Following part one of our Playback Move special, featuring games such as Sports Champions, Tumble, The Fight, and Resident Evil 5: GE, we’re back with more retrospective snippets as we enter the closing half, signing off with an outlook on what’s to come for motion gamer leading into 2012.
Undeniably one of the most unique, and best, experiences in modern gaming, with Heavy Rain Quantic Dream put its own twist on the much-loved point and click adventure genre, welding it to a spiral of finger-twisting QTEs and an emotive narrative. This game was an ideal candidate for Sony’s motion tech, and despite launching almost half a year prior to the PlayStation Move, a free patch was soon made available, the game itself relaunching with a “Move Edition” tag to draw in a few more punters.
Though it played very similarly to using the Dualshock 3, still requiring the use of an analog stick for character movement, directional interactions etc, Move proved itself to be a worthwhile add-on even for those who had already played through the PS3 exclusive. A number of gestures were fed into the QTEs adding an extra sense of engagement between the player and their on-screen actions, but it came at a cost. With Quantic being pushed into implementing the new technology, the studio were forced to abandon their plans for Heavy Rain DLC, a true shame as the first “Chronicle,” which came packaged with the special edition was superb, offering up to a few hours of playability for those looking to explore every nook and cranny.
Guerilla Games’ FPS epic was somewhat of a poster child for a number of new features Sony were pushing on the PlayStation 3, Move and 3D being the most prominent. Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition may have proved that Move could work for a game which already supported the Dualshock 3, though many were still unconvinced it could operate as well for the more fast-paced action experiences available on the platform, Killzone 3 was arguably the first game to do it well.
Though you would still hesitate taking your motion controllers into the realm of online warfare, PlayStation Move performs surprisingly well, and in some cases, out-performs the Dualshock 3. Set-up is fast and efficient, and as a whole, the tracking is smooth and precise with a number of nice tweaks here and there such as the ability to reload with a simple wrist motion. For both 3D and Move integration, Killzone 3 is your best bet as far as first person shooters are concerned.
With more than six months between Resistance 3 and Killzone 3, we expected it to set the bar even higher for Move-enabled shooters but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The aiming reticle feels intrusive and slightly out of place which is only made worse by the fact that ironsights are sluggish and lacking any sense of dexterity, negating the advantage of having improved accuracy.
However navigation is spot on, camera controls being just as smooth, if not a little better, than Killzone 3 but considering the annoyances of Move-enabled gunplay in Resistance 3 it’s hard to recommend swapping your Dualshock for a motion controller. Set-up can also be an issue, the game not offering any options to transition between both types of controller mid-game, forcing you to restart completely. All in all, it does feel a little bit tacked on; we’ve no doubts that some enjoyed the alternative method of play, but when stacked against Killzone 3 its disappointing to say the least.
It goes without saying that the majority of RTS games that have launched on home consoles have proved less than stellar compared to their PC counterparts, Red Alert 3 being a prime example. Though strategic gameplay and other RTS conventions were all in place there hasn’t been a way to get over the fact that console controllers are too inaccurate and cumbersome. Total War developer The Creative Assembly even tried creating a gamepad-friendly “whip” mechanic allowing a quick and precise way to switch from unit to unit which proved efficient but tiresome in the long run.
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, Eugen Systems’ R.U.S.E., published by Ubisoft last year, changed the way we look at the console RTS, all thanks to the PlayStation Move. Though not quite as accurate, the tech proved just as flexible and responsive as the keyboard and mouse, allowing for multiple unit selection and easy camera panning without having to struggle, something PC gamers take for granted, but for consoles gamers R.U.S.E. marked a revolution in the genre. It’s just a shame that no one else has come forward with plans for a console RTS since.
Swords & Soldiers
Speaking of real time strategy, Ronimo Games had its own crack at the popular genre last year with Swords & Soldiers, a light-hearded downloadable game which turned the RTS into something much more palatable for your everyday gamer. Instead of having huge battlefields to pour over, players were presented with 2D levels split into a number of tracks, troops moving automatically towards the enemy base with defence towers staggered along the way.
Much like R.U.S.E., Swords & Soldiers used the Move controller as a mouse. Without direct control over your units the only thing that was required of players was to build units and cast spells, PlayStation Move being fun to use but not exactly a necessity. Ronimo also made sure the game supported the Dualshock 3 which performed just as efficiently.
The future of PlayStation Move
It’s still early days for Sony’s motion tech and aside from Sports Champions (and maybe R.U.S.E depending on your taste in gaming) we’re still way off finding another killer app, a game which could easily justify the £40 Move introductory cost. That said there are a number of promising motion-enabled titles just on the horizon, including Zandagi Games’ Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, and even DanceStar Party. A little further down the line we also have a selection of shooters with Move support such as massive online shooter DUST 514, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and most notably, Bioshock Infinite.
It’s true, a lot of these games aren’t Move-centric, simply affording gamers an alternative method of play, but there is still one unmentioned title that TSA has had its eye on for quite some time now. Developed by The Workshop, Sorcery put a spell on us when it debuted at E3 2010 and we’ve been clawing after it ever since. However over the past year there has been very little about the game, leading to suspicions that a full-blown reveal is scheduled in the coming months, following Sony’s 2011 onslaught of first party blockbusters.