Movers and Shakers: Sports Champions (PS3)

Up until now I’ve been talking about some of the games that you might not have gotten around to had you picked up the Move. Games like RUSE and High Velocity Bowling, which are more unknown than not, and games like Heavy Rain and Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, which are either AAA titles in their own right, or have the name recognition but maybe not the right aesthetic to get your gaming dollar. I haven’t talked about Sports Champions, the pack-in that came with the Move wand and Playstation Eye camera, the game most of you who picked up the Move have been playing because it’s the only game you got. This week that changes.

Sony’s Sports Champions is actually six games in one: Archery, Frisbee Golf, Gladiator Duel, Volleyball, Bocce, and Table Tennis. I’m going to talk about the games that interested me the most. Those being Archery, Gladiator Duel and Frisbee Golf.

To start with, lets talk about Frisbee Golf. I remember when I played the demo for this, I got a hole in one on my first throw. I immediately started thinking about how Sony must be trying to hoodwink the audience into buying the Move with its amazing accuracy, because of course you are throwing it at the hole. But as I played it some more I found it to be a really interesting interpretation of tossing a Frisbee around. I don’t know how often that particular skill is going to be incorporated into games, but it was very adept at picking up the throwing motion and any other attempts I made to differ my throwing style. For this one you use just the one Wand controller, having no need to move about the screen. As such it succeeds in not over complicating things.

Those about to die, salute you! Or not. But now I’m going to talk about Gladiator Duel. I’ll say this much, it can be a workout. You choose your character from the predetermined options and then have at it with a series of opponents, each of them getting more and more difficult. You can fight using one or two wands. During combat with two wands you use one hand to control your weapon and the other to control your shield. With a single controller you must press the Move button on your wand to control your shield. I did not play much with this second configuration, so I can’t comment on how the game plays using it. Using the two wands however, I can say that the game felt awkward. I’m sure if I were to play it more I would get used to it, but on first pass the sword swinging was unsatisfying. On a good note, the sword will swing as hard and as fast as you can swing your arm.

Lastly I come to the Archery portion of the Sports Champions games. Again, like in Gladiator Duel, you can play using one wand controller or two. On this occasion I was able to play both control styles enough that I feel I can comment on each of them. To put it mildly, the superior way to play is with two wands. There really is no comparison. Using two wands you had to draw your arrow and notch it, then aim and fire at whatever target you are aiming for. With the single wand there is still some of the same motion, but it’s not nearly as involving. Having the second controller really brings up the immersion factor considerably. You can change the difficulty settings too, removing the targeting assistance, again increasing the immersion.

Of all the games in Sports Champions I’d say that Archery was easily my favorite. The level of immersion was great. My only problem was the fact that the single wand option wasn’t nearly as satisfying, and I’d rather not have to buy two wands to get the most out of my games. Anyway, good bye for another two weeks. I’m moving on out.

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