|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SONY||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Fall 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: N/A||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: N/A||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
March 31, 2010 - True motion control has finally come to the PlayStation 3, and if our behind the scenes glimpse at the tech at Penny Arcade Expo East is any indication of the final product, PS3 gamers are in store for a really incredible experience when this finally hits the store shelves.
Most of what we saw came direct from the Research and Development center at Sony, and they're really excited about the new systems they've been able to implement. You may be thinking that PlayStation Move is just a glorified Wii-mote, but the truth is that Sony has really stepped it up a notch with this new technology.
To be clear, there's nothing in the Move that is technologically innovative, but rather it's the amount of motion tracking capabilities built-in that combine to form a really exciting experience. Whereas the SIXAXIS could merely sense tilt and force feedback, and the Wii-mote could only sense controller pointing and waggle moves, Move has added features which add up to a richer experience. One example of this is the unique "grabbing" system that was in the tech demo. A skeleton would appear over the player's body with bony hands being placed on top of the Move controller. By pressing the pressure sensitive trigger button on the underside (which was almost exactly like the triggers on the SIXAXIS) the hand would open and close slowly or sharply depending on how fast you pulled the trigger. The team expressed their excitement that this kind of functionality could be used in adventure games, or similarly in survival horror games, to add interactivity to picking up and moving objects.
The special ingredient though is the PlayStation Eye, which takes motion tracking to the next level. Not only can Move sense how hard you swing the controller, the angle at which your wrist is held dictates the angle of your swing, but it also knows how far away you are from the camera - bringing the player's position and depth of field into the mix for the first time. For example, we sampled a ping pong game, which at times had players moving forward and backward to adjust their play style. If you want to get aggressive, then you can move up towards the camera to get closer to the table and return shots more rapidly. On the other hand, if you need to go on the defensive, then you can back up and create more room between you and the table to gain valuable split-seconds to set up your return shots.
We also were able to sample an incredibly quirky and fun little game that starred a Hong Kong office worker trying desperately to escape the Mafia. They're chasing him down the streets and at the start of the level he always finds something to careen down a hill on - be it a regular office chair or another such type of wheeled object. From there it's not unlike something akin to Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam with the player deftly maneuvering our hero/heroine around corners and over ramps all while grinding on rails and avoiding the mob's gunmen. The entire game was gesture-based: thrusting the controller down made the character kick the ground to go faster, throwing both arms up made him jump, etc.
Our favorite game on display - and the one that showed the most potential for Move to gain traction among hardcore gamers - was the gladiator duel. Two fighters squared off in a circular ring, each equipped with a shield and weapon (we had a giant mace and our opponent held a scimitar). Both pieces of equipment were motion sensitive on a practically 1-to-1 ratio - meaning, whatever you did, the on-screen character did also. So, when the other gladiator came swinging for your neck, you had to raise your shield to block the strike in the appropriate place, and then respond with a blow of your own. This game showed tremendous potential, and perhaps even more so because it wasn't even a real game. It was a slipshod tech demo and was still incredibly fun. We can't wait to see what developers are going to do with this product once the industry's great creatives get their hands on this technology.
That's the story with much of the Move demo we saw. It's all very rough around the edges at this point (it's still in pre-alpha so we'd expect nothing less), but it's still impossible not to see the enormous potential it has. Going into the event we were very worried that Move would end up being a glorified waggle device, but after getting our hands on the product, Sony's made a believer out of us.
CCC Freelance Writer