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The Good Parts
Deca Sports is a Wii video game that's definitely fun and entertaining for casual gamers and kids, and has a nice variety of sports and modes included in the single player experience. Hudson included ten different sports for you to try, including soccer, baseball, badminton, curling, figure skating, and five others. They four different modes included have a nice variety in game play and include Deca League, Tournament Mode, Deca Challenge, and Open Match.
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The Bad Parts
Hudson appears to have developed Deca Sports using quantity-before-quality as their guiding principle. The quantity of sports and modes included is impressive, but the execution of the production values is below average. Basketball was the only sport that had any entertainment value during play - all the other sports have control and depth of game play issues that were very frustrating to deal with.
The computer controlled athletes made bad decisions at times and the control setup caused problems when playing soccer, racing super cross, or riding a snowboard. All the actions you need to execute while playing soccer; shooting, passing, and tackling are executed using the same waving motion of the Wii remote. This confuses the control recognition of the controller and results in you occasionally passing when you want to shoot and tackling when you want to pass. Also, taking part in the super cross or snowboarding sports is frustrating because coming into contact with an object or barrier causes you to crash. The other sports didn't suffer from these problems, but they still weren't much fun to play.
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The Graphical Look
Deca Sports has a below average graphical presentation with an intriguing look that suffers from poor details and textures in the arenas, characters, and many of the backgrounds. The included sports arenas have a blurry look and very basic appearance that's just good enough to tell things apart while playing. The characters look blocky at times and have very little detail, but the kids probably won't notice. The backgrounds on the screen while playing the included sports are jagged looking at times on the edges of the screen and the bright colors diminish near the edges on many screens.
The animation of the athletes was average at best, at times basketball players would shoot or pass at weird body angles, figure skaters would jump from impossible positions, and volleyball players can spike without jumping. The animations for the other sports was passable, but nothing to brag about.
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The Sounds of the Game
Deca Sports has a sound track that starts out entertaining, with nice pop and soft-rock tunes that kept me energized while playing the various sports, but it loops repeatedly, so it become tiresome almost immediately. The sound effects weren't included; I couldn't hear any grunts or sound effects of any kind, while playing this game.
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Deca Sports isn't as much fun or as engaging and satisfying as Wii games like Wii Sports or Madden NFL 09 All-Play, but it has enough playability to keep the kids engaged for a few hours. The shallow game play isn't going to entertain a veteran gamer, but it will make the kids laugh and they should enjoy the experience the first time through. Unfortunately, they probably won't play this game more than once, unless this is the only game they have. The weird assortment of sports included doesn't really mix well together into a cohesive competition, which makes me think they just included many for variety.
All of the sports have been broken down into their most basic form and don't have enough variety because of this, so none of the sports are entertaining enough to play for more than a few minutes. You drive a kart by holding the Wii remote sideways, similar to Mario Kart, press one button to accelerate, tilt the remote left or right to steer the kart. The controls work well and make kart racing one of the more playable sports included in Deca Sports, but they only included three tracks for you to race on. Playing badminton was boring, you can only play one-on-one, and the game only ended after my computer controlled opponent decided not to return a shot. Archery is probably the worst sport included in Deca Sports, the only variation included is the changing of the wind and the distance of your target. The figure skating only includes three programs that never change; you follow a path and flip the remote upwards when you cross a red, blue, green, or gray circle to execute the moves.
Deca Sports only took me three hours to complete all the available modes included in the single player experience. You can play a single round of any sport, participate in a tournament, or take part in a league where you go from sport-to-sport to see who can earn the most points. They included a multiplayer mode for up to three players, but it was only fun briefly and only kept me busy for a few minutes. You can only play a single sport once in the multiplayer mode, which is really hard to understand. They didn't include any on line options with Deca Sports, which really kills the playability of this game, but even it they had included on line options, they wouldn't be any fun the way the game plays.
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The Last Word
Deca Sports isn't a game I would recommend for any type of gamer, there are a couple sports that will entertain for a few brief moments, but the overall production is poor. The kids will be entertained on a cold winter day if they have nothing else to play, but after a few minutes they'll be looking elsewhere for something to keep them warm and happy.