Not to be outshined by the aesthetically pleasing 'Playstation Move' is 'Sports Champions,' Sony's highlighted software entry into the world of motion controlled gaming.
Launching the 'Playstation Move' with 'Sports Champions' was a clever idea. One that was obviously borrowed from Nintendo’s entry into the next-generation race with the Wii and 'Wii Sports.' However, instead of taking the foundation of what Nintendo did with 'Wii Sports' and expand on it, Sony just copied the formula with their own twist. This isn't such a bad idea, since we all know how successful 'Wii Sports' was. Although, energized gamers looking for the next evolution of motion controlled gaming will likely be disappointed with the lack of inventiveness revealed in 'Sports Champions.'
One Wand Bundle, but we Need Two!
Resembling an HD upgrade to 'Wii Sports,' 'Sports Champions' is amusing for the first few hours, but without any real substance, it starts to wear thin. In a few weeks time, you will likely forget about 'Sports Champions' as it becomes that old familiar, "I’ll show this off to my friends when they come over" type of game, but it's not going to pull me away from my core games. From one perspective, 'Sports Champions,' like most "sports" games should be focused on the multiplayer/social gameplay aspects which could be applied to 'Sports Champions,' however, it leads me to wonder why they didn’t bundle the 'PS Move' with two wand controllers so we can play with our friends and enjoy the game to its full potential. As it stands 'Sports Champions' being bundled with only one wand makes it a solitary experience that limits the player until they go out and purchase an additional wand, which isn't what the game should be about. Two wands, with the option to by the additional controller, would have been the way to go, but who am I to stand in the way of profit.
Become Champion, 18 Times!
Even with a soured taste of only having one wand bundled with 'Sports Champions,' you can’t ignore the fact that this package has a certain something; even it doesn’t break new ground. 'Sports Champions' is a fun, and depending on your expectations you might really enjoy this compellation of move based mini-games.
Six games are presented in this package, each with the option to enter the tournament modes (three different difficulties), play some multiplayer against 1-4 other players, or take on some of challenges once they are unlocked. For multiplayer, one wand will work with two of games, for anything more you will need to pick up another wand or two. Aside from Trophies and unlocking a few challenges, characters, and outfits, 'Sports Champions' does little to motivate the player. If a few unlockables is enough, then you will be satisfied. Although, I would have liked to see something a little more comprehensive, or something else to draw the player in.
Hey 'Sports Champions' turn down the Stereo!
Starting us off in 'Sports Champions' is a group of 10 pre-made characters, who have stereotype written all over them. It seems like Sony appointed developer 'Zindagi Games' wanted to make it a point to hit several different ethnic groups, which is fine, but they really didn’t need to play into shameful stereotypes. Besides each character liking a different type of sport, they could have done something to tie them together. Even 'Mortal Kombat' has given its game its own rag-tag history. Disregarding the lack of real substance among the events and the champions, let’s get to the heart of the game, the mini-games. Even if the rest of the project is sinking, these games can start to pull 'Sports Champions' afloat.
'Disc Golf,' or "Frisbee" as most people call it is one of my favourite events in 'Sports Champions.' It can be played with the single wand and enjoyed in multiplayer if you wish. The mechanics introduce the player to the basic throwing of a frisbee, working its way up to a more competitive spirit by adding wind conditions and utilizing different styles of discs. The rules are taken from Golf, just played with a frisbee. 'Wii Tiger Woods' fans should be familiar with this mode. It’s fairly straight forward with a number of courses from icy forests to damp caves that will keep your interest as you roll through the three tournaments.
Bocce ball is probably the most common game that most people would play outside for "real" (well at least with my circle of friends.) Bocce is a game of skill and unlike some of the other match-ups in 'Sports Champions' you actually feel like you’re improving as you play the game. The weight of balls and the accuracy really shows off the tech here and is a fun multiplayer game that can also be enjoyed with one wand. Initally I thought this was an odd entry, but after playing it a bit, it fits in perfectly with this Move showcase.
'Beach volleyball' is the off mix of the bunch, well, maybe after 'Gladiator Dual.' The mechanics here are tilted towards a two wand set-up, although it works “good enough” with one. The movements are automatic in the game with your players moving to the ball in such, all you have to decide is how you are going to hit the ball of a serve or retaliate. Out of all the games in 'Sports Champions,' this one seemed the sloppiest. It found it was easy to miscommunicate what you wanted to get accomplished, making it extremely frustrating at times. Also, 'Beach Volleyball' is an active sport with a lot of moving, so unlike the other "stationary" styled games, it really hurts the experience by not being able to move your character. Sure, its automated, but that's not a lot of fun.