It’s taken long enough for the firm to do it, but Sony has finally entered the motion controller market, and with some degree of success. It’s four years since the Nintendo Wii launched, instantly seizing the initiative from Sony and Microsoft, and thus you can hardly say that Sony has been nimble about this. Yet at least both companies have now managed to bash something together.
And as it stands, the PlayStation Move feels like a more precise and rounded version of what Nintendo has to offer. The main controller has a ball at the end of it, which glows with different colours corresponding to who you’re controlling in a given game, and it’s a breeze to set up. As with any PlayStation controller, you connect via the PlayStation button in the middle, and from that point on – even though it’s not always as intuitive as you might hope – you can control everything about your PlayStation 3 machine.
It works in tandem with the PlayStation Eye camera, although it’s not compulsory that you buy them together. Also, there’s a separate navigation controller available too, which complements the main Move controller in the same manner that the Nunchuk add-on works with the Nintendo Wiimote.
The main controller is comfortable to work with, and has one big, main action button in the midst of it, as well as the other PlayStation gamepad buttons. We fired up a couple of games to see just how well it went about its business.
The answer? It’s genuinely impressive. We’ll come to the detail of the games themselves in a minute, but never at any point did we notice a delay in relaying our movements to the screen, and never did we feel that the control system was harming our on-screen achievements.
Furthermore, depending on the game – and this will be familiar to players of EyePet – the camera will pick out your controller and turn it into an on-screen object. Thus, in Start The Party, we found ourselves with the likes of a rock hammer, a magnifying glass, a rattle, and many other objects as the game progressed.
As for the games themselves? We tinkered with a couple of them. Start The Party has very much been built from the ground-up with the casual gaming market in mind. As such, there’s a bunch of minigames to bash through that are all straightforward to learn and suitably competitive. You also don’t need to pass the controller around all the time here, as the game instead gets multiple players to take it in turns to have a go. It’s a fun batch of activities, not a million miles away in feel from the likes of Wii Play, and it’s a solid title to get started with.
A little more ambitious is Sports Champions, which tailors a few different sports to the Move control system. The pick of the little games here are bowling title Bocce and Frisbee Golf. Both of these, you come to appreciate, employ little nuances in the control system, yet have an instant pick-up-and-play appeal. We warmed to the table tennis and gladiatorial duels a little less, although the archery segment was suitably enjoyable.
There’s nothing radical about these games, to be fair, and they exist both to showcase the control system and to attract the kind of casual gamer to the PS3 that the console hasn’t always managed to attract. Sony certainly should have some more luck here on this basis, and the hope now is that the Move system doesn’t become buried under a bile of shovelware that has done Nintendo and its Wii few favours. A promising beginning, though, and at a far more accessible price than its Microsoft rival.