PlayStation Move Heroes
What is a PlayStation Hero? You might think it’s the people who’ve defined the PlayStation brand over the years. People like Lara Croft, Nathan Drake or Solid Snake, but in this instance it’s a trio of mascots more specifically associated with platform games of the PlayStation 2 era.
Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter wouldn’t necessarily be the first heroes we’d pick for an all-star PlayStation game but at least they all fit into a certain matching style.
With so many of the PS2’s most popular platform stars brought together, you’d be forgiven for thinking that PlayStation Move Heroes was the biggest and best cartoon platform game yet made.
But this is a PlayStation Move exclusive and, sadly, falls into the most predictable and depressing genre associated with motion control: the mini-game collection.
Falling somewhere between Wii Sports and the Mercenaries mode from Resident Evil 5, the mini-games range from the simple – such as frisbee or bowling games – to the slightly less simple – like run-and-gun arena combat missions.
The former definitely make the best use of motion control, though in a predictable way, your arm movements translating perfectly into a throwing motion.
And though the games start off relatively traditional, they quickly evolve, incorporating more complex elements as the game progresses.
Bowling, for example, initially has you rolling explosive balls at targets but you’ll eventually have to contend with ramps, speed boosts and obstacles that are designed to make the game more engaging than the real life equivalent.
The run-and-gun missions, meanwhile, have more in common with some of the games that our heroes hail from in that they see you running around and shooting as many enemies as possible.
If you’ve played any other shooting games on Move then you’ll know what to expect, the precision aim of the controller providing a perfectly suitable alternative to the DualShock, if not a revolutionary one.
It’s all very standard, middle of the road stuff, which is a problem that goes for all of the mini-games in PlayStation Move Heroes.
No matter how many elements are introduced, the games never rise above anything resembling a perfunctory challenge and rarely entertain. We honestly feel as though we could half slip into a coma and still complete every challenge.
In fact, they’d probably be more fun that way. Outside of the individual games themselves, the biggest problem facing PlayStation Move Heroes is a lack of incentive to succeed.
There is a sense of progression, at least. Completing a game will reward the player with a bronze, silver or gold medal depending on their score and the accumulated medals are then used to unlock further levels and games.
But the games that are unlocked are just slightly more complicated or longer versions of those you’ve played already. Unlock a handful of games, with a significant stretch of locked levels still laid out before you, and the suffocating inevitability of the hours of plodding chore to come are enough to make you want to give in and play something else.
Mini-game collections don’t necessarily lend themselves to long-term play, of course. There’s also the thrill of competing for a high score.
Yet PlayStation Move Heroes misses a trick by not allowing offline players to compete against each other either through local score boards or any kind of turn based system. To the game’s credit, there are online score boards that allow you to compare against people on your friends list, but they’re not as well integrated into the menus as in other score based titles and do little to encourage the player as a result.
But even if they did, there’s so little sophistication to the games themselves, so few ways to play strategically and maximise your score, that it hardly seems worth bothering with.
“Predictable”, “middle-of-the-road” “chore”. These are not words that should be associated with a new PlayStation Move title in the infancy of such a promising.
The spirit of motion controlled party games demands activities so fun that you end up fighting over the controller to get to play them. But PlayStation Move Heroes is so dull and monotonous that you might end up hiding the disc just to make sure nobody starts it up by accident.
And if you’re thinking of picking up Move Heroes as a fan of either Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper or Jak and Daxter then we’d urge you not to bother.
There’s little here that captures what fans liked about any of those separate games and there’s even a risk that it might make you resent them purely by association.