PlayStation 3 gamers, I’m sure you haven’t exactly been oblivious to yesterday’s launch of a certain highly-anticipated game for a certain rival videogames console.
No worries, because Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has not left you in a lurch – today marks the release of the PlayStation Move, a motion-based control system that consists of wireless controllers and the PS Eye webcam.
To commemorate the occasion, we went down to Sony Singapore’s offices to try out some of the launch titles and give you the full report, so you know which games are hot when you hit the ground running with Move.
Time was limited, so we could only go through three games. In short, the first of the three piggies (as in games) left me thoroughly impressed; the second coloured me curious; while the last little piggie … let’s just the Big Bad Wolf in me devoured it whole and still craved for a more substantial meal. This last one’s more for Little Red Riding Hoods and their grandmas.
Sports Champions (the killer app: swashbuckling and a real workout)
Yes, yes, when Sports Champions was revealed as a PS Move launch title, everybody immediately saw it as a Wii Sports Resort clone. I was under that impression too, until I actually tried Table Tennis and Gladiator Duel (2 out of the 9 sports available in the title).
Table Tennis was a lot harder to play than I thought – but for good reason. Unlike in Wii Sports Tennis, you can’t just sit down and leisurely swing the PS Move controller and expect to hit the ball; you actually have to move back and forth, or to the side to reach it!
In that sense, Table Tennis in Sports Champions felt a lot like playing in a virtual space. As you can imagine, it takes a little time to get used to it (I couldn’t hit the ball at all for the first couple of minutes). But by the second match, I was dishing out top spins, slow chops, and smashes like I used to do in school. It proved to be a real workout. (Pro tip: prior to starting a ping pong rally, twist the PS Move controller around until the front of your ping pong bat faces the opponent.)
But the killer app for the PS Move right now has to be Gladiator Duel, which has to be played with two PS Move controllers for each player (you can opt to use only one controller each in a two-player game). For right-handers (yes, there’s a leftie option), the left controller serves as a buckler, while the controller in your right is swung like a sword.
There’s a surprising amount of depth in Gladiator Duel. You and your opponent will slowly inch towards each other, and you can dodge sideways by pressing the PS Move button in either controller, or hit both for a hop backwards.
Swing the sword however you like – horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or lynch it forward to poke – and aim for whichever part of your opponent’s body that’s not covered with the buckler (usually the legs; though later CPU opponents will block low blows).
Simultaneously, with my left hand I deflected incoming blows, which resulted in my opponent flinching and a chance for counter-attack. You can also perform a shield-smite to throw your opponent’s balance off.
At one point, I somehow managed to launch my opponent in the air, which I followed up with several random swings for a cool air combo. And to top it off, I pointed both controllers skyward to hop in the air and deliver a finishing blow.
Gladiator Duel felt a lot like playing Soulcalibur (Bandai Namco, please rip off this mini-game in your next installment) and was so holistic for a fighting game that the Street Fighter fan in me could easily play this for hours on end.
Echochrome II (fun with shadow puzzles)
Remember those Youtube videos of amazing shadow hand puppets that you could never pull off? Well, playing Echochrome II is a little like clasping your two hands together and, somehow, magically conjuring up a rabbit lookalike.
In each stage of this puzzle game, a set of wooden blocks and objects lay in front of you. By shining a giant torchlight on these objects using the PS Move controller, you project shadow platforms on the wall behind, which a shadow mannequin puppet will then attempt to cross. The idea is to apply lateral thinking and change the angle and direction of the light and the resulting projections on the wall, which the shadow mannequin will attempt to walk across to reach an exit (ie. the goal in every level).
But it won’t be easy. Obstacles like gigantic blocks, and spherical rubber balls – which if placed in mid-air, can be used to block off a path and make the mannequin turn around, but merge its shadow with that of another platform and it becomes a trampoline that the mannequin can bounce on.
Start the Party! (the token “party mini-game” collection that’s for everyone who’s not a gamer)
A party game collection in the veins of the PS2′s EyeToy titles, this game not only makes use of the Move controllers but will also display a live feed of the gamer on the screen in some manner.
There are a total of 9 mini-games, and two modes of play – Group Play, and Solo Play. I checked out Solo Play and tried three of the mini-games:
In Rooftop Rescue, you manoeuvre a mini helicopter that has to fly across rooftops, pick up civilians, and deliver them back to the helipad you start from. Controls are easy – hold the PS Move trigger to fly, and twist left or right to go in that direction.
In Parachute Panic you use the PS Move controller like a fan. Paratroopers drop from the top of the screen, and you have to fan them towards the rescue rafts at the bottom of the screen.
Finally, in Robo Rumble, a swarm of robots approach the TV screen in an attempt to break the fourth wall and attack you. To destroy the killer robots, you have to point at their weak point and hit the PS Move trigger to zap and here’s the catch: pointing directly at the weak point won’t work – your reflection on the robot’s tummy will be doing the real zapping at its vulnerable parts. This means that you may have to point the Move controller skywards or away from the TV to take aim.
Overall, these mini-games were short, easy (I played on the hardest difficulty and had no problems clearing them on my first try), and just didn’t manage to impress me. Do note, however, that this title is designed for a party setting. Meaning, the whole point of the game is to have one player make a fool out of himself on screen, so that everyone else in the room can point and laugh – which gets increasingly infectious as you inject more people into the room. Fun times, indeed. Continue reading ‘Hands-on session with Sony’s PlayStation Move’