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PlayStation Move on Gamer Limit: Sports Champions | Start the Party! | Kung Fu Rider | Tumble

[As you can see from the list above, we've now trawled through the main line-up of launch titles for the PlayStation Move, but it’s finally time to delve into the hardware itself.]

Since the birth of the Nintendo Wii in 2006, the 21st century has seen the rise of a new movement in gaming: motion controls.  Several smashed television screens later, the Wii’s radical Wii Remote controller proved to be more than a passing fad too, with the Wii achieving phenomenal worldwide success and breaking sales records. Today, the Wii still smugly stands as one of the biggest influences the modern gaming industry has ever seen.

It may have taken four years, but the competition has finally started to catch up when E3 2009 saw both Sony and Microsoft compete for a spot in the market – each leader took a decidedly different approach however, with Sony aiming to stick with the traditional tangible controller in the vein of the Wii and Microsoft opting for a more radical, hands-free revolution with Kinect. Then again, Sony isn’t entirely new to the market having developed the EyeToy Camera for the PS2 launched back in 2003, and the PlayStation Eye in 2007 Camera which has been left with very little opportunity to flex its muscles due to only a handful of throwaway titles available – until now.

Move over Nintendo?

On first impressions it takes a while to get over the controller’s frankly funky design: you’d swear you were gripping a Sony sex toy. And then there’s the initial intrigue of the large, squidgy glowing ball that protrudes the top that puny children will probably liken to a coloured candy. Before long however, you grow to appreciate the design; it’s certainly a more comfortable fit than the Wii’s squarely rigid formation due to a more tactile, rounded construction.

The sleek black design is standard of Sony’s solid build quality, and blends in nicely with the PlayStation family of peripherals as the central square, circle, cross and triangle face buttons you’ve grown accustomed to for the past 15 years are present. To the left and right of the controller you will find the slightly awkwardly placed start and select buttons, along with the PS button for XMB access and a couple of Move-specific buttons – a trigger is situated beneath the unit and the primary Move button dominates the front for your thumb to rest on.

Overall, despite its kinky first impressions, the Move controller is a successful design that your hand comfortably moulds into. A wrist strap is also included to prevent you from inadvertently breaking your extortionate plasma television and calibration is less complicated than you might expect.

Like the dual shock controller, the Move can be plugged into the PS3 via USB to charge (it takes an hour to fully charge and a reported nine hours of battery life) and it’s a similar story with the Eye Camera which works the instant it is plugged in. Adjust the lens to wide angle by turning it clockwise (you are prompted to do this whenever you start a Move game) and marvel at your picture in all its grainy glory.

Truth be told, the resolution of the Eye Camera isn’t its greatest asset when used as a standalone webcam for video chat, but it’s not as noticeable in most games, particularly when the game doesn’t even use your image on-screen during gameplay. Most games will put you out by presenting an initial calibration, but very little effort is required thankfully – more often than not you will just be asked to point the controller at the camera in order for it to register your position. Nothing too taxing then.

The pricing strategy for PlayStation Move is smart in that Sony has catered for all consumers here. For example, some, like myself, may already own an Eye Camera, in which case the controller is available in a standalone package with an RRP of £34.99, whereas others will want a starter bundle which contains the Move Controller with the Eye Camera and a demo disc for £44.99, though they can typically be found online at prices below RRP. Move can also be found bundled with the PS3 and accessories such as a charging dock and gun attachment are also available. Curiously however, the controller can also be found included with launch title Sports Champions in a bundle that’s exclusive to America.

To accompany the Move controller, a Nav-controller is also available, although at this point it’s not really worth it. It acts as a substitute for the dual shock controller and contains an analogue stick akin to the one you would find on a standard unit. While only a handful of games really make use of it, the dual shock controller can still be used in conjunction with Move, even if it is somewhat cumbersome in practice. You can also navigate the XMB by moving the Move controller, but it again feels too unwieldy to be precise.

On face value at least, the Move Controller offers good value for money until you factor in the accessories and games, but still seems to be more accessible than Kinect’s comparatively steep price-point for the core experience.

Move requires you to stand at least eight feet away from the camera, but this simply isn’t practical for some people. My room for example offers nowhere near this amount of space, but fortunately I haven’t encountered any problems from playing at a closer distance. It also reacts to low lighting conditions surprisingly well, but reports of problems with brighter lighting levels have been surfacing.

Unsurprisingly, Move works better when played whilst stood up, which may come as a shock to those who love to unwind into their DFS sofas at night for a spot of COD. Trust me; I tried to play a sitting game of Table Tennis on Sports Champions when I was feeling overly lazy, but it only made the experience more problematic and less immersive.

Comparisons to the Wii are frankly unavoidable so I’ll get this way: many initially scoffed at Sony’s scornful attempt to replicate the Wii’s technology, but in terms of sheer accuracy, Sony Wii’s all over Nintendo and doesn’t bother to flush afterwards. It’s absolutely astonishing.

The squidgy ball that you previously wanted to lick is actually the Move’s central component which acts as a sensor detected by the Eye Camera, resulting in absolutely pinpoint accuracy when your movements are translated on-screen in true 1:1. In a novel touch, the orb glows in different colours depending on the game, and is soft and squidgy in texture presumably to soften the blow should you whack an innocent infant child, as demonstrated by the comical safety briefing diagram that is presented every time you start a game.

Progression from the Wii was only natural however: you would hope that technology would have improved given that the Wii was launched four years ago now. As a piece of geeky hi-tech technology then, the Move’s attributes instantly impress even at this early stage, but it’s ultimately up to the software to showcase what it can really do.

Sports Champions and Tumble are the clear software frontrunners but, typically of most hardware debuts, the majority of launch games are somewhat lacking overall, with lacklustre entries such as Kung Fu Rider and Racquet Sports dampening its supremacy.

The Wii is famed for starting the casual gaming craze, and while the Move has its fair share of obligatory titles of this vein, Sony aims to broaden this cliché by releasing a slew of gamer’s games to those that think motion controls are infantile atrocities for seven year-olds with underdeveloped motor skills. PlayStation-exclusive favourites such as Heavy Rain have already been patched to be compatible with the Move controller, and SOCOM and Killzone 3 are also on their way soon.

It’s fair to say however that the games principally designed for the Move work better than some of the existing titles that have been forcefully patched: Heavy Rain, for example, didn’t benefit from the Move as much as you would think because it was never designed for it from the outset. It’s like screening older films in 3D that were never meant to be viewed that way.

Speaking of 3D, like many others I’ve been a bit of a pessimist when it comes to the advent of 3D TVs. And yet I’m starting to think that Move is one of few technologies that could genuinely benefit from the added depth – it would undoubtedly enhance your ability to judge shots in Sports Champions, for example, and could heighten the immersion which is what Move is trying to achieve anyway. So far only Tumble is playable in 3D, but I’ve yet to try them for myself. When 3D hopefully comes into full fruition next year, it will certainly be interesting to see if and how Move adapts.

Overall, PlayStation Move is a sturdy piece of kit that is technologically proficient in the motion market. While it is, in essence, a mere step from the Wii’s concrete foundations, but the more advanced 1:1 tracking makes a profound difference in gameplay and there is clearly a lot of potential for future and existing games to take advantage of the hardware. As with most launch line-ups however, some of the games currently available don’t quite do the technology the supreme justice it so richly deserves.

With Microsoft’s rival Kinect launching in a few months’ time, Sony’s head-start is a clear advantage, but it will nonetheless be a very interesting battle once it unravels -initial sales have shown that there is interest in the product, but will the initial hype dissolve into a forgotten novelty? This of course is a question that can only be answered by the developers and their ability to conjure consistently innovative games to retain our future interest. Still, it’s about time the Eye Camera was put to good use.

Gamer Limit gives the PlayStation Move Controller 8.5/10.

  1. Nice. I’m especially pleased to hear Sony is going full-tilt with this one, since the third-party developers will in theory follow the publisher’s directives.

    • avatar Bob

      Hi Bev,I agree about Shattered Memories.I really liked it. It’s paborbly one of my favorite Wii games.Except some of the Wii remote actions could be frustrating, especially during the scenes where you run from the monsters. Whenever I came across something that could be pushed over, I almost never successfully performed the action. Of course, some of that may have been my fault. I’m actually a long time follower of Chris’ Survival Horror Quest, and I agree with Chris’ critique of Downpour.I think it is my least favorite game in the series (not having played the Arcade game), and his points are spot on.Another thing that bothered me about Downpour was the enemy design. For me, it seemed a big departure from the creative, frightening creatures in the past games of the series. They seemed mostly like crazy people rather than creatures from a hellish otherworld. I’m with you on the black sheeps of the SH series.I actually have fond memories of playing 4, and I thought Origins was pretty good for a PSP game.I only played Homecoming once when it came out, but I don’t remember disliking it as much as Downpour.Downpour is paborbly best described as unsatisfying. But you should certainly play it.It actually reminds me of Alan Wake a bit, if you have played that. That reminds me, have you played Red Seeds Profile (Deadly Premonition)?

  2. avatar A.W.

    i keep asking this question.

    Okay so the kinnect is a camera with motion-tracking software.

    the move is a camera with motion tracking software plus controllers, to help and buttons. Playstation created a website called something like yaybuttons to promote it (and actually its pretty funny with alot of kevin butler in it). So i am wondering if that means that the PS3 has the best of both worlds?

    but frankly right now they need better titles. I will probably buy later. Probably when dead space 2 comes out and get the bonus of DS: Extraction that is supposed to come with it.

  3. I got to grips with Move a couple of days ago, and I must admit, I was impressed with the accuracy: there’s much less of the wobbling that you get with the Wii’s on-screen cursor.

    • avatar Aysenur

      Sounds like the Accelerometers are stuck. Nintendo’s sliotoun (if you call customer support) is to turn the Wiimote upside down and smack it on your palm a few times.

  4. The point still stands though, how does a traditional game benefit in any way from motion controls? I don’t see how COD for example would be more fun using this thing than a regular old controller.

    Sure there are games designed for motion controls. Yet I have not found a single one I actually enjoyed much that wasn’t a party game.

  5. avatar Scott

    I love playing table tennis, and the sword fighting from sports championship. I must admit at first I wasn’t very satisfied with the purchase, but after giving it two days I really enjoy it. The only improvement I wish they made was introducing a newer camera that isn’t as grainy. Also it requires constant calibration but that isn’t to big of an issue and I am sure they can improve this over time.

  6. avatar Yeah

    ” PlayStation Move Controller; A mere step from Wii’s”
    Yeah…if you are completely delusional.

    • Martin is the biggest PS3 supporter I know – he’s being completely honest here.

    • What I mean is that it’s not inherently different from the Wii in implementation so it feels a bit belated, but the technology is far superior.

    • avatar Axe99

      So the technology is ‘far superior’, and yet it’s a mere step. There’s some logical inconsistency there – I know it’s semantics, but writing is all about communication, and the communication of the subject here is poor.

      An corollary would be to say that the X360 is a mere step from the Xbox. It’s not inherently different from the Xbox in implementation so it feels a bit belated, but the technology is far superior…. Same story PS3 and PS2, and so on.

      Overall, your coverage and detail is fine, but your headline appears to be either poorly-disguised flamebait, and clearly contradicts what you say in the article, unless your understanding of the term ‘mere step’ is far more than a step or two away from the general consensus ;) .

  7. avatar Axe99

    Two things:

    - No mention of RUSE – first software available to use Move, and works phenomenally well with it – it’s a clear step forward for strategy gaming on consoles. Another RTS title, Under Siege, is due out on the PSN on Nov 3 and will support Move, and early signs are they’ve done a great job with this as well.

    - Move works just fine sitting down. RUSE, Flight Control HD and Tumble worked just fine for me with my feet up in a recliner. However, trying to play table tennis sitting down is a bit silly, so I’m not surprised that you found Sports Champions sitting down a bit of a challenge. Move is _not_ the Wii, and it’s a mistake to try and play it like one (which playing Sports Champions sitting down is).

    In my experience, the gap between Move and Wii Motion Plus is bigger than the gap between Wii and Wii Motion Plus (and I’ve got all three – I’ve used Move now more than Wii and Wii Motion Plus combined now, however, although RUSE has had a large bit to do with that) – describing it as a ‘mere step’ is taking liberties with logic, semantics and language that are stretching it at best. All three are fun, but all three are very different types of fun and, due to the added accuracy, Sports Champions is a fundamentally different gameplay experience to Wii Sports Resort in most aspects (the only game in WSR that came close was Frisbee, and even that was far less accurate where it counted – I still had to ‘game’ the system to make it work, wheras with Move, I just move my arm like I’m throwing a Frisbee, and it works spot-on every time). You actually say this in your article. So how you decided on this being a ‘mere step’ is a eyebrow raising, unless you’re making a reference to Neil Armstrong.

  8. avatar jenzien

    yeah it’s only a meere step away from the wii / sarcams

    features that move has
    -proper 1:1 true control
    -proper 3d tracking and body tracking
    -augmented reality
    -object modelling
    -virtual reality

    if you had seen the tech demo’s you would know this and augmented reality has already been included in eyepet and start the party, can’t wait for virtual reality and object modelling

    • avatar Zweli

      a0a0a0a0 Fun:a0 This review is from: I was arelady extremely happy with the Sixaxis controller, but I could not resist getting the DualShock 3. Not only do you get the rumble, but also, it feels much better in your hands, even for those games that do not use this feature. The rumble function is fun, but on top of that, it helps with gameplay, because feeling what is happening provides a lot more feedback than just watching how your character or car reacts to the environment. The biggest surprise of all was that the rumble works with PS 2 games in the PS 3 system. I am currently playing through God of War , a game which had the rumble capability in PS 2. I thought that it was unlikely that I was going to get this feature with this new controller in the PS 3, but it worked perfectly. I know that having to buy a new controller and basically discard the one that came with the system is not the ideal situation, but I have to say this product is really worth shedding the extra bucks.

  9. avatar Makidian

    I think a more proper title would have been a ‘a mere step above’ because the title and content of the article are in clear conflict with one another.

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