What a year

Our analysis of PS Move’s first year comes to an end as we breakdown the most significant news and highlight the standout games that were released during the four months between May and August 2011.

News, May 2011

April’s news ended with the inconvenience of the PSN outage and this issue continued to dominate May 2011, as restoration efforts kept on. The rejuvenation of PSN was a slow process, involving the phased roll-out of changing passwords, but Sony began to appease PlayStation gamers by proposing a generous ‘Welcome Back’ programme that featured quality free games, including gems like LittleBigPlanet, inFAMOUS and Wipeout HD/Fury. Gamers could still play their PS Move games offline and they could celebrate the hardware achievements of Sony’s motion controller by watching it stand proudly as a nominee in Develop magazine’s Technical Innovation Awards. Meanwhile, if you owned Kinect alongside Move, CTA Digital were preparing a two-in-one universal wall mount that would conveniently hold the PlayStation Eye and a Kinect camera. This was apt, as despite providing worthy competition, it would be Microsoft's Kinect that would win Develop’s prize in July.

Remember saying "welcome back"?

Dead Space: Extraction proved in January that upgraded ports of top Wii titles were welcome on Move. and news arrived in May of two future-enhanced beauties, with a No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise trailer to mark its European arrival and SEGA’s announcement of House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut. Just as we were celebrating the “superb” box artwork for Resistance 3, slight disappointment arrived as the news came from LightBox Interactive’s President, Dylan Jobe, that Starhawk would not support PS Move. We considered this as a missed opportunity because Warhawk, its spiritual predecessor, was an early ambassador for SIXAXIS motion controls. At the end of May, dreamGEAR’s TriMount proposed to go one better than CTA Digital by providing a three-in-one solution for securing a Kinect sensor, PlayStation Eye and a Wii Sensor Bar in one mount.

Realistically, as May progressed, all gamers' eyes were on June and Movemodo prepared our crystal ball as we asked "Will Sony Move Gamers Again at E3 2011?" A few days later news landed of a Sony patent that could bring Move support to portable consoles. We only had a few more weeks to wait and see if PS Move, as well as motion controlled portable gaming, would be prominent in Sony’s E3 2011.

Best Games, May 2011

Only three retail games were reviewed this May, one game ‘We Dare’ not mention as it scored an unimpressive 2/10, but the other two were worthy of a gamer’s time. First of all was SOCOM: Special Forces which scored 7/10, and was applauded for being “a huge game with tonnes of game options to keep soldiers on the battlefield for a long time to come.” However, it didn't quite pinpoint its headshots as sharply as Killzone 3: “the graphics don’t impress” and “using Move and Sharp Shooter offline is great, but online the controls don’t hold up quite as well.”

SOCOM + Sharp Shooter = win

The top scoring game of the month was Virtua Tennis 4 with an 8/10; using a DualShock controller it included “excellent arcade-style gameplay and enjoyable minigames.” However, the Move controls were only “available in the dedicated Motion Play area of the game”, although they were still “easy to grasp and enjoy. Your racquet appears on-screen and responds to your motions 1:1.”

News, June 2011

E3 is arguably the most exciting period in a gamer’s calendar and thankfully Sony was able to bring the PlayStation Store back online a few days before Sony’s E3 2011 press conference, held at 5pm Monday 6th June in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The President and CEO of SCEA, Jack Tretton, was the dominant spokesperson of the event and it was appropriate that he opened the conference with a considered apology regarding the PSN outage. We could have predicted that Sony’s Next Generation Portable would feature heavily at the show and Kazuo Hirai’s unveiling of the newly named PlayStation Vita did not disappoint. However, even Movemodo could not have foreseen just how prominent PS Move would feature in the conference; out of the new PlayStation 3 titles announced a large proportion of them included Move support.

Another slam dunk for 2K

Jack Tretton was clear regarding how seriously Sony considers the continued growth of PS Move, reflecting that “PS Move has built incredible momentum since its launch last September, with 8.8 million units sold-to-date worldwide and more than 200 games available worldwide by the end of this year.” He outlined a strategy of including Move support across the board from hardcore games to games that “anyone can pick up and play”, a point that was made via a slightly awkward demonstration of Kobe Bryant fumbling his way through ‘NBA on the Move’ controls in NBA 2K12. He expressed how PS Move’s catalogue will become increasingly diverse by not only providing exclusive Move games, but through a library that will “grow exponentially when we add Move experiences to the titles currently on the market.”

There were eight prominent PS Move titles discussed during the conference, each one was given attention and would feature heavily in June’s news section. In regard to current titles that would have PS Move functions added at a later date, inFAMOUS 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2 were showcased. For games that implemented both DualShock and specific Move control options, Resistance 3 and NBA 2K12 were displayed. The most prominent title to be built entirely around PS Move was the projectile launching, archery and sword fighting adventure Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, by Sports Champions developer Zindagi Games. Finally, there were big-name third party PS Move announcements including DUST 514 and a new Star Trek game, prompting Tretton to gleefully explain that “Paramount will also release a Move peripheral cloned after the phaser, made famous by Star Trek.”

We can't wait

Arguably the most exciting press conference news came from a captivatingly down-to-earth Ken Levine, excitedly tripping over his words as if possessed by Woody Allen. He took the audience through a candid ramble explaining how he became converted from a motion control sceptic to a PS Move believer once he got his hands on the peripheral, because the “first thing we noticed was that the damned thing kind of looks like a DualShock, you know it’s got all of the cool buttons and everything.” Levine’s announcement that Irrational Games were “going to have PlayStation Move on BioShock Infinite and the exciting part is we’re just starting to get our head around what that can mean” contributed to one of Sony’s strongest E3 press conferences of recent years.

Best Games, June 2011

There were two standout games reviewed by Movemodo in June, a retail and a PSN release. No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise scored most highly, awarded an 8/10 for its mix of beam katana combat, open-world exploration and mini-game jobs. Artistically the game was praised as "unique and stylised,” though we did ruse the lack of effort put into Move support.

On PSN, Under Siege earned a 7/10, as it was noted that “a fantasy story filled with intrigue holds your attention, and swift pointer controls are further proof that Move is a natural-fit for the RTS genre.” However, we also warned that “its 21 level single-player campaign is relentlessly challenging, as you desperately attempt to carry over your squad's experience and money from level-to-level.”

Still no Western patch, though

News, July 2011

After an abundance of E3 announcements in June, July was a quieter month for Move related news. It started with an interesting titbit explaining that unlike in North America or Europe, the Japanese ‘Welcome Back’ programme would include a PS Move title, the snooker and cue sports game Hustle Kings. This was followed by further Japanese based news highlighting that the Japanese version of Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds already included Move support, before it was available in the North American and European versions of the game. A welcome advancement on the rumour that Fumito Ueda’s eagerly awaited adventure game, The Last Guardian, may still receive optional Move controls was highlighted when Move compatibility was listed for it on a SCEA press site. We thanked our friends at iWaggle 3D for sharing the Hot Shots Golf and The Last Guardian news.

The aftermath of E3 meant that the dust surrounding games that had been highlighted during Sony’s conference had not quite settled, as a gratifyingly substantial 15 minutes of BioShock Infinite video became available. This led us to describe Irrational Games’ title as a “heavenly-looking shooter.” Further news became available regarding DUST 514, emphasising that developer CCP had confirmed that its title would be free to play, but gamers would need to pay a cover charge to download it, which would then be refunded as in-game credits. After its E3 conference demonstration, 2K Games promised that NBA 2K12 would have superior Move controls to its predecessor. As PS Vita was an indisputable highlight of Sony’s E3 conference, we were proud to announce the newest member of our Nlife gaming network: VitaGamr became live as an invaluable resource for PlayStation fans who were hotly anticipating Sony’s accomplished new portable.

Our Editor, playing a Vita

Finally, yet another successful Wii exclusive title had stealthily inched its way onto PS3: Eurocom’s reinterpretation of the classic GoldenEye was going to be Reloaded and shot out as a Move-enabled first person shooter.

Best Games, July 2011

Unfortunately, July was the worst month of reviews during the peripheral’s first year. Five games were covered, four retail titles and one PSN release, but not one of these games managed to score above a 6/10. By default, the World War II flying game Air Conflicts: Secret Wars was most playable, as it involved “turning Move into a capable and intuitive flight method… but the lengthy wait for the game to load and some lacklustre overall presentation undeniably dampens the experience.” With a score of 6/10 it cannot be considered one of Move’s best games. However, July has the honour of releasing one of PS Move’s worst games; Let’s Dance with Mel B scraped our lowest score to date: with a feeble 1/10, we called it an “horrendously inaccurate and poorly designed dancing game.”

Another Move hit from 2011

News, August 2011

August started with iWaggle3D putting together a 30 minute video that analysed the way in which Resistance 3 would specifically control with PS Move and the Navigation controller. This helped to ensure that anticipation for its September release date would be even more difficult to bear, as Insomniac’s FPS game was likely to become another Move ‘must have’ title. It was interesting to discover how the Move implementation in Resistance 3 would compare to the techniques that had been developed for Killzone 3. Shortly afterwards, Ken Levine was featured in a video interview on the PS Blog in which he praised Guerrilla’s approach to motion controls in Killzone 3. This piqued the interest of Move fans to contemplate what control mechanisms Irrational Games was planning to incorporate into BioShock Infinite.

Two more titles that would capture the interest of core gamers were announced in August as having Move compatibility: an email from Tecmo Koei confirmed Ninja Gaiden 3’s motion controls and Valve’s FPS title Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was also announced as including full Move support. Considering the success of Nintendo’s Wii Wheel, it is surprising that during Move’s first year that the racing genre has not been effectively boosted by the inclusion of motion controls. Hopefully, the promise of Move support as “coming soon” in MotorStorm Apocalypse would rectify this, particularly as the game already launched with the PlayStation Move start-up screen. If Sports Champions was SCE’s own interpretation of Wii Sports, then the August announcement of Move Fitness could be their own take on Wii Fit. We noted that considering the precedent set by the developers at Coldwood Interactive’s previous work on The Fight: Lights Out, Move Fitness had the potential to ensure that PlayStation gamers receive a vigorous workout.

One fine year

Best Games, August 2011

In regard to fitness games, the one game that scored high enough to be recognised as the best game in August was UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System, receiving a score of 7/10. We described it as being “as punishing a workout as you'd want from a video game, with a wide range of content and the ability to create custom workouts.” However, we envisioned that there was scope for a fitness game to exceed this, by taking greater advantage of PS Move’s unique capabilities. We recognised that "it's a shame Move's full power wasn't brought to bear here though; an experience like The Fight: Lights Out would have excelled."

Now We Are One

On the 1st September 2011 Movemodo celebrated its first birthday. Our news, reviews and feature articles have combined to chronicle the progress of PS Move’s first year, plus we went live before the peripheral was released to ensure that we were ready to report upon Move’s humble beginnings. To date we have 94 reviews in our system, including an analysis of new games that have impressed gamers during the first few months of Move’s second year. Considering that these newly released games include the likes of Resistance 3, Child of Eden, Dungeon Defenders and inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood, as well as the Move support included in LittleBigPlanet 2, it becomes clear that both PS Move’s library of games and our coverage on the site will continue to grow from strength to strength.