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Review

Review: PlayStation Move Heroes

Clanker.

Nihilistic’s interpretation of what should constitute a PlayStation Hero reads more like a who’s who of PlayStation 2 brand iconography rather than the current generation machine: whilst Ratchet and Clank have seen their fair share of action on PS3, Jak and Daxter haven’t, and Sly Cooper (and his sidekick Bentley) are only here on account of an HD wildcard.  It’s an odd triplet of sadly rather dated team-ups – where’s Nate and Sully, for example, or Sev and Rico – the real heroes of the hour?


The initial movie sets the scene nicely, bringing the six heroes together for the game.
Because they wouldn’t fit in with the slapstick, slapdash mechanics – PlayStation Move Heroes’ few moments of brilliance generally lost beneath unfunny wisecracks and disjointed, unfocused gameplay.  But we can only assume that the game’s like this because of the protagonists, not vice versa – if Drake had appeared perhaps there wouldn’t have been a game mode dedicated to rolling an exploding bowling ball up ramps and into wormholes as you try to collect enough crystals to fire off a rocket containing a little alien.

Perhaps, but then where’s Sackboy?

Regardless, Heroes, then, offers up an assortment of modes split over four environments (Metropolis, Haven City and Paris from the respective games and one based on the alien race at the heart of the game’s loose ‘story’), with each location housing four or five unique settings.  In each you’ll find a small number of missions, played singly or local co-operatively, divided up into a slightly bewildering array of weapon and game mode types, all of which are given little icons on the level select screens.

The weapon types vary from projectiles (including a Sports Champion-esque throwing disc) to melee (specific to each character) and the rather bizarre aforementioned bowling ball; these are paired up, with varying levels of success, with a smattering of challenges: survive for as long as you can, locate trapped aliens, collect crystals.  The game goes to great lengths to tutor the player on a few combinations before letting you loose, although it’s easy enough to get the hang of things even when it forgets (like the first time you get given a rocket).

The problem is that the game isn’t actually much fun, and it’s not helped by the forced Move implementation, which works best with a Navigation controller (rather than a Dual Shock) but save for a few waggles of the whip could easily have been dialed down to a traditional controller without losing any of the appeal.  Indeed, although the inputs manage reasonably well when flitting between steering a flying explosive and aiming a third person targetting reticle, you can’t help feeling that this would be better with dual analogs.


Daxter's the funniest of the lot, although don't expect much in the way of belly laughs.
It’s not that we’re adverse to motion control, it’s just that in this game they don’t feel necessary and often over-complicate things: camera control, for example, is either limited to a tap of the L2 button or shifted via crosshairs, neither of which are precise enough when the difficulty starts to ramp up and you’re aiming for the increasingly elusive Gold medals in each round.  Likewise, the melee combat is tiring and limited meaning that, initially at least, best results are achieved by simply waving the Move around, something that could easily have been mapped to X despite the occasional requirement to swipe in a given direction.

It’s not all bad though, the game steadily develops into something at least half interesting and the slow trickle of rewards mean that there’s always reasons to try to ‘gold’ each minigame, but repetition sets in quickly and feels at odds with the uneven difficulty curve, part of which can be blamed on floaty Move aiming or a frequently appalling camera – when the two are combined, like with the bowling sections, any failures are hard to pin entirely on the player.  Coincidentally, such missions are mostly void of characterisation, too.

The visuals are nice, though – the various representations of the characters’ home environments are rich and vibrant, the attention to detail pleasingly gives off a nice sense of fan service, especially for Sly Cooper’s Parisien locale, and the frame rate remains locked at thirty.  Sound too, comprising of the original voice actors, is at least authentic but the omnipresent announcer fails to excite, or indeed remind players that this is meant to be set inside an intergalactic game show, his main focus being to irritate as the game progresses.

It’s an odd game, PlayStation Heroes.  Condensed further and simplified into nothing but quick-fire minigames the concept might have worked, but dragged out like it is it falls uncomfortably between third person action and a mish-mash of weapon types, none of which are honed as neatly as they could have been, the experience diluted to accomodate one too many styles of play.  Co-op team play helps a little, but this is an offline title save for a rather back-seated implementation of high score leaderboards, and suffers for it.

Pros:

  • Reasonable graphics
  • Original voice actors return

Cons:

  • No online play
  • The range of ‘heroes’ is disappointing
  • The Move support isn’t optional, or needed

Distinctly average then, PlayStation Move Heroes trades off some legacy brand IPs without ever really giving them room to shine or, indeed, interact.  It’s a frustratingly shallow collection of styles, dressed up as something more than it ultimately ends up as.  The presentation’s slick, the visuals are nice and some of the game types are actually rather entertaining, but as a whole this could have been so much more.  Interestingly, a sequel that fixes some of the above issues could, potentially, be quite brilliant.  We’ll wait and see.

Score: 5/10

34 Comments
  1. philbert8
    The Frankie Boyle Of TSA
    Since: Sep 2010

    Played the demo (2.5 gig download!) and hated every minute of it. Shame I’m a big Ratchet and Clank fan, but it was just horrible to play.

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:32.
    • Charmed_Fanatic
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      Same huge R&C fan, but this was just a game of mini-games, disappointed really

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:37.
  2. StevenHibs
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    Downloaded the demo, but have not tried it yet, and on this review looks like it shall be a swift delete

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:34.
    • Bankzy108
      Member
      Since: Sep 2009

      If you have already downloaded it, its worth a try – no? What someone doesn’t like you might. Fire it up & see.

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:31.
  3. FunkyMunkyy
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    Played the demo, and have to agree that its distinctly average. Don’t really know the characters that well. The shotgun part was very fun, played it a few times, but apart from that it was a bit meh. Shame because I really want another decent move game! *waits for sorcery*

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:37.
    • 3shirts
      Member
      Since: Aug 2008

      Try TopSpin

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:21.
      • Paranoimia
        Member
        Since: Aug 2008

        No, don’t.

        Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:33.
      • Sympozium
        Member
        Since: Aug 2009

        Virtua Tennis 4!!

        Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:40.
  4. DrNate86
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I tried the demo for 10 mins then deleted it, found it really dull with horrible Move implementation. This is a fair review I would say!

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:37.
  5. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Real shame as I was looking forward to this. Completed Extraction in one sitting and really love playing games with Move.

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:39.
  6. Sympozium
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    if each of the studios combined there powers in some way, a game like this would’ve been brilliant.

    A single player platformer would’ve been so much better than mini games

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:44.
    • blackredyellow
      Member
      Since: Mar 2009

      Agreed. used to love J&D on PS2, especially the first. Why can’t they release a HD version / collection for those two critters?!

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:46.
      • Shakugan
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        Agreed!

        Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 19:14.
  7. Erroneus
    Wanted "Trophy Hunter" but was too late.
    Since: May 2009

    No surprise there, this seems like a “filler” title.

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:46.
  8. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I also found the demo disappointing so i’m not entirely surprised by the final review.
    This is no way to bring Jak & Daxter to PS3.

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:51.
  9. Voolar
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    I was considering getting this as a four-player, couch co-op, family game. Should I buy it…?

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:54.
    • BLAGGER
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      Depends on how old the family are, I have a 6 year old son who absolutley loves this because he can play it really well. For me I thought it was ok for a brief burst of fun, but really felt that this is aimed for a much younger target audience. It is worth a try if, like me, you have sprogs of this age…otherwise probably avoid, hope this helps :)

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:23.
      • Voolar
        Member
        Since: Mar 2009

        Thanks for the response. My kids are 16 and 17 (I know – I don’t look old enough), but they grew up with J&D, R&C and Sly… I’m kinda torn. I’ll grab the demo I think.

        Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:32.
  10. Kevling
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    My kids tried the demo yesterday, and all I could hear from the other room was “Wow”, “WOAH!”, “Cool!” and lots of laughter.

    Maybe we’re not the intended audience ;)

    Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 14:55.
    • Foxhound_Solid
      Is a smart cookie.
      Since: Dec 2009

      You might be onto something here Kevling….

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:10.
      • BLAGGER
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Just read after posting above! But would completley agree, not for us…were clearly getting too old :(

        Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:25.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      They’d probably found the key code to the adult channels. Best to check in on them next time you hear such elation. :-P

      Comment posted on 21/03/2011 at 15:30.
      • Crazy_Del
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        LOL!
        Best comment!

        Comment posted on 22/03/2011 at 10:11.

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