Tag Archives: PlayStation Move

Wonderbook: Book of Spells Review

Wonderbook: Book of Spells (Available exclusively for the PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action/Puzzle
Publisher: SCEA
Developer SCE London Studios
Release Date: November 13th, 2012

Parent Talk: This is a perfectly safe game for your children. Sure there might be some scary images, much like the Harry Potter movies, but the game is geared towards the 6 to 12 age market, and I think it’s completely harmless for the target audience.

Plays Like: Have you ever played an augmented reality game? You know, one of those EyeToy games or a Kinect game where your body is placed in-game? Well, this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It has so much attention to detail, and will make your little wizard feel like they’re actually at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. By using the included peripheral players use the PlayStation Move controller in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera to get sucked into the game world where they will conjure up 20 unique spells.

Review Basis: Played through the whole game.

The Harry Potter series of books connected with people from all over the world like very few pieces of fiction do. The reason is simple, we all secretly hope that one day someone will come to us and tell us we’re actually magical. HP captured people’s imagination by infusing a magical subculture where you might actually have a chance to see something you’re not supposed to, and who knows, maybe you too have special powers. Wonderbook: Book of Spells largely succeeds in making the player feel as though they’re part of this unique world.

The Great:

Children will absolutely love this. As mentioned above, it’s targeted towards ages 6 to 12, and for those that love Harry Potter, actually having one of the most coveted possessions from the novels is a wonderful feeling. Kids will adore ‘virtually’ flipping through the pages to discover new spells and see creatures come to life on the TV screen. This is the ultimate gift you can give this holiday season to all young Potter fans.

The Good:

+ Learn 20 unique spells from the HP universe. Spells become more powerful as you progress making you feel as though you’re actually accomplishing something.

+ Attention to detail is staggering. From the way the game incorporates your body, to the wand and pages of the book themselves, Sony’s London Studio did a bang-up job making players feel completely immersed.

+ Simple and straightforward gameplay. Five chapters are broken down into sub-sections where new spells are slowly introduced. Players simply say the enhancement aloud, make some simple gestures and their spells come to life.

+ Much more to do than you realize at first. Sure it’s all about the spells, but eventually secrets start to pop up, there are duels and so much more.

+ It works! When this game was originally showcased at E3 there were some hiccups that made it seem less than it actually is. Spells work the first time, all the time.

The So-So:

+/- It can take a few tries to get the PlayStation Eye just right for the initial setup. It needs to be angled in such a way as you clearly see not only the player, but the Wonderbook as well. Once that’s done, you won’t have any issues whatsoever.

The Bad:

– The ending will leave you clamoring for more, and perhaps that was the idea. Still, it feels a little disappointing compared to the rest of the game’s story.

The Ugly:

Very little reason to come back for more other than the novelty of actually owning the Book of Spells. Young kids will appreciate this more so than older ones.

The Lowdown:

Taken for what it is, and who it’s geared towards the Wonderbook peripheral, and in particular Book of Spells is a fantastic holiday treat that will give children hours of entertainment. There’s almost nothing here for adults, but that was never intended. If you have a Harry Potter fan at home, this is a no-brainer.

Final Score: 8/10

Sports Champions 2 Review

Sports Champions 2 (Available exclusively on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Sports
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Zindagi Games
Release Date: October 30th, 2012

Parent Talk: Skiing, tennis, boxing, bowling, golf and archery are all popular sports played by millions of people around the globe, and while some might be a little more intense than others, it goes without saying that children show interest in sports at a very young age. Being ten and up is just about the perfect age to start getting involved in some of these sports, which is perfect because you’re getting all of them in Sports Champions 2.

Plays Like: Naturally the sequel to 2010’s hit Move game, Sports Champions, plays very much like the original, which in itself was very similar in design and scope as Wii Sports Resort. This is a much more mature and realistic version of that extremely popular Wii franchise. Use the Move controller to replace a racket in tennis, or the bowling ball, for more precise gameplay.

Review Basis: Played through all the different sports, and gameplay modes.

The original Sports Champions was a really fun game, and showed the power of the PlayStation Move controller. Sure it was compared to Wii Sports, which obviously inspired it. That said, the title also showed great promise with 1:1 gameplay. Not all of the featured games were hits, but those that worked, were fun. Now Zandagi Games is back with Sports Champions 2, and there’s no question this is one of the better Move games currently on the market. Normally that’s the start of a glowing review, but in this case there simply aren’t very many Move games being made these days.

The Great:

Archery returns. This was one of my favorite modes from the original game, alongside the simplistic but super fun Gladiator Duel. Archery remains largely unchanged. You make all the motions you would as in real life, and Zandagi has perfected this down to an art. Zandagi’s Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest used the same mechanic and it was great. If you have two Move controllers it works even better.

The Good:

+ Bowling is fun, period. If you know how to bowl, you’ll know exactly what to do here. Of all the games, this is the one you can get your grandmother to try.

+ While a good friend of mine had tons of issues with golf, I found it worked just as well as bowling. You naturally swing the Move controller as you would a golf club and away the ball goes. Simple as that.

+ Lot of gameplay options no matter what you play. You can either solo the game, or grab up to three of your friends and play competitively. There are many different gameplay modes available within the different sports to keep you nice and busy.

The So-So:

+/- Boxing is the official competitive gameplay mode that replaced Gladiator Duel, and while it’s fun and certainly deeper than most motion boxing games, the skill required to defeat your opponent is questionable at best. If you swing the move controllers like a lunatic, odds are you’ll win the match, or at least this is exactly what happened to me on more than one occasion. Results may vary.

+/- Tennis should have been the best game included this year, but sadly the limitations of the PlayStation Eye keep it from achieving greatness. Whenever the Eye loses sight of the Move controller your swing gets interrupted. This isn’t the game’s fault, it’s strictly a technical limitation. I tried several times to position my body differently to prevent this from happening, but no matter what I did eventually my swings wouldn’t come off as intended.

The Bad:

– Skiing never feels as cohesive or simple as all the other games in the package. I think a little refinement could have gone a long way in delivering a much more simplistic skiing experience.

The Ugly:

This was something I mentioned last time around that was overlooked again, no online play. What’s up with that Zandagi? Are there that few Move owners out there?

The Lowdown:

The PlayStation Move motion controller may not be the most popular peripheral ever invented, but it sure has some fun games available for it. They might not be epics or the greatest games of all time, but they’re fun and engaging. Sports Champions 2 is indeed fun. It’s biggest fault is that it doesn’t do anything particularly new or daring. It’s simply more of the same. Zandagi took the best elements of their previous games and combined them together to bring players a sports game worthy of the Move controller. In order to get the gold medal though, they’ll need to really push the boundaries next time around.

Final Score: 7.5/10

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise Review

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise [Available on PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii]
ESRB Rating: M
Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Feel Plus/Grasshopper Manufacture
Release Date: August 16, 2011

PSN: Downloadable Content
PlayStation Move Compatible

Parent Talk: No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is inundated with explicit violence, blood, profanity. NMH has a crude, comedic, over-the-top story and bizarre characters, making it much different than the typical violent action game. This game is not suitable for children.

Plays Like: A super-violent, anime-style version of Grand Theft Auto.

Review Basis: Completed the game on the “Mild/Normal” difficulty setting, also finished the original NMH releases on Wii.

No More Heroes was, and still is, an action gem for Nintendo Wii. Its brilliant fourth-wall-shattering story and over-the-top ultra violence made it a cult classic. Sadly, Nintendo fans can no longer claim exclusivity to Suda 51’s product. This PlayStation 3 remake finally allows Sony fans to enjoy Travis Touchdown’s exploits. But are you better off sticking with the Wii original?

The Great:

An HD overhaul. No More Heroes is one of Wii’s great, early action titles, but far from visually impressive, even for Wii. The PS3 version brings a much-needed makeover. Lighting and effects are improved, and Travis’ model is more detailed. The streets are active with more NPCs and textures are improved.

The Good:

+ The complete, original adventure on PS3! If you haven’t played No More Heroes, do check out our review here for story and gameplay details.

+ Trophy support. Wii unfortunately doesn’t support achievements of any kind, so the PS3 version may entice newcomers.

+ PlayStation Move and Dual Shock support. Heroes’ Paradise welcomes both formats, successfully bringing the original motion and standard control to the table. The Move integration functions well and mostly replicates the Wii experience. There’s little more satisfying than chopping down hordes of bad guys. The standard controls work too and offer a suitable alternative for those who care not for motion control.

+ Replay cutscenes and boss battles. The ability to revisit any boss fight makes collecting trophies easier too.

+ New Score Attack mode and online leaderboards. Score Attack is a fun distraction from the main game, though hardly essential to the game.

+ New boss battles. In addition to the original NMH villain cast, Heroes’ Paradise brings several bosses from NMH2, including Matt Helms and Alice Twilight.

+ Replay missions immediately if you fail. In No More Heroes, you had to exit the mission and re-select it. This makes the process less tedious.

+ A value pricepoint of $40.

+ Fantastic voice work and music. The soundtrack is the definition of pulse-pounding.

+ New Game Plus motivates you more to replay the game.

+ An excellent, over-the-top, gratuitous story. It pays homage to anime and cult films breaking the fourth wall at every opportunity. The insane characters and funny dialog make it one of the most unique action games this generation. Travis Touchdown is a hard character to sympathize for, but he’s certainly memorable.

The Bad:

– Repetitious enemy cries. The few voice clips said are funny, but not after a hundred times.

– The side jobs quickly become tedious and slow down an otherwise fun and fast-paced game.

– You can’t quick jump to a location, except when you retry a mission.

– The new bosses face you immediately after the story mission boss fights. This eliminates any tension leading up to the encounter.

– Santa Destroy now has more NPCs roaming the streets, but they’re basically all the same characters. The PS3 is plenty more capable than this, yet Grasshopper chose not to exploit that.

– The PlayStation Move controller requires constant calibration and is not much better than the Wii remote. It also lacks a speaker, so the phone call scenes lose their gimmick.

– Driving is awkward and sometimes broken. Several times my bike got stuck on something in the environment. Collision detection is spotty.

The Ugly:

– Horrible screen tearing and other visual problems. The presentation is significantly upgraded, but a remake should never be buggier than the original. Screen tearing persists throughout the game and slowdown plagues the combat and tense cutscenes. This remake lacks polish and should have spent more time in development. Again, the PS3 is a perfectly capable system, so these problems shouldn’t exist. Hopefully Grasshopper will release a patch soon.

The Lowdown:

Despite crippling technical problems, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise is a great action title worth experiencing. The Wii version is the cheaper alternative, but the PS3 version boasts trophy support, standard controller options, and extra content. Pick whichever suits your interests more.

Score: 7/10

 

Killzone 3 Review

Killzone 3
ESRB Rating: M
Players: 1-24
Genre: FPS
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Guerilla Games
Release Date: February 22, 2011
PlayStation Network Compatible
PlayStation Move (Sharpshooter) Support
3D Compatible

Parent Talk: Killzone 3 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB for blood, gore, intense violence and strong language.  Heed the warning; this is in no way a game children should play.

Review Basis: Played through the campaign on Normal difficulty.  Participated in ten different online matches (All gameplay modes).  Acquired 25% of the trophies.

The sky is scorched; bullets are flying. The Helghast resistance isn’t giving up.  You’re using an old wrecked tank as cover, pondering your next move.  Suddenly a radio communication states that the Helghast have released a new biological weapon against the ISA, and you’re the only one who can stop its use on Earth.  Biting down hard, you tightly hold that assault rifle and pop out of cover to take on hoards of Helghast troops breathing down your neck.  The fate of humanity lays sqaurely on the shoulders of your team.  Never give up, never surrender!

If you like that illustration, Killzone 3 (K3) should be in your possession.  It’s been referred to as an experience, a visual knockout, and a wonderfullyaddictive game.   I think it’s an FPS that every PS3 fan should grab.  It’s one of the best games of 2011.  Yes, I went there.


The Great

The audio-visual experience you can enjoy with a quality surround sound system and 1080p HDTV is incredible.  One of my qualms with Killzone 2 was its lack of color.  Everything was muted, saturated by browns and grays.  The animations were great, but overall Helghan was a very drab world.  That’s not a problem anymore.  There are actually blues and greens!  Who would’ve thought?  You even see man-eating flora and other vegetation.  I never thought I’d live to see the day.

Killzone 2’s animation engine returns, but with tweaks that improve your movement and interactions.  In fact, everything has a fresh coat of paint. K3 is one of the best-looking PS3 games to date.

The audio is equally impressive.  The cussing has been toned down, and the entire sound engine has been overhauled.  Grenades explode with more oomph, guns roar and the music/environmental effects help liven Helghan.

 

The Good

+ The story.  Some suggest that K3’s plot is lacking, I don’t know what game they played.  The narrative picks up where Killzone 2 ended.  You’re still on Helghan, and the resistance isn’t buckling. All your favorite characters…those that survived at least, return.  Together, you work to prevent a biological weapon from eradicating Earth.  What’s not to like about that?

+ Vastly improved control.  I thought K2 had sluggish movement and controls.  This isn’t Gears of War; you’re not supposed to sense as though you weigh 800 pounds, are you?  Improvements arrived through a variety of patches, but it never “got there” as they say.  With K3, you feel the difference immediately. It’s leagues better.  Running is more natural; aiming is quick and responsive.  That’s how an FPS shoud play.

+ Beneficial Move support .  If you don’t own the Sharpshooter peripheral, which uses the Move controller, I encourage you to invest in one.  It dramatically changes the experience, increasing the sense of authenticity that you’re part of the war. There’s a pump-action gun, different rates of fire and so much more.  I could write forever about the genius Move integration, but I leave it to you to discover.

+ Variety.  One moment you’re navigating an open environment eliminating dozens of incoming enemies, the next you’re manning a military tank, in the air with a jetpack, and even having a dogfight in space.  This is exactly why I play shooters, for an experience like no other.  The competition has made it so that every developer is forced to think outside the box. Mission accomplished Guerilla.

+ Robust multiplayer.  A variety of modes, bots, a newly-improved ranking system and virtually lag-free experience…Killzone 3 has it where it counts.

+ Ready for the future.  Great Move support is one thing, but how about 3D?  I’d love to tell you how cool it is, but I only enjoyed it once during E3 2010.  It was nifty, and I want to play the game in 3D with the Sharpshooter.  Sadly I don’t own a 3D HDTV, so I can’t comment.  I’m sure it’s a plus that the game features this unique mode.

 

The Bad

– Audio syncing.  I noticed lip syncing issues, where at times characters would talk, but their faces would lag a few frames behind in the scene.  It’s a little jarring.  This also applies to non-conversation segments.  Actions occur before the audio catches up.  It’s infrequent, but noticeable.

– No co-op.  An FPS without online co-op nowadays is inexcusable.  Seriously, it’s annoying.

The Ugly

It doesn’t happen often, but framerate slowdown takes away from the experience.  Killzone 3 drops to around 14 fps during intense moments, which is unfortunately because otherwise the presentation is outstanding.  Just be prepared for it.

 

The Lowdown

Killzone 3 is an achievement that I can’t recommend enough.  Buy it right now.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.




PlayStation Move Games – Screenshot Explosion

It’s taken me some time to get my hands on all these screenshots, but alas here they are.  These are all games that are centered around the new PlayStation Move controller.  Boy I just can’t get used to saying that name.  Anyways, be sure to leave us a comment saying which games you think look cool, etc.  Click the thumbnail for a larger version of each screenshot.  Games shown include EyePet, Motion Fighter, Move Party, Sports Champions, and The Shoot. Enjoy!



PlayStation Motion Controller To Feature Wireless Nunchuck?

CVG posted a very interesting story on their site that I thought I should share with the rest of you.  Apparently one of their best sources leaked some information about the forthcoming PlayStation motion controller at GDC this week.  This source said the controller will have a nunchuck attachment like the Wii, except that it will be completely wireless.

The other information CVG mentions is about a trademark filed in Europe by Sony for something called PlayStation Move.  That seems far more indicative than Arc, which is what everyone has been referring to the motion controller as being called up until this point.

All if this information is purely speculative at this point in time, but it’s fun to post news stories like this because in the off chance the story actually turns out correct, than you may have just heard it here first ;)