If there is one piece of gaming merchandise that I have been unresolved on it has to be the PlayStation Move. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pre-ordered the motion controller through online retailers only to change my mind a couple of days later and cancel my order.
Having seen it at E3 earlier this summer and watched numerous demonstrations for games such as Time Crisis and Socom 4 the appeal to the hardcore gamer is there. Rather than doing what Microsoft is doing and pushing out the same shovelware that we have seen from the Nintendo Wii when that originally launched, Sony has decided to market motion controllers to the masses.
Sure, for the family and casual gamer there are the likes of EyePet, but when you see the long line of big titles which are including Move support either from launch or updated using a patch you see the vast array of genres that the Move is catering for.
But it was hard to pass judgement until I got to go hands-on with the games and controller. So what better way of seeing a glimpse of what Sony has on offer than the PlayStation Beta rooms in Birmingham? Four games were on offer with The Fight, Kung Fu Rider, Heavy Rain Move Edition and Sports Champion all on show for the community to wave their hands around with. But can Sony redefine the motion controller market or will it fall into the been-there done-that category with the Nintendo Wii?
Heavy Rain Move Edition
First up was Heavy Rain Move Edition and being a huge Heavy Rain fan I was earger to step up to the plate and attempt to take on this gripping title with the motion controller, however what I played out was rather disappointing.
Anyone who has played Heavy Rain knows that the game succeeds so well because of the controller interaction. Quick button presses along with the holding of many buttons at once takes some technique to master and with the PlayStation Move it just felt awkward. One of the most annoying things to get over is the fact that the face buttons are on the controller in a square. This may not sound too much of a hindrance, but that simple switch from the triangle layout to the new one takes some time to work out; something that doesn’t bode well with Heavy Rain which relies on quick button pressing.
Quantic Dream had real potential to create a truly immersive real time activity with the Move controller. Opening a door could’ve been a simple twist of the Move controller, a punch could’ve been just swung, however we are instead greeted with a mix of odd movements ranging from thrusts, flicks and odd zig-zags in front of the camera which all too soon become a little tedious. Then again there was always potential for fun with the PlayStation Move naked Madison edition.
Put it like this, if you’re in a room with a large group of men who are watching you play the game and then you have to initiate in the shower scene; hilarity will unfurl. Overall Heavy Rain Move Edition was disappointing, you could tell the game had already been released with the six-axis controller in mind and that the patch was simply an additional thing. Hopefully Quantic works on the add-on and the fact it will be a simple free patch for normal Heavy Rain owners is a handy thing especially if you’re going to pick up the Move Controller.
The Fight
After being disappointed by Heavy Rain, my frown was turned upside down with The Fight. Expecting some bog standard boxing game that has three or four punches thrown in the same standard manner each time, I took to the booth to see if I was right.
It was the first game to properly calibrate you with the Move controllers and PlayStation Eye camera. Due to the game tracking your full body movements you need to stand out of the camera and then walk back on with the camera picking up where about your head is with precision. You will then need to point your glowing balls at the camera (you don’t realise how many times I’ve sniggered when I’ve re-read this article) in a variety of positions to calibrate your arms and where your hands are.
Overall the calibration was near perfect, the only hiccup we had on the way was one of the booths was poorly lit and couldn’t track where my head and PlayStation Move controllers were. It was a little worrying that the Move struggled to do this but with the many lighting rigs set up in the Beta Rooms and the looming shadows there were going to be some obvious muck-ups along the way.
So it was down to the down and dirty fighting. It was an ongoing trend with the community over The Fight that the game was a true representation of what the PlayStation Move had to offer. Punches were thrown on-screen exactly how people were doing them in front of the camera. Using the special trigger on either the left or right controller when throwing a punch used extra power and The Fight could register how much velocity you were throwing behind each punch.
Hit an opponent strong enough and you can knock them straight to the floor, while landing a few punches and then knocking them out with a uppercut never felt more realistic. Sony wants you to be able to play this game however you want and for the Ric Flairs out there, you can be the dirtiest player in the game using a variety of ear drum slaps to disable your opponent before swinging in for a devastating head butt. Ducking and weaving was responsive through the PlayStation Eye camera and with this added motion and control over your character you should truly feel like you are in a bare-knuckle fistfight.
However, the only downside is you need two PlayStation Move controllers to play it. This can prove quite a stumbling block with Sony relying on PS3 owners to stump up the extra £29.99 GBP for an extra controller. But from what I’ve played and the promise of varied levels and experiences The Fight has the potential to be a leading Move launch title.
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Sports Champion
This was the title that came under fire when announced, being touted as the Wii Sports for PlayStation 3 and when you look at the variety of sports on offer you can see why. But it’s not until you look at the graphics and how the game handles you begin to realise exactly what Wii Sports could’ve been.
Unfortunately only Table Tennis was on offer for the event.  Dependant on the different strokes and shots you wanted to play the game would recognise even the faintest of touches and would replicate this motion on screen. It’s a strong learning curve on when to choose when to hit the ball but after a few learning tips from the on-hand gurus we were away and before you knew it racking up the rallies in no time.
For me the table tennis was a true replicate of the real life sport but it’s hard to judge whether Sports Champion is going to be a worthwhile purchase with only one of the selection of sports included in the game on offer. I’m sure just like Wii Sports this will sell by the bucket-load and probably would’ve done well to be bundled in with the controller, then again being given that “Wii Sports rip off” tagline is something Sony will be aiming to shift.
Kung Fu Rider
And now Kung-Fu Rider, not one of the biggest names on show for the event but still drew in the masses. Whether it was the quirky setting of a Japanese businessman riding an assortment of ridiculous items down the track or the graphics that resembled the Dreamcast’s Jet Set Radio that gathered the community in, it was a popular title.
After going through the basics in some easy-to-learn tutorials the options for three different tracks wasgiven to us. Now for those of you who are oblivious to Kung Fu Rider let me explain. You must use a ride-on object, whether it be a office chair, a bright pink reindeer or one of the other wacky objects with wheels. From there it’s a case of hitting jumps, grinds and tackling the Yakuza as you race from the top of the hill down to a escape vehicle before the timer runs out. I know and believe me it’s as zany as it sounds.
Different pathways create a wealth of replayability for each level and with a variety of obstacles in your path for each route your experience is never really quite the same. As mentioned players can use jumps, grind rails and duck underneath objects while using the PlayStation Move controller. Steering the player is done through the motion of waving the Move controller from side to side dependant on which way you to go.
The game is a great pick-up-and-play title for everyone and the added camera spots throughout the levels give you a mid-game shot of you playing the level at the end of the level. One of the only problems that need addressing though was the response of the Move controller due to the mapping of two movements.
Jumping can be initiated by flicking the controller in an upwards motion while pushing off to increase speed is gained through waving the controller up and down; see where this is going. Numerous occasions where I was trying to gain momentum I would end up flinging my character up into the air. It would’ve been better that to jump you needed to use the trigger button and the flick up motion in conjunction because at the moment it has the potential of being a huge annoyance for the player in a potentially massive hit for casual and hardcore gamers alike.
So after trying out some of the games and getting to grips with the Move controller for the first time am I finally sold? In a word yes. I didn’t really think I needed this extra peripheral for my PS3 but after trying out some of the games on show and seeing the true potential for the PlayStation 3 I will definitely be picking it up at launch. The controller just seems to melt into your hand and after the first game it was as if the Move had been a part of my PS3 since launch.
While Heavy Rain was a bit disappointing overall the games on show were impressive and showcased the wide variety of genres and potential appeal the PlayStation Move is aiming for. The Fight was definitely a hit among the people who attended the Beta Rooms and the true 1:1 movements was demonstrative of the Move’s capabilities. While a few latency issues were still apparent and need ironing out before the Move and titles launch later this year it was hardly noticeable.
Kinect vs Move is going to be a huge battle this Christmas and the winner will be down to the games on offer as well as the price tag. Until I get my hands-on the Kinect and see what other games Microsoft has on offer apart from the likes of Kinectimals and Kinect Adventures then I’m going to have to say that the PlayStation Move is going to making its way into my collection come November.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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