So, how does the game feel to play? From my review of Road Trip: "You will, more often than not, trigger the trick you actually want to do (but not always). There is still a feeling that your boarder doesn't do exactly what you want him/her to do exactly when you want them to do it, but as far as Wii games that rely on waving the Wii Remote about go, it's a solid effort, and will please more than it frustrates." Disappointingly, all this once again applies; full MotionPlus support would have made it better.
You can, however, play every event with the Wii Balance Board, as before. But, as before, it's harder to play the game this way. Maybe it's me, but I find shifting my weight on the Board a more imprecise process than twisting the Wii Remote, itself somewhat cumbersome. More nimble gamers might find it an easier ride. I do not.
Bar the create-a-trick feature, only the hub and the career have seen noticeable improvements. This time the hub is set in an airport, presumably from which the 13 boarders jet off to the various events around the world (what a life it must be!). Your ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Stage event and prove that your crew is "da best in da world" (sigh), starting from rank 100. To climb the ladder you need to win events, but only one event can be entered per in-game week, a mechanic that artificially slows down your progress. It won't take long, however, for you to break into the top five and qualify for the World Stage. I did it in a day, and I'm rubbish.
The single-player is bare bones. There's hardly anything too it. The only motivation, really, to go back and repeat any of the events once you've finished top of the podium is to unlock new gear, get achievements and improve your score for the online leaderboards.
The four-player multiplayer's much better. There's a Mario Kart-esque cup play mode, free play mode and a hot seat mode in which each player takes a turn rally style. Multiplayer's good fun and a viable alternative to some of Nintendo's superb first party games for when you've got non-gaming friends sitting twiddling their thumbs on your living room couch. And the best thing about it is that there's no dead time: all of your progress you achieve together as a crew carries over to the campaign career.
And, if you're after a game that shows off what the Wii's truly capable of when developers put their minds to it, there are few better than World Stage. Ubisoft Montreal has again favoured a cartoon, caricature art style, but you'll be no less impressed. The frame rate's solid, the tracks look great and, when you're going at top speed, you can almost feel the wind blowing in your face. It sound's good, too. Board on snow has that convincing crunch noise, and the soundtrack includes some true rock classics, although not enough to prevent noticeable repetition. The only problem is, and this is representative of the entire game, the graphics aren't improved. Perhaps last year's Shaun White pushed the Wii as far as it can go. Perhaps not.
The complete lack of newness doesn't make World Stage's kid-centred, "hey dude!" arcade racing bad. Like its predecessor, World Stage is one of the best multiplayer racers on Nintendo's family-friendly console. But you can't escape the feeling that it's a lazy effort. The lack of full MotionPlus support might have been excused had the game offered more, but as it is, it can't be ignored. Young budding snowboarders will likely find much to enjoy, but for everyone else, only the party-focused multiplayer is of worth. Our boards are crossed that Motion Plus is less of an afterthought in the next Shaun White.