It’s the holidays and Sony is touting not only a big holiday lineup but also some new hardware to go along with its Playstation 3. Of course I am referring to the Playstation Move the new motion controller for the Playstation 3 that uses both Move controllers combined with the Playstation Eye camera to track your motion. Sony’s flagship title along with the release of the new hardware is Sports Champions, which comes bundled with their $100 bundle that includes the game, the camera, and a controller. So does Sports Champions have what it takes to be what Wii Sports was for the Wii? Read our full review to find out!
When it comes to Sports Champions there is no doubt that your going to draw comparisons between Sports Champions and Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii. One thing that we should start off by talking about is the controls. With the new hardware comes a lot of questions. How does the motion controls stand up against what the Wii has been doing for the past few years? Are there any noticeable advantages to Sony’s motion controls?
The answers to all of those questions are clearly answered when you first boot up Sports Champions. Sony has been touting 1 to 1 motion controls with the Move and that’s exactly what you get for better and for worse. I say that because if you are bad at throwing a Frisbee in real life, disc golf is going to be a challenge. If ping-pong has never been your forte I would imagine the same could be said within Sports Champions. The good news however is that the controls work brilliantly, they fully capture your every move, and for better or worse they accurately depict your actions on screen.
Like Wii Sports, Sports Champions is a compilation of several different sports games, which include Ping-Pong, Volleyball, Archery, Bocce, Disc Golf, and Gladiator Duel. Instead of going through each of these games in great depth I will give a quick note about each.
To me if there were a staple of Sports Champions experience it would be ping-pong. Although I wish Sony had gone with a full-blown tennis game, table tennis is one of the strongest examples of the great motion controls of the Playstation Move. Whether playing against a friend or the computer the experience is extremely impressive. I would classify myself as a pretty solid ping-pong player and I will admit that the difficulty does ramp up in the single player experience that is a welcome addition.
From one of the most impressive uses of the move controller to the one that seems to use it the least, volleyball proves to be a mixed bag. The computer AI controls your movement around the court, so your job is instead delegated to just serving, setting, and spiking. Volleyball proves to be a fun experience with friends but alone it can be quite a bore.
When played with two Playstation move controllers this is really a treat. Sure your just shooting arrows at targets but the way in which this game allows you to pull the arrow from your back and place it on the bow before firing. It is a simple motion that continues to increase the one to one controls that the game touts. Although your arms do start to get a bit tired after a while this is a very solid game.
The fact that bocce is in this compilation at all is beyond me. There are so many other sports that the developers could have used their motion controls for that the inclusion of bocce just seems a bit odd. The bocce mode works fine but to me I just don’t see the “mass appeal” that this would bring. I have heard some really have strong feelings towards bocce; I am just not one of them.
Like bocce I was a little surprised this game was included in the Sports Champions compilations of sports. However unlike Bocce, Disc Golf is a perfect inclusion in the package. Not only does the mode use the new controls to its advantage it’s a ton of fun to play. The mode is by far one of the most challenging and enjoyable games on the disc and is one that can be enjoyed by yourself or with friends.
To me this mode is kind of a mixed bag. Sure the controls do capture the one to one feel that you would want but you still have the age-old problem of relying heavily on just waving your arms to take out enemies. If you do play the mode correctly you will find that it actually has a lot to offer it’s just not one of the modes I found myself wanting to come back to time after time.
One of the knocks on the Nintendo Wii was the fact that it doesn’t have HD graphics. So when Sony announced that they would be bringing HD motion control gaming this was a pretty exciting notion. Sports Champions is not a game however that these enthusiasts are going to point to as an answer to their wishes. Don’t get me wrong Sports Champions is a very nice looking game but nothing more then that. Everything in Sports Champions works but nothing is going to stand out.
This is a motion controlled sports compilation, so take that for what it is. Does this reinvent the wheel? No. Does it do a good job of motion control sports games? Yes. For me more then just being a motion controlled game I think it was one of the few times that I actually enjoyed a game with friends on my PS3 in quite some time.
Although I cannot say that Sports Champions is a perfect game, it is a great first step into the Playstation Move and motion gaming. Sure I would not have chosen the same sports as what Sony put on the disc, but even with what is offered Sports Champions proves to be a great experience.