|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|
Archery is harder to classify as good or bad. Its major draw is it fits a niche none of the other games do. It's calm, and slow-paced. The other games are action packed while Archery requires cool, collected accuracy. That said, it's not nearly as fun as the other games. It has its moments, but most gamers will have more fun with the other games.
Bocce is another game that's hard to classify. It certainly wasn't my favorite game on display in Sports Champions, but I was glad it was included. It's a slow-paced game that's low-impact and suitable for the type of older gamer who doesn't (or can't) jump around and swing a ping pong paddle at full strength. The average gamer will probably find it too imprecise to play on a regular basis though. But, it does provide a more relaxed one-on-one experience than any other game.
The final game rounding out the mix is volleyball. While it's a welcome addition, volleyball seems to be a bit too complicated of a sport to translate well to the Move system. At times it seems like the game is just happening around you while you wait for your chance to make the pre-prescribed movement with the controller. It's nice to have such a different sport in the game, but it doesn't stack up to Ping Pong or Frisbee.
Ultimately, it's hard to get a feel for the success of Sports Champions when discussing each game. The point was never to implement six extremely compelling experiences. If that were the case, they'd have released six separate games. The idea is to provide 20 minutes of fun for each game, then make it easy and comprehensive to switch between sports. The idea is to sit down and have fun with a few friends.
When taking that format, Sports Champions succeeds like no other motion control title since Wii Sports. Its games have a mixture of precision, skill, and even some rudimentary strategy. This is a game anybody can enjoy, and, in the end, that is Sony's greatest success.
Complimenting Sony's group of quality sports games is a solid packaging, and high production values. All of the characters are well animated, and have unique personalities that make them somewhat memorable. The soundtrack, likewise, is high quality without ever being in-your-face. It sits calmly in the background so you never end up getting sick of it. Seeing as this is a game you're likely to come back to over and over again, that's an important quality.
There is a war coming between PlayStation's Move and Microsoft's controller-less Kinect. The release of the PlayStation Move's first games was the opening salvo. Sports Champions is an impressive core to the line-up, but it wont carry the system to success all alone. It proves that Move is a high quality piece of technology, but it needs more back up than is currently available on the lineup. This is a great start. What remains to be seen is whether third party developers will be able to translate this success to their own games (they failed miserably on the Wii). With this first attempt, we're very much looking forward to seeing what Move can do to inspire the sports genre.
CCC Freelance Writer