Sony PlayStation Move
Review “I like to Move it, Move it."
Reel 2 Reel paraphrased in 1994 exactly how I feel about the PS3's new motion controlled system.
The motion controller is the main Move add-on
Are we still embarrassed by so-called 'active gaming'? I know I keep the curtains closed during my nightly Wii Fit session. That said, I think it's a more acceptable social activity than we thought it would be a few years ago, and therefore it’s the right time for Sony and Microsoft to jump on the bandwagon.
Or, in Sony’s case, steal the whole bandwagon and pimp their ride before Microsoft is even out of the starter blocks with Kinect. One-on-one motion gaming anyone? Move is the closest I’ve seen.
The hardware Move uses is a 3D webcam: the PlayStation Eye connected to the console by USB tracks and maps your movements. The Eye is chunkier than the Wii sensor bar, and I stuck it under the screen instead of on top. The motion-sensing controller - which unfortunately looks in my mind at least slightly like alien sex toys - communicates with the PS3 using Bluetooth.
The navigation controller provides extra controls for complex games
For first-person shooters, where you need greater control, there's the Move navigation Controller, which you hold in your other hand like a Wii nunchuck. This wasn’t included with the review kit, but I expect it has the standard analogue control stick.
The glowing motion controller is the Move’s trademark and it feels comfortable and light in the hand, partially helped by the slightly tapered middle. This definitely makes for a better grip. My thumb naturally sits on the Move button on top of the controller and there are little buttons with the Playstation symbols on either side of it.
A-List titles are coming. Some are already Move compatible
I think the buttons might be a little small for folk with large hands, but for me they were perfect. The start and select buttons on the side are the only downside to the ergonomics: they are slightly too far up and hard to get at. I thought it was really cool the way the bulb flashes red when you get an attack in on Sports Champions. This is just one of the little flourishes of the motion controller that really added depth to gameplay.
Setting the Move up was surprisingly easy - just plug and play. I expected calibrating issues, and yes, you do have to do a small calibration after each game. This is a bit of a drag, but you get used to it, and it doesn’t really interrupt play.
I have been playing Wii for a couple of years now and have always been slightly frustrated by the lag and lack of accuracy. Not so Move, which seems über-accurate even during the initial tune-up, and after calibration the difference between the Sony system and Nintendo's was clear.
Move incorporates augmented reality game
Move's motion tracking kicks the even Wii's MotionPlus add-on, released to up the accuracy of the motion data coming out of the basic Remote, to the floor.
The demo games include Sports Champions and Start the Party!. Sports Champions gave me the feeling that Move is aimed at mature gamers, rather than the Wii’s family demographic. This was somewhat confirmed by the lack of effort and quality put into Start the Party!. I think this shift in demographic to mature gamers is a smart move and will be played out in sales of forthcoming blockbusters like Grand Turismo.
Unleash your inner warrior
Sports Champions and Start The Party! showcase the Move’s precision and give you an insight into its augmented reality capabilities, putting you - courtesy of the Eye's lens - right into the picture. I particularity enjoyed seeing myself welding outsized swords and hammers. Go, Valkyrie, go!
Basically, Sports Champions is Wii Sports pimped up, but it's a good introduction to active gaming on the PS3. Some of the games are engaging, others less so, But you'll get several hours' worth of fun out the disc, which comes with the Move Starter Pack bundle.
My favorite was Gladiator Duel. Seen Spartacus: Blood and Sand? It’s just like that but without the tits. This game really comes alive when you’re dual-wielding: your left hand controls the shield, your right a weapon. Attacking and blocking involve making the correct body movements. I am usually on attack mode by default but if you don’t block you get hit. Hard. A nice piece of detail was the notches in my shield where my opponents’ weapons struck it.
Sports Champions is worth a go for Gladiator alone
I also enjoyed the special item unlocks such as outfits and weapons. Oh, and to revel in your glory on future occasions, if you win enough games you can have your augmented reality photo taken with your really big sword! Geek it up to the max!
You get table tennis, frisbee golf, archery, bocce and volleyball too. Some pals and I spent some quality time with the table tennis playing two-player mode, loving the flaming balls! But the other four games didn’t really hold our attention.
The Starter Pack will get you Moving
As I say, though, this is just the beginning. Wii Sports has its moments, but you'll quickly move on to new titles, and that will happen with Move too. There a plenty of good-looking games on the way, as the game release schedule shows.
Back to the freebies, and I'm glad I'd had a few and put The Prodigy on the hi-fi just before playing Start the Party! Squashing bugs and cutting hair wouldn’t be half as absorbing - or as hysterical - stone cold sober. I liked the silly graphics and cute creatures, but my housemate compared it to some unexpectedly short unsatisfying back street bonk, so shame it’s for the whole family.
I thought that no one would get excited over something so close to the Wii as Move, but it actually manages to deliver something new. Everyone I called to come round and have a go was dead keen. The consensus among them was that once we get some blockbuster releases, Move will be well worth a play. It's a must for PS3 owners, and for more casual gamers looking for the HD graphics and content the Wii can't deliver.
The question is, will Move kick Microsoft’s fast approaching no-controller Kinect - or be beaten just as it itself knocks the Wii into the shade?
I can see the Playstation's future, and it glows. Now, Nintendo, Move aside. ®