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Wii Fanboy Review: Brando Wii Sports Pack


When we first learned of Brando's Wii Sports accessories, we knew it was our civic duty to get our hands on a set in the name of you, the readers. Because we're here for you. We're BFF.

And, well ... they just looked like fun. So we pleaded and cried, and Brando hooked us up. The Sports Pack arrived quickly, more quickly than we expected, in fact. They were then put through a rigorous testing process, and now that we're the world's foremost experts* on these new accessories, we're gonna let you in on everything we learned. Check out the full review, along with loads of pictures, after the jump.

*This is a shameless lie.

The packaging arrived mostly intact, and complete with lots of very interesting (read: hilarious) text and an interesting knockoff Wii logo.

We thought you might enjoy this inspirational text from the back of the box.

After reading that, we were ready to get our game on. After all, we're exciting. The box said so. And we needed to enhance our joy of playing the game in a big way. First, however, we needed to put our new toys together. Armed with no instructions, but loads of enthusiasm, we prepared to build.

The apparatus seemed pretty simple -- the Wiimote fits into a thin plastic cradle, and each of the sporting accessories can be securely hooked into the end. In short, you end up with a thickened Wii remote. At first, this felt strange; we've become accustomed to the size and weight of the controller.

The wrist strap has to be removed prior to fitting the Wiimote into this shell, and then it must be rethreaded through both the shell and the remote itself. We have the regular straps and this was still something of a task -- it took a few tries to coax the cord through the double fittings. We can only imagine that this would be more of a feat with the new, thicker straps.

The attachments then slide into place, and a clasp secures the fitting so that you don't end up with a tiny plastic tennis racket sticking out of the wall. The clasp closes pretty tightly and has to be held open, so putting the whole thing together can take a little effort as well ... but it's worth it if it holds the whole thing together.

Forgive the darker tone in some of the photos. The accessories are bright, shining plastic -- like the Wiimote -- and the glare was a nightmare, especially for someone who isn't what you might call a world class photographer.

Alright! We've successfully attached a small plastic bat to our Wiimote and are ready to cue up batting practice. There's just one problem: when the remote is secured within the cradle, you can't point it at the screen and go through game selection. It's blocked. So you have to pop it out , which is a delicate proposition, due to the fact that doing so saws at that fragile wrist strap, and get your game set up. This can be done quickly and without even tugging on the wrist strap, but it's definitely not a comfortable or practical arrangement and the first time you do it, you will probably use (bad, angry) words we can't repeat here. Once you're ready to go, just snap the Wiimote back in and get ready to play.

We we ready. We were in the zone. And then we missed 405,923 balls in a row. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but playing with the bat attached was like playing a different game entirely. Timing and balance had to be adjusted. Swing was totally different. To top it off, the whole contraption is significantly heavier and thicker. For those gamers with large hands, this might actually be an improvement. For those of us who don't cramp while playing the DS Lite for extended sessions, the beefed-up Wiimote was a little too much.

The most frequent question we've heard about these is whether or not they actually make the game more realistic, and we'll say yes. This is particularly true with the golf club. The added weight isn't so noticeable and we found it easier to get into the mindset of golf, if you will. The tennis racket amped up the realism as well, though it was a little off simply because having such a stubby racket felt strange. Also, were a little concerned about taking out the ceiling fan during one of those power serves.

The attachments certainly add a level of realism, but it takes some time to get used to playing again. Is that a bad thing? We think not. If you're looking to add a new element to your Wii Sports habit, these provide a whole new challenge. Further, we expect that these attachments might come in handy if you're plotting your own Wii Sports exercise regimen. But there's a downside as well. Using these attachments completely removes the pick-up-and-play aspect of Wii Sports. What was a simple matter becomes an arduous endeavor, so unless you're going to use these things all the time, beware before buying -- they could easily become a novelty item that you use a few times before relegating them to paperweight status.

The bottom line: yes, these extensions do add a new level of realism, and they are fun once you get used to them. The price isn't so bad, at $22 per set, so if you're looking to spice up your sports, these accessories might be a viable option. But we're not sure the trouble of putting them all together to play -- and then fighting just to navigate the menus -- is really worth it. In the end, we're on the fence.

Look! It's an official Nintendo fancat, wondering just exactly what Hong Kong smells like.

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