Sports Champions

Move-ing In On Wii Territory...

The Sports Champions/Move bundle arrives on the scene... and we get our first impressions!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: September 17, 2010
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Early this morning a mysterious box arrived at the TPS satellite offices. It wasn't that big, but it contained a pleasant surprise... a shiny new Move bundle and an extra wand! After messing around with brief demo games for the past few months, we were eager to get our hands all over this new equipment and see what some uninterrupted and unmediated time with it told us. First, a brief impression of the hardware itself:


Aesthetically, it is a bit more pleasing to the eye than you average Wiimote (especially Wiimotes with that damn condom on it). Its curved surfaces fit your hand nicely, and while the new button layout took a minute to get used to, once you got the hang of it it feels like they did a good job of having 8 buttons on such a tiny device. The ball on top is a little worrisome, mainly since it is constructed of some very pliable material that seems like it could get smushed pretty easily. When you have a 2 year old and 4 year old running around like I do, you have to worry about your $50 controller being rendered useless by someone stepping on it, or grabbing it and squeezing it like it was their little brothers face. I'm not sure I love the fact that they are only powered by internal rechargeable batteries, since the PSEye takes up one of my two USB slots, and this means I can only charge one wand at a time unless I get a hub or plug another one into my 360 or something. Also, the lack of a charging cable is a little cheap on Sony's part, but I guess they want to drive sales of the recharge stations. My only other complaint with the hardware is that the PSEye didn't come with any sort of mounting hardware, and modern TV's don't really have the surface area to support the camera on top. Initially I placed the camera at the base of the TV, but that really seemed to affect the calibration and sensitivity of the Move, so I ended up jury-rigging a clamp to hold it there, but the inclusion of at least some sort of dual-sided sticky thing would be nice. Once again, it seems like Sony is skimping here. One feature that I really liked (although I might be incorrect about this) is that the ball lit up purple, just like I have my XMB profile set to. Maybe this was just a coincidence, but if not, it was a really nice touch[note: I have since been informed that it picks color based on the background the camera sees to maximize contrast. Hurray that my hoise contrasts purple I guess?.]

Rounding out the package was Sports Champions and a demo disc. Before I launch into the Sports Champions review, let me touch on the demo disc. I was pretty impressed with the size and content of The Shoot and Time Crisis (I'm a sucker for light gun shooters which the Move looks like it will excel at), completely bewildered by Beat Sketcher (which seemed to have a great deal of trouble calibrating correctly) which I guess was just a drawing program with some crazy beats going on. Tumble is a decent Boom Blox knock-off, and Tiger Woods seems to control better then with a Wiimote (even one with Motion Plus). We haven't put time into the rest of the demos yet, but they include echochrome ii, EyePet, Kung Fu Rider, Start the Party!, and TV Superstars. All in all, a pretty decent collection to give you something to mess around with while waiting for more actual games to be released that support Move.

One of the first thing you notice when your Move is all set up is that it certainly appears to be far more accurate and sensitive than even a Motion Plus-enabled Wiimote. There was a real one-to-one feeling even when you are just browsing through the menus, and I never felt the drift that I always felt plagued the Wii. This sort of precision should allow the Move to be far more practical in "serious" gaming applications. As much as I loved those light gun games on the Wii, I never felt like it was doing the greatest job of tracking my motions. My initial Move experience has me very excited to see what developers can really do with the technology, and if recent press releases are any indication, we should be seeing a lot of support in titles across all genres in the near future.

On to the Sports Champions impressions!

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