PlayStation Move – My Thoughts So Far

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Like many PS3 owners I’m sure, I broke down and bought a PlayStation Move over the weekend. I already own a PlayStation Eye camera, and for the time being I don’t have a need for the optional Navigation controller, so for me the $50 purchase of one Move wand was a no-brainer starting point.

I’ll have some review copies coming in soon for games like R.U.S.E., Get Fit with Mel B, John Daly’s ProStroke Golf, and possibly Tiger Woods 11, Racquet Sports and Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest (and hopefully Sony’s first-party titles too if I can track ‘em down), but for the time being my Move gaming is limited to three existing games with patched-in motion controls: Toy Story 3, Hustle Kings, and Planet MiniGolf. And tomorrow Heavy Rain gets its Move patch, so I’ll have that to fiddle around with too. I’m dying to try out Resident Evil 5 as well, but sadly the Move patch is only supported in the Gold Edition, which I don’t have (I have the collector’s edition I found in a Best Buy bargain bin for like $20 earlier this year).

Anyway… So far it’s been pretty obvious that these three games had Move support patched in rather than being built for motion controls from the very beginning, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend rushing out to buy any of them strictly for their Move playability (Hustle Kings and Toy Story 3 are worth owning on their own merits to begin with though). But even still I’ve been impressed with the technology of the controller and have found that these types of games do benefit from the Move implementation, tacked on or not.

Hustle Kings, the PSN billiards game from VooFoo Studios, definitely stands out most of the three games I’ve been able to test. Using the Move wand to line up shots takes some getting used to, but actually taking shots feels really nice. You hold the Move horizontally as you would a real pool cue, then pull it backwards and thrust forward to take your shot, with the length of the backstroke and force of the forward stroke determining shot power. It has a smooth, natural feel about it that does enhance the gameplay, and that’s really all you could ask for.

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Planet MiniGolf also benefits from the addition of motion control, but mostly because the game’s existing control options are so poor. The main problem is that it’s extremely difficult to determine how hard you are supposed to putt the ball. You hold the Move like you would the grip of a putter, with the glowing orb pointing down towards the floor, and you swing backwards and forward to hit the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Again, the Move controls are fairly smooth, and when you’re faced with regular putts it’s fairly easy to judge how hard you should be hitting the ball after a bit of practice. However, when you need to hit around an obstacle or shoot the ball up a ramp, the slightest miscalculation in power, either too much or too little, leads to the ball flying way out of bounds or rolling up the ramp, not quite making it to the top, and rolling all the way back to your feet. A swing may need to be between 45 and 50 percent to be successful, but if you hit it right on 45 or 50 the shot fails – and small percentage calculations like this are extremely challenging to get a feel for.These inconsistencies also plagued the game pre-Move, so while the game is still mediocre at best, the novelty of the motion controls does mask the flaws somewhat.

As for Toy Story 3, Disney basically took a single shooting gallery from the Wii title Toy Story Mania, HD-ed the graphics a bit, and patched it into the PS3 version of the game as a tech demo mini-game showing how the Move works as a light gun replacement for on-rails shooter implementation.

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I’m fine with that, as Toy Story Mania is actually a great little mini-game compilation for the Wii (it’s just way overpriced at $50). And I’m always a sucker for rail shoot-‘em-ups, so the added mini-game is a welcomed addition to my copy of Toy Story 3 – a game that is already one of my favorite movie games in quite a while. However, one simple shooting gallery is hardly worth getting worked up over, especially with Sony and Disney touting the game’s Move support in marketing materials as if it really puts the technology to use in some magical way. It’s a fun, short-lived gimmick, and that’s about it.

I’ll definitely need to get a larger sampling size of games to test out before rendering final judgment on the Move, but early on I do get a sense that the technology is more precise and a lot smoother at tracking your movements than the rival Wii Remote — and since it’s being tracked by camera you don’t have to worry about signal failure when pointing off the screen.

The controller itself is also extremely well made. It’s light in the hand, but also has a solid heft to it indicating sturdy build quality, and the smooth, rounded ergonomics fit the contours of the hand and fingers comfortably.

A couple small nitpicks I do have, though, are the placement of the Start and Select buttons – they are on the left and right sides of the controller rather than somewhere on the front, so pausing a game mid-stream is somewhat cumbersome – and the wrist safety strap which, instead of having a simple slider adjustment like the Wii Remote, has a locking clasp that you have to flip open to adjust and clamp down to lock in place. It’s a small thing, but it’s such a hassle to deal with that I simply don’t even bother with it, and a safety feature that’s a hassle to deal with can only lead to accidents.

Well, those are my early thoughts after admittedly minimal testing. Stay tuned for more Move game impressions and reviews as I’m able to play with it in greater depth. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on the Move you’d like to discuss I’d love to chat in the comments. Did you buy a Move yet? What games have you played? How do you like it so far?

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!