Top positive review
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Fun yet challenging addition to the Wii
on May 16, 2008
After watching a video on the new Nintendo channel, I decided to purchase We Ski when it came out, and it's a great addition to my library of Wii games.
The graphics are great and pretty lifelike; my boyfriend said some of the slopes in the game reminded him of real slopes he used to ski in Colorado. It looks authentic and even feels like you're skiing down hill at a fast pace. I've never been skiing in my life, but the game makes me feel like I'm really there.
When I loaded the game, I immediately created a character. I chose to use my Mii, but you can create a character using the choices in the game. However, using your Mii means you can't wear a hat or goggles, but I had so much fun customizing everything else, I didn't care. I have a pretty fancy ski outfit (there are TONS to choose from, I was surprised by the variety) with matching boots, gloves, skis, and poles.
Then I went to the tutorial (Ski School) so I could avoid reading the instruction manual. This is a great, albeit long, way to learn how to play. You are shown how to do everything, from wedelns, to braking, to air tricks, to how to get up when you crash into another skiier on the slopes. Your Mii interacts with the ski instructor by nodding when she wants to move on to the next lesson, which I thought was a nice addition to the game. It took me about half an hour to go through the complete tutorial, and I was rewarded with a new ski outfit for my efforts.
The great thing about this game is no matter what you chose to do, you can do it with friends or solo. The real "gameplay" is in Freestyle mode, where you are taken to a ski resort for your vacation (although there are plenty of "lessons" in slalom or downhill or moguls for you to work through as well). In Freestyle, you are given star points, which is a way to show how far you've advanced through the game. You gain points by interacting with other skiiers on the slope and doing what they ask (they are marked by bubbles over their heads, and the design on the bubble indicates what task they want you to do). I did some head-to-head races, showed off my mean snow plowing skills, and performed Perfect Stops (stopping within a designated area). More star points open more outfits and options for your character.
You are also rated, from S+ to D, on each of the ski slopes that you travel down. Each slope is rated so you know not to hit the Camel slope until you're pretty good on the Rabbit slope. My favorite was Bear Claw, where you can reach top speed and just whiz past other skiiers on the slope (or crash into them -- oops).
Playing Freestyle with friends is quite innovative in that if you want to ski down the Elephant slope but your buddy wants to stick to the Dolphin, that's perfectly okay! You can hop on one of the ski lifts and head up while he stays on his slope. That was great for when I was trying to master moguls but my boyfriend wanted to start at the top and work his way down the mountain. However, if one of you interacts with another skiier to start a task, you get pulled along with them. And you can bypass the whole ski lift thing and just "teleport" everyone directly to a point through the menu, which is also handy.
The most challenging aspect of the game that we've discovered thus far is Orienteering. One of the other skiiers is the CEO of the resort, and he and 9 other employees are hidden on the mountain. Your job is to find them, in order, by using the clues that you are given. For instance, one clue was something like "I'm at the path that connects the largest animal and the smallest animal", so we had to look at the slopes' animal designations to determine what was the largest and what was the smallest, then ski over there and search for our contact point. It was a really fun task to try to hunt them down, but we're still exploring the slopes so it was also challenging. We're stuck on the fourth contact point, but we'll investigate further tonight and hopefully move on.
Another cute feature (although it's not necessary or even important, just fun to do) is a photo album. There is a photographer on the slopes marked with a camera bubble who will take your picture "in action" and put it in your album for you. Then you can go to the photo album and look at your pictures, or you can pose your Miis (up to 4 skiiers) in their outfits at various points on the mountain; there were something like 40 or 50 poses each, and you can cycle through and have everyone looking fabulous for their picture. Apparently, you can connect to WiFi and post your pictures online, which is a nice feature.
This may not be the best game to ever grace the Wii, but I am having a blast with it. There's a lot to do and explore, and it really uses the remote and nunchuck so you feel like you're in the game (and it's compatible with the Wii Fit board, so you can REALLY get into it). I love how your Mii will smile or get big-eyed in shock or throw a tantrum when she loses; little things like that make the game more realistic and fun for me. It's not as hardcore as SSX but more family-oriented, so everyone can hit the slopes together.