Sony Corp. gets gamers off the couch with its new motion controller, the PlayStation Move.
The Move is a sensitive device with extremely accurate character and object control. It's an attractively priced add-on to the PS3 system that allows gamers to enjoy a different breed of games they needed a Nintendo Wii to enjoy.
The Move sells for $49.99, but you need the PlayStation Eye camera ($39.99) to use it. And for titles where your character has to walk or run around, you also need the PlayStation Move navigation controller ($29.99).
The best bargain available at launch is the PlayStation Move bundle, which includes the Move and Eye devices and a title called "Sports Champions."
Move works by focusing the USB-connected Eye camera (attached to the PS3 and placed near the TV) on a glowing, color-changing rubber ball at the end of the motion controller. An internal gyroscope and accelerometer help determine the exact position you're holding the Move and how fast you're swinging it in any direction. The main "Move button" is most comfortably accessed with your thumb, and it's surrounded by the usual PlayStation controller action buttons.
The placement of the buttons and the feel of the controller seem comfortable and intuitive. The Move also sports a trigger button opposite the Move button for additional control.
"Sports Champions" (SCEA, $39.99, rated E10-plus) includes disc golf, table tennis, fencing, archery, beach volleyball, bocce and a gladiator duel. I compared several of the sports with my experience on the "Wii Sports Resort" title.
Disc golf on the Wii is fun, but disc golf on PS3 using Move is a fuller experience. It's stunningly realistic, with challenging built-in opponents and detailed terrain. One minute I was scrambling for par through a cave entrance guarded by trees and waterfalls; the next moment, I was skipping my choice of discs over the top of an icy lake, hoping to win the match and unlock some new hidden opponents.
In "EyePet" (SCEE, $39.99, rated E), a monkeylike virtual pet appeared to scamper around my room as it was presented on-screen. The Eye camera captured a live view of the room as I interacted with my pet, which I named Pip. It soon wore thin for me, but "EyePet" went over quite well with five children, all younger than 6. Pip hopped around the children's legs and arms, and fell asleep as one child stroked his blue fur with the Move controller.
"EyePet" is equal parts weird and fun, but some games don't translate to the Move's capabilities quite as well.
"Racquet Sports" (Ubisoft, $29.99, rated E), available this fall, opts for the doe-eyed cartoon characters similar to the Wii. But I didn't have much control over my player's movements or shot selection during the tennis and table tennis games.
Sony has taken motion control leaps further than Nintendo Wii in terms of fine movements and detailed control; combine that with the full high-definition graphics offered by the PlayStation 3 system and the Move becomes a must-have device for the game shelf.