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PlayStation Move Demo-Disc Impressions

When the PlayStation Move launches in less than a month, it will be available for purchase as a standalone controller, or it will be available as a PlayStation Move Starter Bundle, with or without a PS3. Those bundles, along with a PlayStation Move controller, will feature a copy of Sports Champions, a PlayStation Eye, and a demo-disc filled with a plethora of Move titles to try out. We recently spent some time with the packed in demo-disc and are ready to give our in-depth impressions of what’s to come.

When inserting the demo-disc for the first time, you are greeted with a menu that is reminiscent of the XMB’s What’s New section. The demo features: Sports Champions, Start the Party, The Shoot, TV Superstars, Beat Sketchers, Tumble, Kung-Fu Riders, and a Move enabled demo of Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2010. Along with the listed games, there is a PlayStation Move setup guide, that teaches you how to setup and calibrate the controller. Selecting a demo will prompt you to install it onto your HDD before being able to launch it. This was rather disappointing, as there’s over 8GB worth of demos on the disc, and we were extremely eager to start playing with our Move. On a brighter note, this may mean that these demos could find their way onto the PlayStation Store on or around launch day.

The first game we tried, was the game that’s being bundled with every PlayStation Move Starter Bundle – Sports Champions – and, much like Wii Sports, it is seemingly the showcase title for the PlayStation Move. However, this isn’t Wii Sports… at all. In fact, the mere comparison is laughable considering how basic the gesture based functionality demonstrated by the Wii next to the Move’s astounding precision. Two of the “sports” are available for you to try out in the demo, Table Tennis and Disc Golf. Table Tennis is just what you’d expect considering the title. You’re knocking a ping-pong ball back-and-fourth across a table with an opponent across from you. This is where you’ll first note the accuracy displayed when translating your movements onto the screen. Turning the Move controller, will turn the paddle. To test out just how well this worked, we hung the controller from the wrist-strap, and spun it around our wrist hula-style as we watched in amazement how perfectly the movement was translated onto the in-game paddle. Press down the trigger button, jerk the controller upward, letting go of the button (like you’re letting go of a ping-pong ball) and give the ball a whack to serve it. Proceed to play Table Tennis just as you would in real life, swinging and backhanding until you get a point. The game even registers how hard and how fast you’re swinging, as well as the angle the paddle is being swung. Getting the right amount of speed, strength and angle sends a powered up shot toward the opponent. Poor them. The next “sport” available was Disc Golf. The idea of this is sort of like Frisbee, except instead of hitting a ball in a hole, the goal is to toss a Frisbee into a basket across the green. However, the rules of the game plays out just like Golf, complete with birdies, bogeys, and pars. Again, using the trigger button to “squeeze” the disc, pull your arm back and swing toward the screen letting go of the trigger button to release the disc. Angle, speed, and strength is also vital here in achieving victory. Depending on how far into the swing you release the disc at, and what angle you’re doing so from, the disc will travel and spin accordingly. Sports Champions features additional “sports” such as archery and a gladiator fighting game, but sadly, these aren’t featured in the demo.

After that we gave the arcade style point and shoot gaming a try with ‘The Shoot’. It plays just a like an arcade light gun game, but with the highest of precision. The demo has the Outlaws stage available to try out, and so we did. If you’ve played any of this style of game before, you’ll feel right at home with The Shoot. Take aim at what appears to be wooden cut-outs of Wild West outlaw types on the set of a movie. The full game features a number of different movie sets and different scenarios for you to play through. To spice things up a bit, there are special moves which require you to swirl the PlayStation Move around over your head like you would a lasso, to perform a “showstopper” – a special move that slows down time. There are other special moves available as well. Another cool feature was to have a old-time duel with a bandit, where I had to lower the controller, count down, and draw, putting bullet after bullet in my challenger. Overall, The Shoot is fun, but it’s not really a great game to show off what the Move is capable of.

Then, we fired up Start the Party, to well, get the party started. Don’t let this game’s kiddy appearance fool you. It’s a complete blast to play, and one of my most highly recommended Move launch titles. Choosing single player gives you two game types to play. The first was a bug swatting game, where you did just that. The PlayStation Move magically turned into an on-screen racket which you use to splay bugs onto your TV screen. Next up was a simple fill-in-the-color game. Various shapes would appear on screen, and it’s your job to paint those in and show off your masterpiece. In group play, however, there’s those two game types as well as a “quick fire” mode which tossed additional game types at you in short spurts in rapid succession. These had you playing Whack-a-Mole, slicing fruit with a sword, bouncing basketballs into a hoop, and snacking on flies with a frog. I can’t stress enough just how fun this game was to play. The best part about it, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what mini-game types the full game offers. We’ve seen everything from brushing an alligator’s teeth to buzzing an on-screen character’s hair. Hilariously fun, great for families, and best of all, it’s a great game to see just what the PlayStation Move can do.

On to TV Superstars. The game itself was probably the least exciting and enjoyable among the demos. What little we played had us dancing and strutting our stuff on a runway, swinging our hands around to strike poses and excite the crowd. This game seemed more gesture-based and didn’t show off the accuracy the PlayStation Move was capable of. Despite the mostly negative tone we’ve taken with the demo thus far, there was one extremely fun highlight. Using the PlayStation Eye, you snapped 3 photos of your face to be superimposed onto the in-game creatable character. The game prompts you to get inside and line yourself up in a box on-screen, while the PS Eye shows you exactly how close to get and where to position yourself by showing a view of the room the Eye is looking at, with you in it. Step up to get your photo taken and snap the shot with the Move button. The end result was some gut-bustingly funny images of you on the runway, showing off your actual smile or grimace, depending on if you’re doing well or not. Hysterical.

Next we gave Beat Sketchers a try. The demo was very scarce on features but regardless was a lot of fun. The premise here is to doodle and draw all over yourself and the room around you. Just paint thin air using the PlayStation Move, and you’ll be painting all over the video captured by the PlayStation Eye. Draw an eye-patch, mustache and beard to give you that pirate look you’ve always wanted. Pimp yourself out with some flashy bling. Paint a picture of a sunny day with flowers blooming. And do it all to funky music in the background. The tools available are decent enough, and there are plenty of colors to choose from to give yourself the PlayStation Move version of a photoshopping. For the most part, the demo was rather lacking, so let’s hope there are lot more features available in the full game.

Now it was time to take to the streets of Hong Kong riding an office chair in Kung-Fu Rider. This game was very much gesture-based and a little frustrating at first. Though once we got the hang of it, we had no problem whipping around tight corners, ducking under cars, grinding railings and roundhouse kicking nearby members of the Mafia. Make it to the “mobile office” and the end of the stage to win. For some reason, Kung-Fu Rider reminded me a lot of the PSN game, PAIN. This might be due to the use of the Havok physics engine and the mostly juvenile graphics and gameplay. Don’t take that the wrong way. If you like that sort of thing you’re in for a real treat. Others that tried it seemed to have a blast with it, so we definitely think you should give it a chance.

The PlayStation Move enabled version of Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2010 was essentially the same game, just a more realistic swing thanks to the PlayStation Move. Depress the trigger button, pull back and let her rip! Make sure to get the speed and angle right, and be sure to follow through with your swing. In a way, using the PlayStation Move made the game more difficult, but at the same time, leaps and bounds more realistic. Tiger would be proud and it’s a killer app for Golf fans who own a PlayStation 3.

Last, but oh so certainly not least was Tumble. Tumble, as we like to say, is a glorified tech demo turned puzzle game. All within a 3D plane, you use the PlayStation Move by pressing the trigger button to grab blocks, and stack them up on a platform in the middle of the screen. Sounds simple enough, right? It’s not. The physics displayed here are spot on. If your stack is out of balance, it’s almost certainly going to ‘tumble’ and come crashing down. Building towering stacks of various shaped blocks to certain heights nets you in-game medals. As you accumulate medals, more stages become available. Not all stages were about building piles of blocks. Some had you planting mines all over pre-built stacks and detonating the mines to blow the stack sky-high. Where you place the mines will factor into how far the blocks go, and the further they go the more points you’re awarded. Another stage featured a stick of dynamite with a block on top, with a wall of blocks in front of it. You had to place the mines in order, to first detonate the dynamite, sending the block on-top into the air, while a cleverly placed mine on the back of the block propels it over the wall when the second mine explodes. Other challenges had us building towers around objects, counterbalancing lighter blocks with heavy blocks to avoid tipping all while building your way around an obstruction. If all of that wasn’t enough, Tumble is the only PlayStation Move game on the disc that’s 3D enabled for use with a 3DTV and active shutter glasses. Activating the 3D mode added immense depth to the 3D plane as you moved the PlayStation Move controller around. It actually made the game easier to play, and made solving the puzzles easier to achieve as you had a much better sense of the positioning of blocks. Tumble and the PlayStation Move, combined with 3D, was by far the most impressive experience out of all the PlayStation Move demos available on the disc. But even without 3D, Tumble was among our top favorite games available at PlayStation Move’s launch. If you like puzzle games, this is a must buy to go with your new PlayStation Move purchase.

As you can tell by our short descriptions of the games featured on the PlayStation Move demo-disc, the PlayStation Move’s launch line-up is going to be mostly a family-friendly, more casual, party styled affair. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. At all. However, those of you craving a more deep, exhilarating, hardcore gaming experience are going to have to wait a bit longer. At least until The Fight: Lights Out hits this year, and then next year, SOCOM 4 and Killzone 3 – both of which are planned to support PlayStation Move. That said, we recommend you let loose a little, take a much need break from all the shooters and action games to have a little fun at the hands of PlayStation Move. If you still need a more adult feeling game to try your new PlayStation Move out on, you may already own some PlayStation Move titles. MAG, Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition will be receiving patches to enable compatibility with PlayStation Move. Even some PlayStation Network titles are said to get Move support some time on or after the Move hits stores this September.