Sunday, October 09, 2011

Review: Playstation Move Bundle

Slickdeals found me a Playstation Move Bundle for $50, so I jumped on it and bought one just to see if it was any different from the Wii. I like the Wii just fine, but on a 1080p display, old-style video game resolution has started wearing on my eyes.

In the box, you get a Move Controller (you're advised to buy a second one), a Playstation Eye USB camera, and the Sports Champions game. Sony boasts that the Move is a more precise mechanism than the Wii, mostly because the video camera is used to precisely place motion. The move controller's got its own lithium ion battery, rather than taking AA batteries. It charges via a mini-USB port.

There are a few funky things about the setup. One is that you'll have to calibrate the controller every time you start a new game. Basically, you hold your controller in 3 different places to the camera knows what the parallax is and how far you are from the camera in default position. Secondly, the angle of view of the camera isn't wide enough if your living room is so small you have to stand within 2m of the screen. This is a relatively minor annoyance as the game will inform you if it can't find your controller optically, but those of you with small living rooms should not buy this.

Now onto the games. The biggest draw for me was the ping-pong game. The game has amazing fidelity. My mother-in-law, for instance, has never so much as played a video game in her life, but she easily picked up the controller and kicked my ass in this game, once she got past the calibration hurdle. That's pretty amazing. Spins, smashes, and drops clearly reflect how you hold the controller and how you move. This is a lot of fun and well worth the price of the bundle by itself. The archery game was fine, but the use of two controllers is a bit of a gimmick. I think my accuracy was actually worse with two controllers than with one. The gladiator game was fun, but I don't think it shows off the controllers very well: either that or I'm playing it wrong. Volleyball is the one game where having two controllers felt like it helped. The game's interesting, but there's something missing from the gameplay. Frisbee golf is interesting, and I found myself playing through a few courses only to discover that there weren't enough courses to keep me playing (there's a lot of repetition) Finally, there's Bocci, a tossing game that's clearly very similar to bowling. The increased precision is extremely demanding.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the purchase. I was surprised to find that I used the move often enough during rainy days that the controller needed recharging a couple of times. Recommended. I'm not sure you'd need to buy any more games to get your money's worth out of the controllers --- the bundled game is that good. I'm pretty sure if you wait until black Friday, the Move will be widely discounted this year.
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