7th October 2010 - One of the problems inherent in being an “early adopter” is the risk you take - whatever you have jumped into might not be embraced by the masses. Consequently support drops, and you are left stranded. I'll admit I've been caught out a few times. The Playstation Eye is probably the most notable. Having owned a Playstation camera for the PS2 and had fun with that, I thought for sure with the added technology the Eye would take off. I was wrong. Despite several games being advertised as being in development at launch, Eye of Judgement was the only real game, and that was for a very niche market. So it's just been sitting there with so much potential, but no great games. Now the much hyped Playstation Move has been released, and I find myself jumping in early again. The question is - will it explode giving a new dimension to hardcore gaming and scoop up the family vote as well? Or simply collect dust with no killer titles to shine on?
Unboxing the Move reveals quite a large controller (which fits perfectly into an adult's hand, but is a bit difficult for young kids to handle). Underneath is a trigger, and on top are the Playstation face buttons (minus the d-pad) and a large move button for your thumb. It comes with a wrist strap (so you don’t accidentally launch it into your TV). The Start and Select buttons are on the side and a bit annoying to use, but luckily you won't need them much. The ball at the top of the move is soft so you won't damage it if you accidentally smash into your friend or furniture, and it changes colour depending on the use. The Move must be used in combination with the PS Eye (which I won't review here as it came out a long time ago). There is also the option of buying the navigation controller which has a d-pad and analogue stick on it, but fortunately Sony was smart enough to allow the standard controller to be used also (albeit less comfortably with only one hand).
Set-up is a breeze - just plug in the camera (with good lighting), sync the controller, and you're all done. The start-up kit comes with a disc that has a host of demos on it and the PSN also has several titles so players can get a feel for titles like “Sports Champions”, “Racquet Sports”, “Tiger Woods Golf”, “Eye Pet”, “Tumble”, “Start the Party” and “Shoot”.
After playing several titles, the good news is that the Move seems to do everything Sony has been touting. Across the board the controller tracks well on screen, with small movements of the wrist, including rotation, picked up. Depth perception worked well where I saw it implemented and overall I was really impressed. There was some delay in movement to on-screen execution but this is more of a software glitch with certain titles. The only thing that becomes a bit annoying is the constant calibration in some titles when you change games or players, but this is a relatively minor problem.
The sporting titles in particular were really satisfying – similar to the contrast between playing “Gran Turismo” with a controller, versus sitting a racing cockpit with a descent steering wheel and pedals. Using the Move controller really enhanced the experience, as opposed to just mashing buttons. It just feels “right” holding something in your hand to swing with and interact on screen. It's a much more engaging experience and you can really work up a sweat. Of course that's not always the experience you want. But for the times when you do, it's brilliant. I cant wait to see what developers do with it next.
One of the most significant things I experienced with the Move was the fact that I had different people over throughout the week giving it a go, and everyone from a four-year-old to a forty-year-old, hardcore gamers and complete non-gamers alike, were able to pick it up and instantly play. The moves for most of the games are so intuitive that anyone can get into it. The games were definitely more fun in groups, although watching people nearly destroy my TV as they swung madly was slightly stressful.
One of the reasons the PS2 has sold so well is that there are a huge range of titles that cover a large age and skill mix. The Wii has managed to capture the family and casual vote and is one of the prime reasons it has been slaughtering Sony and Microsoft in hardware sales. What only time will tell is - are there going to be enough games for hardcore gamers? Or is the Move just going to be a hit with the family and casual gamers that gets picked up every now and then, and then becomes a dust collector, as is the fate of so many of my friends' Wii’s.
A starter kit is just under $100, and this includes a PS Eye and a Move controller. If you already own a camera, then the Move on its own is only $68 and the optional navigation controller $48. It's probably a touch expensive at the moment with the limited number of games available, which may make some people hold off. As more and more titles come out I think it will be money well spent, particularly considering the price of a standard controller.
The Move is a good bit of kit. It's comfortable enough, very accurate following all three dimensions, and also picks up on speed/force. It's hard to give hardware like this a score as it largely depends on the software that utilises it. In terms of its' accuracy and potential it's a 9/10. Whether it is successful long-term will come down to the inventiveness and resources companies pump into titles. At the moment they are limited but none the less fun with friends. For under a hundred bucks you can get yourself set-up and try several titles without having to purchase any, which I think is worth doing. The Move adds a whole new dimension to Playstation gaming and, with the right titles, one that could help see the Playstation back on top as the king console.
Reviewed and Written By Khye Davey