I beat Heavy Rain a couple of months ago, and while it was shorter than most of the games I play, it was definitely better than I expected it to be. Yet, that was using the Dualshock 3, and while it had motion controls, they were nothing like playing with the Playstation Move controllers at PAX Prime 2010.
Immediately after picking up the controller, I noticed how much more comfortable it was than the Wii remote. Having a round controller instead of an angular one meant my hand wrapped around it easily, and since there’s a trigger on the back of both of the Move controllers, my grip felt more effective. My thumb could easily reach any button, and rested, like it should, between the buttons. There were only a few times when I had to look down to find the button I needed to press, and the buttons I had to look for don’t exist on a Dualshock controller.
This was my first experience with the Move controllers since GDC, and my first time using them for a game I was actually interested in. I was surprised at how intuitive they were. The buttons seem more natural than they do on the Wii, and feel about as the same as holding any other Playstation controller. This means it will require very little re-learning for those of you who decide to purchase the new controllers.
There were a few minutes where I was allowed to test out the controls, just making coffee and things. It was easy enough to use the controllers for basic activities — the correct speed was necessary however, so if I tried to slam Madison’s fridge shut, the Move controller’s sphere would flash from green to red and I had to restart. There were also a few confusing parts when I had to turn the controller: sometimes I had to have the controller perpendicular to my wrist, sometimes parallel, with very little distinction between the on-screen prompts. I did appreciate the color changes in the colors of the sphere, even though I could barely see them, what I did see was more informative than being a nuisance. Seeing flashes of color out of the corner of my eye let me know if I had messed up or not, that way, I could get ready to re-do the action. Similarly, since the Move controllers require the Playstation Eye, if I dropped my hands to my side or hid them somehow, an icon would pop up on screen to let me know that I was out of range.
Any motions I had to do meant that I needed to pull the trigger with my right hand, meaning it was much harder to err in a movement. Every gesture required much more concentration than just tapping a button or moving an analog stick, which could result in more immersive gameplay for those who want it. For those who don’t — stick with the traditional controllers. It’s essentially the same, but with more movement.
Knowing how much the Playstation Move costs makes it seem less than worth it, at least with Heavy Rain. The similarities make it easier to learn the controls, but harder to justify spending enough to buy two games on the same experience.
Heavy Rain will have an update allowing it to utilize the Move controllers on September 17th, 2010, the same day the controllers are released.