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PlayStation Move Heroes – the PS3 Attitude review

Submitted by on Thursday, 14 April 20114 Comments

PlayStation Move Heroes: the title is clear and unambigious, most likely targeting poor old grandparents out shopping for their grandchildren. Little Billy got Move for his birthday and he needs a game for it. They can’t go wrong with this one; it’s clearly for the PlayStation, it has Move in the name and it features heroes (who doesn’t like heroes?). It’s all on the box, so there’s no room for error.

Experienced gamers have learned to be wary of such brand-heavy titles. They know that these games tend to be some of the most unimaginative and dullest around. They’ve been burnt before. Is PlayStation Move Heroes the exception to the rule, or is it another lazily designed game living off the stock of its popular characters or unique peripheral?

The concept has potential: two shady aliens have plucked Ratchet, Clank, Jak, Daxter, Sly and Bentley out of their worlds and into the first ever Intergalactic Hero Games. It’s an opportunity for each to showcase their skills. However, everything isn’t as it seems, and our heroes are about to find themselves stuck in an unsporting situation – not that they’ll mind.

PlayStation Move Heroes is essentially a collection of mini-games spread across four worlds – three of which are versions of our heroes’ worlds (Metropolis, Paris and Haven) with the last completely original (Planet X). The difference between each is simply their appearance. The actual games you play differ very little across the four worlds.

The selection is very limited with only a handful of game types available (and even then they’re often very similar). They’re all designed with PlayStation Move in mind; you will hack and slash at hordes of robots, swing flaming whips at more robots and fire your guns at even more robots. You will also save strange blob-like creatures (called Whibbles) from captivity with your remote control frisbee and bowling ball. Fairly standard then, except for the last two, and that’s basically all the games. We haven’t missed anything noteworthy.

You need a strong selection of interesting and varied events to make a game of this kind work, but there is a severe lack of creativity on show. Nevertheless, this could all be forgiven if the games were a joy to play, but this simply isn’t the case. They’re overly long and very repetitive; in fact, the rudimentary gameplay feels distinctly PS2 era.

This isn’t the worst thing about PlayStation Move Heroes; what really condemns it is how awkward and limiting the controls feel. If you hold an axe, you are only allowed to swing left, right and downwards. You often feel out of control: you can’t correct your actions mid-move, so you have to wait for the sluggish, awkward animation sequence to finish its cycle before you can act out your next move. It’s very disappointing – we know that Move is capable of so much more.

These games could be played with a DualShock controller. The simple swinging gestures could easily be replaced with a simple tap of the X button. The remote control sections are the only ones that truly try to embrace motion sensing. You control the movement of the frisbee and bowling ball by altering the angle of Move, after doing your swinging gesture to kick-start it. Sure you could do this with the analogue stick, but it sounds much more fun doing it this way.

Sadly, it’s not as much fun as it sounds – yes, explosive RC bowling balls are somehow not fun – and this is partly down to the controls being too responsive and the arenas often being too crowded to navigate. We had none of those satisfying moments you get from doing something delicate and subtle but incredibly effective – most moments are instead awkward and ineffective.

We had more enjoyment from using the blasters and flaming whips. Firing is a simple case of pointing to the target and pressing the trigger button – it’s very basic but it feels natural. As for the whips, who doesn’t like the idea of swinging a flaming whip at an oncoming robot fiend? Once again, you’re not in enough control of the whip for it to feel like Indiana Jones in space, but the animations are slick enough to feel good. Move’s orb glows orange to represent the flames and if you charge your whip, it’ll glow red. These are nice touches.

Nevertheless, those are minor cosmetic effects, and the crux of the matter is that PlayStation Move Heroes isn’t taking advantage of Move’s capabilities. You get none of that wonderful fidelity you get from swinging a weapon as you do in Sports Champions. Considering Move functionality is PlayStation Move Heroes’ biggest selling point (it’s in the title), we expect a lot more.

PlayStation Move Heroes’ other big seller is, of course, the heroes, and another opportunity has been missed with them. Aside from each character having their own special (we love Ratchet’s groovitron – which gets all the robots dancing), there’s barely anything to distinguish each playable character.

Before each event you will be asked to choose one of the three heroes or one of the three sidekicks. It should be an exciting moment. You’re about to play as your favourite PlayStation mascot, but the truth is, we didn’t put any thought into choosing one over another because it didn’t change the experience and it didn’t feel as though we were controlling our heroes.

Their charismatic personalities (superbly voiced by their original actors, as always) come across very well in the game’s few cutscenes, but more should be done to promote their personalities in-game. We can’t help but think these genuine PlayStation Heroes are being exploited.

Finally, our last complaint is with the multiplayer. This should be perfectly suited for competitive multiplayer, but that route has been ignored (aside from singleplayer leaderboards). We want to be in a game with our mates, trying to out-gun and out-whip them. It’s not possible. There is co-op multiplayer, but it is very limited (as is the case with much of the game). It’s essentially you getting your mate along to give you a hand with targeting, an experience that makes both of you feel useless.

Maybe we’re being too harsh. There is some enjoyment to be had with PlayStation Move Heroes – at least for half an hour – and we’re sure little Billy and other kids will find it easier to tolerate the lack of ambition on show here. We also suspect PlayStation Move Heroes is bearing the brunt of our frustrations, caused by the lack of Move-enabled releases. Move is a fantastic piece of hardware and it’s frustrating to see it getting half-heartedly applied to last-gen game mechanics in one of the few new releases, especially when it’s a big Sony published title. We’re not angry, just disappointed.

Second Opinion – Stefhutch20

Perhaps it’s just because I’m a big kid at heart, but I couldn’t help but like PlayStation Move Heroes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the best game ever made, and it’s certainly not what I would’ve chosen as the first original PS3 game starring Jak & Daxter or Sly Cooper. However, taken as what it is (i.e. a collection of PlayStation franchise-themed Move mini-games), then the title can actually be quite enjoyable. Yes, the story is negligible, and the multiplayer lacklustre, but for whatever reason, this is still the most fun I’ve had with a Move game since Sports Champions.

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