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Playstation Move Review

by William Schwartz

Sony’s latest development for the Playstation 3 console is the Playstation Move.  It has finally arrived in stores and is the first true competition that the ultra successful Nintendo Wii has faced since it’s release.  So, is the Playstation Move the future of our video gaming experiences or is it just another overpriced video gaming peripheral that will lose it’s luster in the coming months like so many others before it.

Sony boasts that the Playstation Move’s 1:1 motion tracking is as precise as the Wii and when couple with the Eye Toy accessory it also adds body tracking into the mix.  Two players can simultaneously use the dual move controller setups. This consists of a Move wand, and a Navigation controller.  While the Wii can support more players in a fully functional setting the Playstation Move does provide an HD gaming experience so there are some goods to go with its bad.

The core bundle for the Move includes a Playstation Eye, a single move wand, and the Sports Champions game.  This bundle will run you $100.  One of the big complaints of the Move is the high price to entry.  As this core bundle does not include the navigation controller it costs an extra 30 dollars more.  If you wanted to play one of the only games to support the navigation controller with a friend you would be looking at dishing out closer to $200 than $100.

Technically everything works as advertised. Movement is clear and concise and Sports Champions is a great game to showcase the potential of the peripheral.  The motion tracking works great with this title, however some problems did arise when we tried the move in different settings and with other launch titles.

At this point the titles that are available for Move are a little bit underwhelming and dare we say overpriced.  The future is bright for the motion controller though, with support for the peripheral stretching into the systems most popular of hardcore titles including Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3, and SOCOM 4.  Sony pays extreme attention to detail in the first party support of their titles that are exclusive to the PlayStation console and I would expect to see the same level of quality in the Move functionality in those games as I would the Sports Champions title.

Taking a look behind the curtain of the triple A titles that were just mentioned, it’s unclear how 3rd party developers will support the controller.  If there isn’t much support by third parties or if the experiences are sub-par I’m afraid that the move could lose some of it’s momentum.

Here’s what we loved and hated about Sony’s Playstation Move:

The Move is a great technology albeit not entirely new.  I can remember playing my Wii a few years back and wondering why others weren’t doing this.  When you couple the HD graphics and the motion controller technology you get a much more immersing experience than you do on the Wii.  Playing with Move in it’s infantile stage, you can’t help but wonder about the possibilities.

After all the marketing hype and fanboy wars are over, Sony’s decision to include buttons on the controller was a smart move indeed.  No pun intended.  Including buttons on the controller allows  it to provide more diverse experiences, it also allows the controller to be included in more traditional experiences.  Of course it’s hard to tell how well this will be incorporated into both core gaming experiences from the Playstations past catalogue of games and future ones.

With a peripheral that is as advanced as the Move it would be safe to assume that there are alot of settings and calibration to attend to. While there are plenty of times when you will be asked to calibrate the controller to ensure that it performs correctly.  The onscreen instructions are easy to perform and it’s a relatively short process in most cases that takes away from the actual gaming and gameplay very little.  For the most part, it works, and that’s a very important thing.  Just like everything else there are going to be good games and bad games.  There are going to be developers whose ambitions exceed their abilities and the games that are crafted may not work as advertised. When it does work however, ala Sports Champions you can see that the Move rises head and shoulders above the Wii.  It’s everything that the Wii wants to do with it’s Motion Plus tech but hasn’t.

Some games that I already own are going to be getting Move functionality in the near future.  Tiger Woods PGA 11, Resident Evil 5, and Heavy Rain all games that will get replay due to this new functionality.  Plus games that I already have planned on buying will get that extra increase in value as well since I already have my Move controller and look forward to playing both ways.

Launch titles, there’s not many games available right now.  As I stated earlier Sports Champions is a great game, but the other launch titles we got were a little lackluster. EyePet interests us little and Kung Fu rider was neither fun enough or fine tuned as we thought it might be. This really leads us to our biggest question mark about the controller.  It’s no doubt that the technology is great, it looks like we’re gonna need to show a little patience in waiting for some killer apps to satiate our desire to experiment with our new investment.

Not being a cheap gaming investment and having little to actually do with the new toy does leave a bit of a sour taste in our mouths.  Combined with the feeling that the games that are available feel a bit overpriced for what they offer.

Depending on the time of day we have tried to use the Move we  found that it responds differently in different lighting situations. While it is a minor inconvenience it could be a problem for players depending on their particular gaming environments.  It’s unclear if the Eye Toy is showing it’s age and technical shortcomings or if it is the light sensing system that it uses but well lit rooms that have variance in light sources seem to be cause of the problem.  After all the technology is built around the Eye’s ability to recognize the glowing orb on the Move’s wand and that camera technology is almost six years old.

It’s too early to tell whether this will be a huge problem for the controller but at this stage of the game it’s easily recognizable that the problem exists and without prepping your gaming environment to curb some of these external light sources by closing your blinds you will inevitably run into the problem yourself.

As for the controllers themselves the design is great, with one little flaw.  The controllers are stuck with non-replaceable lithium ion batteries.  Before any extended session of Move gaming you are gonna need to make sure that you have a full charge in the controller because if not you are gonna need to wait for the controller to charge via a USB cable.  I find this out the hard way as I forgot to switch off the controller and apparently drained the battery.  With no sleep mode or automatic off functionality the batteries can drain fairly quickly and you could be looking at some serious downtime.  This could be a much bigger problem in games that have less bite size portions that Sports Champions or Eye Pet and are prone to more extended sessions like SOCOM 4 , MAG, or even GT5.

Right now it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend the MOVE peripheral to everyone.  Hardware is only as good as the software that are developed for them and right now the Move is a little lacking in that department.  Many new launches experience this but the potential is definitely there, and if the Playstation 3 lifespan is any indication of the projected lifespan of the MOVE , as developers begin to harness the potential of the controller,experiences should get better and better.

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  • Available On: PS3
  • Published By: NA
  • Developed By: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Genre: Peripheral
  • US Release Date: Fall 2010
  • Reviewed On: PS3
  • Quote: "Right now it's hard to wholeheartedly recommend the MOVE peripheral to everyone. Hardware is only as good as the software that are developed for them and right now the Move is a little lacking in that department."
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