The game included with the Move Starter Bundle is Sports Champions, Sony's take on Wii Sports. Though Sports Champions only includes Disc Golf, Archery, Table Tennis, Gladiator Duel, Beach Volleyball, and Bocce Ball, these games feel much more fleshed out and give the player a healthy number of options and unlockables.
There's an impressive amount of production value packed into each of the sports. Most modes offer various courses to try out and a solid selection of avatars to choose from. Graphically speaking, the games look great, much more impressive than what we're used to in other sports variety games.
There's a noticeable difference in control when coming from something like Wii Sports Resort, as the player is somewhat tethered to the Eye camera. Before each game you'll have to go through a three-part calibration process that becomes tedious over time. The game encourages the player to remain in one location for the entirety of the session, so those who like to move their feet around may not get the best results.
We really had a lot of fun with Disc Golf and Bocce Ball; each mode supplied us with a surprising amount of control. There seems to be a lot of technical information being delivered onscreen at any given time; wind speeds, measurements, spin indicators, and helpful guides seem to increase the feeling of more accurate control.
Sony sent us a few other near-final games to try out with the PlayStation Move hardware. We've had some hands-on time with most of the titles we received, but a few stood out as impressive. First there was Start the Party, which is exactly what it sounds like: a party game. This collection of games uses the Eye camera to superimpose a video of the player onscreen and masks the Move controller, allowing it to become literally anything the game has programmed.
Tumble felt a lot like Boom Blox on the Wii, with its Jenga-inspired gameplay and block-building. There's a lot of satisfying physics simulation to play around with here, and overall we felt the response from the items in the game were on point.
Finally, we'd be hard-pressed not to mention the absolutely bizarre yet addictive title known as Kung-Fu Rider. Though the premise is simple, it's also ridiculous. The object of the game is to ride an office chair downhill, using the Move controller to jump, steer, and attack enemies. Some sort of indecipherable story line explains the reasons for these events, but we're pretty sure gamers will only be concerned with the title's absurdity.
Overall, the lineup of the Move's launch games isn't exactly compelling, but as with any new platform, it takes time for developers to truly unlock the potential of the technology. We're excited to try out light-gun games like Time Crisis: Razing Storm to see if it gives Wii games like House of the Dead: Overkill a run for their money.
Sony also has promised Move support (meaning the game will work optionally with Move) with major upcoming titles like LittleBigPlanet 2, SOCOM 4, and R.U.S.E. It will also work (via a downloadable patch) with existing games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and Heavy Rain.
Comparisons with the Wii
Of course this review couldn't be complete without the necessary comparisons with the Wii. Though each controller has similar technology, the way they interact with the console is different. Because Move has an actual camera at its disposal, we think it's able to provide a bit more accuracy and control.
Wii MotionPlus is neck-and-neck with Move and the motion sensing it provides, but MotionPlus is only supported by a handful of Wii games. It also requires a separate attachment that makes it a bit clunky. We really like how the Move controller is a complete package.
When it comes to graphics, it's tough to fairly compare the Wii with the PS3. We think that the motion control aspects are similar, to a degree, but the PS3 clearly outshines the Wii when it comes to visuals. There's certainly something to be said about motion control gaming in HD on the PS3 and the less visually appealing experience that's on the Wii.
If you already own a Nintendo Wii, the slight bump in accuracy and control may not be enough to justify a purchase. However, the combination of HD graphics, and games that look to offer more production value and bang for your buck does seem like the better deal when compared just in terms of value. Don't forget: Wii controllers also consume batteries (or third-party accessories to charge them) whereas Move has these built-in.
Comparisons with Microsoft Kinect
PlayStation Move operates almost completely differently than what we've seen so far with Microsoft Kinect. The only similarity here is the use of a camera to sense motion. Move uses the light-up ball to track movement, but Kinect is designed to see the human body.
Judging from what we've played with Kinect so far, we can tell that it, too, will be a completely different experience, something that needs to be played to be fully understood. The lack of any sort of controller is initially jarring, and we're not sure its accuracy and overall precision is on par with what the Move is capable of.
At any rate, the two motion technologies are quite different. Because they offer totally unique experiences, it's tough to compare them and recommend one over the other. When Kinect is released in November 2010, we will update this review where applicable.
Right now, we can only advise those looking for controller-based motion control to consider the Wii or Move, and for those interested in body control to check out Kinect.
To be clear, the PlayStation Move has shown that it's capable of some of the best motion controls we've seen in a game. That said, we're just not sure the launch library of titles provides a compelling reason to spend $100 on the new technology. Sure, we think adding on Move support with pre-existing and yet-to-be released games is a nice touch, but we don't think that justifies purchasing new hardware for only the option to play it with the Move.
As more titles release for the Move, we'll certainly reconsider our current rating. But for its launch date of September 17, we think gamers will need to think twice before they pull the trigger.
If there's one thing we're learning about motion controlled gaming, it's that we're not sure this is what the hard-core gaming audience wants. As we mentioned above, the Move can provide an entertaining and occasionally impressive experience, but it's never able to emulate the ultraprecise and never laggy gameplay that a standard button controller provides.
We can't fault these console manufacturers for wanting to reap the fruits that Nintendo pioneered; we just don't know if there is a place for the technology on each of the three major systems.