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Preview: Deca Sports 3

7:30 PM on 08.06.2010 // Samit Sarkar

In April, Hudson announced the third entry (or fourth, if you count Deca Sports DS) in its multi-million-selling Deca Sports series, Deca Sports 3. This time, the franchise is back on the Wii with ten all-new sporting events, although as a sports fan, I feel like Hudson is reaching with a few of these:

  • springboard diving
  • kayak slalom
  • volleyball
  • giant slalom (skiing)
  • log cutting [really?]
  • racquetball
  • air racing
  • lacrosse
  • halfpipe (snowboarding)
  • fencing

Deca Sports 3 is compatible with Wii MotionPlus; in fact, each of the ten sports can be played in Normal mode (Wii Remote alone) or Master Mode (requires MotionPlus). Master Mode, as you probably guessed, presents a stiffer challenge. I had the chance to play air racing and lacrosse last week in New York, and they're pretty fun -- hit the jump for more.

1

Deca Sports 3 (Wii)
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Entertainment
To be released: October 26, 2010

I actually rather enjoyed lacrosse in Deca Sports 3. I played against a PR rep for the game, Ron Burgess, and we both played in Master Mode with Wii MotionPlus. You flick the Wii Remote to shoot and pass (to shoot, you hold the B button while swinging; you can hold it longer to charge up your shot). Because MotionPlus can detect subtle gestures, you can put a curve on your shots by twisting your wrist as you swing toward the net.

In Master Mode, you can pass in any direction -- instead of throwing the ball directly to another player, you can bank a pass off the walls surrounding the playing field (this is done by pointing the Nunchuk's analog stick in a direction before passing). In order to switch players, you tap the Z button. You might toss a ball into open space and then change players to go get it. As you can see above, the screen includes a mini-map of sorts -- it's an overlay that shows the players as dots on the field, so you'll always know where your teammates are. Ron beat me by a goal, but we were both smiling and laughing throughout our game.

2

I also played a round of air racing, which was particularly challenging in Master Mode. The mode offers traditional gate-style courses, but adds a wrinkle: certain gates require you to fly through them in a particular orientation (either with the underside of your plane to the left or right). The Wii Remote is an analog of your on-screen plane: you twist it in order to roll your plane, aim it left or right in order to turn, and aim it up or down in order to raise or lower your plane.

The game doesn't follow flight dynamics, though -- in real life, if your plane was at a 90° roll angle (i.e., either on its right or left side), it would be turning in the direction of its roll. But in Deca Sports 3, your roll is independent from your yaw -- that is, twisting the Wii Remote changes the orientation of the plane but has no effect on its movement. You'd think that would make the mode much easier, but because MotionPlus is so responsive, you've really got to work to keep your plane on track. If you miss a gate, you have to loop back and fly through it; you can't complete a race without flying through all the gates in succession.

You don't actually race against another plane on the same track; you can only compete with others in terms of the time it takes you to finish a course. Ron went first, and I beat his time by a lot (all it took was missing one gate to cost him the competition). Air racing was fun because it was challenging; I doubt I would've enjoyed it nearly as much if I played it without MotionPlus, which adds a lot to the experience.

3

Deca Sports 3 includes a Team Editor, which allows you to completely customize any of the teams in the game (name, colors, logo, players' attributes, and more). Offline play supports up to four players (depending on the sporting event), while four of the sports -- volleyball, lacrosse, racquetball, and fencing -- can be played head-to-head online. If MotionPlus makes as much of a difference in those games as in the ones I played, Deca Sports 3 might just be worth checking out.

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Samit Sarkar,
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