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May 31, 2011
Playstation Move Heroes - PS3 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
14/4/2011SonySonyNihilistic Software1-2None
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Playstation Move Heroes is out now on PS3.
Since the Playstation Move's launch back in September last year, there has yet to be a 'must-have' game released. Sure, some great titles support the Move (e.g. Killzone 3, R.U.S.E, Heavy Rain), but no Move-centric game has knocked the public's socks off. Playstation Move Heroes, looks to change that by bringing together six of the most recognizable heroes in the history of Playstation; Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter and Sly and Bentley in a mini-game compilation title. The question on everyone's lips is, 'Is this the killer app the Move has been waiting for?' Read on...

The story, told through an opening cut-scene, goes like this. All six of our heroes are enjoying a normal day saving the world on their own planet. Next thing they know time stops and they are pulled through a portal to a strange place that 'doesn't match any star-charts' Clank has ever seen. Not long later a couple of distinctly alien-looking creatures, Gleeber and Lunk, show up and tell our heroes that they are going to participate in the 1st Annual Inter-Universal Games to find ‘the greatest hero of them all'. Never shy of competition Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank and Sly and Bentley are each confident of success as they head to the first mini-game.

There are five different mini-games in Move Heroes; Guardian, Survival, Rescue, Countdown and Jail Break. The primary objective in each of the games is to free or protect Whibbles; cute little alien creatures who wouldn't hurt a fly. In Guardian there are three whibbles in pods, high above the ground. Enemies, which take the form of robots, exploding bowling pins, giant boars with guns and more, attack these pods, bringing them ever closer to the ground. Standing near a pod will slowly raise it back up, so your task is to keep all three whibble cages off the ground for the duration of the level.

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Clank makes some explosions!
In Survival you face three waves of enemies that you have to defeat. In Rescue there are a number of baby whibblets located around the level that you have to find and return to Mama Whibble before the timer runs out. In Countdown there are three whibbles strapped into rockets (for some reason), that need to be launched. You launch the rockets by collecting crystals located throughout the level. In Jail Break you have to free whibbles by smashing open their cages using whatever weapon you have at your disposal, within a specified time limit.

Speaking of weapons, there are five different weapon types for you to use in the game. There is a whip, a melee weapon (Ratchet gets his omni-wrench, Jak his hammer and Sly his cane), different guns, a bowling ball and a flying disc. The game mixes and matches weapons and games, so you don't always have the same weapon in each of the mini-games. For example you might play a Guardian level with a gun, and then on the next Guardian level you'll have to make do with a melee weapon. In this way the five mini-games are varied enough to keep you interested throughout the games fifty-ish levels.

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Visually Playstation Move Heroes is solid.
Controls are among the most important aspects to get right in Move titles, and each of the weapons handles in a different way. Melee weapons are a cinch to use; just waggle the Move from side to side or up and down to launch an attack. The whip is used in much the same way, though you pull the Move controller back over your shoulder and then thrust it forward, or swing it in a sideways arc to launch an attack. During these levels you run around with the Navigation controller (or left analog stick on a normal controller) and can center the camera behind you by pressing L2. Pressing the Move button will bring up a shield that not only protects you from all attacks for a short while, but also knocks enemies back slightly, giving you a bit of breathing room.

At various times you'll have three different guns at your disposal, one that shoots exploding balls, a Combustor machine gun and the inexpertly named Morph gun (a shot-gun) that doesn't morph anything. Whichever gun you are using the controls are the same. You aim the gun by pointing at a target and the camera will always align behind your target. You run around with the Navigation (or left analog) controller and shoot with the trigger. The controls on these levels are both intuitive and effective, and you should have no problems with the camera.

The last two weapons – the bowling ball and flying disc – handle in much the same way. To launch the bowling ball you hold down the trigger and swing as if you're bowling a real ball, releasing the trigger to send the ball away. The flying disc is the same except that you swing sideways instead of up and down. When the bowling ball and disc are under way you steer them by pointing or twisting the Move controller. Both ball and disc respond well to your commands, and like the gun levels, the controls here are both intuitive and effective.

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Ratchet takes on several enemies at once.
The game supports two-player multiplayer, but unfortunately I wasn't able to try this mode as I only have access to the one Move controller. Looking around the internet it seems that second player is relegated to using the cursor to pick up extra crystals and occasionally taking part in a co-op attack, which doesn't sound especially awesome, but without testing it myself it's unfair to judge that aspect of the game.

Move Heroes can be a bit of fun, but it definitely has its fair share of issues. The biggest complaint I have with the game is the complete lack of competitive play. Both the story and the game-type (i.e. mini-game compilation) seem perfectly suited to pitting friends against each other. Whether the game required you to have two Move controllers, or allowed you to take turns using just the one controller, this would have made the game a lot more fun and added a lot of longevity to it. Without some sort of competitive play you've got significantly less reason to come back.

Secondly, the controls in the melee and whip levels are a bit more complicated and less responsive than the other levels. Sometimes I had to swing the whip quite vigorously to get it to whip, while at other times delicate movements would get it to work. If you play long enough your arm is bound to get sore from it. Also, the slightly more complex controls, forcing you to use L2 to keep the camera centered are going to be challenging for the younger audience who I assume is targeted by the game. This is made worse by the fact that you need to complete a certain number of levels before more will unlock, so it's possible that younger players will get stuck unless they can master the controls.

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Jak appears in Playstation Move Heroes.
The third issue is that the games do get repetitive before the end. There are fifty-ish levels in the game, but only five different mini-games. Changing the weapons around does spice things up a bit, but before the end you'll crave a bit more variety in missions. There are a few other minor complaints – a story that doesn't have much substance, a few annoying and repetitive comments from the commentators, along with the fact that your characters can't jump (though it's not really necessary, it still feels a bit wrong) – are easier to explain away or ignore, but are still there.

The graphics are probably the strongest part of Move Heroes. While they're not quite up to the likes of Ratchet and Clank on the PS3 (Jak and Sly aren't on the PS3 yet, so there's no comparison to make there), they're only a rung or so below. The games take place on four different worlds including the home planet of each of our heroes – Metropolis for Ratchet, Haven City for Jak and Paris for Sly. The fourth world is Gleeber and Lunk's home planet of Gleebertopia. Each of these worlds has their own distinct look, which keeps things interesting visually. There is also no shortage of enemies and destructible objects like boxes, crystals, barrels and explosives to destroy. Most of the characters and enemies look good (I wasn't a fan of the whibbles) and move well too. It's bright and colourful, and while the some textures look a bit bland, you likely won't have time to notice those.

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Another solid PS3 exclusive...
The sound is not quite up to the graphics, but on the whole it's pretty good. The music is entertaining enough, and suits the game well. All of the main characters are voiced by the same actors who played them in the past, and they do a great job of injecting some life into the story. One thing I didn't quite understand is that one of the aliens, either Gleeber or Lunk, seems to have the exact same voice as Captain Qwark. He provides some colour commentary during the games but he doesn't have many lines so will start repeating himself soon enough. The other alien is much more annoying, particularly during Guardian levels where he shouts “Pod under attack!” relentlessly. The sound effects are fine, pretty much up to the standard set in the Ratchet and Clank games.

Overall Playstation Move Heroes is a game that is fun in small doses, but doesn't have the staying power to keep you interested beyond the end of the game, if that far. The lack of competitive modes is quite galling given the story and mini-game structure seems to set it up perfectly. On the plus side the controls work well for the most part, and the bowling and flying disc levels are great fun. In the end it's not the killer app the Move has been searching for, but it does have its moments. If you're looking for a Move-centric game to play, this is the best out there. Unfortunately that's not saying a whole lot.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSBright and colourful, with good character models and decent-looking explosions. Not quite up to Ratchet and Clank quality, but not too far away.
SOUNDThe voice-acting is a highlight and the music and sound effects are solid. Some comments repeat too often, but otherwise it’s pretty good.
GAMEPLAYPlenty of the games control very well. The whip can be a bit hit and miss, while the melee weapon controls are a bit complex for younger players. Levels do get repetitive before the end.
VALUEFifty-ish levels and plenty of collectibles to find (they’re very hard to find too). No competitive play though? That’s not good.
OVERALLWith a few more mini-games and competitive play Move Heroes could have been very good. Without these things it’s just ok. The best Move-centric game out there, but still not a must have.

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