A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sports compilation game features a small amount of cartoon violence in the form of hockey checks and wooden stick fights, but that none of the characters ever appear hurt or in pain. There is online play, but no opportunity for players to communicate with one another, making it safe for children. Also note that there is some in-game advertising that appears in some sports arenas.
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What's it about?
Much like its predecessor Deca Sports, DECA SPORTS 2 is a polished and surprisingly prettya sports compilation game a-la-Wii Sports. Featuring ten sports -- hockey, mogul skiing, speed skating, kendo, tennis, motorcycle road racing, synchronized swimming, petanque, darts, and dodge ball -- players get to work through league competitions (in which they try each event once), tournaments (that focus on a single sport with teams slowly eliminating each other), and one-off matches. Players can also create their own teams, each with customized characters who have their own strengths and weaknesses based on size, and pit them against someone else’s team locally on online. Online play is facilitated for both Wii friends and strangers, but there is no means to communicate with strangers, making it safe for kids.
Is it any good?
Deca Sports 2 gets a lot of stuff right. It delivers graphics that are a cut above most of its sports party game competitors, offers simple online play to let players go up against human opponents when no one else is around to play, and nails the feel and strategy of games like petanque and darts. Even synchronized swimming, which is in essence a rhythm game involving specific waggles of the Wii remote, feels right.
Sadly, it also drops the ball in a few ways, the most important of which is control precision. Many of the activities practically beg to be made compatible with Nintendo’s new MotionPlus attachment, which enhances the accuracy of movement detection. Without it, players are bound to be frustrated as their movements for tennis swings and kendo strikes aren’t properly recognized. And trying to squeeze complex, team-based events like ice hockey and dodge ball into the same package as smaller individual sports just doesn’t make sense. It’s still more fun than most sports compilations, but Deca Sports 2 could have been much better.
Online interaction: Players can compete freely online or against people on their friends list. There is no way to communicate, so there is no risk of children overhearing or seeing anything inappropriate, and it is impossible for personal information to be exchanged.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendly competition versus cutthroat competition in sports, games, and other activities. What are some of the reasons why a competitive activity could turn from friendly to fierce? Do you prefer it when competitions are laid back or when they are more intense?
Families can also discuss what they might be able to learn from sports compilation games. Did this game teach you about sports with which you were previously unfamiliar? Does it make you want to try playing new sports?
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