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September 21, 2010
Sports Champions - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
16/9/2010SonySonyZindagi Games1-4None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Move Required OFLC Rating

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Archery is pretty good, but needs 2 Move motion controllers for best results.
There is no doubt at all that the phenomenal success of the Nintendo Wii has taken competitors Sony and Microsoft by surprise. It has now been a few years since this generation of consoles was released and both Microsoft and Sony are getting into the motion controlled game market. The Playstation Move is Sony's peripheral and it's technically quite superb with brilliant accuracy and easy of use. Unsurprisingly Sony are also launching their peripheral with a sports compilation in the hope to rival Wii Sports. So does this game justify purchasing Sony's new controller and is it a good game in its own right? Read on to find out...

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Playing some Beach Volleyball.
Sport Champions includes six sports such as Disc Golf, Gladiator Duel, Volleyball, Archery, Table Tennis and Bocce. Each of these sports includes three modes including Champion Cup (where you will take on a series of opponents in Bronze, Silver and Gold level events), Free Play where you can compete with 1-4 players in the events or Challenge Mode where you have to obtain the high scores.

We have to say that we really enjoyed all the sports which offer very different game types. Bocce, Table Tennis and Disc Golf were favourites while the Volleyball probably provided the least amount of fun although still provided quite a bit of entertainment (just watch out for the ceiling fans or you may end up with sore fingers as this reviewer did!).

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Playing Disc Golf in Sports Champions on PS3.
While Sports Champions can be played with a single Playstation Move motion controller (the game does not make use of the navigation controller at all) adding in a second Move motion controller brings with it a little more depth and realism to a couple of the games. Volleyball allows each of your hands to be tracked which makes it a little more accurate when setting the ball while in the Gladiator game one wand is used to control the sword and the other the shield. Archery too sees one wand is used for holding the bow while the second is to draw back the string while in the Gladiator Combat one controller controls the shield, and the other your weapon. It's not essential, however the experience is enhanced with the second controller.

On a technical level the Playstation Move Motion Controller is a brilliant piece of kit. Sony promised true 1:1 tracking and that's what is delivered. While the system can't see the controller if you place it out of the view of the Playstation Eye camera (say behind your back), when in view it can truly sense the distance from the TV, angle the controller is being held and the rotation of the controller. This translates near instantaneously to the game world providing immediate reaction to your moves which is perfect for a quick sports game such as Sports Champions.

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Yes, this game includes Gladiator combat too.
There are quite a few aspects of this game which miss the mark however. We desperately wanted to play the game online against some friends, but there are no online game modes (there are, however, online rankings). Also disappointing was the range of 10 characters which are pretty generic and lack personality despite having different animations and voices. They just seem so, well, un-fun. Finally while we like the sports covered in this game, and games like bocce and Disc Golf are more fun then we expected, we would have liked another sport or two to add a little more variety to the mix.

Visually Sports Champions is nowhere near the PS3's best title with some average artwork, some average character models (although animations are fairly impressive) and some bland levels. I mean would it have been too hard to put in some crowds, or perhaps a few more whizz-bang special effects. It all just looks so unexciting with a lack of pizazz. Still there are few technical issues with a solid frame rate and only the occasional clipping or camera annoyance.

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Table Tennis is a great 2-player game.
Sonically the game is what it is... There's nothing here that stands out, but there is little here to complain about either. There are some nice ambient effects, and the players occasionally shout out the odd comment about your performance here and there.

Admittedly Sports Champions is a fun title, but doesn't quite hold enough to provide the "must have" experience that could shift millions of controllers for Sony. Still this is a good technical showcase for Sony's motion control aspirations and is quite a fun title for the most part. If sports games interest you then this is well worth considering.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSWhat's here works well with nice animations, but pretty bland levels.
SOUNDAs with the visuals there is little here to get too excited about, but it's not a disaster.
GAMEPLAYAll six sports represented here are pretty entertaining to play. The Move controller works superbly.
VALUESony have kept the retail price of these games down which is good, but longevity remains questionable. It needed online multiplayer.
OVERALLSports Champions isn't the killer app we hoped for but it is one of the strongest launch games for the Playstation Move. It's worth a look if you want to check out Sony's latest technology.

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