|System: PS3 (MOVE)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Zindagi Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
Attempting to mimic the Nintendo Wii's success with Wii Sports, Sony has released Sports Champions side-by-side with the brand-spanking-new PlayStation Move. Back in 2007, Nintendo was able to show that simple sports games make up perhaps the best exhibition for motion controls. The blend of simplicity and familiarity is what Sony has been hoping Sports Champions could capture in their own audience.
By and large, Sports Champions is a resounding success, and by far the best launch game appearing on Move. Not only are they a great show piece for how precise and fun Sony's motion controls can be, but they are fun games in their own right. Sports Champions is a great showcase for how far motion controls have come in the four years since the release of the Nintendo Wii.
It's not a perfect game, but, in a lot of ways, it's pretty close. Sports Champions aims unabashedly to be a Wii Sports clone. It's supposed to be the most fun when played in a group, being instantly understandable (people should be able to instantly know how to control the game without instructions), and it still has a fun single player mode. It accomplishes all of these things. It even goes so far as to include games popular with several different generations. Baby Boomers may not be as keen on gladiator battles as teenage boys, but they can still enjoy some sweet Bocce action.
Still, it warrants noting that if you're looking for a deep sports experience, you will not find that here. These are simple, yet challenging, games. The main mechanic is as complex as it gets. It's a lot of fun, but it's not going to stimulate strategic minds or hardcore sports fans.
There are no bad games in this package, but perhaps my favorite was Frisbee golf. The motion for throwing is picture-perfect and the computer simulates your throws almost exactly as you would expect to see a real life Frisbee fly out of your grip. This is important, because subtle details like the angle or your throw really affect the arch of the flight path. If you know how to control a Frisbee, you can angle it upward so it flies back toward you once it reaches the apex, or curve them around trees.
Ping Pong was also a personal favorite. Not only does this game have the same kind of precision, but it's so fast paced that good, long games can really be considered light exercise. After a few days of concerted ping-ponging, my shoulder and right bicep are sore (in the good way).
Going into Sports Champions, I had assumed I would be transfixed by the Gladiator matches, but as time wore on, I realized I didn't actually care for them much. They're fun, but it wont be long before you move on to the better single-player games. In multiplayer though, the gladiator game is one of the best. Having complete control over both your sword and shield is a blast and makes for awesome competition when matched against another human opponent. Some of the computer opponents in single-player are a little too easy though.