The Great Playstation Move and Game Review Round Up

I love my Playstation 3. Next to my PC, it’s my most used entertainment device. It does everything from DVD’s and Blu Rays, to browsing the web, or streaming the entire contents of my external hard drive straight to my giant LCD TV screen. Even the missus can work it, which goes a long way in describing how accessible the system is. And of course, it has some of the best next-gen games I’ve ever played, along with a growing catalogue of remade classics available to download over the Sony Network.

Yet, despite my undying love for the system, I was not excited for the Playstation Move:

When this suspiciously shaped controller was announced, I merely shrugged it off as a lame Wii cash in. We all know how respected the Wii is in the gaming community; I doubted Sony could bring anything new to the world of Motion Controls. But when fate left me with a free $150, I begin to think “What the hey?” Why not give the Move a go? If I hated it and could just return it. At least it might help me sell the damn thing.

So I purchased a set of controllers, along with almost every Move game currently available. The ones I liked, I’d keep. The ones I didn’t would get returned. And then I could write a round up review for the lot of them all in one hit! Convenient, yes?

I was not prepared to like the Move. I expected it to be back on the shelf by 9 a.m. the next morning. I don’t mind saying that I was a little too hasty in my judgement. Not only do I now adore the Playstation Move, I believe it to be the best console control system I’ve used so far.

A big claim? Perhaps. I’m hoping this extensive article will help to explain it all.

Article Index (For the TLDR Crowd)

Page 1: Move System Review

Page 2: Resident Evil 5 Gold, Start the Party!, Kung Fu Rider, Sports Champions Reviews

Page 3: The Shoot, TV Superstars, The Fight: Lights Out, Tumble Reviews

Page 4: PAIN, Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, Heavy Rain Reviews, Final Thoughts

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The Move – The Wii, But It Works!

The Move system requires three separate pieces of hardware. The Wand:

The Playstation Eye:

And for certain games, a Navigation controller:

In some titles it is possible to use a regular dual shock controller instead of the Navi, but it’s very awkward and not recommended. I’ll explain that more in the relevant game reviews.

Acquiring this hardware is easy. If you don’t have any of it, you can get a “Move Starter Kit”, which includes a Wand, the Eye, and a demo disk. If you already have the Eye, you can purchase the Wand separately (prices on all these will vary depending on the country). Installation is as simple as syncing the controllers using the charger, placing the Eye at the top or bottom of your TV, and away you go!

The first and most notable feature of the Move system is its accuracy. Those who have played a Wii in the past will especially notice a difference. Where Nintendo’s system relies on the infrared remote beaming directly into the LED sensor bar, resulting in a short range and often shaky crosshair, the Move does the opposite. The Eye observes the room, judges the lighting conditions, and then cycles the Wand’s ‘bulb’ through a range of colours until it finds the most visible one. The Eye then works with the Wand’s internal sensors to track the light’s position in the room.

The result is astounding: 100% accuracy in any movement you make! Depth, rotation, thrust or withdrawal (giggety), the move replicates it all. Try and outsmart it by putting it behind your back, and it simply compensates by generating a ‘false light’ for itself to track, meaning you can see the controller glowing through your body. Creepy!

Pointing directly at the screen is pinpoint accurate. Even from twice as far back as the Wii’s capabilities (not the one Nintendo says, but the real one of, oh say, four feet), there’s still no shake. In fact, the only movement you’ll get is from your own hand, and it does it’s best to compensate for that. And negative interest in paying another $25 to make the Wii Mote do what we all thought it’d do on day one!

This is what motion control was supposed to be. This is what we thought the Wii would be. Not lame up-and-down, left-and-right waggling. Not shelling out for an extra accessory two years later to provide 360 degree sensing that only works 65% of the time. THIS is motion control. An hour of fiddling around with the Move, playing with the menus and the various demos, was enough to convince me of the potential this control system has. “It’s the Wii, but it works!” A surprisingly good selling line when it comes to pushing this at work.

The second greatest feature of the Move is the brilliance behind the Wand. As gamers, we don’t like the light. It burnses our eyes. But seriously, I’m willing to bet that majority of gamers wouldn’t be playing in a brightly lit room. It reflects off the screen, and ruins the atmosphere. We’re the nocturnal species of the entertainment world. Unfortunately, most camera-related games in the past have frowned upon our cave-like lifestyles. Heck, even the Kinect seemed to forget that little fact during its development.

Since the Playstation Eye looks for the Wand’s light bulb, it actually prefers a dark room! Excellent! Needless to say I was sold on the Move from that point forward. Anything that helps my darkness enshrouded existence continue unhindered keeps me happy (hissss).

Of course, this can cause problems, if only minor. In the few instances where you’re forced to play somewhere that’s very brightly lit, the Eye may struggle and require the occasional recalibrating until it can find a light bulb colour that works. Or, in my unlucky case, you’re playing quietly in your living room and a beam of sunlight happens to come through the curtain, landing directly on the move controller (during and epic boss battle I might add), that can cause problems too. Ever seen a high tech piece of hardware freak out because of a bright sunbeam? I have. Would have been funny if it hadn’t killed me.

But these are just tiny issues, and won’t affect day to day use. As long as you can draw the curtains or turn down the lights you’ll manage just fine. Finally, combining the Wand with the Navi controller becomes a potent combination. I always liked the way the Wii’s controllers were separated, so my hands and arms weren’t cramped up together. There was still that annoying nunchuk cord to deal with though that just ruined the experience. Not to mention the horrid AA batteries. The Move removes these issues, adds a lithium battery, ergonomic shape, and all the other above mentioned bonuses for the ultimate in gaming ease and comfort. Going back to the regular controller after hours of the Move feels ridiculously cramped and unhealthy. So much so that I’m hoping future games will at least support the Move as a viable control scheme, even if they don’t integrate the motion capabilities.

Those worried about buttons: don’t be. The complete Wand/Navi system supplies more then enough buttons to comply with almost any game.

As a stand alone controller, the Wand has nine buttons. It has the regulars: Start, Select, the PS button for direct console communication. Dead smack in the middle is a new one called the “Move” button, and acts as the main button for selecting things now. Around that are the usual triangle, square, X and O; in slightly different positions then we’re used to, but adaptable. And finally underneath is a trigger, labelled T.

While these work fine for the Move related games out so far, it’s not enough for the more advanced games. Adding the Navi fixes that by giving you an extra three buttons: L1, L2 and L3, and also the D-Pad. Why they included the X and O buttons on it as well is beyond me. I’ve haven’t had the need for them yet. If there are any actions left unmapped in a game, these can be filled through the motion detection. Holding a button (usually the Trigger), and swinging in a specific direction can easily be adapted to replace previously button-requiring moves.

Overall the Move controllers are a remarkable piece of technology. It’s not hard to see how much time, research, and money has gone into testing and refining them, and it has definitely paid off. There’s a lot of potential there – a hell of a lot more then the Kinect, that’s for sure – now it’s just up to developers to make use of it. Which, sadly, might take awhile longer yet. Time to look at what games are available for these wondrously waving wands of…er… wonder.

Just don’t get your hopes up.

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