Playing Catch with Sports Connection - Preview

By Daniel Share-Strom, June 15, 2012
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Ever been playing Wii Sports Baseball and thought, ‘Hey, why the heck aren’t I in control of the fielding?’  Well, then, you may want to keep an eye on Ubisoft’s Sports Connection for the Wii U.  Is it a home run?  I pitched in at Ubisoft’s E3 booth to help find out.

Three basic mechanics are at play in Sport’s Connection’s baseball game: pitching, batting, and fielding.  The player controlling pitching and fielding uses the GamePad, while the batter uses the familiar method of swinging around the Wii Remote.  As pitcher, you’ve got a first-person view on the touchscreen, and you aim and arc the shot by drawing a line on the touchscreen.  Be careful to end it inside an onscreen box, or it’ll be a ‘ball’ for the other team.

As mentioned, the batting controls are similar to those in Wii Sports, but they’re more refined here due to the MotionPlus controls.  I felt my actions were much better represented here, and any strikes or fouls were completely due to my own inaccuracy.  In this situation, you can bet that hitting a home run felt pretty damn sweet.

Catching, though, is by far the most interesting mechanic at play.  After the batter hits, a glove appears on the touchscreen, and you’ve got to quickly position the GamePad so the ball will ‘land’ in it.  This was a recipe for some pulse-pounding saves and tragic near-misses on my part.  It's easy enough to get the hang of, but you have to react fast if your opponent hits the ball hard.

I’ve got to say, these three mechanics work together quite well.  As the pitcher, you’ve got to stay a step ahead of the batter by constantly attacking them from different angles.  The batter has to counteract the assault by striking hard enough to land them on some bases without hitting a foul.  After the ball is hit, fielders must react quickly if they want to keep him off-base.  It’s fast-paced, and could turn out to be hours of fun in the final product.

Sports Connection goes live sometime in the Wii U’s launch window.

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