It was a very good year

This September we celebrated PS Move’s first birthday by chronicling in Move’s First Year – Part One the most notable news and titles that were released between September and December 2010. We continued with this retrospective theme this month by analysing Move's First Year — The Stinkers, and we forecast the most anticipated releases in Four Must-Have Move Games for the Future. We now move ahead with Part Two of our feature and in this instance we look at the highlights of the four months between January and April 2011. This was a period of particular note as Movemodo’s highest scoring 10/10 game, a spectacular first-person shooter (FPS), was released in February.

News, January 2011

Following the Christmas rush of games the New Year can be a quiet time in gaming, but 2011 started with a focus upon one of PS Move’s top shooters as in the UK HMV had exclusivity on the extravagant special Helghast Edition of Killzone 3. The game was not due until February, but pre-orders were opened for gamers to invest in a £112.33 pack that included a foreboding hand-decorated Helghast soldier’s helmet. Continuing on the shooter theme, Nyko were preparing a rifle gun attachment called the Power Shot (now re-named Skill Shot) and a Perfect Shot pistol set, to rival Sony’s own official Sharp Shooter and Gun Attachment.

Now that's what we call a special edition

Shooting games, whether on-rails or FPS, were being established as a perfect fit for PS Move and Sony’s director of hardware marketing, John Koller, expressed an emphasis on games like Killzone 3 and SOCOM: Special Forces as a way of "layering on more and more core titles" to promote the peripheral’s growth. Meanwhile, cutesy platforming fans and gamer’s who loved to ‘Play, Create and Share’ would have to wait until deeper into 2011 to enjoy LittleBigPlanet 2’s Move content. At least they could quickly keep both their Navigation and Move controller charge topped up simultaneously, by investing in a newly announced Rapid Charger by Blaze.

Months before gamers associated the word Vita with anything other than a typo that had dropped the letter 'L', Sony’s hotly anticipated Next Generation Portable was impressing with the depth of its Swiss army knife functionality. The inclusion of six-axis motion controls demonstrated its links back to the technology in a Move wand, with its three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer and a three-axis electronic compass being inherited from the Move controller.

Best Games, January 2011

January could have easily been a quiet month for Move games, particularly as the only retail release was an unimpressive Zumba Fitness, but three PSN titles would ensure that 2011 started with a bang. Modern Combat: Domination brought Call of Duty-style gameplay with a PS Move edge as “Gameloft takes on the online FPS shooter genre with guns blazing and largely succeeds.” If you preferred solving puzzles as opposed to the art of fragging, Blue Toad Murder Files offered a charming English village brimming with eccentric characters for solving a ‘whodunit?’ mystery.

Remember when this was NGP?

Both games scored 7/10, but one particular PSN sci-fi horror game would provide the stand-out Necromorph shooting gallery in January, as Dead Space: Extraction feasted on a glorious 9/10 Movemodo score. It was praised as a “unique play style lands the game as one of the premiere on-rails shooters available on the market with its intense gameplay.”

News, February 2011

February opened with an interview with Philip Asher at Trendy Entertainment who provided detail about colourful dungeon crawler, Dungeon Defenders, a title that has recently received a very favourable review on Movemodo. A second prominent interview on the site was with Sanzaru Games regarding adding a HD sheen to the The Sly Collection’s vibrant cel-shaded graphics and creating its specifically designed Move mini games. The influx of PS Move attachments continued apace as CTA Digital announced a three-in-one Sniper Rifle Gun, that transformed into either an assault rifle, shotgun or sniper rifle. It did not, however, conceal a robot in disguise. The rumour of the month was the fantastic news that spiritual prequel to Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, Q Entertainment’s rhythm action game Child of Eden, would make a sound addition to the diversity of Move’s library.

We had a long wait for this, but it was worth it

In truth there was one game dominating both the news and review sections of Movemodo, a title which would receive our highest ever score was preparing for a 22nd February US release with a multiplayer beta at the start of the month. Guerrilla Games were open in expressing praise towards Sony’s motion control prowess, stating that in the future “first-person-shooters will be played like this.” Another titbit of note was that Killzone 2 provided preparation work for Guerrilla’s implementation of Move controls, as lead programmer Tommy de Roos explained that “One of the first ideas was to create an on-rails version of Killzone 2.”

Best Games, February 2011

The top-scoring 10/10 Movemodo game was, of course, Killzone 3, a title that was a true showcase for the wonders of PS Move. Not only was the implementation of motion controls “nothing short of perfect”, but we considered it the “best implementation we’ve yet seen with PlayStation Move and the Sharp Shooter attachment as well, and Killzone 3 finally fulfils its whispered potential from 2003, becoming the Halo-killer once and for all.”

There were only two retail titles reviewed this month, but that was inconsequential, as ultimately Killzone 3 owned February. However, if you did decide to take time out from surviving the perils of being stranded on Helghan, Blue Tongue Entertainment’s de Blob 2 provided an inventive gameplay mechanic of restoring colour to the game’s landscape, earning a 7/10 for this fun platform game.

Spectacularly beautiful game.

News, March 2011

March started with an intriguing piece of news that Dungeon Defenders would include cross-platform link support, making the Move version compatible with the game on Windows, iOS and Android platforms. Movemodo interviewed the double team of Orb Games and Beatshapers regarding PSN StarDrone, which they described as a “multi-genre skill game that combines high speed action and puzzle solving, with elements of pinball, exploration, avoiding obstacles and fighting enemies.”

In accessory news, Snakebyte’s third party MOV-CON and NAV-CON controllers were nearing a release — though we're still waiting! — and our resident FPS expert, Christopher Ingram, provided detailed impressions on the Sharp Shooter and handy tips towards utilising this peripheral in Killzone 3. This feature linked nicely with our talking point, which asked Should Move Controls Become the FPS Standard?, with our user comments joining the debate resulting in a consensus that a standard could be achieved if it was optional and that gamers benefit from a personal choice of either DualShock 3 or Move controls. Sony reiterated this point, as Resistance 3 was announced as including both PS Move and Sharp Shooter support, but in the news Sony was clear that they would never ditch traditional controllers. Many Move gamers who were enamoured with the motion controls for Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition were excited for the potential for wand controls in its PS3 HD remake, but their omission turned out to be a missed opportunity on Capcom’s part.

Move Game of the Year?

Meanwhile, Ken Levine was adamant that including PS Move controls in BioShock Infinite could be construed as “cheating gamers”, he elaborated that “I’d never want to throw in Move support just because it’s going to make some first party happy or because some marketing department wants it on the box because, at the end of the day, gamers know.” Little did he know that as a direct response to these comments Sony would make a special request to meet him to discuss the benefits of Move, and three months later he would be standing on Sony’s conference stage expressing a change of heart after his initial scepticism. For fans of PS Move, this would lead to one of the most exciting announcements of E3 2011. The humbling nature of hindsight is a glorious thing to behold.

Best Games, March 2011

Although hopes were relatively high for PlayStation Move Heroes it did not quite score high enough to be considered one of the best games this month, so only two titles stood out in March. First of all the retail release of MLB 11 The Show scored 9/10, although its Move controls were confined to its Home Run Derby mode, it was still noted that “It's satisfying to hit a home run in The Show no matter what method you use, Move or otherwise, but smacking one while you're actually swinging the bat is immensely more so.”

Secondly, following our interview with Beatshapers, the PSN shooter StarDrone scored a 7/10, it was described as “comprising about 50 different levels, each laid out like some gigantic cosmic pinball machine filled with bumpers, hazards and rails.” The review also recognised the challenge present in the game, noting that “Winning requires things like memorisation and repetition, which may turn some players off, but if you're not afraid to die, StarDrone is worth every penny.”

Learning about that blue logo made us happy.

News, April 2011

April started brilliantly with the confirmation that Child of Eden would be playable with PS Move and the news that Sony had sold and shipped 8 million Move controllers to retailers, an indication that retailers were on-board with PS3 motion controls and had faith in the peripheral. Kevin Butler also made us chuckle as he said “hello gorgeous” to his Sharp Shooter in a video relating to SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs, advising us to remember, “One word: Teamwork. It makes the dream work and saves your keister.”

With the PSN release of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance this month, we interviewed Gameloft’s product manager, Sane Lebrun, about the resurgence of multiplayer action dungeon crawlers on the PS3. We updated our news section regarding Nyko’s gun attachment: the Skill Shot rifle stood out with its budget price point and its ambidextrous design accommodating both right and left-handed gamers. For any PS Move fans who were drumming their fingers in anticipation for updated news regarding Sorcery, we offered consolation through the upcoming Move content in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be a magical alternative to The Workshop’s ‘Missing in Action’ title.

Tiger's white balls helped him improve on last year's effort

On that note, April ended with sad news as Cohort Studios had to close its doors. The Scottish developer was most recognised by Move gamers for its fun launch title, The Shoot. Our last news article of April was titled The Impact of the PlayStation Network Disaster and it dissected the events during the early days of the hack and the potential repercussions of the outage. Little did we know that this period would be extended into May, though thankfully much brighter news would arrive during the last four months of PS Move’s first year.

Best Games, April 2011

The best two retail releases for April were ideally suited to sports fans and fitness fanatics, with both Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters and My Fitness Coach Club scoring 7/10. The former was praised for strong presentation and an enthralling career mode, although there was room for improvement as “although EA Tiburon has all-but nailed the swing mechanics it's still to prove it can build a wider experience around the controller.” The My Fitness Coach Club review acknowledged that “Ubisoft deserves praise for creating a very slick fitness title that offers a lot more than its budget pricetag would have you believe”, although we recognised that “Move is recommended to get the most out of the package, though the controller is certainly not used to its full potential.”

Remember when this went down?

The top scoring game of April was on PSN, with Dungeon Hunter: Alliance being awarded 8/10. The review explained that, “Dungeon Hunter: Alliance offers PlayStation Move controls that brings traditional PC controls to home consoles”, and we celebrated that “it will rekindle the fire in many for those dungeon-crawlers of long ago.”