Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
Posted by moonhead on Sep 24, 2010
Review: Sports Champion / Playstation Move / Sony

Review: Sports Champion / Playstation Move / Sony

Sony have a Wii in Ninty’s Direction.

What is it they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Well whatever it  considering the amount of imitation on show Nintendo must be feeling pretty smug at the moment. Sports Champion may be a total rip-off but is it better or worse than Nintendo’s Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort? It is  a question with no easy answer as it is both superior yet inferior to Nintendo’s games. What it is fair to say though is that this games, much like its Nintendo counterpart, main task was to show off Sony’s new controller’s abilities.

So what are we getting in this package for our slightly cut down price of £29.99? Six sports in total and little else to be honest. Four of the sports are directly like Wii Sports Resort they are Gladiator Duel (Swordplay on Wii), Table Tennis, Archery and Disc Golf. The other two are different but still play similarly to what has gone before and they are Bocee and Beach-volleyball. I know £29.99 is not a full retail game price as such but even so six sports is more-than-a-little tight. This is especially the case when they are so light in the options department but more on that in a bit.

Presentation wise it all looks good and graphically the game is obviously superior to Nintendo’s effort. But when compared against some of the PS3’s biggest hitters in the graphics department it is nothing more than competent. In terms of the audio it does little wrong and is more than competent. One gripe in both the sound and visuals is the character designs and voices for the various sports men and women. There is nothing particularly wrong but they just fall into the usual generic national stereotyping and macho posturing rubbish. Basically they lack personality and get rather annoying very quickly.

To be honest graphics and sound are secondary in a title such as this what is really important is how it plays. Let’s go through each sport individually starting with the Wii Sports Resort rip off’s first of all. Table Tennis was the best game on Wii Sports Resort and its pretty much the same here. You play it exactly like you think you would the Move controller is your paddle and you swing it about as if you were actually playing the real-deal. Top Spin and Back spin can all be applied exactly as if you were playing the sport for real. It all plays really well and is incredibly accurate and is definitely better than its Nintendo counterpart. In particularly with  Move’s better reading of movement towards and away from the screen meaning you literally have to reach forward to get to drop shots and step back when your opponent hits a powerful slam. The addition of a two player split-screen is also welcome.

Next up is Gladiator Dual this game can be played with two Move controllers and if you do have two it’s definitely the way to go. There is just too many control commands when playing with one controller to get the most out of it. However with two it becomes a complete joy. When playing with two controllers the right acts as your sword and the left as your shield, with only one controller you use the T button to toggle between your sword and shield arm. The move button on each controller acts as a side step in either direction with only a single controller you have to use the symbol buttons which proves cumbersome. All your shield and sword movements are recreated perfectly on-screen and is really is great fun and way better than Wii Sports Resort’s Swordplay. Once again this is playable in two-player split-screen and there are also unlockable weapons such as mallets and the like. In all this is probably the most fully featured game on offer and its a toss-up between this and Table Tennis as to which is our favourite sport.

Archery also allows you to use two Move controllers together. This plays just as well with one Move though unlike Gladiator. With the two controller option you hold the T button the right controller and move that hand behind you to collect your arrow. You then notch it by placing it next to the controller in your left hand and pull back. The further you pull it back the more powerful your shot. Once your happy with your shot positioning release the right T button to let your arrow fly. This is almost identical to its Wii equal but the ability to use two controllers  just adds to the feeling of immersion. There is also increased accuracy over the Wii version. As in the other sports it is playable in two player split screen

There is no competition at all with Disc Golf here this is so much better than the Wii version as to be almost embarrassing. The reason is unlike its Nintendo equal it feels more of a complete game with proper courses whereas the Wii version felt more like an afterthought. It plays exactly as you would expect press the T button to pick up your Disc then flick  like you would with real thing and release the T button. Again the Move feels right with its reading all of your swings and movements correctly. The only problem with this is with the sport of Disc Golf itself not being a particularly interesting activity.

Whilst there is not a direct comparison to any of Nintendo’s sports mini games Bocce’s  nearest comparison in Wii Sports Resort would be Ten Pin Bowling. Bocce is similar to the French game of Boulles. In which you throw a smaller marker ball into a sand pit and then take it turns to throw larger metal balls at the marker. The winner is the one whose ball is closest. It works wonderfully well with the Move controller and is a nice gentle distraction particularly when played in two-player in which the battles can be quite tactical. Again though its a strange sport to pick for a video game but it just about works.

The last sport and by and away the worst experience on offer is Beach Volleyball. This can also be played with two move controllers but it offers no significant advantage over only using one. This is probably because the controls just do not work very well we think this is in part down that this is the only sport on offer where the contestants are constantly on the move which you have no control over. The motion controls for serving work well enough but spike, digs and sets all seem to be far too automated and out of your control. I have yet to play a Beach-volleyball game that works and this certainly isn’t one.

So that’s all the sports out-of-the-way and in the main they are quite enjoyable to play but as a whole package  is Sports Champion any good. The answer to that question is not an easy one as whilst playing the likes of Gladiator Duel and Table Tennis its all very enjoyable. However when you start to dig a little deeper and spend more time playing, the games lack of modes and options start to show it up as being a little lightweight. For starters there only three cups Bronze, Silver and Gold to play through on the sports so once you have done this, which will not take long, there is no replay value. Also although the games can be played in two-player there is no online multiplayer and the aforementioned Gladiator Duel and Table Tennis would have been brilliant online. There are some token efforts made by the developers to add some length to the game, but unlockable items, clothes and characters never really add any true longevity. In fact the package feels light in both the number of sports on offer and number of options available. In fact much like its Nintendo counterpart it smacks of just being a tech demo that as previously mentioned in this review only exists to show off the new controllers abilities. It is a shame, as with more sports and options this could have been very special indeed but in the end it’s just okay.

Rating 6 / 10

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