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Sports Champions Hands On Preview

How does Sony's Sports Champions archery game hold up to its Wii counterpart?

I finally got some hands-on time with Sports Champions today, with the ability to demo two stations, one focused on archery and the other on ping pong. The booths were separated, allowing me freedom of range and motion to fully experience Move's controls without anything in the way.

Archery was my first demo, and I hate to say it, but I was severely disappointed. While I only fired a total of 12 arrows, to give an idea of how in-depth my playtime was, I found that the game felt a little shallow, and in truth, was about as deep as the Wii Sports Resort game, but it seemed less fun.

To begin with, there's a short calibration before the sport begins. Players are asked to hold Move by their side, by their head, side again, then near where a belt would buckle, all for the sake of calibration. From there, I was brought into the Archery mode, which takes two Move controllers, by the way, where I was tasked with pulling an arrow out of my quiver, a process that seemed easier said than done. Initially, I believed that the on-screen character's hand would actually mimic my hand's movements, and boy was I wrong. I reached my hand behind my back, as if to reach for an arrow, and on screen, the character's arm would flail up and down, from her shoulder to her head. Fun.

Anyway, it turned out that I just needed to press the "A" or action button, or whatever the button is while Move was up in the air to pull the arrow out of the quiver, and then quickly bring it down to the second move. Pretty simple. From that point, I was to pull back the move "holding" the arrow and the string, aim, then release. Apparently, it's possible to adjust your "pull back" speed to increase or decrease firing power, but unfortunately, no meter was present on screen to tell how powerful the arrow would release. Regardless, a simple highlighted line showed the path the arrow would take when launched, perhaps because it was on an easy mode, and when released, the arrow flew.

I shot five times on a practice round, hitting a stationary target, then one spinning on a pinwheel, then three more on a watermelon, apple, and some other fruit, just for fun. From there, I was taken to a competitive "Bow-off" with a CPU player competitor. He fired seven shots terrible toward the outer ring of a stationary target, while I fired six and misfired one accidentally pressing the release button while drawing back to fire. I hit all bulls-eyes and won by far. I'm sure it would've made for a better experience, at least in this particular part, on a higher difficulty mode.

When aiming, I just directed the Move I held in my left hand, which is meant to represent the bow. It felt loose and a little shaky, and I felt my movements corresponded more to the direction the bow aimed on the screen, but that what I saw didn't come close to matching my aiming on a 1:1 level. For me, I was guiding a reticule and a line of light, almost as if I were a human analog stick, in contrast to the mouse-like precision Sony might wish me to perceive.

To sum it up, I'd say the experience felt a bit hollow, honestly. Unlike Wii Sports Resort, the vibration feedback didn't seem to steadily increase (and sometimes never turned on), which definitely diluted some of the tactile nature of such a game. Furthermore, when drawing back on the screen, there's no real stretch or pull screen distortion, nor was there a noticeable sound effect, though E3 isn't a great place to hear a game, that I experienced. Playing Move in this case really served to show the little things matter in these games like Wii Sports Resort, and at least for Sports Champions' archery, some of the attention to detail is particularly lacking.



Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

06/17/2010 at 06:50 PM

You need two Move controllers to play this? Sounds expensive.


06/20/2010 at 12:20 PM

yikes $100 in controllers as a requirement for this game. $140 if you don't have the camera.

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