Sony Move Playstation PS3 controller: Hands-On
'Move’s flexibility might see it crowned this generation’s best controller'
Sony's PS3 motion controller, PlayStation Move, hits stores today and brings with it the release of Move exclusives and updates to a existing games — most notably Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5.
To get up-and-running you’ll need not only a Move controller, but also the PlayStation Eye camera — the same piece of kit required for EyePet. Your motions are then translated to screen by a clever mix of the camera detecting the glowing Move controller, and telemetry data mapped through the Move’s internal gyroscopes and accelerometer.
More complex games might also require the navigation controller; a peripheral not too dissimilar from the Wii’s nunchuk though, at a pinch, the DualShock 3’s left analogue stick will suffice.
The good news is that the controller works beautifully, tracking your hand’s position and angle with a level of accuracy which leaves the Wii Motion Plus in the dust. It also requires the player to be a couple of metres away from the camera; probably not an issue in many living rooms but worth bearing in mind.
Once activated Move can be used to drive the PS3’s XMB (that’s the console’s dashboard to anyone who isn’t au fait with the technical term) by simply shifting the controller from side-to-side with the back button pressed.
When used in-game some calibration is usually required which, while a necessary evil, can become tedious on the hundredth time of asking. Still, it does mean you can use the controller while lazily slumped on the sofa, something which might not be the case with Microsoft’s Kinect. The Move will even change its colour to a variety of hues depending on the ambient light levels in your room, our experience has yet to see it fail — even in a well lit room.
While the Move exclusives are far from world beaters, each shows off the potential of the controller and hints at what’s to come. It’s clear that Move offers a level of precision absent in the Wii – not a slur on Nintendo’s ageing console but merely a statement of fact.
With titles on the horizon including first-person shooters (Killzone 3, SOCOM 4), driving games (Gran Turismo 5), real-time strategy (RUSE as mentioned below), fighting (The Fight: Lights Out) and whatever genre you’d class the amazing looking LittleBigPlanet 2 as, it’s looking likely that the Move could become PS3 controller of choice for many.
Direct comparisons to Microsoft’s Kinect are hard to avoid – particularly since Kinect has only been seen at press events so far. However, as Kinect’s lack of physical controller makes it hard to see how it could be utilised across all genres, it’s arguable that Move’s flexibility might in the end see it crowned this generation’s best motion controller.
What can you play with it at launch?
Sports Champions (Sony, £29.99)
The inevitable sports release includes six events: table tennis, archery, gladiator duel, bocce, frisbee golf and beach volleyball and a more serious approach than the likes of Wii Sports. A lack of depth means that Sports Champions will serve as party game – rather than something you’ll play alone — but some of the events certainly show off the potential of Move.
For example, during table tennis the angle of your racket is perfectly in tune you’re your real-life hand, subtle flicks of the wrist will produce back spin and the system even detects if you physically move forwards, allowing the player to hit the ball nearer to the net. Click here to watch trailer
Kung Fu Rider (Sony, £29.99)
Feeling a little rushed in more ways than one, Kung Fu Rider involves madly plunging downhill on a variety of vehicles (if an office chair counts as a vehicle) while avoiding obstacles and mobsters.
Alas, this was the one game which seemed to confuse both the Move controller and myself; requiring a somewhat overindulgent amount of button presses and gestures for such a simple game.
Definitely one which could have done with a little longer in development. Click here to watch trailer
Start the Party! (Sony, £29.99)
A collection of party games designed to get the whole family involved – what that tends to mean these days is hastily put together, shallow mini-games and that’s pretty much what’s on offer. One of two of the games stand out as great examples of what Move can do as the accessory is turned into a paintbrush or a torch but there’s nothing to keep you coming back time and again.
Having said that it’s fun (for a while) to see yourself overlaid on one of the game’s virtual environments (so-called augmented reality), but a lack of simultaneous multiplayer means you’ll have to wait quite a while for your turn to come around again; one for the kids. Click here to watch trailer
RUSE (Ubisoft, £49.99)
Move pricing structure:
On PS3 RUSE is fully compatible with Move where it’s employed much as a mouse pointer would be.
It helps that RUSE is a full-bloodied, well developed title (review to follow tomorrow) but it shows the flexibility of the controller in almost any genre. Developer Eugen Systems even took the time to alter the colour of the Move’s glow as the action dictates, the peripheral changing colour to a murderous red when issuing attack orders for example.
Move pricing structure:
PlayStation Move Pack (PlayStation Move, PlayStation Eye, starter disk) – £49.99
PlayStation Move controller – £34.99
PlayStation navigation controller – £24.99
PlayStation Eye camera – £24.99
Try it at the Hub
You've heard about this new PlayStation Move controller but aren't sure whether you'll like it. Sony realises seeing it in the flesh could convince the masses and has set up a showcase in Dublin's South William Street.
Open from now until November 17, the free PlayStation Hub will let you try out the new Move controller and games, as well as other upcoming Sony titles.