PlayStation Move Review

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The PlayStation Move has been the subject of much ridicule since it was first announced at E3 last year. People called it the Wii clone; a me-too motion controller piggybacking on Nintendo’s innovation and success. And you can’t really fault those people. At first glance, the Move technology is startlingly similar to that of the Nintendo Wii. It uses a bar-like device which you waggle around to control the game. But Sony has been working on motion-controlled gaming for many years. Long before the PS3 or the Wii even came out, the EyeToy for PS2 first introduced motion controls to console gaming. That technology though was more similar to what Microsoft is doing with Kinect, than what Sony is aiming to do with Move.

PlayStation Move comprises the PlayStation Eye camera, which looks like a regular webcam with a big microphone on top of it; the Move controller, which is the primary controller with a glowing squishy rubber ball on top; and the Navigation controller, which is an optional add-on and one that none of the launch titles use or require. It can also be substituted by your regular PS3 controller. The PS Eye, one Move controller, and a disc with nine game demos are packaged together to form the Move Starter Kit, which is what you’ll need to get started with motion gaming on your PS3.

The PlayStation Eye plugs into a USB port on the PS3 and must be placed centrally either at the base or on top of your TV screen. The Move controller is wireless, of course, and can be charged via the USB port using a regular mini USB cable (which isn’t included in the package). Most games recommend that you stand about eight feet away from the screen while playing. but since not many people may have that much open space in front of their TVs, we tried playing from shorter distances (five feet) and there were no control issues. Then again, there are also some games (like Start the Party) which required you to stand closer to the screen than usual.

Plugging the Move controller into the PS3 via USB also syncs it (a one-time process), and once it’s synced, you can also use the Move controller to navigate the PS3’s main menu – the XMB. Besides the four standard face buttons (X, O, Square, and Triangle), the Move controller also sports the large Move button, which is located in the front, and a trigger (T) button at the back, where your index finger rests. The Move and T buttons are well placed, which is great because these are the two buttons you’ll be using the most. Unlike the standard PS3 controller, the T button here has a concave shape (similar to the triggers on an Xbox 360 controller), which makes it far more comfortable to use. It still feels a little soft though, making rapid fire in shooting games like The Shoot less than ideal.

The glowing ball on top of the Move controller is there for a reason. Besides changing colors, it helps the PS Eye detect the depth of the controller, which greatly adds to the controller’s accuracy. There’s no two ways about it. The Move controller is miles ahead of the Wii (even with the Motion Plus) in terms of accuracy and responsiveness. You can no longer get by simply flicking your wrists in games that require a proper backswing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 demo, where not only the backswing, but also the velocity and direction of your swing are important. Small changes in angle and power can drastically change the outcome of your stroke. It speaks volumes of the Move technology when it can make a technical and intimidating game like Tiger Woods fun and accessible without dumbing it down.
Because the technology uses more than one means to track movement, the controller works equally well in dark and brightly lit conditions. The PS Eye will also track the Move controller if you hold it behind your back or out of the camera lens’ frame. And it doesn’t just track motion up and down, right and left, and front and back. It even picks up rotations in the Move controller with deadly accuracy as you turn your wrists. This is best demonstrated in the Table Tennis demo, which is part of the Sports Champions compilation. Adding backspin and topspin require you to angle your bat just like you would in real life, and the implementation of spin is spot-on. You’ll even have to physically move forward to play shots that fall close to the net.

Unlike the Wii, which uses either one Wii controller or a Wii controller along with the nunchuck in games, the PlayStation Move also throws another combination into the mix. Some games allow you to use two Move controllers for a more immersive experience, although this is never made compulsory. In the Disc Golf demo, which essentially requires you to toss flying discs towards a target, you can use two controllers to fling two discs simultaneously. Similarly, in a game like Gladiator Duel (which is not on the demo disc), you can use one controller as your sword and the other as your shield.

If you’re used to playing your games with the traditional controller or keyboard and mouse, you’ll be happy to know that, unlike Microsoft’s Kinect, you can also play PlayStation Move sitting down. This is good because unlike the Wii, where you can get away with flicking your wrists, the Move requires you to move around a lot more, and this can get very tiring over the course of a long session. What’s strange though is that there’s a brief controller calibration process at the start of each game, and this can only be done standing up. So calibrating the controller standing up and then sitting down to play may not lead to the ideal gameplay experience. Left-handers will be happy to know that you can choose the left-handed control option during the calibration process.

The PlayStation Move delivers on its promise of being the most accurate motion control technology out there. It works exceedingly well, and this is as close to one-to-one responsiveness as you can imagine. The nine demos on the demo disc also offer a fair amount of variety for you to take the Move controller through its paces. From sports games and puzzles to family games and arcade shooters, there’s something there for everyone. What’s more, the Move Starter Kit is attractively priced at just Rs 3,650. The only question that remains is whether the Move will receive good support from game developers and publishers over the long term. As things stand now, it’s looking very promising.

PlayStation Move peripherals
PlayStation Move Starter Pack (PS Eye + Move controller + demo disc): Rs 3,650
Move controller: Rs 2,499
Move Navigation controller: Rs 1,899
Move charging station: Rs 1,999
Move shooting attachment: Rs 999
PS Eye camera: Rs 1,899
PlayStation Move games (Rs 1,499 each)
Sports Champions
Kung Fu Rider
Start the Party
EyePet Move Edition

Published Date: Sep 20, 2010 01:48 pm | Updated Date: Sep 20, 2010 01:48 pm