PlayStation Move Review
Back in June 2009 when the PlayStation Move was unveiled it was greeted with varying degrees of trepidation from gamers across the globe. Despite Sony stating Move would offer true 1:1 motion control, one of the major concerns was that it would be just like Nintendo’s Wii remote and not offer anything new or different at all, whereas others just thought it looked silly. After all, it basically looked like a remote with a glowing rubber sphere attached to it. It’s fair to say, it was a bold move by Sony (no pun intended), especially with Microsoft offering motion control without the need for a controller at all in the form of Kinect.
With Move officially being released a few days ago, we finally got to test out the motion controller properly and see if it really is as good as Sony say it is. Did we move to the tune of their beat or was it a case of seen it all before? Read on for the full review.
First things first…yes, the Move is similar to the Wii remote and Sony certainly seem to have taken “inspiration” from what Nintendo have done. To call it the “Wii HD” would be a little harsh as what Sony have with the Move is inherently better than the Wii remote and has far more potential. Without getting into the technical side of things, the Move is more accurate and far more responsive than what Nintendo currently have to offer. Sony have mentioned time and time again that the Move offers true 1:1 motion control and, for the most part, that is true.
[singlepic id=214 w=320 h=240 float=left]The PlayStation Eye, the technology in the remote and the glowing ball on top of it; these are things that make the Move so accurate and, in all honesty, get us excited about what it can offer in future releases. That coloured, glowing sphere might look silly, but without that the Move would not be as accurate as it is. Basically, the camera communicates with the coloured sphere, allowing it to determine the position of the Move controller in relation to the screen. All this fantastic technology allows for a lag free, accurate and enjoyable experience for the user. To add to that, thanks to the PlayStation Eye, this is all in a 3D space too!
The Move controller itself is also very well designed. The usual PlayStation buttons are placed on the remote nicely, giving you easy access to them when needed. A couple of new buttons are also introduced, the first is the Move button and the second is the T button. Both fit in very nicely with the design of the controller, no issues at all. Much has been said about the sphere on top of the remote, but it actually looks quite cool when you’re using it and it is all lit up. It would have been nice if you were given the option to choose the colour of the light, but unfortunately that is not possible. The sphere only changes colour based on your surroundings, this is done so the camera can communicate with the remote accurately and efficiently. A case of functionality before customisation, something which might annoy a few people, but at the end of the day it is for the best.
There is also a navigation controller available to compliment the Move motion controller and is something that will come in very handy when playing first person shooter or other actions oriented games. It’s basically a bit like the Wii’s nunchuck, but without any motion capabilties. Sony have stated you don’t need one of these and can use a DualShock 3 instead, but it is not something we recommend doing as it is quite uncomfortable. Both the Move and navigation controllers are wireless and therefore require charging after extended periods of use. This can be done via USB mini-B cable or the official charging stand. It all depends on how much and how often you use them, but both controllers have an average battery life of around 7-8 hours.
[singlepic id=215 w=320 h=240 float=right]So, the hardware sounds great, but we all know that it is nothing without the software to support it and whilst the choice of launch titles is slim, there are a few which show off the what Move is capable of. The ones we recommend are Tumble (available on PSN), Sports Champions and Start the Party. Tumble, in particular, shows off the capabilities of Move really well. The 1:1 motion control and use of it in a 3D space is really impressive. These sentiments also apply to Table Tennis and Gladiator Duels in Sports Champions. Start the Party is primarily a multiplayer game, but is well worth checking out for the use of augmented reality and, once again, the accuracy of the controls thanks to Move. We will have mini-reviews coming up for these titles and a few others, so keep an eye on the website for those.
You’re probably thinking to yourself now, “it sounds great, but are there any issues?”. To answer that question, there are a few. Going back to the launch titles, there are a few which don’t show Move in the best of light. For example, a title such as Kung Fu Rider shows the controller to be unresponsive and inaccurate. There are also issues when it comes to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, the game has issues actually picking up and calibrating the Move controller. If these two titles were someones first experience of Move then they would probably dismiss it as a Wii remote rip-off and that is certainly not the case. It’s all down to how the developer chooses to use Move and how well they use the technology on offer. There are going to be a few duds, it’s only natural, but hopefully there are more gems to overpower them. With titles such as SOCOM, Killzone 3, Virtua Tennis 4 (click to read our hands-on) and Sorcery on the way, the future is already looking a bit brighter.
Calibration and the frequency of it could also be an issue for some people. The Move controller works well in most surroundings, but if a room is lit the “wrong” way it might not work as well as intended. A better camera could resolve this issue, but as it is we don’t think this will impact many people out there so the current PlayStation Eye is more than adequate. It’s just a matter of adjusting or tweaking the light in your room and re-calibrating to get things running at the optimum level. That brings us nicely to the next little issue, frequency of calibration. The majority of the launch titles ask you to calibrate the Move controller quite often and it does become a little tiresome after a while. Sports Champions is the best example of this, you will be doing a whole lot of calibrating in that game. However, if you really want an accurate experience with Move the calibration gestures are certainly necessary, even if you don’t particularly enjoy doing them.
[singlepic id=216 w=320 h=240 float=left]Price wise, Sony have been very clever with their strategy. If you already have a PlayStation Eye then you can purchase the Move motion controller (£34.99/€39.99/$49.99) and navigation controller (£24.99/€29.99/$29.99) seperately. If you don’t have the PlayStation Eye then you will probably go for one of the starter pack bundles. The European one (£49.99/€59.99) comes with the camera, a Move controller and a demo disc whereas the North American one throws away the demo disc away, but includes a copy of Sports Champions for a slightly higher price ($99.99). There is even a bundle with a PS3 to entice newcomers (£284.99/€349/$399.99). It certainly seems like Sony have all the bases covered at a reasonable enough price.
“This Changes Everything”, that is the tagline Sony are using to promote Move and whilst we’re not entirely sure it changes everything now, it certainly has the potential to in the future. It’s the most accurate motion controller currently available and if developers harness its power in the right way, we could have a whole new, exciting way of gaming in the comfort of our own living rooms. Your Move, Mr Kinect.