May 9, 2011

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Review: PlayStation Move Heroes

Review: PlayStation Move Heroes

Around a year ago, everyone was talking about Sony as they are now, only the topic was a bit different.  Rather than worrying about stolen credit card data and wondering when PSN will be back up, most Sony fans were instead excited for the upcoming PlayStation Move peripheral. After months of hype, September 2010 finally arrived and Move finally released along with several lackluster titles. As time passed, more games featured the device, including gimmicky add-ons for popular Sony games like MAG, Killzone 3, and SOCOM 4. Despite everything, Sony never really gave most gamers a good reason to buy a Move. Hoping, perhaps, to change that, Sony created PlayStation Move Heroes. Combining popular Sony characters from their younger-demographic games, they hoped to finally get the ball moving. But is PlayStation Move Heroes the hero the Move needs?

Unfortunately, Move Heroes feels like a shameless re-skinned tech demo. To make things worse, the title doesn’t take advantage of the characters fully. None of the minigames are specialized to any of the characters. Would it honestly have been that hard to add in some Sly swinging, Jak driving, or Ratchet combat? Since there’s nothing that takes advantage of the characters the game feels especially lackluster.  The story doesn’t help to assuage the feeling that the characters were thrown in on a whim, either.  The first question that came to my mind was, “Why exactly are these heroes together?”  The explanation is succinct: they’re out to see who is best.  Although that answer is apparently a front for a more sinister plan, the story doesn’t really come into play, with maybe twenty minutes of total story in the entire game.  However, this is probably for the best.

The minigames are mostly about taking advantage of the Move, and include the following basic tasks of disc throwing, whipping, shooting, bowling, and combat. The only hard task is disc throwing, and that’s only due to the limitations of the Move. Generally speaking the games would be fun if there was some level of challenge involved. For example, you might get 40 balls to complete a task that requires six at most. Depending on how well you do, you can get a gold medal; for the most part, I had no issue getting gold on my first try for 80% (or more) of the levels. Sony has obviously geared the game toward the younger and more casual crowd, meaning experienced gamers (such as myself) are likely to come away disappointed with the general lack of difficulty. However, if you master every challenge with a gold medal you will unlock diamond challenges. These challenges are ironically incredibly difficult and amazingly cheap. The diamond challenges comprise several normal missions taken from campaign, but with  harsh new rules. These include less time, limited/no additional life, longer time to fix a defend point, and in some cases only a single try. This can be very brutal for disc events (due to the finicky Move controls), as one careless move is a loss.

Generally speaking, there’s not a lot of diversity in Move Heroes. For example, the game features only around eight total enemies with very limited tasks. Most games will boil down to holding L1 and swinging the Move. The games can be fun, but they are so rinse and repeat that it gets boring fast. If you have decent planning and/or decent abilities with the Move, then all the tasks will quickly blend together.

In the end, Move Heroes has the same halfhearted effort we’ve seen prior with the Move. This game would have fared better as the default, pack-in game than a standard release. Nothing about it screams the same quality we’ve seen from Sony in the past, nor does it have any real redeeming factor. Kids might enjoy it more as it’s an easily accessible game, but anyone of age will be bored with it fast. If you’re on the fence, this will be on the discount rack soon, so just wait it out.

PlayStation Move Heroes
Platform: PS3 (requires Move)
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 03/22/11
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Publisher: Sony
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
MSRP: $39.99