familiar controller set-up is used in soccer but go-karting gives you the option of using either controller as steering wheels or if you would rather drive with buttons and the directional pad, you can do that too.

For good or for bad, you can only play football and golf using a controller with the Wii Remote Plus accessory attached to it. While on the offence as a quarterback in football you will be required to hold the controller over your shoulder like you would a real football as you decide who to toss the “ball” to. Defence has you using the Gamepad to pick and execute plays to sack the opposing quarterback or intercept their pass. Golf uses the gamepad to analyze the course laid out before you and the Wii Remote Plus controller to drive and putt the ball.

All in all, the sports presented in ESPN are assembled in a practical and perceptive way. Paralleling and improving upon the Wii Sports formula, the collection appeals to a wider audience while not shutting out hard-core gamers.


ESPN Sports Connection ESPN Sports Connection
Format: Wii U
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site:
Rating: 9 / 10


Game Party Champions Game Party Champions

Unlike EPSN, Game Party doesn't set out to capture the feeling of playing sports but instead reinvents those core experiences and not very well at that.

You won't be pitching and batting against an opposing team. You will be participating in batting practice with moving targets. You won't be dribbling up and down the court in basketball. You will just shoot baskets. Football is hurling the pigskin through targets.

You get the idea.

Game Party Champions The other arcade style games such as ping pong, water gun, skill ball and air hockey are what you would expect from playing other more organized mini-game collections.

There is nothing new or different here. Game Party has no surprises nor any sparks of creativity.


Game Party Champions Game Party Champions
Format: Wii U
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Phosphor Games Studio, LLC.
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site:
Rating: 3 / 10


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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see