E3 2010: Getting our Move on After witnessing the success of the Nintendo Wii, the market for games using motion control steamed up at last year’s E3 with the announcement of Microsoft’s Natal Kinect and Sony’s Playstation Move.  Fast-forward a year to this year’s E3 and to Sony’s booth where Binh and I were able to spend a little time with the Playstation Move.  Let the waggle begin.

With a lot of E3 focused on either 3D gaming or motion control, Sony’s Eyepet gives you plenty of both.  As I sat down, I felt I had to “gear up.”  The demonstrator fired up the active 3D glasses, I got them on, acquainted myself with the Playstation Move controller and was finally ready to start.  For the unfamiliar, Eyepet is a virtual animal that you play with and must maintain.  It’s a bundle of fur with four legs and big smiling eyes.  First off, the 3D is brilliant (if you can afford it).  The amount of detail and depth perception is astounding.  If I moved my free hand towards the little guy, he would run away or jump over it, which felt surprisingly satisfying. 

Moving on to the Move controls, first, I played ball and a few other cutesy games.  The one-to-one motion works like a charm.  There is a slight delay for rapid movement, but it is barely noticeable and only in certain situations.  I then was tasked with cleaning him.  Scrub, scrub, scrub, a light rinse and finish with a blow dry – the cleaning went quickly, but I was amazed at the interaction between my movements with the Move controller and the results on-screen.  Even slight tilts of the wrist meant the difference between rinsing our little soapy friend and watering the screen.  I ended my demo with tracing the outline of a plane and then controlling the plane and taking my eyepet for a ride in the clouds.  The flight control was tight, but the drawing lines part was wonky and felt more like I was fat-fingering keys while typing on a small keyboard.  The Move worked great and the 3D was cool, but ultimately, I am not that game’s target demographic and had no lasting appeal for me.

Next, I took a spin using the Move on SOCOM 4.  The good news is, the controls are tight and are well utilized.  The bad news is: there were times I felt like I was playing a PS3 game with Wii remotes.  The differences were with the button layout and the bounding box.  While I occasionally had to look down due to how new it was to me, I always felt like I was never stretching to utilize all the buttons.  One of the Wii-mote’s biggest sins, finding and executing button presses were a breeze.  Of course, having the D-pad on the left hand, instead of the right hand remote, made all the difference in the world.  The other big plus was the bounding box.  For the uninitiated, the bounding box is an invisible rectangle where moving your cursor within the box tells the game that you are looking around and moving your focus outside the box indicates to the system to wish to turn to the right or left or look up or down.  For the demo, they had three fixed choices for how big the bounding box is, but I was reassured that the box size will be completely customizable.

Otherwise, it was point and shoot or point and give squad commands.  It was easy and intuitive to pick up the game and its controls - well, that is, outside of how terrible I am at using cover.  After calling a few air strikes and getting myself completely out of position, I finally died in a barrage of gunfire.  From there, I moved on to Heavy Rain, which is being patched in order to take advantage of the Move’s capabilities.

After waiting for a group of guys boys to finish their demo, and suffering through their Neanderthal comments regarding Madison’s shower scene that made me ashamed of my gender, I picked up the controls and allowed myself to get sucked back into a world I had thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year.  The Move control changes are immediately noticeable.  The left stick is walk – it’s that easy.  Holding R2 to walk was one of the biggest complaints about Heavy Rain’s controls.  People, Quantic Dream heard you and this is their response.  Looking around is done with the wand in your right hand, which feels smooth and works well unless you start shaking the wand back-and-forth and your character looks like Wily E. Coyote after drinking a bottle of hot sauce.

Using the Move wand for actions felt more fluid and - I hate to use a cliché - immersive.  To commit actions, you hold the wand to begin in one of two ways.  Either you begin by holding the wand as you would a flashlight, or you hold the wand upright as you would a flight stick.  From there you simply commit the action presented to you.  You may have to make a quarter rotation or turn it like a doorknob or thrust forward or move right to left.  While these may not seem like vast changes outside of the walking, it feels different in your hands.

Overall, with the new games presented, made specifically for Move (Sorcery!), the games that will be retrofitted to work with Move and the realistic price point, the Playstation Move will be a strong contender this holiday when the ‘Big 3’ go to motion control war.  I would still like to see more games before I settle in for the big purchase and adoption, but during this E3, Sony really convinced me that they see Move as just another way to play your games and not some absolute, definitive way games must be played.

Binh's Take:

As I was waiting in line to get some hands-on with Sony Playstation Move, I soon find myself bypassing everyone in order to play the demo for The Shoot. Using the Move, you dodge attacks and shoot enemies.  Enemies range from robots to outlaws. Five locations were available to shoot. With unlimited bullets and no need to reload, the game is eerily similar to playing Time Crisis. So now that you have a taste of what The Shoot is all about, let's talk about the Playstation Move.

Having to hold the Move like a pistol was a bit awkward at first, but it didn't take me long to become accustomed to it. The only button I had to use was the trigger button, but that is not just a 'win' button. You must aim properly using the Move, as well as dodge or take cover to avoid enemy attack. To do this, you need to move your body - or at least the controllers - to make your attempts. Was it one-to-one with that? For the most part, yes it was. After seeing what they have in store for the Move's Shooting Attachment, I am really interested on seeing how well the game is played with the attachment. Overall I would say the Move is better than the WiiMote when it comes to precision and accuracy. We will have to wait and see what titles will come out after the initial title release.