Motion Control Spreads To HD

Well GDC (Game Developer Conference) always throws up a few interesting announcements and tech demos – the latest of which was Sony’s “Move.”

Essentially a more precise and HD supported Wii remote, “Move” is Sony’s attempt to muscle in on the ground that Nintendo have been occupying for the last few years.

Have a look at the video below to see it in action:

Personally this will be a novelty item for me. Like the EyeToy and EyePet – not something I’ll play often but when friends are over or my daughter wants to play something I’ll stick them on.

I’m not a fan of motion control being the sole means of control in a game and I’m glad to hear that Sony said in a lot of cases the controller will still be an option instead of motion.

That being said if a studio can find a great way to implement it I’m all for it. Killzone 2’s setting charges with the SixAxis was weak but didn’t take you out of the experience too much and Heavenly Sword’s arrow/cannonball system was clever but too frustrating. More positively, Heavy Rain recently included some great motion control stuff so all is not lost.

Heavy Rain’s use of motion control was a big part of the gameplay

I think being able to use controller and motion is a good solution for gamers like me that don’t want to jump wholesale into motion.

Take Natal on XBox for example, in which there is no controller and your hand motions etc are used to select stuff. Now I don’t doubt it’ll sell well and seems to be an impressive piece of tech but I don’t want to play like that.

The idea of having to physically carry out the actions I want to do in real life so that Natal can register them in game isn’t my idea of fun. Actually scratch that, it would be fun but at a party or with friends. The majority of my gaming time is spent alone (in terms of my actual location) and I just don’t see myself playing that way.

So we have the usual array of sports games and motion stuff – I particularly liked ‘Shoot’ (see below video) which is a ‘House Of The Dead’ style romp through various themed levels and looks like it could be a real giggle.

Sadly from my perspective that was the only title that looked like I might play it.

Support from existing titles such as LittleBigPlanet and SOCOM was good to see, although the latter appeared to confirm my fears on motion in ‘hardcore’ games.

SOCOM is a tactical army based shooter – why would you need to control it with motion? Fair play to Zipper for getting it done and it’s not terrible by any means (see below video) but I just can’t take it seriously.

I guess it all just feels superfluous. Like the Wii, Natal and Move are all bringing a little something extra to the table but nothing groundbreaking.

Where is motion control’s ‘killer app’?

It’s a big question and maybe with the release of Natal and Move bringing some much needed competition to Nintendo we’ll get to see some innovative motion titles forcing their way through in the next few years.

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The End Of An Era… But The Beginning Of Another.

As with so many things, gaming has changed a hell of a lot since the start of the decade.

It’s been a progressive ten years, seeing the arrival of the Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and PSP – as well as rival consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft that helped push Sony to improve.

Games are a much bigger part of life now – more mainstream than ever before. Most houses will have one of the consoles, if not more, as parents and children play (sometimes together πŸ™‚ ).

METAL GEAR SOLID: One of the original Playstation’s finest moments

There can be no doubt that Sony was the manufacturer of the decade – the continuing success of the PS2 secures them that accolade.

But in the current generation of consoles they sit in last place. XBox 360 started so well and then Nintendo arrived with the Wii to rape and pillage the ‘casual market.’

However as time has gone on the PS3 has made great strides to catch up with the XBox (I just can’t take the Wii seriously as a platform) and seems to finally be getting the games to back up it’s hardware.

GOD OF WAR: The series that showcased just how much was left in the PS2

As this decade comes to a close we’ve seen various companies go bust. From well established ones, like Acclaim or Midway, through to lesser known but good studios such as Pandemic no-one seemed safe from the threat of extinction.

I’ve had some big changes in gaming since 2000 – swinging from FIFA to PES back in 2001 and then back to FIFA again in 2009. Going from casual gamer to setting up my own blog and reviewing games.

The main difference for me now is in online gaming. With XBox Live on the 360 and then the PSN for PS3 gaming became even more social than before – with friends lists and even the inclusion of Twitter updates of your in game progress (Uncharted 2).

KILLZONE 2: The game that has defined online gaming for me this decade

I never thought I would ever play with a headset – but as online games have developed it’s often essential to be able to communicate to the people you’re playing with, not least to be able to dish out some friendly ribbing now and then πŸ˜†

Games are so well developed now that people who were just casual gamers are finding themselves completing games and playing online.

It’s a great time to be a gamer and with a slew of great titles confirmed for 2010/2011 it looks like it’ll just keep getting better and better.

UNCHARTED 2: The complete gaming package

For the record here are my Top 10 favourites games of the decade:

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

2. Killzone 2 (PS3)

3. GTA: Vice City (PS2)

4. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (PS2)

5. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)

6. God Of War II (PS2)

7. Dead Space (PS3)

8. Fallout 3 (PS3)

9. Resident Evil 4 (PS2)

10. GTA IV (PS3)

And because of “it’s great balance of Final Fantasy and Disney” my wife has submitted her game of the decade: Kingdom Hearts.

So that rounds out the decade!

See you all in 2010! 😎

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PES Through The Years…

Wow, that was certainly a trip down memory lane.

Just on my way home from the Konami 40th Birthday Celebration at Centre Point in London.

The evening focused on Pro Evolution Soccer and how the game has developed and improved since the early days of PES (back on the SNES).

They had various iterations of the game on different consoles.

First up we sampled the SNES version. This was a tough one to control and the shooting wasn’t great.

Tackling wasn’t too bad and the passing was fairly accurate but the shooting was where we were struggling and a lot of the goals came from the keeper spilling a save and the forward sliding the ball home.

The graphics were true 16Bit – really took me back and while the controls were different enough to keep us on our toes I managed an 8-0 victory πŸ˜€

Next up we tried the new Nintendo Wii version of PES 2009.

You use the stick on the controler to move your player, the nunchuck to direct where you want to pass and a shake of the controller to shoot. It’s all a little bit complex and there is a hell of a lot going on on screen.

I’m sure with more perseverance it would get easier and it was quite nice to have total control over the play. This one finished 1-1.

Then we headed over to the first PS2 version ‘Pro Evolution Soccer.’

This was more like it but first impressions were “whoa! How fast is this?!” I played a fair bit of this game and certainly don’t remember it being so quick.

The passing was very unresponsive, often not kicking the ball until a good second or two after you’d pressed the button.

We went for a Euro XI vs World XI which was a close game as both teams were so good – managed to squeeze a 1-0 victory and got the same result again in the next game; Germany vs Uruguay. Felt a bit bad as was the betterΒ @shandation team in the 2nd game by a mile but succombed to the German counter attack. πŸ˜†

Our final stop took us all the way back to the N64.

This was easily the worst of the versions we played – didn’t help that the graphics looked even worse than they should as it was on a big HD TV.

It was hard to tackle, hard to shoot and we had no idea how to change player.

Dribbling was easy and fun (a little too easy at times, although they may have been us jumping into challenges πŸ˜€ )

It turned into a bit of a goalfest and I ran out as the winner with a final score of 10-3 to round off the evening in style 😎

It was great fun to revisit the older versions of the game, especially as I no longer own any of them.

Β 

Playing the previous games in the series really made you appreciate just how good the latest PES title is, even with the faults it does have.

Hopefully football titles can continue to evolve and improve with each version. FIFA has made great strides to make up ground on PES.

I used to play FIFA from the first game in ’94 right through to 2001 when I discovered PES. It’s been PES all the way since then but I am looking forward to seeing what both titles bring to the table this year.

Could FIFA 2010 really tempt me away from PES? We’ll have to wait and see.

For now I’m basking in the warm glow of nostaglia and enjoying reminiscing about great times had hunched over a control pad playing Pro Evolution Soccer.