So far, the PlayStation Move controller has been transformed into all manner of wacky objects, from tennis bats and archery bows to fly swatters and frying pans. And now it can also add light guns to its arsenal with The Shoot, the first of what could potentially be a slew of light-gun themed games. Case in point: Time Crisis: Razing Storm has already been released merely a week later.
Does The Shoot reach its target or should it be left firmly in its holster?
The terms “family-friendly” and “shooting game” seldom come hand in hand, but that’s exactly what The Shoot is. This is because, rather than murdering hordes of blood spurting humans, you are in fact dismembering animated wooden cut-outs that represent enemies, giving the game an irrefutable shooting gallery vibe à la Point Blank.
The Shoot attempts to set itself apart with its b-movie premise: as an aspiring action movie star, you have been enrolled on a series of themed film sets whereby it is your job to shoot anything that looks remotely intimidating whilst avoiding hapless innocents. It’s a refreshing twist that works in its favour to differentiate itself from the traditional on-rails shooter, straying away from embarrassing terrorist plot-lines and ultra-violence.
Meanwhile, the director (depicted as a stumpy caricature that bears a resounding resemblance to Peter Griffin) monitors your performance, repeatedly spouting lame lines such as “This is the dawning of awesome!” if your shooting skills are exemplary. Conversely, missing too many targets and generally making a hash of things will result in him becoming increasingly discourteous towards your efforts, before cutting the take altogether. Strike five takes and your career comes to an abrupt end.
Each of the five film sets evoke a cartoony and charming visual style that wouldn’t look out of place on the Wii, but the different genres provide a good dose of variety throughout. Starting out in a western b-movie, you soon move onto increasingly extravagant set pieces from a sci-fi flick situated in a city under attack by a rampaging robot and a gloomy mobster movie, to a deep sea escapade and a campy horror film.
While the graphics are certainly adequate and complement the slapstick tone of the game (the wires holding airborne hazards are even comically present), they are by no means spectacular and there are some noticeable occurrences of slowdown throughout. The loading times were also exceedingly long, which is baffling considering the PS3 is barely stretching its beefy muscles here.
Shooting targets is a largely satisfying experience, though the targeting occasionally feels slightly off. Recalibration is a thankfully a simple process however, and you soon grow accustomed to the aiming dynamics. I would also advise investing in a gun attachment for the Move controller for maximum enjoyment – while the game can still be played with a standard Move controller, the addition of the attachment makes the arcade experience much more immersive and is reasonably priced, too.
Since The Shoot aims to predominately appeal to a casual audience, you would expect it to be a fairly forgiving experience, which is indeed true on the surface as you never have to worry about reloading since you have unlimited ammo and the initial Western film acts as a gentle introduction. The difficulty soon ramps up in the successive films however, with swarms of enemies suddenly equipped with rockets and stringent score targets that have to be achieved in order to unlock the next film.
Fortunately, there are three unique power-ups at your disposal, each of which are earned by accumulating kill streaks, which are vital for achieving the required score targets. Showtime emits a slowdown effect allowing you to eliminate larger clusters of enemies with precision, and is triggered (I’m not joking here) by spinning 360 degrees on the spot. Not only will you look and feel like a monumental moron, but the enemies had usually already shot me by the time I got round to finishing my less-than-stylish spin. Since I’m lazy and prefer playing games sitting down, I completely ignored this power-up, meaning I had accumulated a considerable number of leftovers by the end of each film.
Mercifully, the remaining power-ups are more useful and easier to execute. Continue your wave of kill streaks and you will unlock Shockwave, which is initiated by shooting at the floor and emits a blast that will swiftly eliminate larger clusters of enemies. Finally, Rampage morphs your pistol into a rapid fire machine gun, allowing you to dispose of enemies in quick succession whilst racking up a considerable multiplier for your score. It’s especially useful for defeating some of the final bosses, such as the tank at the end of the Mob film.
Some enemies will also fire objects directly into your path, prompting you to move the controller left or right in order to dodge the attack. In practice however, it is often hard to tell which way you need to dodge until it’s too late, which can become frustrating when you are fending off several enemies at once. In a novel touch, lurching the controller forward will also pistol-whip on-screen enemies who dare to get too close.
Sadly, the fun doesn’t last for an eternity. Each of the five films are comprised of only four scenes, and can be completed in around 20 – 30 minutes. You also cannot repeat individual scenes which is frustrating if you reach the final scene and have to repeat the film again, but it all adds to the arcade experience. Collecting poster pieces will also unlock additional challenges to keep you playing, but The Shoot is an otherwise brief endeavour.
The Shoot is proof that the PlayStation Move is more than capable of acting as a light-gun. Hopefully future instalments in the genre will expand on the premise, but for now The Shoot is a satisfying pick up and play purchase that is fun in short bursts.
For a PS3 title, The Shoot's graphics are hardly groundbreaking.
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Shooting things remains inherently appealing, and The Shoot's varying film sets keeps up the variety.
Oh how grating the director's repetitive remarks can get...
The Shoot only contains five films to battle through, but there is at least some incentive to replay them to unlock additional challenges.
The Shoot delivers a solid, if somewhat shallow, premiere shooting experience for the PlayStation Move that is over far too quickly.