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Sony hits it out of the park ... well almost
on September 18, 2010
In a nutshell - the Move brings the motion tracking of the Wii to the awe-inspiring graphics engine of the PS3. It's enough to make one salivate at the possibilities.
Please note that I'm rating this primarily from a family/kid oriented perspective (given how we use it in our home), and not as a hard core individual gamer. This is just my opinion - for what it's worth - and I don't intend to offend anyone's sensibilities. My intent is not to stoke a PS3 vs. Wii war, and I'm just using the Wii as a comparison point, given my personal experience with both systems.
While I was an early Wii adopter, most of my game investments have been for the PS3 (Bioshock 1 & 2, Infamous, Fallout 3, IL2 Sturmovik, Valkyria Chronicles, ...), primarily for the depth of gameplay and graphics that it makes possible - especially on large screen televisions.
Well, the Move signals that the PS3 has finally caught up with the Wii and in many ways has actually surpassed it.
Unfortunately, though the implementation of the Move is technologically a 5-star, the fun quotient for this particular game is closer to a 3-star - especially when a kid-oriented audience is concerned.
What is awesome about the Move?
1. The Playstation Eye Camera actually follows the bright light at the end of the controller, so is able to sense the minutest movements in all three dimensions. It is actually fairly uncanny how well it tracks your movements. This brings an air of realism to games that is sometimes unreal!
2. The accompanying games are well executed and quite bug free - a huge feat in itself. In addition, the games seem to have an amazing amount of physics realism that really begins to get challenging at harder difficulty levels. For instance, with archery you need to consider the parabolic trajectory of your arrows which gets progressively more important as the targets move farther out from you.
3. The motion controller acts as a navigation controller so you don't need your DualShock PS3 controller. Press the "T"rigger button, and then use horizontal/vertical gestures to navigate the PS3's XMB interface.
What bothers me about the starter bundle?
1. There isn't a single game that can be played simultaneously by a family of 4. I remember very fondly the family tennis games with the Wii - but that's not going to happen here. The only games that support 4 players, require each player to take turns in sequence (i.e., Bocce Ball and Disc Golf).
It's also a pity that the games are fairly limited in number - no tennis, bowling, or even golf.
2. It comes with only one motion controller.
This is a problem because some of the games in the pack really require 2 controllers for it to be fun. For example, without a second controller games like archery devolve into a point-the-controller exercise, which is rather fatiguing for small arms. For adults, Gladiator Duel feels a bit silly with just one controller.
3. Gone are the friendliness of the Mii characters. The characters on the Move starter pack are mildly annoying - and even quite aggressive in jeering at you when they win - which was off putting for my youngest. Fortunately, you can shut them up with a click of the Next button.
In addition, you can't customize your avatars - which used to be a source of endless amusement for kids (and parents) when using the Wii.
4. Each time you play, you start with a predefined character (Kenji, Giselle, etc.), and these characters are shared across all family members. As a result, kids don't get to have a "personal best" score associated with their own character. This was a key draw for us on the Wii, as we kept trying to better each other's scores. Unfortunately, Sports Champion doesn't give us the same emotional attachment to a character - and there's no permanent digital scoreboard that let's the kids feel superior to us.
If I were rating just the hardware, I'd give it 5 stars. My rating is for the overall enjoyment that my family and I derived from the starter bundle.
In summary then, we liked the Move - but with some caveats.
1) It isn't a game changer for family evenings - we'll still use our Wii for that.
2) I'm awed by the technical brilliance of the Move, and I'm waiting for games that will take full advantage of it.
In the meantime, it definitely is a fun curiosity that I'm sure I'll use occasionally.