It seems that every company that has decided to do motion control has also decided to do a sports game related to their new technology. Well, Sony and Zindagi Games have recently released their new game, Sports Champions alongside the Playstation Move. It is the only game that is bundled with the new controller and camera, and similar to the release of Wii Sports, is the poster child for what the technology can do. However, from playing the game, I do feel like it is far superior to what the Wii has to offer, and it is definitely the best launch game for the peripheral that I have played. So, if you are looking to get the Playstation Move, do yourself a favor and pick this up alongside it.
The game features six games total, some of which we have seen before in other collections, and some new to the sports mini game genre. The games included are Bocce, Table Tennis, Gladiator, Disc Golf, Archery and Beach Volleyball. I will go into detail about each one, and how they feel individually, starting with the ones that were not so impressive, and leading up to the ones I had the most fun with.
I will start off with Table Tennis. The game itself feels similar to the 360 launch game, Rockstar’s Table Tennis, but being a lot more precise, and yet sort of basic. The game does almost feel like the real thing, so accordingly, if you suck at ping pong in real life, you will most likely suck at this game. The matches are fast paced and hectic, and you have to actually move from forehand to backhand shots to be able to reach the ball when you need to. Sometimes, this doesn’t always work, which can make it be kind of frustrating. You may want to turn your hand to hit a ball, when suddenly your character is still in the same spot, and you miss, losing a point. This doesn’t happen too often, but it can definitely take the momentum out of the game.
Next up is Beach Volleyball. Now, this one is sort of hard to explain, because you are not really moving around to get in position for the ball, the AI is doing that for you. Your job is to simply set up shots for your teammate as well as serve and spike the ball. All of the motions are mimicked fairly well, and you are often asked to do the actual motions of how you hit the ball.. I did find some problems in this game however, and that the power of hitting the ball feels a little off. Sometimes it seemed like no matter how hard I hit it, I would be barely tapping it on the screen, and similar to Table Tennis, that took the momentum out of the game. Overall, it is a fun distraction, but the games are short and uneventful.
The third game that is in this package is Gladiator. Now, this seems again a lot like the Wii Sports Resort sword game, but a lot more precise and accurate. Along with some of the other games in Sports Champions, you can use two Move controllers as your sword and shield, or you can stick to just one controller to move both of them. It takes a lot of strategy to win at this game, as you have to switch to and from each side of your opponent, depending on where their shield is, and have to swing at the right moment to deplete their health bar. Along with the normal motion of swinging from left to right, you can also do canned animations if you catch your opponent off guard, such as swinging the controller up in the air to jump and then slam your weapon on a grounded opponent. I had no problems with the swings not registering, and I found this to be a fun little diversion that was very reminiscent of the Soul Calibur series.
The fourth game is Bocce. Many of the other games in this collection are pretty self explanatory, but if you do not know what Bocce is, is a game where you play with a set of four balls a piece, while first setting the pallino ball for each round. You toss the other balls as close as you can to the pallino and the player with the closest number of balls at the end of each round get the points and the first to five points wins. This game is very addicting, as well as very competitive, and really is something unique to this collection. The game is all about power, as you are able to put some back spin on the ball by twisting your wrist, and if you throw too hard you will not get anywhere. The game does a great job of registering the motions and power of each shot, and this can make it difficult or easy depending on how you work with the technology. Overall, this is definitely a fun game in this collection.
The fifth game is archery, which is very intuitive. You have to actually reach behind you to grab and arrow out of your pouch, and then hold the Move controller at the screen to aim. You also have to worry about your arrow gradually going downward as it flies through the air, which is something cool that is taken into consideration. The game itself can get very quick and challenging, and leaves you trying to catch up to your opponent. There are a variety of modes inside this particular game, such as things like shooting fruit and/or targets. This game is definably fun, and really shows of the technology in a good way.
Last but not least is my favorite game in Sports Champions, disc golf. I think the reason I like this game is because it is by far the most realistic in this entire package. You hold the T button on the bottom of the Move controller and swing your arm to throw the disc. That may seem simple, but you also have to take into account obstacles to get around, so you are able to curve the disc around trees and other objects. You also have to take into account wind resistance as well as the terrain of the course, as some are played in grass, desert or even ice and snow. This game really is the model for what the Move can do, as it is a one to one ratio on how you throw the disc, making this game as realistic as possible, and incredibly fun.
When start the game, you are immediately thrown into a circular menu where you can choose from one of the games in the collection. You can also choose your character, which mostly consists of stereotypical athletes from various ethnic backgrounds. There are championship and free modes for each game, with three difficulties for each championship. Each championship round can earn you stars, and if you three-star a match with another player, you are able to unlock more outfits for a particular character. Also, when you select each sport, if it is your first time playing, there is a training mode which shows you the basics of how to play.
The graphics are very sharp, bright, and colorful, but then at the same time there is not a lot going on on-screen. The music is sort of recycled, but the ambiance is good in each mode depending on what kind of environment you are playing in. The camera does a good job picking up your motions for each game, and there are only a few awkward motions presented by your on-screen character. Overall, the presentation department is well done.
As a whole, I really was impressed by this game. Going into it, I have to say I was not too terribly excited. I wanted to see what the technology could do compared to other motion controllers, but I was surprised when I wanted to come back and play more. Each game is fun, and some do have their drawbacks, but as an overall package, again this is definitely the game you want to have if you are getting the Playstation Move.