Its time to break out that Move controller and get ready for some more sporting action in the sequel to the best-selling PlayStation Move sports compilation title Sports Champions.
The original Sports Champions game was Sony’s answer to the huge success of Wii Sports and came out just a short time before Microsoft’s own offering Kinect Sports. `Taking a different direction to the Wii and Kinect games, this sports compilation for Sony’s PlayStation Move controller was much more serious and grown up, with not a chibi avatar in sight. It also happened to be a lot of fun, including six unrelated sports with the increased accuracy of the Move controller. So, even though PlayStation Move feels as though it has been left behind in the motion control wars, it makes sense that Zindagi Games brings out a sequel.
Sports Champions 2 packs in six new sports. Well, I say new, but Archery featured in the last game and has made a return here. So in actual fact, we get five new sports and one returning sport that has been updated in some small way. The game features your usual championship and freeplay modes, alongside some entertaining arcade-style games that take the serious edge off. There is also a brand new Party Mode which allows the player to set up a random set of events for some local multiplayer action with up to eight players. As before, online multiplayer is sadly missing, but FaceBook connectivity and online leaderboards allow for a certain amount of non-local competition.
But what of the sports themselves? Do we have anything to rival the awesome Frisbee-Golf of the original game?
Well, I have already mentioned that Archery has made a return and although the differences between this version and the original are very slight, it still manages to be a very satisfying sport. The player actually mimics the actions of using a bow and arrow with the Move controller in a very cool way, and the excellent precision of the motion controller ensures that a certain amount of skill and a sharp eye is required.
Bowling is another sport in which the precision of the Move controller shines. Bowling has been covered on every motion control platform, but it is here that the sport feels its most natural.
The same can be said for Golf. While it may not have the depth found in dedicated Golf games, it is very satisfying and incredibly precise as it measures the speed of the players swing. The courses also look nice and are a good way to spend a leisurely afternoon.
However, if you want to work up a sweat, or just move around a bit more vigorously, then the next three games may be more to your liking. Skiing is probably the least active of the three, with the player only required to tilt the controllers as they hurtle down the slopes. That being said, there is nothing stopping the player from performing all of the actions in a realistic manner, it is just not necessary. Of the six games, I would say that the Skiing is the weakest offering. Whilst it looks good and plays well, it just doesn’t have the interactivity of the other events.
Which is the complete opposite of the Boxing. This event is highly physical and guaranteed to make the arms of all but the most physically perfect gamer ache after a good session. The action is good as the player can perform a number of different punches as they would in real life, and even dodge to the left or right using the triggers. However, this game suffers very much from the fact that once the player knows the tricks, winning becomes a bit too easy.
The final sport included is the motion control staple of Tennis. Again, this is very physical and, much like the other motion controlled versions of this sport, will have the player flapping their arms around wildly. The game is a lot of fun, but can be a little inaccurate when representing the players movements on screen, which is a shame. But for vague fun rather than a serious representation of the sport, the Tennis hits the spot.
Although the cute visuals that are present in Wii Sports and Kinect Sports may be missing in Sports Champions 2, that doesn’t mean that the game cannot have a little fun. There are some quite extensive customisation options for the players in-game avatar, allowing the players to dress their persona in a variety of different ways, some of which are quite funny. Progression through the game will unlock further options for customisation, encouraging the player to keep trying beyond the family game time.
Visually, as I said, the game has chosen the more realistic look over the cutesy visuals. Whilst this may not be so appealing to the younger gamers, the visual style will have a much broader appeal, and it quite honestly looks gorgeous. Obviously, some sports will be more impressive than others, with the Golf and Skiing standing out simply because of the environments. But all of the sports look good for what they are, and the game feels like a PlayStation 3 game, which is only a good thing.
Sports Champions 2 is as good a reason as any to break out the dusty PlayStation Move controller, especially with the holiday season and impending family gatherings coming up. The six different sports are varied and the new Party Mode makes getting into the party mood easy. If you own a Move controller and want some new sports action, pick up Sports Champions 2.