PS3 Reviews: Sports Champions Review

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Sports Champions Review

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Graphics:

 

7.7

Gameplay:

 

8.4

Sound:

 

8.1

Control:

 

7.9

Replay Value:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

SCEA

Developer:

Zindagi Games

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Sports

Let me clarify something right off the bat: I’m not the biggest fan of motion sensing. If I didn’t have to deal with PlayStation Move for work purposes, I probably wouldn’t own it. I just think it’s a technology that needs a lot more time to cook and I don’t necessarily feel more “immersed” when I utilize said technology. …but such opinions were only a result of my experiences with the Nintendo Wii which, needless to say, have been underwhelming. This being established, that solid 8.0 up there should say something about Sports Champions and Move’s relatively impressive precision and intuitive, dynamic interaction. I always told everyone going in: “if I’m not sweating after an hour of play, it just doesn’t work in my eyes.” See, I can sit down and flick the Wii wand around in Wii Sports and do just fine. Yeah, not here. This is indeed another step in the motion world, even if it’s not quite there just yet.

When comparing the different motion technologies, we often forget that the Wii has never once delivered high-definition anything, so it was sort of a surprise to see the clear, colorful, high-def visuals in Zindagi Games’ production. We’re all just sort of conditioned to expect lesser everything when it comes to motion sensing, you know? And although this game still can’t compete with the full $60 blockbuster productions and there are a few technical drawbacks (I saw some jerking about when the camera moved quickly between moments of action), it’s still pretty clean. Character detail and animations are smooth, the special effects are great additions and really help to spruce up the presentation, and there aren’t any glaring, crucial flaws. I still think we could’ve used a bit more variety in the backdrops and environments – more volleyball courts, archery ranges, gladiator arenas, etc. would’ve been appreciated – but you don’t notice the landscape much.

Music doesn’t play enough of a role in the sound category, but I like the fact that it picks up during the more intense events, like the Gladiator Duel. I’ve always thought better and more prominent soundtracks needed to be featured in a lot of Wii titles, and I still feel the same way. The sound effects, on the other hand, are just about where they need to be. They’re clear, polished, accurate and above all, effective. Every strike of every ball, every smack of the shield or sword, and even every “whish” of the disc in Disc Golf works to enhance the overall experience. And it’s not like the music is ill-fitting or poor in quality; it just isn’t brought out enough. When combined with the clean, pleasant graphical palette, the overall technical aspects of Sports Champions basically meets most expectations. Of course, there’s always room to grow and progress in the future but for now, this will do nicely.

The game lets you select from the following: Disc Golf, Archery, Gladiator Duel, Bocce, Beach Volleyball, and Table Tennis. Each presents you with very different and distinct movements, so switching up the events on a frequent basis keeps it feeling fresh and entertaining. There's also plenty to do.  Each event has Bronze, Silver and Gold sets of rounds, there are lots of Trophies and challenges to complete, and with the exception of Disc Golf and Table Tennis - two events I'm not overly enamored with due to what I perceive to be a mechanical shortcoming - the difficulty curve is just about right. Now, everyone seems to be wondering the same thing- “how is that different/better than what we already have on the Wii?” I thought about how to answer that question and in the end, I’ve concluded the following should serve as all the differentiation we need:

For a while, in certain events, I didn’t fare very well. This is because I had the Wii in the back of my mind, and I was trying to figure out how best to move, so as to achieve the best results. Suddenly, at one point, I realized such a frame of mind was a mistake- the advanced technology inherent in Move is that you’ll do better if you simply imagine you’re actually participating in what is happening on the screen. In other words, rather than attempting to satisfy the machine with the correct movement, I simply moved as I thought I might move in real life. Look, here comes the ball; I want to set it to my teammate. I move my arms up to make a set and push up, with about the same technique and power I would if I were on a real volleyball court. The attack is coming high; I’m going to raise my shield to the proper position based on my own eyes. The ping-pong ball is low and short on the table; I need to step forward and alter my swing accordingly. This is the best way I can describe the difference between Wii and Move.

Of course, you don’t get this in all the events. The Archery, for instance, is pretty straightforward and besides the added accuracy and super intuitive aiming, it’s not that much different than the arrows I fired in Wii Sports Resort. Bocce is…well, Bocce. And in all honesty, I think the Table Tennis event might be somewhat broken. It might be the one event that best displays the potential and depth of Move but at the same time, there’s a definite mechanical issue: you have to move so quickly and when you move the “paddle” back, you will often accidentally strike the ball on that backswing. It’s most annoying when switching between backhands and forehands; even moving the paddle from one side to the other can result in accidental, inaccurate strikes. Even without this problem, it takes a lot of practice and being a tennis (and ping-pong) player, I’m not so sure it’s 100% accurate.

I also question the accuracy of Disc Golf. My brother and I have been throwing Frisbees for years and I know how to throw one. It is actually impressive to see just how much of my arm and wrist motion the Move captures – don’t think I didn’t notice it – but the results were just a bit iffy. Beyond that, I’m pretty darn happy. Remember in the intro where I said I’d have to be sweating for it to work? Yeah, I was. I’m in pretty good shape and after any given hour of play time, I’ve got an active pulse rate going, thanks to vigorous volleyball and duel gameplay. The duel, by the way, is pretty cool, provided you remember to be steady with your movements and strikes. You actually jump to perform a jump attack, and the shield bashes, side steps, and back-steps are all easy to execute. Your shield and sword go almost exactly where you intend and with no perceivable delay. Volleyball might be my favorite; it’s easy, fun and really demanding in the later levels.

Sports Champions is a solid piece of entertainment that gives us a glimpse of what is to come. You really do have to “move” and many of the available events highlight Move’s super advanced reliability, precision, and responsiveness. The Table Tennis definitely seems flawed and there were instances where I’d say, “er…pretty sure I didn’t do that,” but those are my only complaints. I would also like to add that while some events allow you to choose between one or two Move controllers, I have difficulty believing two will give you much of an edge. I only say this based on the controls I read in the instruction manual, though, so I can’t be sure. In the end, this is a great start to Move and this is coming from someone whose expectations barely registered on any scale going into the review. I’ll end with this: Wii Sports was the start. In comparison to Move and Sports Champions, the differences really are crystal clear. And no, I hadn’t anticipated that.

P.S. I will deliver a hardware review for Move this week. I want to spend more time with it, try the demo disc here, and sample a few other games. I want to make sure the review is as accurate as I can make it.  In the meantime, I will say that I do recommend it if you are interested in the premise.  It's quite satisfying.

9/18/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (58 posts)

DazeOfWar
Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 11:07:49 PM
Reply

Good review Ben. Hell now I'm really itching to go pick it up but I need to wait a month for some extra money.

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Shams
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:11:16 AM

Especially if you're getting it for the fam, and need an extra number of controllers...and even an extra ps3 if you want to play your own games while it's being occupied.

I wonder if there's online play for Sports Champions? Although throwing frisbee doesn't sound anymore interesting than throwing one in real life, I can't say i've had the pleasure of engaging in a real life Gladiator Duel (or even archery), so those actually sound pretty interesting. Granted, it's more of an introductory demo of Move controls rather than a trojan horse for selling the Move, so I'll be sure to dabble with everything. The fam won't be playing Killzone 3, nor Heavy Rain, that's for sure.

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Sol
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:30:03 AM

As a person who's good at ping pong, archery, and throwing a frisbee, I would think that online play would be a good addition to the game if it isn't there. After all, some gamers have nobody else nearby to play with. Online play is one of those things that allows people who usually game alone to game with or compete against others.

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Shams
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:47:26 AM

Oh and nothing against frisbee, either. It has more to with just my weakness (unflexible wrists). I've seen people with mad skills, though, and Ben's comment about his brother and his years with the frisbee made me smile.

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SayWord
Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 11:09:18 PM
Reply

I'm hooked on this game. Its just way to fun. Playing ping pong is pretty much how I play it in real life, very impressive. A lot of people under estimated the move.

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dkmrules
Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 11:21:04 PM
Reply

Well, im in a pickle. I want to get in on the move action, but its pretty expensive.... I would basically have to decide between move and the cool games coming out towards the end of the year....

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MartyRules
Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 11:35:08 PM
Reply

Wow this is the first solid number for a review I've seen in awhile, its usually like 7.9 or 8.7 or something. Nice review btw

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:12:44 AM

Just gave Shank and Cladun: This is an RPG 8.0s. :)

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MartyRules
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:16:31 AM

Have you ever gave out a 9.0 or perfect 10? That would be nuts ^_^ I doubt Ill see a 10 tho considering theres no perfect game

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Highlander
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:24:32 AM

Uncharted : Drakes Fortune got a 9.0 here, and Uncharted 2 got a 9.8.

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MartyRules
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:34:21 AM

Thanks Highlander, thats one less mystery my brain's gotta worry about. Now hopefully Sony can produce a 10 sometime in the future for this site

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:48:27 AM

Arnold gave MGS4 a 10.

I also gave GTAIV a 9.9. But let's not turn this thread into a discussion about scores for other games, all right? ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/19/2010 12:51:36 AM

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WolfCrimson
Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 11:43:42 PM
Reply

Oh man, now I want the Move. All those fantasies of sword-swinging (all thanks to FF and DMC) can now be satisfied.

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FxTales
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:20:44 AM
Reply

I don't regret buying my Wii but I found that I didn't use it anywhere near as much as the ps3. If Move can do a lot more in way of variety and it reviews well then I would consider purchasing it.

p.s. I'm surprised to see that the controller and eye bundle where I am is round about the same price as a normal ps3 controller so I'm glad it has been priced accordingly.

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Kai200X
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 1:05:07 AM
Reply

I was on the fence and didn't know if I should pick up Sports Champions or Racquet Sports, even though I did try the demo of Racquet Sports. Anyway, I think Ben did a very great review on Sports Champions and that's what I will go for right now. I'm still waiting to play Heavy Rain Move Edition. I tried the demo of that too, and I think I need more practice.

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___________
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 1:55:29 AM
Reply

finally got my move controllers working today, i had to take my ps3 in and get a new one.
so thats 4 ps3s ive been through now!
4 ps3s, 0 360s and 0 wiis, so which ones suppose to be the most reliable?
sports champions a ok game if your into those types of things, its just sony could of inserted so much more depth into each of the games.
they all feel like mini games instead of full fledged games they could of, and should of been!
its like playing soccer on your phone, its so simplistic and basic than going and playing the latest FIFA theres a massive leap in the quality and complexity.
i think that sums up sports champions perfectly, just a compilation of mini games.
could of, and should of done so, so much more!

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FxTales
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:23:49 AM

Four ps3's aye? Either that's incredibly unfortunate or, sorry to say, you don't treat your consoles very well.

Agree with this comment 17 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

MartyRules
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:24:28 AM

You obviously played the ps3 more then the other two consoles, so it evens out

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Shams
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:29:22 AM

I'd also check where you're getting them from. That number is crazy unusual even for refurbs.

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___________
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 8:28:03 AM

how much you wanna bet i look after them better than you?
when was the last time you took your ps3 apart and went at it with a can of compressed air and replaced the heat sink?
yea, i thought so.
o, and they were not referbs, every one of them were new PS3s wont be doing that anymore!
n, no i dont play my ps3 most i play my 360 most because thats where i get my multiplats.

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Snaaaake
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 10:24:56 AM

Damn dude, no one's gonna believe you on that.

Why don't you buy it from other place instead of the same place that give you a crap console.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 10:48:55 AM

Dude theres no way its your fourth..... Its probably your socond.... Anyway take care of your sh** more... idk make sure it has air to breathe and make sure you turn it of properly...

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LegendaryWolfeh
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:38:52 PM

You do know opening it up and also blasting it with compressed air, in actuality, could be the main reason your ps3's are failing...

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tes37
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:53:29 PM

I have to agree with LegendaryWolfeh. Compressed air can be a very bad thing to use. The risks associated with using it, outweighs any benefits.

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Jawknee
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 1:48:00 PM

I get the feeling your not telling the truth Cowpatty.

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Underdog15
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 3:48:37 PM

Don't use compressed air on it, dude. Compressed air actually has liquid in the container that is corrosive.

I'm willing to bet you don't take care of it when you aren't taking it apart. I bet you store it in a glass box or other enclosed area in a warm environment more than 80 degrees farenheit.

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LimitedVertigo
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 5:00:46 PM

I bet he is lying about the entire thing and actually only games on a 360. At least that's what I generally get from reading his posts.

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Orvisman
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 9:58:43 AM

Agree LV. Xbox troll. Pay him no mind.

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main_event05
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 4:17:12 AM
Reply

I was on the fence with move, but now I'm sold. I hope Sony gives you a cut on the sell you just made.

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slimey
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 4:37:09 AM
Reply

I played Resident Evil 5 with Move yesterday, and it works really prety good l. It was an orgy of head shots, even more so than ResiEvil 4 Wii.

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kraygen
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 5:35:42 AM
Reply

I picked up the move starter, an extra wand, and 2 nav controllers last nite. For sports champion you don't need the navs at all so I'm looking forward to tonite when my friend is bringing over resident evil.

So me and my friend played sports champions for about 6 hours straight. I'm exhausted, sore, and it was some of the most fun I've had in a long time.

The wii always kinda bored me because it was just wrist flicking. Move is not like that, if you don't give it a full swing then it won't do much.

I gotta say I had high hopes for move, but it turned out better than I thought. Love it. We ran the controllers dead.

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JackC8
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 6:43:56 AM
Reply

Good review Ben. Now I'm thinking maybe the Sports Champions bundle would make a nice Christmas present for myself.

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tes37
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 8:33:28 PM

Avoid the wait and make it a late birthday present.



Last edited by tes37 on 9/19/2010 8:35:57 PM

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FullmetalX10
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 7:58:49 AM
Reply

Nice review Ben, I'd love to pick it up, but I can't spend the cash right now, still need about 250 bucks for that Sony Vaio laptop I'm intending to buy for my study. I'll probably get it early next year, I hope...

Also, Gametrailers be hatin' on Move, all the Playstation fans always say it's because microsoft pays Gametrailers, but I'm starting to think they just have a general grudge against the Playstation somehow, I think this because they keep praising Halo and Gears, also Call of Duty, which got the Best of everything award on everything last year, even friggin in the Playstation category, everyone was pissed that it got chosen over Uncharted 2, I don't get em. Anyways, I'm going off topic.
cyaz

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Fabi
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 11:34:47 AM
Reply

I actually really enjoyed table tennis, I felt like it nailed it pretty well, I really don't get why you're having so much trouble with it Ben. I actually got a hang of it after the first match.

Maybe it's because I only played the Wii like once, and that was on launch day, when my friend bought his. So I went into it, swinging like I would in real life.

Either way guys, I think Ben is in the minority when it comes to table tennis, cause everyone else who I know that tried it really enjoyed it.

I am very impressed with the Move.

While games like EyePet, Start The Party and Tumble aren't for me, I can see how much potential is there, unlike with the Wii. I never felt like the Wii was gonna be more than just aimless swinging.





Last edited by Fabi on 9/19/2010 11:35:37 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 7:16:14 PM

I'm hardly in the minority. The game will frequently make the mistake of hitting the ball on the back-swing. Some of that was because I was too close but I have to move too far back to stop it. It also doesn't do exactly what you tell it to do in terms of spin.

Trust me. I'm a tennis player and I played table tennis a lot in real life, too. This has its issues.

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tes37
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:22:53 PM
Reply

Great review. I've been having a blast with this game. The Gladiator Duel does get your heart rate up and makes you sweat a little, but it's quite entertaining. Gladiator Duel is the only game on the disc that I like using two motion controllers with.

So far I have one navigation and one motion controller for each of the two ps3's I own. I plan on picking up two more motion controllers, because I can't always borrow my daughter's for the games that allow for more than one. I'll be good to go after that and won't need anything but more games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 12:57:26 PM
Reply

Thanks Ben, looking pretty good so far. I can't wait for the sorcery review and the more hardcore titles.

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THEVERDIN
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 2:19:51 PM
Reply

As an owner of the MOVE I can honestly say you won't be disappointed, it's a lot of fun. I even got my wife to try it and she is not really one who plays video games. In her own words, I can actually play this. It is kind of awkward in RE5, but when I got use to the control scheme my shot % actually went up about 30% from using the DS. Will give a small review when HR hits the 22.

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Fabi
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 3:26:44 PM
Reply

Hey guys, can you answer me this? Which games in Sports Champions use both controls? And how?

I bought the motion control and navigation control, but I'm thinking of returning the navigation and getting another motion, because it doesn't seem like I'll be using it until Sorcery comes out. I don't plan on playing any shooters with it.

Oh yeah and how does two player work? Like in the beach volleyball game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 7:13:10 PM

I don't think anything in Sports Champions uses the Navigation controller, because I didn't need the Dual Shock, either (the Nav controller essentially replaces the DS3 if you have to use it for control, as I understand it).

You can use two Move controllers for some of the events, though, like Archery. Like I said in the review, I'm not sure how much that would help.

It could be a big help in the Duel, I think...just so you can have one arm be the shield and the other be the sword.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/19/2010 7:14:04 PM

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Alienange
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 4:37:55 PM
Reply

You could give this a 10 and I wouldn't buy it. Like yourself, I just don't enjoy motion controlled games. I don't want to stand up when I game and I don't want to hold up my arm.

Call me lazy, but I want just want to use my fingers when I game.

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natho86
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 5:08:44 PM
Reply

Man after playing Gladiator Duel for hours and getting pretty good at it, I want them to patch move to demon souls so bad!!!

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tes37
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 5:17:35 PM
Reply

I've been playing Sports Champions with a friend of mine today who doesn't own a ps3. He has decided to buy one after using the motion controls. It looks like Move could help push a few units for Sony.

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Jawknee
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 7:24:16 PM

Nice. I went to Walmart today, wanted to buy one but they were out. Only had Nav Controllers left. Guess it's a good thing cause I'm kind of broke at the moment. Haha

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tes37
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 7:36:47 PM

Move is pretty cool and I'm having more fun with it than I thought I would. I almost took out the ceiling fan earlier. Volleyball will make you forget where you are for a moment. :)

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tazbrat
Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ 9:02:50 PM
Reply

I've had no issues with the ping pong oh I mean table tennis lol or any other game on champions, the disc golf is accurate for me, the archery is fast and fun, volleyball can really get you moving, bocce is ok but Gladiator Duel is very addicting and made it well worth buying the move starter pack. Also the demo disc that comes with the starter pack has a couple hours of fun on it aswell (golf, shooters and some kids games) can't wait for Socom 4...

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jaybiv
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 12:48:08 AM
Reply

nice review ben. perhaps you should look at move as a complementary accessory that will give you a change of pace when gaming. i don' think move will replace my ds3 as a primary input for games, but i can see it developing into something to help pass the time when i want to game and not looking for a serious gaming session. also, the communal aspects that the wii brought to the mainstream make this a good purchase for those gatherings. sony's move marketing has been all encompassing though i think their main audience is those who bought a ps3 for non gaming reasons. nintendo proved that a pretty penny can be had by simplifying the gaming experience for them.

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Kai200X
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 1:57:06 AM
Reply

Just tried the Sports Champions demo and I had fun with frisbee golf and table tennis.

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Effi
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 2:46:18 AM
Reply

some of you may hang me out to dry for saying this.. but after playing Gladiator Duel with 2 controllers.... i think it should be networked and included into WCG!!! THAT should be counted as 'sport' for those 'gaming-aint-sport-cos-u-aint-moving'-saying guys.

Gladiator is nothing short of impressive - the movement mapping is so accurate its jaw dropping.


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JPBooch
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 10:00:43 AM

I think it might need it's own league..one that isn't dominated by twitchy 100 lb beady eyed computer geeks..

Online support would be sweeet

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JPBooch
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 9:57:49 AM
Reply

Couple of points to add:

1. You can play your own music..it's in the setup page by hitting square.

2. Gladiator, Volleyball, and Archery are enhanced with 2 controllers. Gladiator benefits the most since you can move the shield independantly in the later cups. Something that is almost a must given the difficulty level.

3. The speed at which you swing/throw is extremely important. The harder you swing your sword the more damage you will do. Same for the frisbee. The harder you throw the farther it will go....same with all the events. If your Move isn't making a whipping sound cutting through the air as you swing you aren't swinging hard enough!

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Amazingskillz
Monday, September 20, 2010 @ 12:12:22 PM
Reply

Based on the review and the othre comments its safe to say that Sports Champions is not a surefire bonafide must have hit. With that said, I've actually changed my position on Move and will buy one anyway. I will buy one now for sure after the Paula Creamer demostration on Tiger Woods golf showing in the mall in Playstation Home. She's kinda hot!

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Orvisman
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 10:07:48 AM
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After Gladiator, bring on The Fight: Lights out!

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opium
Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 3:54:48 AM
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this game could definately do with online mp & i`d have to agree on the table tennis issues,i actually won games by accident with these flaws

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alfie
Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 11:04:17 PM
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i can't wait to play FIFA 11:-)

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dabeej
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 10:33:21 PM
Reply

Got the Move on launch day and haven't been able to stop playing. Great review. I am a disc golfer and play often. I had a friend come over to play the move before we went and his discs actually took the exact same flight pattern in real life because of the way he throws them. I have 3 kids and all of their friends love it. 2 of them want to sell their Wiis to get it and another is asking for it for his birthday. Sony did a great job on this one. I do agree that the Table Tennis needs a little work. I have done the same thing on the back swing.

Last edited by dabeej on 9/28/2010 10:34:05 PM

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dabeej
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 10:42:29 PM
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2 controllers makes a huge difference on archery and gladiator duel. You actually reach into your quiver and touch the controllers to nock your arrow. It works well. Also being able to move your sword and shield independently of one another makes the game much more immersive. It adds to the game in volleyball but doesn't have near the impact as it does for the others. It makes such a difference that I bought an additional 2 controllers so we could have 4.

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