Review: Sony PlayStation Move

Our score: 5/5
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December 10, 2010 2:25 PM
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Published: December 9, 2010 11:00 PM
By Fabien Pionneau
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Hot on the heels of the Nintendo Wii, the Sony PlayStation Move is an interactive gaming system that offers a realistic, immersive experience, and which also reaches out to casual and novice gamers. Unlike the Wii though, Sony's version can boast the HD graphics of the PlayStation 3 and an incredibly accurate motion sensing system.

How does it work?

The PlayStation Move is sold in a Starter Pack for around £65, including the Motion Controller remote control and the PlayStation Eye camera. The controller is a different shape to the WiiMote—mainly because it has a big rubber ball on top of it (which unfortunately is a bit of a dust magnet). The ball lights up in a various colours depending on both the game and the player—it won't take long for the Star Wars fans among you to start swinging it around like a lightsaber! It has a trigger-type control under the thumb, as well as the seven main buttons found in the DualShock 3 controller (PS button, start, select, square, triangle, circle and cross), plus an extra OK button.

PS Move

Each controller has a built-in motion sensor which helps the PlayStation Eye camera to determine the position of each coloured blob. This makes for a very accurate system, able to detect the exact position of each player's body and track their movement with precision. The realistic experience plunges players straight into the heart of the action, and the light-up blob also means you can play in the dark without compromising the system's accuracy.

As well as the Motion Controller, Sony has designed a second accessory known as the Navigation Controller. This is basically a Sony equivalent of the Nintendo Wii Nunchuck. It has the same basic functions but takes the concept one step further with wireless technology. You therefore won't get tangled up in cables when making lots of fast movements with two controllers. This extra accessory is particularly useful for moving characters around but you won't find it useful in all kinds of games.
PlayStation Move

Simple set-up but frequent calibration

Installation is quick and easy: just plug the camera and the Motion Controller into the USB ports on your PS3 (it would have been helpful if Sony could have included one at the rear of the console!). There's no complicated set-up process to work through, and the system is up and running straight away.

However, the PS Move does need to be calibrated each time you start a new round of a game. This soon becomes annoying, even if it does only take around 10 seconds. We would have preferred a more intelligent system that stores information about individual players in a player profile.

Casual gamers first

Like Nintendo's Wii, Sony has made no secret of its intention to win over casual gamers with the PlayStation Move. The PlayStation 3 was previously a console aimed at serious gamers, leaving Nintendo free to reign supreme in the market for family gaming. Following the success of Nintendo's casual gaming system, it's no surprise to see Sony and Microsoft (with the Kinect) jumping onto this profitable bandwagon.

The first PS Move games to hit the shops have clearly been aimed at casual gamers and, above all, at demonstrating what the system is capable of. Such titles include 'Sports Champions', which is basically a Sony equivalent of Wii Sports. That said, the PS Move version does reproduce players' moves more accurately thanks to the greater precision of the Motion Controller. There's also a multi-player game called 'Start the party!' featuring a selection of mini-games to keep all the family entertained or to play among friends.

PS Move PS Move

For serious gamers, the first specifically designed PS Move games are due for release in early 2011, and include the eagerly awaited Killzone 3 and Dead Space 2, as well as SOCOM 4, Infamous 2 and Little Big Planet 2. In other words, there'll be a lot of follow-ups and sequels, and we can only hope they'll be sufficiently honed to get the best out of Sony's new gaming system. Until then, hardcore gamers will have to make do with adapted versions of existing games (Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5) or more casual, mainstream games such as Sports Champions. A deciding factor in the Move's success will be whether third-party publishers decide to invest in developing and releasing PS Move games. This will in turn depend on how profitable the games will potentially be. The good news is that the first sales figures are promising, particularly in Europe, and this should encourage developers to get behind the PlayStation Move.

In practice

After using the system for just a few minutes, you'll already notice how accurately the PlayStation Move reproduces your moves. Our main worry with is kind of product is whether there'll be a delay between the movement you make with the controller and the movement reproduced on the screen. That's not a problem here though! Although there's an ever-so-slight delay of a few milliseconds, it's negligible enough to go unnoticed when you're engrossed in a game.

In Sports Champions, even the slightest movement of the Motion Controller is taken into account, which makes the system very good for games requiring precision control. The table tennis game is particularly good, as is the Frisbee game, which makes a nice change from the endless rounds of golf usually found in this type of package. Even the bowls game feels incredibly realistic to play! With the PlayStation Move, it's not enough to mime moves fairly approximately with a flick of the wrist like you can with the Wii. Here, you have to actually do each move in full (arms, legs and all), which could cause a few problems for the less sporty among you (see sidebar)!
Start the Party! fulfils its main aim well, even if it may not keep you entertained for long. Several players can all have a go together and play games that are both fun and easy to get the hang of. It shows what's possible with the PS Move and with future PS3 games.

What we thought

Vincent Florent
Vincent Florent
Even though I'd been warned that the PS Move wasn't just a simple copy of the Wiimote, I still found it quite surprising! You really do have to use huge, energetic, realistic gestures.

A couple of gladiator challenges later, I'd got hand of controlling the game and even managed to score some 'perfect' fights. Bam—with the back of the hand—boom—a hook from below, and my opponent was mincemeat. Yeah!

For about 15 minutes I was having loads of fun, but then I suddenly felt very tired and was even sweating. I then went back to work and carried on my day as normal. The next day, however, I ached all over! I reckon it must be easy to spot first-time PS Move players, as they'll turn up at work  unable to move their arm properly and walking strangely.

I think you'll need at least 4 m² of space in front of the TV. Anyone who was already dangerous with a WiiMote should take extra care here, as the Move is ten times more energetic. Doctors surgeries could soon see their waiting rooms full of injured have-a-go sportsmen!
I was wary of trying the PS Move after being disappointed by the similar Wii gaming system. Plus, I thought the total freedom of the Kinect looked much more interesting than the Move.
Neither Sony's version of Wii Sports nor the fighting game particularly appealed either. In other words, I didn't hold out much hope for the PS Move!

My first instinct was to use the same moves I'd used with the Wii, but that just didn't work at all. I actually really liked having to make more realistic gestures and I even liked the fact that my arm ached afterwards! The whole experience is much more immersive.

In the end, after seeing several videos of the Kinect in action, I think I actually prefer the Move. That said, the one major setback that would put me off investing is the limited choice of games currently available. Even the Heavy Rain Move Edition wouldn't be enough to win me over, and I still have doubts about how well 'non-casual' games will work on the Move. If they do work well though, then there's no doubt I'll be buying one!
Tristan Morgane
Tristan Morgane
I found Sony's concept and gaming accessories more interesting and more appealing than the Wii, mainly because you have to actually do the move you want  your character to make.

With the Wii, a few little flicks of the wrist were enough to get by, and you could easily play sitting on the sofa and still win a game. With the PS Move, the whole experience is much more realistic but it's also more difficult.

One major problem with this approach is that big, fast movements aren't always more effective than short, sharp movements! That's why, after trying out a few demo games, I still don't think the system is quite as good as I was expecting it to be.
The PS Move is easy to get the hang of and use. Games are easy to pick up and your fists get flying without you even realising how much physical effort is actually involved. You'll find yourself tired and sweating before you know it, and you'll be full of aches and pains the next day!

I really liked the gladiator game but I tend to get bored of this kind of sports game quite quickly. The equivalent game on the Wii has a cute, fun side to it which I didn't tire of quite so quickly.

The bad thing about the PS Move is that you need plenty of space around you and in front of the TV. In my small flat I was soon disappointed because I couldn't get far enough away from the TV. This was frustrating and made me not want to use the PS Move.
Régis Fabien
Régis Fabien
I sold my Wii and bought a PS3 with the PS Move because I wanted to play games with more advanced graphics while still enjoying the kind of gameplay offered by the Wiimote.

After playing with the Move for several days my verdict is crystal clear—the graphics are fantastic, but the best thing about the Move has got to be the accuracy of the system. Movement detection is much more precise than with the Wii and you can even hold and use two Motion Controllers at once. Moves are reproduced more faithfully, and closely resemble what you actually do in front of the sensor. I therefore prefer the PS Move to the Wii, and I'm keen to see what new games will be released.

The compatible games I was particularly impressed with were R.U.S.E., The Shoot, Tiger Woods 11 and also Sports Champions—particularly the table tennis and gladiator games.

The downside for me is the end price, as to fully equip two players you need four Motion Controllers and two Navigation Controllers!
Given that I'm quite demanding when it comes to technical performances, I was worried that the PS Move wouldn't be responsive enough for my liking. However, after playing for several hours, the system proved to be accurate, responsive and reproduced players' moves with great accuracy.

Technically speaking, the PS Move is more impressive than the Wii in all respects, and even though I'm a pretty serious gamer, I enjoyed using the system.

However, the accuracy with which you'll need to make moves does mean there's no way you can play from the comfort of your armchair. You'll have to make sure you make plenty of room in front of the TV and you'll get tired much more quickly than playing with a regular joypad. At least it'll get you up and moving though!

In general, everyone who tried out our PS Move had fun playing with it. However, while some users saw the long-term appeal of the system, others saw a simple copy of the Wii that wouldn't keep them entertained for long. Our testers were all impressed by the accuracy of the PS Move and found the system's realism appealing. The PS Move clearly has an older target audience than the Wii, as children don't always need to make realistic movements to feel immersed in a game. In fact, kids don't really want to make realistic movements at all—they just want to play something simple and fun. We therefore reckon the PS Move is more suited to teenagers and adults, who will no doubt appreciate the technical quality of the system and the fact that they can show off their talents in a more realistic, more immersive gaming experience.

Finally, we think the PS Move currently lacks a bit of personality, as unlike the Nintendo Mii or Microsoft's avatars, Sony hasn't gone in for the idea of players associating themselves with a character in the system. The PS Move therefore seems a touch more serious than its two rivals. Ultimately, this could see it lose out to the Wii, which has won over the hearts and minds of casual gamers with its more light-hearted approach.

5/5 Sony PlayStation Move DigitalVersus 2010-12-10 00:00:00

Pros

  • Impressively accurate, reproduces moves with great precision
  • Good design and handling, very well made
  • Very easy to use
  • Wireless controllers

Cons

  • Need plenty of room (to avoid accicents!)
  • Buying several controllers gets expensive
  • You might ache afterwards (warm-up recommended)!
  • Not suitable for all types of games

Conclusion

It may look like a copy of the Nintendo Wii, but the PS Move boasts incredibly precise motion detection and the excellent HD graphics of the PS3. The system feels fantastic to play and is very realistic, reproducing the moves you make with impressive accuracy. However, we'll be waiting for more specifically designed games to hit the shops before we splash out on a full set of PS Move controllers.

OUR SCORE 5/5
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