At Comic Con, we got to take a peek at the PlayStation Move in action. One of the showcase games we got to try was Sports Champions. Just the fact that they didn’t call it Move Sports right off the back gave us a little hope that the game wouldn’t just feel like Wii Sports 2.0. Going with the Wii started trend of having a sports game compilation paired with motion controls, Sports Champions is a collection of various non-traditional games such as Archery, Gladiator Duel, Table Tennis, Bocce, Beach Volleyball and others. Using only motion controls, players progress through challenges, unlocking harder play modes as they progress.
The first game we got to try out was Archery. Archery itself was a very cut and dry experience. Reach back with one hand, grab the arrow by pressing a button, line up the “arrow” hand with your bow hand, pull back, release button to shoot arrow. It is hard not to compare it to Wii Sports Resort as Archery is one of the games present in it as well. While we only had a short time to play with it, the aim and motion felt more precise than the WiiMotion Plus controls do. There is also something to be said for the tangible feedback that is missing from Microsoft’s Kinect. Actually holding a “bow” in your hand as opposed to dangling your hand in mid-air do feel like completely different experiences.
The Gladiator Duel was one of the shining spots of Sports Champions. Since seeing the stage demo of the Move on E3 2009’s Sony Press Conference, people have been yearning for a quality sword fighting experience on a motion control game. While Kinect looks to bring an on-rails lightsaber game and the sword fight in Wii Sports Resort has proven simple enough that my five year old cousin has mastered it by flailing his arms back and forth in a near seisure like motion, Sports Champions’ Gladiator Duel brings players an almost Soul Caliber-like fighting experience.
Instead of just slashing away, players actually get full control of their character with the ability to move around the arena, block using a shield, parry attacks with their own weapon and strike at specific angles in order to make critical hits. In addition, players can hit stronger attacks, sending their opponent into the air and juggle attacks to continue the beating. This game definitely got us the most excited for Sports Champions and feels like if it had been fleshed out a little more it could have easily have been its own game. It wouldn’t be surprising if a weapons-based fighting franchise like Soul Caliber had their own Move exclusive title in the works in the near future.
The final game we got to try out was Beach Volleyball. This game wasn’t the strongest showing of the Move’s capabilities. In it, players use both hands to control their character in a two on two beach volleyball game. Players must serve, set and spike in order to gain points and win games. One thing that stood out was the resemblence to the control of Wii Sports Tennis from back when it was released. All the skill goes in to the timing of setting and spiking. There is no actual control over the movement of the player. As a result, Beach Volleyball feels more like a minigame than a finished product of its own. (Though if Dead Or Alive added a giggle-factor to it, it’d probably end up selling a million copies based off that alone)
Right now, we are very optimistic to get our hands on the full and complete collection of Sports Champions. Being bundled in with the Move is a great plan as it has the capabilities to show off a variety of the possibilities of what the Move can do.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled to the Flickcast for more coverage we still have coming from all the gaming at San Diego Comic Con and all things Move related as its release draws closer.