Sony's bizarre looking motion controller, the PlayStation Move goes on sale to no fanfare whatsoever this week (seriously, have you seen a single advert?).
Game developers around the world have come out in praise of the microphone-like controller's abilities, with the boss of GTA publisher Take-Two even coming out this week to claim that Wii players will "graduate" to Move. But is the PS3 add-on really a big deal for proper gamers, or is it just another peripheral for the pile?
Sony Computer Entertainment says the combination of the PlayStation Eye camera and Move’s accelerometers and sensors allows for games that track what the player’s doing at a level of detail “that just isn’t possible elsewhere.”
Sony PlayStation Move review: Using the controller
Compared to the Wii this is absolutely true; in Sports Champions – part of Move’s not exactly earth-shattering launch line-up - the controller measures both the angle of your grip and the exact direction and speed of your swing, resulting in lag-free movement that’s one-to-one accurate 99 percent of the time – it’s very impressive.
In Disc Golf for example, the game zooms into a first-person perspective where you can see every miniscule movement of your hand recreated in game – it’s eerily perfect. Move can also detect forwards and backwards movement, so when playing Table Tennis you can dash back for return shots and the game will react accordingly. This is also useful for diving and dodging away from your opponent’s attacks in the Gladiator Arena game, which also utilises Move’s ability to measure the speed of your swing for more powerful sword swipes – you can even splinter shields.
Sony PlayStation Move review: Better than the Wii?
Side by side with the likes of Wii Sports Resort, Move is definitely offering gamers a whole lot more in terms of freedom and depth of movement – it surprises us even now. But whether that means Move’s sword game is more fun or intuitive than the Wii equivalent, we don’t know. In terms of core ability and the more important factor, how fun it is, Wii Sports Resort’s fencing does just as good a job as Move’s Sports Champions. The key differentiator is in the extra depth that Move offers; how you can use a second Move controller as a shield and dodge attacks with your body.
Another important differentiator is the power of PS3 itself; Sony can utilise powerful physics and beautiful visuals to incorporate a layer of subtlety that the Wii simply doesn’t offer. This, if anything, is the reason why Move feels so much more sophisticated than its competitor when playing the launch line-up of games – though with those lacking slightly it’s the future titles that excite us the most.
Sony PlayStation Move review: PlayStation Eye experience
The turning point for us during our time with Move was when the PlayStation Eye camera first displayed our image on screen – and guess what? We were hardly ‘Move’ing at all. Going against everything Sony’s lifestyle photo shoots would have us believe, we spent almost all of our time with the PS3 motion controller slumped on a couch – and that’s why we think it’s brilliant.
Thanks to the way the technology’s been angled – the PlayStation Eye ‘seeing’ the controller, rather than the Wii Remote searching out the sensor bar – the PS3 knows where the controller is and how its angled almost 100% of the time. You don’t have to worry so much about cushions getting in the way or pointing the Move controller towards the telly – it’s a far more switched off experience.
What this means is you can play most games from the couch almost as if you’re holding some sort of wireless, glowing ball-donning PC mouse. This is a huge appeal for core gamers, and it means the added ability Move promises genres like first-person shooters, strategy and action games, might actually translate to couch gamers opting for Move over the traditional DualShock.
If you've got a console, it's not that much more expensive either. £39 (£25 if you have a camera), or for two players, £65 (or £50 if you have a camera).
Ultimately while the Sony PlayStation Move is a great bit of kit and really shows how motion control has developed. But however much we love the hardware, the proof of the Move's success will be what it's like with more serious titles, which aren't out yet. So until then the Move doesn't get that elusive fifth star.
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