It’s been nearly a month now since the second console entered into the motion-sensor generation, and so far it’s been surprisingly quiet. With just over 700,000 of the PlayStation Move units sold (and with Japan opening their market in another week), the appeal has been a steadily climbing for the colorful wands – or as my friends and I have aptly started referring to them as “Sno-Cones” – and in a big way. While at first glance the concept looks like a Nintendo gimmick – a Wii-mick if you will – the fact is that Sony has done something unique, and given it life.
It’s not the fact that Sony has created a library of better games or dolled up a prettier presentation: it can’t be that easy. No, what makes the whole thing work is its ability to combine all the needed elements into a cohesive element of fun.Learning from what Nintendo did, the Sno-Cones went away from the accelerometers in the customary Wiimote, and instead went ahead with dealing in real-time 3D space. What this means is that there is no more guessing where your general space is with the sensor bar, and instead it uses the PlayStation Eye to pinpoint your precise location.
This is done with the Move’s “Controller,” putting control, functionality, and precision into your hands. Though the jokes of the flashing colors and bright bulbs have been thrown around like so many snowballs, they serve their purpose well, giving the Eye something to focus on and distinguish between players. Comfort and control were thought about and contorted to as well, fitting snugly into your hand (with a stable and sturdy strap, ensuring no accidental holes in walls or televisions). Sticking a “T”-trigger button for primary game play and a “Move” button for your select options, the controller functions almost perfectly for all of your needs.
Where issues do arise however, is in the minor hiccups that show up sporadically. Things like distance from the Eye and the players’ playstyle factor heavlily in the control scheme and lag-time of the Move. The frequent proclamation/warning to “Stand 8ft. away,” at every possible chance makes it more of a requirement, rather than a good idea. The closer you are to the Eye causes more of a lag and hiccup – which a 15-second calibration before every game will help you compensate for – tends to give the Eye an issue in tracking. The same thing applies when you move too fast or have a background that is either poorly lit, lit too bright, or colored in the same designation as any of the orbs.
Thankfully, this is not so much of an issue for the games. Allowing you to set up your individual calibration for each game: Eye, Move, and game all have a chance to be reset and perfect her game. As is the case in Sports Champions, (The first released game pack in the bundled set), the differentiation between games like Bocce and Archery are overwhelming. While needing to keep your composure and slow, controlled movements in Bocce, the quick, precise movements in Archery would never have been the same with the same calibration. Both are intensely realistic – almost to he point that you forget where you are and what you’re doing – and they do their job well.
Where Sports Champion falls into the mess is simply an updated and evolved take on Wii’s Sports Pack, giving you an enhanced and overall well-rounded example of what the abilities and limitations of the Move are currently. Disc Golf tends to have the worst issues with calibration: shanking or sliding to the right or left if you’re not far back enough. The same situation occurs in Table Tenis as well, but movements in both games feel fluid and controlled – it’s just the issues with spacing. Volleyball and Gladiator – the most challenging of the two by really get you into the game and force you to play the part of a real fighter or volleyball athlete.
Overall, the Sno-Cone is pulled together (minus its bumps and scratches) with a smooth flick of the wrist. The application is right there, and you can tangibly feel it. With the addition of the Navigational controller (for an extra $19.99 and currently sold separately), the additional abilities that will open up will be limitless. The concern that will slow them down, is the lack of cohesive 3rd-party games and support to lift it off its feet, and the arrival of the Kinect next month.