I’ve never been able to figure out what gets me so excited about motion controlled games. I slip the disc in, and there’s a moment of anticipation usually followed by frustration, because things just don’t work. To say I am less than a fan of most motion controlled games is fair, but every time a new add-on like PlayStation Move or Kinect comes out, I must have it. I’ve suffered through some real duds, so when games like Sports Champions are announced my initial excitement is nowhere to be found. Regardless of my lack of excitement, I still play the newest motion controlled games hoping to find “the one”.
Sports Champions is a game comprised of 6 different sports, which can be played solo or with friends locally. The included sports are: Table Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Gladiator (duel), Disc Golf, Bocce and Archery. The game modes available are Free Play, Challenge and Champion Cup. Free Play allows competetors to practice a sport with any of the available game play options. Challenge mode has players competing in various events to increase an overall score. Champion Cup has athletes competing in pre-set events to become the ultimate sports hero.
Having just come from using the Wii, a little adjustment was in order, as controls here are a lot more “1 to 1″. This requires a player’s real world movement to be as accurate as possible. After playing my first game of Table Tennis, I was a little put off because contrary to the Wii I am expected to move my body and not just my hand. Vowing not to give up I played many more matches, and realized how accurate the PS Move is in requiring me to move like I am playing Ping Pong in real life.
Some of the games, like Archery, allow players to use dual PS Move controllers. If you have multiple wands, this is the way to go. With two glowing sticks, players can use one as the bow and the other as an arrow. The motion is so much more realistic and satisfying. Beach Volleyball is also a lot more fun when you have two control units. Playing with both wands replicates two hands allowing for actual movement when spiking, blocking and serving.
Graphically the game does what is expected. Animations are fluid and consistent. Depending on the sport, players will go from gymnasiums to battle arenas. All levels carry some detail and match up well to the sport that is being played. Some, like the winter Disc Golf levels, are just silly fun. Characters look ok but lack any real personality. You have a variety to chose from, and you will unlock more as you complete the Champion Cup in each sport. I absolutely love being able to use custom soundtracks.
I was left wondering why the levels and characters lacked any real personality. Many of the levels just don’t seem alive. The Sports Champions cast would benefit from more bio or back story. The downloadable/unlockable competetors are much more unique than any of the game’s main personalities.
Why is local the only multiplayer option? The game is good solo, but a lot more fun when the competition is human. I find it hard to believe an online component, similar to Kinect Sports, would have been difficult to incorporate. With the bite sized game play, Sports Champions could have easily lent itself to online play.
The title did well, selling 3.3M copies since it’s October 2010 release. North America accounted for the majority of sales at 1.87M with the rest of the world making up the remainder. The game averaged a 7 out of 10 rating with most critics having said positive things.
So does this PS Move launch title pack a motion controlled punch?
+Accurate 1 to 1 motion controls
+Games get really challenging but stay fun
+Love the custom soundtrack option
-Levels and characters lack personality
-No online multiplayer component
This game is a great pick up and play title. Much like Wii Sports, anyone can grab a controller and enjoy the fun. Sports Champions is a mainstay in my household and will continue to be. It is unfortunate that most good motion control titles are party and sports games, but at least this one is a blast to play. If you own a PS Move and for some wild reason have not played this title, do yourself a favor and pick it up. This game can be found for less than $20 at most game stores.