Product Type: Sony game controllers
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Move over Wii?
Sony PlayStation Move Controller
Member Name: azana
Sony PlayStation Move Controller
Date: 30/09/10, updated on 02/10/10 (109 review reads)
Advantages: fun, different
Disadvantages: limited games for now
In order to use the PlayStation Move you will need to have an Eye Camera, you can either buy the controller and camera as a bundle or purchase the controller separately - it's around £30. This is early days for this controller - so is it any good?
First things first - there's no getting past the fact that this wireless controller complete with colour changing orb on top actually looks pretty silly, and like something that wouldn't be out of place in an Ann Summers store. Like the wii controller it has a strap at the bottom to attach it to your wrist so that you don't inadvertently throw it at the screen mid play. Charging is via the usb cable, and takes a little while when you first get the controller out of the box. I've found that once you actually switch the controller on you can forget how ridiculous it looks and it actually works really well.
As the camera picks up the orb (which automatically changes colour depending on your light conditions or to differentiate from a second controller), the claim from Sony is that the controller is faster and more accurate than other motion controllers. I can only compare with the Wii, which I admit I've never really liked - it does seem that once configured the Sony controller really does accurately represent your movements. When playing a camera game such as Eyepet Move (a free download for existing eyepet owners), the controller is really convincing - the graphics in HD that superimpose the image of say, a microphone, or a fishing net, onto the end of the controller do make you feel like you really are holding the item you are playing with by means of the controller on screen, and even though it is in mirror image it is pretty convincing. The movement is fluid and seamless.
The motion vibrator is quite realistic too - we've used the controller to play with Sports Champion and you really do feel like you are wielding a sword or a bow and arrow - something I never really felt with the wii - perhaps it is the HD graphics or indeed the fast response that somehow make the experience more real. All this is possible as you configure the controller by pointing the controller at the camera - this is not an intuitive or easy thing to do, you have to twist it and follow the instructions on the screen whilst pressing the "play" button, but once you have the hang of it, quick enough to carry out every time you want to play. Though the games that are available so far are quite limited (you can download a few demos from your playstation), they all seem to have a common theme of fun, and are either games where you see an image of yourself on the screen or, (start the party, eyepet) or where you control a character who follows your movements exactly, as in the sports game .
The whole thing is pretty well made - and certainly robust enough that it has stood up to quite extensive use by one 6 year old eyepet owner - the orb thing on top is quite squidgy and more solid than it looks, and like all Sony branded peripherals in my experience, this seems made to last.
As far as the controls are concerned, there's the usual playstation buttons all around a central "move" button and a T button, or a trigger at the rear of the device. I found whilst starting to use the controller that I got quite confused between the T and move button, it's a bit of a learning curve, but once you are used to it, it is fine. You mostly use the play button to "touch" things and the trigger to drop a ping pong ball or change the item you are "holding".
Both my children are able to manage the Eyepet game fine - though one thing the designers haven't, in my mind, considered, is that children have small hands. Though nintendo have long sought out the family market I do think Sony have missed a trick here - a four year old will not be easily able to hold the controller, it's just too wide. To be fair many of the games are, rightly, aimed at a much older age group so far ( I wouldn't want my under 7's hitting with swords, in virtual reality or not), but this controller does seem to be for an adult hand. The playstation button is also perhaps awkwardly placed, being right at the front of the controller, albeit inset, it is all too easy to touch the button by mistake, which sees you having to press circle to get back into the game. It's not that obvious how to navigate through the starter menus with the move controller, but you can always use a traditional controller to load up your game.
All the less good sides of the controller discussed, there's no doubt that playing with this controller is a new and exciting experience. If the right games are developed I can see this having huge potential, but like I said at the start it's early days, and in my opinion the games available so far are limited, but I will be certainly interested to see how it works with Little Big Planet 2 when it is released. I prefer the games where I can't see myself on screen looking silly, but my kids love the eyepet on Move.
If you are a playstation owner and already have the camera you will probably want to investigate this controller - we have used it quite a lot since we got it and I'm certainly more convinced by it than I have ever been by the wii, but only time will tell if it's a gimmick or something that is going to add to the gaming experience long term - I'm not sure for the moment, but I'm having fun finding out!
Summary: a new offering from Sony
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