Published Sep 27, 2010Sony's new peripheral is something of an odd fit. Though the PS3 has struggled since launch to recapture the dominant position it assumed 15 years ago with Sony's first PlayStation, it's continued the company's forward-thinking console rep. But the motion-sensing Move is a clear-cut Wii emulator (though technically they came out with EyeToy-based motion gaming back in 2003).
Unlike Microsoft's (for better or worse) controller-free Kinect, Move is essentially a Wii-mote with a pretty coloured ball on the end that works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye Camera for even more accuracy, but it achieves the same essential ends as the Wii, especially if you buy the nunchuk-like Move navigation controller. The slogan might as well be "same-same but kinda better."
It's part of Sony's plan to steer the PlayStation beyond hardcore gamers and make it an indispensable home theatre staple ― see also: built-in Blu-Ray, on-demand TV and movie streams, upcoming Netflix integration and media server ― which makes Move yet another value-added feature in the mix.
Move won't make or break the PS3 and with only a handful of games, it can't yet compete with the Wii's vast back catalogue (even with so much shovelware). It also offers added accuracy compared to the Wii's infrared detection, including the MotionPlus add-on, though the camera has its own problems, especially in low or bright light conditions.
It also turns out that the pull of HD motion gaming isn't as strong as one might have thought. Though these titles are hi-rez, the type of games that work best with motion sensing tend to be heavily stylized graphically anyway. But if Move is somewhat superfluous for anyone who already owns both, the wand is a great add-on for any PS3 owner curious as to what all that Wii fuss has been about.
The first batches of titles are basically tech demos showing off the admirable precision, especially important on Wii-treads like the fantastic Sports Champions, which mimics Wii Sports, but also brings some new games to the table: Frisbee golf, volleyball and my fave, bocce are a blast, alongside motion mainstays like archery, table tennis and gladiator duels. (It also supports two Move wands, to increase the immersion and realism.)
EyePet allows Sony to target the kids with a Nintendogs-like virtual pet that offers camera-based interactivity by placing the furry critter in your living room ― Sony's dubbed this style "augmented reality." But despite its vague resemblance to the '80s-era monchichi, it's not charming enough to become a similar cultural staple.
Kung-Fu Rider is an initial blast based on its mix of WTF? novelty and addictive downhill racing game play. You control a Chinese office worker who must escape the triads by racing a desk chair (or a vacuum cleaner or baby stroller) across an urban obstacle course. It can easily be controlled by traditional means, though that doesn't diminish the fun of its motion controls, but the game's ultimate one-note game play means you'll be fine with the demo.
Other motion-enhanced games ― from the self-explanatory High Velocity Bowling and sword-based The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest to the underground fights of The Fight: Lights Out, musical painting game Beat Sketchers and sequel puzzler Echochrome II ― will continue rolling out through the holiday season, while many previously released games (ranging from Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5 to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and 2K11's NBA and NHL) will add motion control updates.
Move is a smart move into mainstream motion gaming, and cheap enough to warrant an early adoption. But it will likely always be a peripheral part of the PlayStation experience.