Well, PlayStation Move was released and GGUK made their way to the local video game store to pick one up and see what all of the fuss was about.
The shop assistant was, as always, very helpful and after a quick chat about upcoming games and such, he got down to business and demoed the device in store. Truth be told, he wasn’t very good at the table tennis and disc golf games that he showed us. But we were impressed with the hardware. No one had told us that the color changing ball on the end of the controller was squishy! It is as if Sony had installed the controller with an airbag to prevent the horror stories from when the Wii was released (”man threw wiimote through TV screen” etc.)
So, with our Move controller safely in our possession, we rushed back to GGUK towers to start the long process of downloading some of the demos on PSN. Before we get into the game demos and our impressions of them, let’s take a closer look at the controller itself.
After noticing the airbag, the second thing that impressed us was the shape. Being rounded and more ergonomic, the Move controller sits much more comfortably in the hand than the wiimote with all of its cornered edges. Another bonus was the fact that it is rechargeable out of the box, much like the PS3 controllers.
Playing with it was also quite impressive. It uses the PlayStation eye, but the setting up and calibration seemed to be fairly straight forward and forgiving, which is handy as it seems the calibration has to take place before pretty much each sub-game.but the precision was most impressive, with movements being perfectly mimicked on screen and no noticeable lag.
It is the games that will decide this peripherals overall worth however. Before we begin, there are two things to bare in mind. Firstly, we have only played demos of the following games and what we write here are only our impressions. The full games may well be drastically different. The second thing is that I class myself as a hardcore gamer and as such may well view these games slightly differently from the casual gaming crowd. With that in mind, let’s crack on…
The first demo that we tried was the game that we watched the store assistant fail at in such an epic way. Sports Champions is what I would call the Sony equivalent of Wii Sports. Th game contains six different sports for the player to enjoy with the Move controller, but only two are available in the demo, disc golf and table tennis.
The player may compete against two opponents in table tennis, before the demo finishes. Playing takes a little getting used to as, unlike the Wii, the players motions are far more precise. But once this has been overcome, it actually offers a very satisfying and realistic experience. Small twists in the wrist whilst swinging allow the player to put spin on the ball and moving into the shot puts the power behind it, causing a flame effect on the ball and making it far more difficult for the opponent to return it.
The disc golf, in which the player must throw a Frisbee around a golf course and reach the basket in a certain number of throws, is my personal favorite. I am actually quite good with a Frisbee and the same actions that I use in real life allowed me to be quite good at this game. This shows how much the controller is able to mimic real life, as others who tried the game found it quite difficult. You only get one course to play, against a very annoying opponent.
Sports Champions appears to be the flagship game for the Move, and I would imagine that the other events will perform equally as well as these two, whilst demonstrating the precision of the peripheral and the range of different ways it can be used.
The second demo that we tried was TV Superstars. This seems to be a mix of mini-games revolving around the players desire to become famous. There are a selection of tv shows that the player participates in, each with their own selection of mini-games. The demo has two shows to enjoy.
The first was some kind of action game show and offered up two mini-games, one involving running on top of a giant wheel by shaking the Move controller and hitting the button to jump over a swinging arm. The second game had the player launching at targets from a giant catapult and moving the controller to match the shape. Both of these games seemed aÂ little chaotic and only used very simple movements, not really showing off the Move controllers abilities.
The second show had the player performing moves on a fashion runway. This pretty much involved tracing the shapes on screen, at the right speed. It seemed a bit more involved than the first game, but neither of them really showed what the Move could do.
The third demo, Kung-fu Rider, was like an arcade downhill skating simulator using office chairs and other bizarre wheeled objects. Hurtle down the hill and collect money, whilst avoiding obstacles and, bizarrely, the Mafia. It doesn’t make sense, but that didn’t stop it being fun.
Once the variety of different actions has been learnt, the Move controller did a great job. Most of the moves are fairly self explanatory, such as sweeping left and right to move left and right. But in the chaos of rolling down a hill at speed, sometimes the moves can get misinterpreted and result in dashing or jumping when only meaning to move left or right.
Whilst the game is a huge amount of fun, especially as it takes pictures of the player during their game at random intervals, providing hilarious post-game moments. But the reality is that this game could have been just as good using a standard controller. So whilst it would certainly be a game that I would pick up, using the Move controller is just a gimmick.
The final demo is an arcade game called Tumble. It seems to revolve around simply stacking blocks on the screen. From the demo, the game looked quite good and seems to the type of game that really shows off the Move capabilities. But the reality was that we never quite got that far.
Working through the tutorial, we were shown how to pick up blocks and put them through holes, having to twist the controller to match the block with the hole. Complete the first tutorial and go to the second etc. The problem was that, on reaching a certain stage of the tutorial, TG73 had what could only be called a wrist spasm and threw the block we needed behind the camera. We could not proceed until we completed that stage and no matter what we did, we could not retrieve that block. The only option we had was to restart the tutorials again from the start and, as it was getting late and everyone’s arms were aching, we decided to call it a night.
The overall feeling that we all came away with was that we were quite impressed with the motion peripheral. The games were a mixed bag, but there are plenty more demos available with many, many more to come. So far, it seems to still be aiming for the casual market, which is fine. The only problem that I can see is that the PS3 really is not what you would call a casual price. Families with the PS3 in the living room will no doubt pick this up to offer playability for the less gamer-type members of the family. But, without some more involved content, bedroom PS3 owners will not find much value in this.
The rating below is for the actual controller hardware and not for any of the games we played during this article.