If you've been keeping a weather eye on PlayStation Move coverage, you've probably come to the conclusion that Sony's latest foray into motion control is an extremely competent peripheral in search of genuinely good games. Luckily, the PlayStation 3 already had some genuinely good games knocking about, and now some of them have had Move support patched in.
These aren't system-sellers, then, but they aren't really meant to be. Rather, think of them as a potential added bonus, and a decent glimpse of what developers can do with the tech in a short space of time. Was it all worth it? How well do they work? Why did Patrick Duffy struggle to find meaningful roles after Dallas? All but one of these questions will be answered below.
[Note: in all the cases listed, the left side of the DualShock 3 or Sixaxis works just as well as the Navigation controller.]
[Warning – contains the odd spoiler.]
I was so emotionally engaged with the taut and multi-textured psychodrama of Heavy Rain on my first playthrough that, once it was finished, I grew a beard, broke up with my wife, and arranged to have one of my children wedged into a drain. Actually, I did none of these things, but I did think, "Ooh, I bet that game would work well with Move controls. (And some decent actors.)"
Right again, me. Heavy Rain: Move Edition takes a bit of, um, acclimatisation, but it reeks of attention to detail.
Good news: if you hated the walking mechanic of the original, it's gone, replaced with a more standard set-up roping in the Navigation controller's thumbstick. Getting around is a lot easier, then – and you can move the camera a bit at the same time with the Move itself – but most of the new interactions will require a half-hour or so to really get used to them.
It's worth it, though. The bulk of your fun involves squeezing the Move's trigger and moving the controller through the air either horizontally or vertically. After a while, even the tricky stuff starts to feel fairly natural, and when it finally clicks and you're doling out cash, unlocking doors or, I don't know, chopping an appendage off, it can seem rather pleasantly like you've become a mime – which is probably what that haughty Parisian David Cage had in mind all along.
Pushing and pulling actions give the game a physicality it missed before, and Quantic Dream seems to have taken real care throughout, finding intelligent and interesting analogues for the original moves, whether you're selecting thoughts by highlighting them with a pointer or engaging in a wheezy fist fight. I still got the worst ending, of course, but, to be honest, I never really liked that kid in the first place.
Tiger Woods: PGA Tour 11
Golf and a cylindrical controller just itching for you to swing it around seem like such a natural fit. The only explanation for implementation as disappointing as this, then, is that it's the result of a rushed retrofitting. This isn't an afterthought, I'm guessing – it's the thought you have after you've had an afterthought.
While pointing the Move to line up shots with an overhead view is just about acceptable, and the controller has no trouble registering details like the angle you're holding it at, when it comes to the crucial business of swinging the club, the whole grand illusion has a tendency to fall apart. There's lag, there's occasional failure to register movements that the game normally never struggles with, there's no real way to apply things like spin using the Move itself, and it's almost impossible to judge the force of your shots. Judging force: silly little hats aside, that's kind of a big chunk of what golf actually is.
Compound that with the fact that there's no sense of connection with the ball and very little sense of connection with the on-screen animation, and there's scant reason to even bring up things like poor in-game instructions and the fact that Move can't be used to do stuff such as navigate through menus when you're away from the fairway. All told, it's probably easier to land membership in the Freemasons than it is to get a good round of golf playing like this. It's probably more fun, too – particularly if you have a thing about ballroom-dancing with retired police inspectors or drinking red wine out of a lamb's skull.
When EA has a chance to make a Move golf game from the ground up, I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that most of these problems are going to disappear. It took the publisher a while to make the Wii sing, after all, and Move seems to have at least as much potential. For now, however, if golf is a good walk spoiled, then Tiger Woods with Move is a good virtual walk spoiled. PGA 11 is still an excellent game when played as intended, but with motion control integration of this quality, it becomes considerably less excellent when you put the DualShock down. Not ideal.
Resident Evil 5
With movement on the Navigation controller, shooting and stabbing on the Move, and fiddly stuff like inventory, map access and telling Shiva to please-stop-jogging-against-that-wall-people-are-starting-to-stare on the face buttons, Resident Evil 5 makes a lot of sense. On top of that, Capcom offers two different control configurations, which flip "locate partner" and "run/quick turn" between L1 and X depending on how your brain is wired up.
It's quirky, though. Rather than being used to, you know, fire the gun, the Move's trigger locks you in position and brings up the aiming reticule, and you then shoot with a stab of the Move button on top of the controller. It works better than it sounds, but with no second stick, you're still going to have to aim – and stop moving – if you want to look about very much. Some won't like the fact that you can't nudge the screen around at all by moving the targeting reticule to the edge (with gun drawn, the only way to move the screen is to use the left stick), but it does means you don't get that juddery feel a lot of motion-control shooters have whenever aiming and the camera are tied together. It's not as much of a problem as it sounds, really.
You can tweak sensitivities and enjoy some fairly pedestrian gestural stuff, mostly involving shaking (guess when) if you want to, but, while it all works well enough, you may still be left with a nagging feeling that shooters and motion controllers don't really fit together that naturally most of the time, no matter how well-intentioned everything is.
If shooters don't always click with motion controls, how about RTS games? They can work surprisingly well, actually. With R.U.S.E, the Move's pointer is not quite as flexible and reactive as a mouse, but the lag isn't bad at all, and after your initial assault on Colditz Castle, you may find yourself really enjoying the experience.
Unit selection and movement are handled via pointing, and mass selection, deselection and opening the Production menus are stuck on the face buttons – although you can also open the latter with a sharp swing to the right. It's pretty easy to jab around the battlefield moving artillery about, sending innocent men to their deaths, and rocking up on a tank ambush with just the wrong kind of defence. Moving about the map is handled with the left stick, and zooming and turning are done by holding the trigger down and tilting the Move like a fishing rod: you'll be clumsy at first, but it quickly starts to sink in and it generally feels quite precise.
Blast around too hectically and you can throw off the calibration, but any annoyance at that was wiped away for me the first time I selected an enemy unit to blow up and the squidgy Move light bulb started to glow an ominous red. Take that, Kaiser. (The Second World War was the one with the Kaiser, right?)
Ultimately, to get the best out of an RTS, you're going to prefer a mouse – but this is still an appealing and somewhat novel way of playing. Like the game itself, Move integration has been no rush job here; if it tempts more players into picking up Ubisoft's thoughtful and inventive spin on the RTS, I'm in favour of it.
Pets really are good value. They provide young children with hours of entertainment. They don't require batteries, internet connections, strategy guides, or easy access to a plug socket. They don't come with DRM, and they give couples in struggling relationships something to do after work rather than sit around apportioning blame. Finally, as they expire, they even teach any kids caught in the blast radius an important lesson about mortality: everything dies, baby, that's a fact. Bruce Springsteen said that.
And he was wrong. EyePet doesn't die (neither will Joan Rivers, I suspect). It's probably not even something Sony has planned for DLC.
Part monkey, part troll, part asthmatic Chihuahua, EyePet was a smart idea when it first appeared last year, albeit one that was waiting for technology to catch up slightly. Now, technology has caught up, with Move replacing the original game's magical flashcard. EyePet: Move Edition keeps the basics of the first instalment intact, but it allows you to interact with the same range of pet toys and gadgets in a far more satisfying manner.
The game beyond the controller is still sweet, but still limited, though. There's a decent number of mini-games, but they're unimaginative. Those that turn the Move controller into various gadgets crank things up a notch as Sony's software superimposes various fantastical devices over the glowing lollipop in your hand and puts them to work. This kind of stuff struggled to be entirely credible with the Magic Card that came with the original box, but with Move the implementation is ideal.
You'll soon be feeding your pet cookies, scaring him with a dangly toy ghost, taking him bowling, and drawing cars and planes that come to life and zip him around the living room. The moment Sony's really perfected, however, is bathing: covering the EyePet in suds, washing him off and then drying him results in a perfect marriage of simple Move controls and well-judged animations. It presents a kind of idealised take on pet ownership that is almost convincing. Sure, you sound like a weird strain of sex criminal talking about it, but it's a masterful piece of coding.
Brilliantly clever but slightly aimless, this remains a bit of a gimmick, ultimately. A dog is for life, but EyePet is probably still just for Christmas.