Hands-on: PlayStation Move's Sports Champions
Click for the gallery of Champions
You might think it derisive to call Sports Champions (working title) the Wii Sports of PlayStation Move, but it's really intended as a compliment. Although the collection of sports-themed games are relatively simple, they adequately highlight the Move's motion-sensing capabilities and, most importantly, how they're distinguished from those offered by the Wii (something that another Move game, The Shoot, did not do). Like Wii Sports, Sports Champions seems good at selling you on the hardware's abilities -- and what they might mean in more elaborate games.
The Gladiator Duel sub-game is a simple affair of blocking and attacking (your character moves towards the opponent automatically), but the Move will take into account the height of your swings and the positioning of your shield (generated by a second Move controller). It'll also sense distance -- if you don't hold your weapon arm back, it'll swing into your own shield to deleterious effect. Aside from swinging and blocking, you can also move both arms upwards to activate a jumping attack, or shuffle the controllers to the side in order to roll out of the way from an incoming strike. Basic stuff, but natural enough to not come across as a tacked-on gesture.
Table Tennis was more promising, and easily bested the Wii's equivalent. Your paddle's angle and area of exposure is almost instantly determined by how you're holding the controller. The Move's weight, coupled with the game's quick response and predictable physics, made every swing feel ... just right. It'll be a shame if a table tennis game turns out to be one of the best launch games for Move, but at least it'll stand out as one of the best of its ilk. That's a win, right?
The best news is the only news for me. Ping-pong with this ping-pong look-alike controller is the best game for Sports Champions, the game title I am quietly anticipating. I just hope this one doesn't come out solely as a starter kit (that costs $100).