Playstation Move Review

I’m trying to resist the use of the words that imply mediocrity as I write this review, because in all fairness, Playstation Move is a really strong and intuitive motion control device. It works. It works well. That’s not an unimpressive feat.

Or at least, it wasn’t until a few years ago, when Nintendo released Wii.

At the time, I thought that for the most part, the Wii did a stellar job of creating intuitive, responsive motion control, and for my part, I was skeptical that it could be done.

So I’m trying to avoid skepticism when dealing with the Move, because it does motion control, and it does it quite well. The problem is, the Move is years late to this party and it isn’t exactly bringing strippers and top-shelf liquor. It’s certainly not a Mii-killer.

The Move works almost exactly as well as the Wii, and maybe a fraction better. That’s the good news. Anyone who doesn’t own a Wii but does have a Playstation 3 now has access to a set of motion controls that’s on par with the industry standard.

But for my part, I was hoping to see something bigger and better with Move. Having messed around with Kinect at Comic Con, I can say that that system brings a different dynamic to motion control by knocking out the use of the controller. Move has no such radical innovation, at least in its packaged game, despite working in a very similar way to Kinect.

Even though Move tracks your controllers’ motion in 3D space and Wii doesn’t, that doesn’t make it really feel that much more intuitive, realistic, or fun. It still feels like Wii. Just because it works better doesn’t mean Move as a control system immediately blows out its competition in a visceral way right out of the box. Because of this, it falls to Sony finding killer software to pair with it to make it really stand up against its competitors. Playstation Move isn’t worth buying for its own sake.

Prepare Your Wallet for a Shock

First off, the whole system feels cost-prohibitive. Comparing it with the Wii, at first it seems to stack up fairly well: the Move bundle system, which includes the Playstation Eye camera, a Move controller and Sports Champions, the PS3 equivalent of Wii Sports, will set you back $100. Additional motion controllers each cost $50 more. The Navigator controller, which has D-Pad buttons, shoulder buttons and an analog stick (it’s equivalent to Wii’s nunchuck) goes for $30.

Compare that to Wii controllers, which go for $45 a pop for the base unit, plus the nunchuck add-on, which is around another $20. The Wii comes with a controller and sensor bar when you buy the system, as well as Wii Sports in the original bundles. Move costs more, but not much more.

Where Move seems to get out of hand is when you factor in the fact that many games, even in the Sports Champions loadout, are best played with two Move controllers — one in each hand. Suddenly it feels like Sony has you in their monetary death grip, and there’s no getting loose.

But to be fair, playing games with two Move controllers is where the motion system really excels. Playing with one controller is competent — playing the games that use a motion-sensitive input in each hand are easily the most fun.

Two Controllers Works Great

A good example is Sports Champions’ Gladiator Duel game. The controller in one hand represents a sword; the one in the other is a shield. It’s interesting the depth that the simple addition of a second motion controller adds to the game. The sword-fighting minigame is really not fun with a single controller. It’s clunky and difficult to play, it requires a lot of less-than-intuitive thinking, and it just doesn’t feel right. But add a second controller, and suddenly sword-fighting takes on a whole new level of fun. It demands a lot of concentration and holding those two controllers gets pretty close to the visceral response that motion-control games are going for in the first place.

Move’s biggest asset is the ability to bring more of the player’s body into the game. The addition of a second controller does this nicely in a lot of ways, and the physicality of actually holding an object, instead of just pretending to, gives it something more in the way of a natural feeling that Kinect seems to lack.

But remember when we were talking price? That means if you want to play Gladiator Duel with a friend, you need not two controllers, but four. Out of the box, you need to drop $250 to play Playstation Move the way it’s meant to be played. If you already have a PS3.

To put it plainly: that sucks.

Sony Could Have Tried Harder

There are other little issues that feel like Sony just didn’t try that hard, as well. Wii’s sensor bar, the thing that detects the motion controller’s aim, comes with a light, enormously long hookup cable. Move’s Playstation Eye camera has some sort of heavy duty USB cable that easily outweighs the camera. Don’t try putting this thing on top of your TV, because the cable will drag it off. And the cable is a little too short to effectively run it through an entertainment system or put it on top of a big TV anyway. These stupid hindrances could easily have been avoided by Sony, but shortcuts and cost-cutting stick you with equipment that just doesn’t conform well to being used.

And if you thought Move was going to avoid the irritating pitfall of being slapped onto every stupid new Playstation game just to increase the add-on’s library, think again. Just like Nintendo is constantly rubber-stamping mostly lame, gimmicky little games, Sony is willing to cram Move support into games that don’t want or need it, creating substandard Move titles.

I recently reviewed NBA 2K11, in which this exact scenario played out. Here was a great game that felt like it picked up Move support at the eleventh hour, and the result was a tacked on, useless control scheme. It felt dumb. (Oh, and don’t forget — in a situation like that, you’ll want to purchase the Move Navigator Controller at yet another $29.99. You can use a regular DualShock 3 controller instead of the Navigator, if you want to practice balancing the controller in one hand while playing uncomfortably.)

In Conclusion

Sorry, I’m doing it again. I’m really not that down on the Move — I like it. It works the way it should. I played Gladiator Duel well into the night once I got hold of a second controller, and it was fun like I remember having when the Wii first landed in my living room.

But Move is not the Second Coming of motion control, and I’m not even sure it’s the hardcore gamer’s answer to the Wii’s pandering to the little sister demographic. For the most part, right out of the box, it plays like a Wii clone, unless you’ve got the extra bucks to lay down to help Move to hit its true potential. Even then, its ping-pong and archery are not exactly mind-blowing.

With a few great games that really capitalize on the hardware, Move could be more than worth it. But right now, there’s just not a lot to see here. Move along.

Pros

  • Good motion controls that stand up to the standards set by Nintendo
  • Works well technically — 3D tracking feels great and intuitive and never hinky
  • Games that use two motion controllers are really fun and elevate the Move
  • All the same party style, low-key fun you get from playing Wii games with friends.
  • With good games, could be a great system
  • Provides an alternative to the Wii with the same level of quality

Cons

  • Uses controls and ideas that were innovative three years ago
  • Doesn’t really set a new standard, and is pretty much exactly like the Wii, down to its sports game
  • A little cost-prohibitive with the need for several extra controllers
  • Camera is too light for its cord, which is too short

Final Score: 75/100

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13 Comments on Playstation Move Review

Shadowboricua

On October 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Really? “Exactly like the Wii”??? The Move is everything the Wii fooled people into thinking it was. After trying (and owning) both, I can say that the Wii is and has been a giant GIMMICK! The Move really brings 1:1 control and it feels like it is an extension of your arm. While playing Table Tennis, Gladiator, Tumble, and a few of the other games available, there is not comparison to what has been achieved here by Sony. The similarities stopped at the fact that you are holding a stick/wand or whatever you want to call it in your hand. To say that the Move is pretty much exactly like the Wii is a complete misrepresentation. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube showing the difference between playing table tennis on the Move and the Wii… the Wii fooled us all into thinking we had control, the Move gives you the control.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

For me, Move resulted in just as much idiotic flailing and goofy movement sync ups as the Wii did. It might be a better working representation of the motion, but it still suffers from all the same problems. In my living room, there was little difference.

Shadowboricua

On October 6, 2010 at 10:08 pm

When you show me the Wii tracking any kind of motion, give me a call. The Wii does not even track in 2D, nevertheless in a 3D world. By the way, here is some videos that clearly shows the Wii for what it really is when compared to the Move:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqi2eaY_gZ0&feature=related

So you have a living room that makes the Move work just like the Wii? Interesting.

Shadowboricua

On October 6, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Watch, specially after 1:33 to see the vast difference.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 6, 2010 at 10:13 pm

What I’m saying is, regardless of the ability to do more with the technology, it’s not an incredible difference in gameplay and it really doesn’t feel different. Maybe when better games start rolling out for the Move, it’ll be more impressive. Right now, it plays more or less like Wii Sports and it needs to do better, especially because it can.

Shadowboricua

On October 6, 2010 at 10:25 pm

And what I am saying is that it does not take an MD/PhD to figure out that there is a big enough difference between the two to make the Move more advanced and set a new standard for motion control. You are saying that the Move “is pretty much exactly like the Wii”, and I think that saying that is a complete misrepresentation of the Move vs. the WIi. You have to agree that motion control with the Wii is a gimmick when compared to the Move. You can just sit down and flick the Wii control slightly to produce the movement the games want you to believe you made when in reality that is not the case. With the Move, you actually have to produce the motion you intend the game to reproduce in order to make it work.

Like I said, it does not take an MD/PhD to figure this out… even though I am an MD/PhD.

The move is not “pretty much exactly like the Wii”. That is like saying that 2D graphics are pretty much the same as 3D graphics. And that 3D graphics are not setting a new standard because 2D graphics were already there anyway.

By the way, how far do you have you TV from the PS3 that you need a longer camera cable? I wish my cord was shorter, and I have a 55″ TV with the camera on the top and the PS3 all the way in the bottom.

jneul

On October 7, 2010 at 3:56 am

1. the cord is not too short if you use the extension usb that comes with the starter pack
2. echochrome ii is a totally fresh and new game that has never been done on wii, therefore move has improved.
3. move can do proper 3d tracking, body tracking, true 1:1 control, augmented reality, object modelling and virtual reality, so that is not like wii at all
4. if anyone has played on sports champs and wsr they would know the differences and they are not just subtle either, sports champs allows extremely precise control on gold mode, you can do top spin, back spin properly and power shots too, something which wsr never could do and you could cheat by waggling in the air
5. if you play on tumble that is when it hits you how different move is, wii could never do 3d object movement like this, is this site just biased, i think so

jneul

On October 7, 2010 at 4:03 am

also it’s down to the devs to make use of move, you can tell the difference between wii like titles (raquet sports) from a move specific game (sports champions, tumble)

InfinitiPJ

On October 7, 2010 at 5:25 am

Sorry but the writer of this review is an idiot and has been brainwashed by the use of the Wii. By saying that the Move performs SLIGHTLY better than the Wii!? Are you serious!? The Move is definetly miles ahead when it comes to performance in motion control. FACT. Quite honestly, this review should not be taken seriously on any level, especially since you started going on about the camera’s cable…

Shadowboricua

On October 7, 2010 at 8:10 am

This is my take on this reviewer. He probably has never held a real tennis or table tennis racket in his hand and got frustrated when the Table Tennis game actually required skills instead of flickering. This is the kind of kid who would complain about the recoil on an AK-47 in real like and argue that there most be something wrong because there is not that much vibration on his controller when he shoots an AK-47 in Call of Duty.

Or, he did not even try the Move controller and wrote the review without a careful analysis of the technical differences. Thirdly, he is just a big Wii fanboy.

By the way Phil, I like your website’s format, but I don’t think I will hang out around here more. You have lost my credibility by saying that the Move is exactly as the Wii.

Little Englander

On October 9, 2010 at 6:17 am

I really think this “move” is a waste of time. If you want a gameplay like that using basically the same thing as a Wii then buy a friggen Wii ! ! ! The thing Is that everyone is bringing out motion plus controlers and Its getting old, If you want my opinion buy a Wii

Lou Dog

On October 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Every one completely missed the point of the entire review, he acknowledges the fact that technologically the move is superior. His problem with it is that you can buy a wii and have fun for the same amount of money it costs to buy enough components to have fun with the move, and thats before you pay for the PS3 and truthfully despite its 3d motion tracker it just isn’t that much better than the wii especially for how late in the game it is Sony should have done more if they really wanted to be unique, they had all the time in the world.

giddi

On October 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

actually the Wii can track 3D space just fine. Fishing and Billard did this already in Wii play. It uses simple trig to measure this. The move is just the wii opposite – where the camera tracks the remote instead of the other way around.

Now about Table Tennis – this was a design choice and in fact the game plays pretty similar… the video wasn’t very covnicning at all. Some games use motion better, some worse, but the Move technology is not superior – it’s just cumbersoem and awkard because of the big lighting ball.