At first glance, “Celebrity Sports Showdown” looks like an improved version of “Wii Sports,” as it includes more sports, celebrity characters and a few game modes to keep you coming back. Once you play it though, you will realize that this is a retail game with less depth than the pack-in game that came with your system.

There are twelve sports to choose from: volleyball, inner tubing, canoeing, hurdles on horseback, slalom, cliff climbing, badminton, archery, jousting, curling, dodge ball and air racers, a game where you fly an airplane and shoot missiles at your opponents while racing through rings. Most of these games do not warrant a second playthrough, though badminton and dodge ball have moments of fun.

Electronic Arts
Oct. 23, 2008

Most of these games just are not fun; curling is not made better just because Paul Pierce is pushing the broom. What most of the controls amount to is a waggle fest rather than any kind of skill, meaning that most of the time it does not matter who you play against, the outcome hinges on who can waggle the fastest and most furiously. For badminton and volleyball, there is more timing involved, and the controls work well there, but for others, this is sadly not the case.

Another complaint is that the “Celebrity” aspect of the game means nothing, outside of what your character looks like. The characters have no personality, but are basically just meant to sell copies of a shallow title that does not improve on other games from the same mini-game sports genre that has developed on the Wii. The choice of celebrities is odd as well, with a cast that occasionally reads like a VH1 reality show, with just a few members who are still relevant in current culture.

You can use the “Wannabes” instead of the celebrities, which does not make much of a difference except now you are playing with someone that EA has decided to make look more nerdy or less athletic than the celebrities, again drawing comparisons to a reality show.

The game does have multiplayer, which can force you to revisit the games since you won’t be facing a lackluster A.I., but “Celebrity Sports Showdown” still is not rewarding in this mode. You will tire of your options quickly, especially with the amount of waggling abuse you will do to yourself racing against friends. You can also play any event you want, or setup a tournament, which is about the only thing this title has over Wii Sports.

Considering this $40 retail game fails to meet up with the pack-in title that came for free with your system, there is no reason to buy it. Sure, new Wii owners who may not know better yet and are just searching for something to play with friends may be enticed, but there are far better party options on the system for the same price or less, whether they have more personality (any of the “Raving Rabbids” titles) or better controls and polish (“Wii Sports”) or have far more depth (EA’s own “Boom Blox”).

About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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