Friday, 24 September 2010

Playstation Move - Review


Of course I got tempted.  It's pretty much what I'd always said Sony should have done two years ago when the Wii started dominating the console market.  The technology is different but the results are essentially the same, so how does Move stand up?

Sensibly (I know check me out) rather than buy a title I downloaded a bunch of demos, in hope rather than expectation, and bought the kit.  (I did however buy Flight Control, full review soon.)

Firstly it's incredible accurate.  Secondly anything you've heard about having to stand up to eight feet away from your TV you can forget, that's just not true.

The kit then.  Two essential items are required to get Move up and running (provided you already have a PS3), the Eye Toy camera and the Motion Controller.  Many of you with Playstations will already have the Eye Toy and Sony have, thankfully released the controller on its own for around the £30 mark.  It's an odd looking thing, the glowing ball on the top is what the Eye Toy pics up on to sense your movement, but it is very comfortable to hold.  Much more ergonomic in design than the Wii Remote.

Cleverly Sony have given the controller the same buttons as a Dual Shock and you can turn your Playstation on with it and navigate the XMB with ease.  The ball doesn't light up to do this so it's not using the camera just the motion of your hand once you pull the trigger button.  The new 'Move' button is pressed to select stuff and it all works rather well.

There's an optional Navigation Controller, much the same as the Wii's Nunchuk which can be used on some, but not all titles.  Again it's very comfortable to hold and I suspect the games that utilise its technology may well turn out to be the most interesting in the longer term.

I tried four demo's all of them highlighting what the new controllers are capable of.

Sports Champions is Sony's Wii Sports, coming with Table Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Frisbee Golf, Archery, Bocce and Sword fighting.  The demo allows play on the Table Tennis and the Frisbee Golf and the former is hugely entertaining.  Yes the graphics are a bit bland for a launch title but moving your hand around is mirrored so perfectly on screen that frankly that doesn't matter.  Hitting a ball is simple, but you can easily create spin and put the ball just where you want.  It's great stuff and alone is making me consider buying the full game.

The Frisbee golf game is fun too, but if you're rubbish at throwing one in real life, you're gonna be here too.  It's unerringly realistic.  The golf course on show is kind of pretty but we only get to see one of the holes in the demo, my guess is they get much tougher as you progress.

Not my lounge.
Start the Party isn't really my cup of tea as a title but it does serve to highlight one of the ways that the new controller out shines the Wii.  There's a mini game on the demo where you swat flies.  And it's you on screen, but the controller has been replaced by the fly swatter.  Although the game is a bit naff the concept is very cool and I can see it being used in lots of ways in the future.  The game is definitely made with kids in mind and I can see it doing pretty well in that market.
Not me drawing.
Beat Sketcher look an interesting concept but the demo doesn't, sadly offer much.  You draw on your TV screen and as you draw music kinda happens.  Again this is probably more suited to kids and I've read that children with Autism are particularly interested in it.  There are lots of modes that are locked up in the demo, but this might be one that has more to offer than first appears.

Whether a Move Edition of Heavy Rain is going to merit buying it all over again remains to be seen but the demo shows, brilliantly, how the new controllers can be incorporated into a more adult title.  I loved the game when it first came out and found the method of control both deeply immersive and very satisfying but Move just ramps that up another level entirely.  It's actually easier to control the characters movements here, it's far more obvious what you need to do and I actually won a fight that I failed to win three times in the original game.  The Navigation Controller is used to move the characters around and all the action is controlled by the Motion Controller.

Sony have trumped the Wii in terms of the accuracy of the controllers and I found them way more comfortable.  For them to be a huge success we're going to need to see some really killer titles released and I'm hopeful that will happen.  For now though Sports Champions looks the best of the launch titles and Heavy Rain, if you've not already played it and are planning on getting Move, looks absolutely essential.

Consider me impressed.