PlayStation Move came into its own as a leading force in motion control gaming in 2011, and now, as we ring in 2012, it is a great time to hop aboard the Move train and set a New Year’s resolution to play more with motion control. Doubly so with the “Play Days” promotion underway. Many accessories and bundles are being sold for discounted rates at all major retailers through January 21st.
Sony’s futuristic, glowing ice cream cone of a controller features prominently (although optionally) in many core first-party franchise titles, giving players new ways to experience games like Killzone 3, SOCOM 4 and Resistance 3, if they so choose to put down their trusty DualShock and give motion control a whirl. Choice is a beautiful thing.
As expected, Move has also helped broaden the PS3 library with more content focused on family and party gaming as well as games of great pick-up-and-play gratification that fulfill complimentary roles in a well-rounded game collection. Put simply: There is a lot of Move-enabled software for PS3 owners to choose from.
Not all Move games are worth your while and some boxes you see with the inviting “PlayStation Move Compatible” logo on the cover are shamefully deceiving. (Sorry, a game with motion control tacked on to a skimpy mini-game mode seperate from the main content is a total scam.) But lend me your ears (or eyes, in this case) and I think I can help guide you on your way to a fruitful PS Move gaming experience.
Below are my thoughts on 18 PS Move games I’ve played over the past year (a few are leftovers from Move launch, but most shipped in 2011). After that, in the related stories section, you’ll find links to other Move games we’ve reviewed or covered since the PS3 motion control revolution began in September 2010. Obviously, quite a few games are still unaccounted for (I can’t play EVERY game that comes out, no matter how hard I try), but I’m fairly confident this is as comprehensive a Move game guide as you’re going to find. Hopefully by the end you’ll know which games are right for you, which games are better played with a DualShock, and which games to steer clear of altogether. Any lingering questions about a specific title afterward? Drop ‘em in the comments, and I’ll get back to you!
SOCOM 4 (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Veering away from its predecessors ever so slightly, Zipper Interactive’s SOCOM 4 takes the veteran military shooter series down more of a cinematic, almost Uncharted-style path of big explosions and Hollywood set pieces. But make no mistake, a tactical squad-based shooter it is. And it’s a great one at that. The PlayStation Move puts another weapon in your arsenal, providing accurate point-and-shoot firing and squad command on top of a solid third-person shooter campaign and deep online multiplayer options, including 5-player co-op missions and competitive warfare for up to 32 video game soldiers.
More than any other Move-enabled shooter, SOCOM 4’s motion control configuration is the closest I’ve seen a Move game come to mouse-like aiming precision, and with three control pre-sets to choose from as well as custom turn speed and sensitivity sliders, the controls can be tailored to your skill level and play style. When using the Move, a larger targeting cursor allows for pinpoint accuracy when placing waypoints for your squad or lining up your own kill shots. Sony’s Sharp Shooter rifle is also supported, but to me there is something odd about playing a third-person squad shooter with such a peripheral, so I prefer to stick with the Move in my right hand and the Nav controller in my left.
SOCOM 4 and PlayStation Move are an excellent combo. Once you’ve gone Move, you won’t want to go back to the DualShock in this game.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded (Publisher: Activision, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
The N64 James Bond classic first remade for the Wii in 2010 has been rebuilt once more in HD. More than a reloaded graphics engine, now running at a zippy (but occasionally bumpy) 60 frames per second clip, GoldenEye for PS3 has other updated gadgetry up its sleeve, courtesy of the Q-like developers at Eurocom. Online multiplayer, set up in similar fashion to the Modern Warfare titles, now supports 16 players along with additional maps, modes and weapons not seen in the Wii version. Secret emblems have been cleverly hidden throughout the campaign levels for added collectible-hunting replay. Last but not least, a brand new Mi6 Ops mode provides challenging side missions of enemy wave survival, stealth, and data terminal defense, with various mission modifiers to play around with and up to four stars to earn per stage based on performance.
Of course, I wouldn’t be talking about GoldenEye Reloaded here if it didn’t also have Move support. It does, folks. At first the Move controls are a bit stiff and unwieldy, I found, but after a trip to the options menu to get the deadzone and sensitivity settings just right you’ll be mowing down Russian bastards with relative ease. I’m typically not one for hand holding, but aim assist is an option you’ll want to run with as it helps to hone your sights in on the enemy. This is an aid that is definitely needed as the Move isn’t quite accurate enough in this instance, especially when dealing with multiple targets that must be dealt with quickly.
Sony even went so far as to team up with Activision to stuff the game into a Double ‘O’ Edition bundle containing a Move controller, a Navigation controller, a PlayStation Eye camera and a Sharp Shooter rifle. I’m not so sure it deserves that level of recognition though. GoldenEye is a classic reborn, but now on a platform that’s home to such impressive first-person shooters the graphics, gameplay and AI pale in comparison to contemporaries like Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Crysis 2, Battlefield 3 and so on. I prefer playing with a DualShock, but if you’re a Bond head looking for a solid Move shooter, GoldenEye Reloaded gets the job done.
The House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut (Publisher: Sega, Controls: Move Optional, Video: Click Here):
Another under-appreciated Wii game given the HD PS3 re-release treatment is House of the Dead: Overkill. Sega’s X-rated light gun shooter is one of the raunchiest, filthiest games I’ve ever played. F-bombs are dropped with obscene regularity and the main bad guy literally crawls up his mutant mother’s vagina at one point. (I’ll pause if you need to go vomit real quick…Back now? Good!) I’m not one to blush at foul language and gross-out imagery, but sometimes even I felt uncomfortable. Luckily the vulgarity is all done in jest, so if potty-mouthed humor and gory undead massacring suit your tastes, this is the Move game to get. It offended me at every turn, and I loved every second of it.
Smuttiness aside, Overkill is one helluva light gun shoot-‘em-up worthy of the House of the Dead name. Although a Navigation controller isn’t needed for the forward grip, slotting the Move into a Sharp Shooter rifle provides the optimal experience — there’s something about a pump action reload between blowing off mutant’s head or limbs that’s just so satisfying. Played solo or in local co-op, the disgusting story mode takes you through nine gritty levels of zombie mutilation, each carrying a grindhouse movie theme complete with voice over lead-ins and film grain effects. Armed with upgradeable pistols, machine guns, rifles, shotguns and the new crossbow, you must venture into dangerous locales infested with undead, including a prison, swamp, moving train, strip club, and carnival. In typical arcade fashion, your objective is to rack up a high score by chain-killing enemies without missing, rescuing civilians for bonus points, and discovering hidden collectibles, such as comic pages, movie posters, figurines and music albums. This extended PS3 version also features new levels starring a pair of murderous strippers as well as a Director’s Cut mode that presents the existing levels with alternate routes.
Most importantly, the Move performance is excellent. Aiming feels steady and accurate and maintains speedy precision when you need to be quick on the draw. Zombies like to jump out when least expected and the Move allows you to stop them dead in their tracks at a moment’s notice. Bloody good fun!
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise (Publisher: Konami, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Suda 51’s Wii oddball brawler arrives on PS3 with an HD facelift and a few extras (bonus boss cameos from No More Heroes 2, a boss rush mode with online leaderboards, etc.), and even though the game is saddled with unforgivable design flaws, its wacky characters, crude, immature humor and satisfyingly gory lightsaber (excuse me, beam katana) combat carry the day. You can tell it’s a port of an oldish Wii game, mainly from the bland environments, simplistic level geometry, inconsistent frame rate, and robotic canned animations. But for the most part the upgraded texture quality puts the graphics on the PS3 playing field, with the 8-bit presentational elements and zany character designs lifting the audiovisual experience to something greater than the sum of its parts.
No More Heroes’ Move implementation is effective largely because it refrains from beating you over the head with unnecessary waggle. While it may seem initially disappointing that the swordplay is not 1:1, in a game like this, where you are relentlessly slicing through crowds of enemies, I think it’s better that you aren’t having to constantly flail the controller around like a make-believe katana. Instead, main attack combos are handled by button press and Move input is needed when it’s time to drop a foe with a devastating suplex or a gruesome death blow finisher, at which point you follow the on-screen arrow prompts to lay the smackdown. How you hold the Move during battle also determines whether attacks are high or low, and various other gestures are required when it’s time to dodge roll, recharge the beam katana battery, and break sword clashes.
Unfortunately the game bogs down between missions when you are dropped into the sandbox city of Santa Destroy, where you have to cruise around the empty city on a motorcycle that controls like a tank and take on tedious side jobs to earn enough cash to cover the entry fee for the next match. Did the developers seriously think busy-work tasks like mowing lawns, pumping gas and collecting garbage would make for fun gameplay? They don’t — I just want to hack enemies limb from limb, watch as blood spurts into the air like a geyser, and listen to the deceased scream in agony (my spleen!).
No More Heroes is what I term a gamer’s game. By that I mean it is for players who are able to embrace games of all types and who can appreciate the odd duck despite its faults. No More Heroes is covered in game design warts of the most fundamental nature, yet through the mess stands tall a game that is strangely satisfying and oddly loveable. While absolutely NOT for the youngsters, No More Heroes is a good M-rated PS Move title for adults. Any game starring a porn-addicted anime geek turned elite super assassin deserves a look, if nothing else.
Dungeon Defenders (Publisher: Reverb / D3Publisher, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
A best-of-both-worlds combo of tower defense strategy and Diablo-style hack-‘n-slash loot harvesting, Trendy Entertainment’s Dungeon Defenders has been a smashing digitally downloaded indie success across all platforms, and for good reason. It’s a great game, bursting with addictive gameplay, detailed character development (skill trees and loads of loot, oh yeah!), lighthearted humor, deep co-op with a thriving online community and split-screen for local multiplayer. For PS3 players, this $15 PSN gem comes with an extra treat the other versions don’t have: PlayStation Move support.
Defending dungeons from waves of orcs, goblins and other nasties using the Move has its advantages and disadvantages, and certain classes are better suited to motion control than others. With the Navigation controller gripped in your off hand, you move your chosen class (Squire, Monk, Huntress, or Apprentice) around the 3D maps like any other action-RPG dungeon crawler. You are able to manually hack through enemies, but as the creatures grow stronger and the waves bigger you’ll need to strategically place defense turrets along the many pathways leading to the Eternia Crystal in order to protect it. For this, Move helps immeasurably. The game utilizes a radial menu structure for selecting and upgrading defenses, and compared to the DualShock it’s more intuitive clicking through the menus and placing turrets with point and click ease, similar to how RTS games are always better played with a mouse on PC versus a console controller. Ranged classes like the wizard apprentice and huntress also handle better using the Move to rapidly ping the aiming cursor from one enemy to the next from a distance.
Conversely, Move doesn’t perform as well if you choose the squire class and embrace the hack-‘n-slash side of the game as your preferred style. Without a second analog stick, camera control is a bit clumsy — hold down L1 and point the cursor in the desired direction to rotate the camera — and when you’re right in the middle of a horde of enemies fiddling with the camera and maintaining a consistent target becomes too much of a hassle. When the Move is active, the camera also always maintains an isometric perspective. There are multiple levels of zoom, but you cannot pull the camera all the way down to the behind the back third-person view that’s available otherwise. Another thing I noticed while trying split-screen play is that the game doesn’t seem to allow for a combination of controllers. So, unless I missed a setting somewhere, you can’t have one player using the Move and another player using a DualShock.
I say buy the game first (it’s awesome!) and test both methods to see which you like best. Both have their advantages, but personal preference is ultimately the deciding factor.
Sports Champions (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
To this day, Sports Champions is the first game I recommend that every new PS Move owner buys as their introduction to PS3 motion control. Sure, it’s not very imaginative — since Wii Sports, sports mini-game compilations seem to be the go-to moneymakers for motion control devices. But what Sports Champions lacks in originality it more than makes up for in fun gameplay that flawlessly demonstrates what the Move tech is capable of in an intuitive, accessible, and highly replayable package.
Six sporting events are included, each impeccably accurate in tracking the myriad controller movements necessary to perform as you work through the solo Champions Cups or free play challenges with a friend or three. Whether you’re underhand tossing a ball in bocce, swatting a ping pong ball in table tennis, flinging a frisbee in disc golf, launching arrows in archery, spiking a volleyball on the beach, or wielding sword and shield in gladiator duels, the Move fluidly tracks every twist of the wrist and every swing of the arm with uncanny realism (this can actually make games like disc golf tough because if you don’t hold your wrist steady you’ll be flinging that frisbee God knows where). Table tennis and archery are my two favorites, and I would say that table tennis by itself delivers more on the promise of 1:1 motion control than any other Move game (or any other motion control game period). Not only is your every hand movement tracked for accurate swing direction and shot spin, but so is your body positioning in all directions. If a ball is dropped short on the table, the game recognizes if you move in closer to the PlayStation Eye for a smash shot. Likewise, if a smash shot is coming your way, you can defensively back away from the camera to give yourself more reaction time to make the return.
Should you have two Move controllers available, they can be dual wielded as sword and shield in gladiator fights or to make serving, bumping and setting in volleyball feel more natural. But don’t feel disadvantaged if you have but one Move — that’s how I play, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
After rocking the PlayStation Move with its top launch title, Sports Champions developer Zindagi Games returns with a more ambitious effort in its second game. Medieval Moves, an on-rails, score-based adventure starring a young prince turned into a skeleton by the evil wizard Morgrimm, takes control elements from Sports Champions’ gladiator duel, disc golf, and archery events and applies them to sword fighting, throwing stars, and archery within a fantasy storybook setting. The difference here is that all controls are seamlessly integrated together, not divided into individual mini-games.
As Deadmund is automatically pulled along through castles, graveyards and dungeons, sort of like a haunted house ride at a theme park, the track stops in regular intervals and waves of undead begin to attack. During combat the choice in weapon is up to you. The sword is equipped by default, and as skeletons charge close you simply swing and thrust the Move to slice and dice ‘em into a pile of bones. (Holding down the Move button pulls up your shield for defense, or you can use a second Move controller.) If you prefer picking enemies off from a distance, you can hold down the T trigger and flick the controller sideways to throw ninja stars or reach over your shoulder, as if pulling an arrow from a quiver, to load the bow. Other items and gadgets can be used as well, such as tilting the Move upwards to drink a bottle of health-refilling milk or (my favorite) holding the trigger and cupping your hand around the glowing controller orb to light sticks of dynamite. Unlike Sports Champions, Medieval Moves is not without faulty gesture recognition, but considering how many actions can be performed on the fly the occasional tracking lapse is acceptable. It really is amazing how quickly you can transition from one weapon to the next with a button press and a move of the controller.
For what ultimately is a straightforward arcade rail shooter, the game is surprisingly long — maybe even too long. The story mode’s 30-plus chapters take, by my estimate, a good eight hours or more to complete. That’s great for value (as are the alternate path choices, secret treasures, multiple difficulties, and online/offline two-player survival and defense modes), but by the time you’ve completed two or three chapters in one sitting the gameplay does begin to drag. But take a break and come back the next day, and you’ll squeeze plenty of enjoyment out of this Move must-have.
Carnival Island (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
Magic Pixel Games lives up to its name with its magically fun debut game, Carnival Island for PS3. The new development studio led by former members of EA’s Boom Blox team works motion-controlled wonders in this tidy and addictive collection of carnival stand games. And you don’t have to fight through crowds or wait in line for your turn to play!
Carnival Island consists of seven main game types — skeeball, ring toss, frog bog, hoops, coin toss, perfect pitch and shooting gallery — and a grand total of 35 events (each game type has five variants). For many players skeeball will become the go-to favorite (it’s my favorite too!), but whether you’re flipping coins into numbered trays, rolling balls into score holes, tossing rings onto pegs, or throwing fastballs to knock down stacks of bottles, the Move controller performs like a natural extension of your hand. When you’re playing skeeball, you somehow feel the weight of the ball in your hand as you back-swing and release. There’s just an indescribable physical connection between player and game that so many motion control games fail to achieve.
I cede that seven base activities is on the slim side, but the game has tremendous built-in replay value beyond mere high score hunting. Each of the 35 events has nine challenges to master (from score milestones to specific tasks like landing consecutive ring or ball tosses into a specific target), and there’s even a solo story mode about a young boy and girl who visit the carnival and win events to restore the island to its former wonder. Winning events earns you tickets and also brings stuffed animal prizes to life as pets who cheer you on, and with those tickets additional toys and balloons can be purchased from merchandise stands around the park. But of course this is a game best suited for party play, supporting up to four players side-by-side or in hotseat mode sharing a single controller.
Carnival Island is the quintessential family game night game and the perfect palette cleanser between long multiplayer sessions with Uncharted 3 or more demanding games like Dark Souls and Skyrim.
EyePet & Friends (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
The concept of a virtual pet is nothing new in the world of video games. Heck, Sony’s done it once already with the PS Move in the original EyePet. Now the cute-looking augmented reality critter living inside your PS3 is back, and this time he brought a friend. Now, with a second Move controller, your family can raise two EyePets together and play with them at the same time!
Other than that, the game is largely the same as before. Every time you turn the game on, your EyePet is waiting for you to feed it, bath it, nurture it, teach it tricks, share its progress online with other pet raising friends, craft new toys for it to play with, and play various mini-games, like bulldozer basketball and alien whack-a-mole. Interacting with your pet regularly allows you to earn pet tokens which you can then use to buy fancier food and toys and unlock additional activities. Butt other than that there really isn’t any sense that your virtual animal pal, a loveable hybrid of a gibbon monkey and Gizmo from Gremlins, is evolving.
Technical flaws, including long loading transitions between activities and inconsistent control tracking (getting the pet to follow your commands can be a nightmare without pristine lighting conditions, especially gestures that require you to put the Move down and use your bare hands), bog the game down further, and, like the first outing, there is a general lack of long-term fun to hold your attention beyond a few play sessions. EyePet remains a concept with immense potential; it’s still just not quite there yet.
de Blob 2 (Publisher: THQ, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Comrade Black is back to rid Prisma City of color and spirit. It’s sorta like a spin on the movie Equilibrium with the charm and personality of a Pixar animation. Anything that invokes emotion — color and music in this case — is considered a sense offense, and violators are turned into mindless, colorless Graydian drones. Blob and his fellow color revolutionaries aren’t about to let that happen.
Take up your Move and Navigation controllers in this HD sequel to THQ’s surprise Wii sensation from 2008, and help Blob paint the town red (or green or purple or blue or…you get the idea). Blob is, well, a blob of goo, capable of absorbing the color of any pool of paint he comes in contact with, and it’s your job to mix and match color combinations in order to paint buildings, bring citizens back from black-and-white death, revitalize vegetation, mark over propaganda posters, and basically put life back into everything Comrade Black’s army of Inkies has tainted.
Motion control is barely utilized here (thankfully jumping no longer requires flicking the remote like the first game), but except for the slightly snappier analog stick camera control offered by the DualShock configuration, de Blob 2 feels like a game meant to be played with the Move and Nav (or maybe that’s just what I’m used to having played the original Wii version so much). In fact, the Move’s main purpose seems to reveal itself in the optional co-op option, which allows a second player to jump into the game at any time as Blob’s sidekick Pinky. As Pinky, the second player controls a cursor on the screen and can help Blob out by firing paint pellets to stun enemies, paint objects, break crates or change Blob’s current body color (it’s similar to how co-op is handled in Super Mario Galaxy). This can also be done with a DualShock, but aiming a cursor is obviously more easily accomplished by pointing the Move than tilting an analog stick.
For fellow fans of the Wii original, rest assured that the sequel is bigger, brighter and bolder in every possible way. New 2D side-scrolling platformer levels break up the monotony that can set in during extended stretches of 3D building painting, extra enemy types and power-ups add greater variety still, the music is even funkier and jazzier than before, the upgraded graphics explode across an HD TV with every color in the rainbow, and the story mode will keep you brushing along (and chuckling your butt off) for well over 10 hours. Joining the Color Underground is cheaper and easier than ever too, now that the game is available for digital download via PSN for just $20. Come on y’all, it’s time to get your color groove on!
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny (Publisher: Natsume, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Purveyor of fine Japanese games no one else seems interested in publishing, Natsume hits another niche home run with the latest Rune Factory installment. Just so happens it’s also the first game in the series to make it to PS3.
For those without a Nintendo DS or Wii, Rune Factory is Natsume’s action-RPG spin-off to the Harvest Moon series. That’s how it started at least, but now it has blossomed into its own franchise. Tides of Destiny, like its predecessors, draws elements from Harvest Moon (farming, cooking, crafting, pet raising, relationship management, etc.) and combines them with traditional JRPG elements, such as character leveling, loot collecting, equipment management, and real-time combat. There’s a hint of The Sims in there as well.
The great thing about this game is that it feels like a living world without end. You’re dropped into a beautiful seaside town bustling with quirky, likeable anime characters who have daily routines. Shops open and close in sync with the day/night cycle, characters have birthdays (it’s up to you whether or not to buy them presents), certain events occur on specific days of the week, news and job requests are posted to the inn bulletin board every day (it sucks that you can only take on one quest at a time though), and so on. You have the opportunity to follow your own daily routine, whether you want to complete jobs and progress the surprisingly endearing storyline or spend day after day mastering your cooking skills, fishing, going on dungeon crawls, or taming monsters to raise for supplies or to employ as farmhands who maintain planted crops each day without constant micromanagement. But you do have to monitor your stamina — if you overwork Aden (the main playable character) he’ll eventually collapse and become sick for the next day.
The new twist in Tides of Destiny is its oceanic travel. Early on you discover a giant golem capable of roaming the open ocean in search of submerged islands to raise back to the water’s surface, among other secrets. Discovered islands then become destinations for farming, treasure hunting and combat. This adds a sense of exploration that only intensifies the game’s addictive do-whatever-you-want nature.
As a PlayStation Move game, Tides of Destiny doesn’t try to be fancy. Motion control is used sparingly overall. Brushing/milking pet monsters, pounding and throwing boulders with the golem, and performing certain power attacks during melee combat require simple flicks of the controller, but that’s about it. So clearly this is not a game to play as a showcase for the Move, but if you’re into niche Japanese role-playing games Rune Factory will keep you busy for a long, long time. The more I play, the more it becomes one of my favorite games of the past year.
Cabela’s Adventure Camp (Publisher: Activision, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
Activision has gone motion control crazy with its line of casual Cabela’s titles. I’ve played a couple of the latest installments and have been pleasantly surprised by how they’ve turned out. For younger outdoorsmen, Adventure Camp is a party game that brings the thrill and excitement of going to summer camp to the living room entertainment center.
Obviously inspired by Microsoft’s Kinect Adventures, Adventure Camp features a collection of outdoorsy activities designed for instant playability for all ages. One of my favorites is biking, which plays like a streamlined version of the awesome underrated PS2 game Downhill Domination as you barrel down multi-path mountainside tracks collecting coins and reaching the finish line as fast as possible. Steering is as simple as holding the trigger and pointing the Move side to side, occasionally tapping the Move button to hop over obstacles or launch from ramps. There’s also river kayaking and jet skiing (they play similarly to biking), skeet and clay shooting (light gun point and shoot), archery shooting galleries (reach over shoulder to notch an arrow, then aim and release), fishing (overhand or underhand cast, then pull up when you get a bite), a sequence memorization game called Hogwhacked, and a variant of Rock, Paper, Scissors re-dubbed Bear, Hunter, Ninja. Those last two are complete throwaways, but the rest are well suited for family play.
The controls are incredibly basic across the board and hardly utilize the full capabilities of the Move, but save for sketchy tracking with underhand casting in the fishing event the gameplay is reliable and easy to grasp. The drawback here is the lack of challenge and longevity. Only 19 total events are available and the level of difficulty is so low I was able to achieve gold medals on all but one event on the first try. Within a matter of two to three hours, I’d also already earned the Platinum trophy, leaving me with nothing left to accomplish even though a few of the games had an addictive enough draw to pull me back in for more. Local multiplayer up to four players and online leaderboards extend replay somewhat, but the overall content package is slight. For kids there’s enough entertainment to make for a weekend of virtual summer camp fun, but I’m not sure it’ll hold up much longer than that.
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012 (Publisher: Activision, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Summer camp mini-games not your thing? Scratch that itch for outdoor adventure with the latest entry in Cabela’s Big Game Hunter series. From Montana, to Texas, to Mexico, to Namibia, to Alaska, Big Game Hunter 2012 takes you on a rivalrous 15-day hunting expedition in search of record-setting trophy game.
Big Game Hunter 2012 is more of an arcade hunting game than a simulation, just to be clear. You have full control of exploration like a traditional FPS, but going on hunts has the feel of a shooting gallery. Each day is an individual level consisting of multiple targets to track down, and you are scored based on your skill with bow or rifle. Every mission target comes with bonus objectives that reward you with a higher score if accomplished. You can simply take the beast down however you like, or you can aim for vital organs for a bonus. Multiple tree rests and blinds are often available too, and more points are given the further away you choose to take your shot from. Some areas reward you for being stealthy, eliminating multiple targets in close proximity using the silent bow and arrow or sneaking in to land a trophy buck up close and personal.
Between main hunts, birds fly over head and bunnies and foxes scurry out of bushes. Shooting a certain number of these small game targets count towards side missions. As the environments become more dangerous, predatory animals like alligators, wolves and lions will randomly lunge out of swamp water or bushes, and you have to aim and fire at a split-second’s notice. Very light gun like.
In terms of control, the game comes in a bundle including its own Top Shot Elite IR rifle, but if you have Move and Navigation controllers (and perhaps an accompany rifle attachment) you can save yourself $40 by buying the standalone game. Or you can get both, as the co-op and versus shooting gallery mini-games support simultaneous functionality between Move and the Top Shot. For the Move in particular, the controls work really well. Aiming is slow but steady and accurate overall. The only time the Move falters is when you have to make reflex kills. If you accidentally spook a target, the controls make it difficult to quickly adjust aim and hit a moving target. I suppose you could say that’s realistic — a moving target is tougher to hit — but there is a sluggishness to the controls that makes such shots virtually impossible.
As long as you’re aware up front that you’re not getting a hyper-realistic hunting simulator, Big Game Hunter 2012 proves itself to be a solidly entertaining game for outdoors enthusiasts to kick back with between hunting seasons.
Puss in Boots (Publisher: THQ, Controls: Move Optional, Video: Click Here):
Released during the fall in time with DreamWorks’ Shrek animated spin-off film, Puss in Boots brings everyone’s favorite boot wearing outlaw tabby cat to gaming consoles abroad. On PS3, unlike the Wii and Kinect versions, motion control is completely optional but clearly the way the developers intend players to enjoy the game.
An on-rails sword fighting platformer following the prequel storyline of the movie, Puss in Boots requires but one Move controller and nothing else, as you have no direct control over forward movement. As Puss pounces ahead in automated fashion, you perform the appropriate waggle gesture to overcome the current obstacle. Sometimes you’ll need to flick the Move upward to jump. Sometimes you’ll need to hold it horizontally with your arms spread like an airplane to balance across tight ropes. Other times Puss will be sneaking behind plants, pots, and statues of different shapes, and you’ll need to tilt the Move as prompted to mimic the shape in order to hide before guards see you.
Between these moments of platforming, Puss also stops to spar with swashbuckling scum standing between him and his quest to capture the Golden Goose. During combat, the Circle and Cross buttons rotate the camera and you proceed to slash the controller as if slashing a sword, and the Move recognizes all angles and thrusts. For a dose of slapstick comedy, once you’ve dueled a particular enemy long enough to fill the Boots Meter, you can then kick the bandito into different traps lurking in the background. Enemies can be kicked out of windows and off of ledges, sent barreling into spiky cacti, or booted into walls with mounted animal heads waiting to bonk them on the head. Finding these traps is part of the fun and also provides bonus points towards your final score in each level (there’s even a trophy for discovering them all).
Antonio Banderas’ dulcet accent may not be in place to make the ladies swoon, but the sound-alike voice actor captures his personality well enough and the delightful graphics purrfectly capture the fairytale spirit of the license. This kitty purrs with an adorable charm children and parents are sure to gravitate to, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, while the game is wholesomely entertaining, the fun only lasts about as long as the move its based on. I’m talking two hours tops, with very little in the way of replay value beyond a few multiplayer mini-games and extra level retries to earn all gold medals and trophies.
The Adventures of Tintin – The Game (Publisher: Ubisoft, Controls: Move Optional, Video: Click Here):
The Adventures of Tintin is no ordinary movie tie-in. By that I mean it doesn’t suck. Actually, it’s a really well made game, predominantly a side-scrolling puzzle platformer affair that mixes things up with a jack-of-all-trades approach. In between the cleverly designed platforming moments, there’s adventure, stealth, sniffing out clues as Snowy the dog, grappling hook acrobatics, flight combat, on-rails shooting from a motorcycle sidecar, and pirate duels — a fun mix of activities sure to please fans of the movie for around five hours (plus there’s a neat co-op storyline starring Tintin and Captain Haddock for siblings or parent and child to enjoy together).
But remember at the beginning of this guide what I said about games that slap a “PlayStation Move Compatible” logo on the box and hype motion control functionality for what ends up being a mini-game mode? Yup, that’s exactly what Ubisoft has done with Tintin. If you grab the game hoping to play through the story and co-op with Move in hand, prepare to be disappointed. Motion controls are relegated to a side Challenge Mode consisting of 20 timed, arcade-style missions based around the pirate duels, airplane flight, and sidecar rail shooter levels from the campaign. The controls are basic but effective (turn the Move like a doorknob to steer the plane, flick in different directions to slash the sword, point and shoot with the slingshot), and trying for high scores and shinier medals provides some additional replay value. But the fact that the same gameplay mechanics are used throughout the main story modes and yet Ubisoft didn’t bother to implement full Move support smacks of laziness.
If you like platformers you should play this game, but from a Move perspective it’s a sham.
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (Publisher: Capcom, Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
In line with the Move’s launch, developers were kind enough to dig back through their catalogs and update certain older games with post-release support for motion control. The game that most benefited from this, in my opinion, is Resident Evil 5. Unfortunately for existing players, the patch has not been widely released for the original version of the game. Only with the Gold Edition re-release, which also contains a butt-load of DLC, do you get access to the Move controls.
That’s truly a shame because the gameplay mechanics really have been thoughtfully retooled, to the point where playing with Move and Navigation controllers feels like the way Capcom intended the game to be designed all along. Move compatibility does not remedy the game’s one glaring weakness — the inability to walk and shoot at the same time — but it does make strides to compensate for Capcom’s game design blunder. Utilizing the Move configuration, aiming pulls up an actual targeting reticule (instead of the laser site) and the camera view doesn’t zoom in nearly as much — the camera zooms in to the shoulder line right next to the head when playing with a stock controller, but with Move the perspective holds further away so you can actually see almost all of Chris’ back. These changes are subtle but help make the game that much more playable. Aiming with Move is snappier and allows for increased accuracy, and the pulled-back camera expands your peripheral vision enough to broaden your awareness of surrounding enemies. The only thing that is somewhat ass backwards is the button configuration for shooting. Instead of holding down the Move button and pulling the trigger to fire, which would seem logical, the mechanics actually work in reverse. It’s hardly a problem, but I would have preferred the trigger to serve its rightful purpose.
Other than that quibble, I love the little touches Move brings to the table. The front end interface now allows for cursor navigation. By holding down the trigger, a cursor pops up and you can point and click your way through the menus. This helps with between-chapter inventory management quite a bit, actually. In combat, swiping the Move does an automatic knife attack from Chris’ default stance, or you still can hold L1 to enter permanent knife stance and stab the controller or tap the Move button to cut Majini down to size. While aiming you also now have the option to reload by giving the controller a quick shake (or you can tap the Cross button). And in case you were wondering, yes, local co-op does support different controller combinations. Meaning one player can use a DualShock and the other can play with Move and Nav. Cool deal.
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest (Publisher: Warner Bros., Controls: Move and Navigation Optional, Video: Click Here):
Another oldie from PS Move launch time worth catching up on is Aragorn’s Quest, a kid-friendly retelling of The Lord of the Rings novel and film trilogy from the perspective of Samwise Gamgee as he reads the story of Aragorn’s greatest moments to his children like a collection of campfire tall tales, in anticipation of the returning king’s visit to Hobbiton.
A party is being thrown in honor of the king, and between story chapters The Shire serves as a mini hub world. In The Shire, you play as Sam’s son helping other hobbits with fetch jobs in prep for the coming celebration. Party stalls are set up to teach the ins and outs of sword combat, archery and horse riding before assuming the role of Aragorn himself, and other young hobbits can be joined to relive some of Frodo’s famous moments, such as Shelob’s Lair and the last climb up Mount Doom, in imaginary backyard adventures. The real adventures begin when Sam, voiced by actor Sean Astin, invites the little ones in for story time. That’s when you get to play as Aragorn and relive the events of Weathertop, the journey through Moria, the battles of Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith, and the final charge towards the Black Gates of Mordor.
TT Fusion has done a remarkable job re-imagining Middle-Earth and its inhabitants in a cartoony storybook art style that’s brighter and more approachable than, say, Warner Bros. newest adult-aimed Lord of the Rings game, War in the North. The third-person hack-‘n-slash gameplay unfolding within that world couldn’t be any more straightforward, with Move controls that feel directly ported over from the Wii rather than designed from scratch around the advanced technology. For sword combat, your Move swings and thrusts don’t translate to real-time 1:1 character movement, but rather trigger canned animations of Aragorn slashing and lunging. The angle of your swings does influence the direction of attacks (you can thrust and slash left, right, downward and with an uppercut motion), but there is a slight delay between your gesture and the action taking place on the screen that doesn’t allow you to feel directly connected to the game. If only this game had sword controls like Skyward Sword.
If you approach the game as a curator of Tolkien lore, you’re sure to scoff at how it occasionally twists the fiction to squeeze gameplay into moments in the story that had no action. But as an entry level introduction to The Lord of the Rings for youngsters too young to read the books or watch the movies, Aragorn’s Quest is worth a look. (An easy default difficulty and the ability to track glowing trails to quest objectives further emphasize accessibility.) Not taken too seriously, grown-up Lord of the Rings fans should be able to brush aside the weak points and have a good time. Bridging the divide, a second player can jump in at anytime too, shooting fireballs and buffing Aragorn as Gandalf the wizard. Fantasy co-op adventuring the whole family can enjoy!
Tumble (Publisher: SCEA, Controls: Move Required, Video: Click Here):
Quietly released at Move launch as a cheap PSN digital download, Tumble is equal parts tech demo and puzzle game, and it’s damn brilliant in both roles. Outside of maybe Sports Champions, no game better demonstrates what the Move can do.
A simple block puzzle game that’s part Boom Blox and part Jenga (in reverse), Tumble is building blocks taken to the next level. The game is set up as a series of progressively challenging puzzles. Some puzzles challenge you to stack blocks to reach height markers, some task you with piling as many blocks onto a table as you can without any falling overboard, some have you destroying existing block structures by strategically placing a limited number of bombs, and some require you to align blocks so they reflect laser beams at specific targets. Multiplayer is fun too, with players taking turns stacking blocks for points, griefing each other along the way in hopes of inducing a shaky hand.
All’s you do is point at a block and hold a button to grab it, then move your hand around to adjust its position within the 3D space and swipe the controller to rotate as needed. The Move allows for remarkably light touch, which is definitely needed as the puzzles advance. As block towers climb higher and higher, the pressure to not gag it up gets the adrenaline pumping. I can’t tell you how rewarding it can be to place the final block that reaches the gold medal objective marker while the tower is teetering back and forth. The final block has to hold steady for a few seconds to lock in the height, causing you to hold your breath in suspense hoping the wobbly tower doesn’t topple over at the last moment.
At $9.99 (I got it even cheaper during a sale), Tumble is an essential game for any gamer’s PlayStation Move arsenal.
Free copies of Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012, Cabela’s Adventure Camp, SOCOM 4, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, Puss in Boots, Carnival Island, EyePet & Friends, The Adventures of Tintin and Dungeon Defenders were provided to VGBlogger by their respective publishers for coverage purposes. Copies of House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut, de Blob 2, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, Sports Champions and Tumble were purchased by VGBlogger.com.