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Denny Markovic
17 Sep, 2010

Sports Champions Review

PS3 Review | Move it, champ.
With the PlayStation Move now out and about and in full ‘swing’, one would expect there’d be some fairly decent launch titles available that would not only show off the technical ability of the Move, but also give some quality gameplay to boot. While Kung Fu Rider doesn’t really do anything well, one of the other titles, Sports Champions does a pretty damn good job, and dare we say it, is the best of all the launch titles.

Sports Champions is pretty much the token sports game that has to launch with any new motion based peripheral, much like Wii Sports, the highest selling game of all time (just adding that for the flair). It’s basically a compilation of sports activities that are mostly for demonstration purposes on the Moves technology, but surprisingly enough add a lot of entertainment to the household.

There are a total of six sports games to choose from; Table Tennis, Volleyball, Gladiator Duel, Disc Golf, Bocce and Archery, so there’s plenty of variety when it comes to play. In terms of playability, most work quite well, but the stand out titles would be Table Tennis, Gladiator Duel and Archery. Table Tennis is exactly what one would expect, and it works exceptionally well. It’s a very strong example of the Move's functionality and accuracy, with very smooth playability and somewhat realistic rules to the realm of physics. It’s also fairly addictive and provides quite a work out, especially when it comes to the later stages of AI difficulty and/or with friends in multiplayer.

Feminist groups light their balls on fire.

Feminist groups light their balls on fire.
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The next highlight is Gladiator Duel, which is our personal favourite as well. Gladiator Duel is essentially sword and shield based combat, where one move acts as your sword and the other as your shield (though if you have one move, it can still be played just with slightly different control mechanisms) and the point is to clobber your opponent with your sword or bash them out of the ring. This mode is by far the most intensive in terms of work out as you certainly get into it, slashing away and shield bashing your opponents without relent. It’s extraordinarily accurate when it comes to your sword as well, picking up on your exact poses and rotations with the Move. It’s definitely the most entertaining of the bunch as it allows you to get fancy and also relive your dreams as some kind of gladiatorial warrior.

The final mode when it comes to highlights is Archery, which is exactly what the title implies; using your bow and arrows to aim and score as high a score as possible in time limits. Archery can be used with one Move as per usual, however with two its optimal as the immersion and execution of using the moves to simulate Archery is virtually flawless. Accuracy is outstanding and the gameplay is very fast paced, game modes ranging from simple static target practice to hitting moving targets and random objects such as apples and melons. It’s quite an entertaining mode that definitely tests your accuracy, and also goes to show how highly accurate the Move peripheral actually is.

That's not a light saber dude.

That's not a light saber dude.
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The other games are also quite good, with Disc Golf being a nice demonstration of precision albeit slow paced, Bocce being a very casual and likely the most laid back of game modes, and Volleyball is solid albeit feeling somewhat immobile as all you really use is arm movements. Each game mode has something for everyone and for all ages, so the variety is there.

That being said, though Sports Champions works exceptionally well and is likely the best demonstration of the Move technology, its replay value is unquestionably low. This isn’t to say that you won’t ever play it again after your first hour, but playing it for extended amounts or for months after release will be a rarity indeed, as there is simply not enough variety or progression in the game to reward the player to keep on going. What is there is solid, but you’ll be playing it in very short bursts on occasion, rather than extended periods with friends.

On a visual note, Sports Champions is nothing amazing, but it does the job well enough to make the game appealing and pleasing to the eye. Model work is fairly solid and animation is motion captured and quite good, though it can be highly amusing to watch the rig react towards the motion of your hands and contort and twist wildly in all directions. It’s a rarity, but when it happens it’ll give you a good laugh. Audio wise, the game is composed of simple and light amounts of music, grunts, victory yells, laughs and sword slashes, and it all feels extremely casual. Nothing to really fault on that part, lest you feel the need to fault a game that is more a technical showcase for the Move than anything else.

Much like his aim in the bedroom, he misses.

Much like his aim in the bedroom, he misses.
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If you’re one of the super early adopters of the PlayStation Move and are picking out a game to showcase to your friends, relatives and also enjoy together, then Sports Champions is likely the game for you. It has a strong variety of gameplay as opposed to all the other Move titles available and also the most replay value (though that’s not saying much), and it’s arguably the most accurate as well. While it’s not a system selling kind of game, it acts much like Wii Sports, in that it shows off the technology for what its capable of and entertains you in short but sweet bursts. Recommended for the early adopter.
The Score
Sports Champions is likely the strongest of the launch titles for the PlayStation Move, as it not only provides some solid entertainment in its game modes, but showcases the potential of the Move itself.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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11 Comments
3 years ago
8.5-9 imo

it reads like it should score better. Personally don't get the visuals complaints. Lots great for what it is.
3 years ago
We generally consider 9 rated games potential GOTY candidates, at the very least in their genre. They might be very good games, but if they lack that final push into "Oh my god this is unbelievable" quality then we usually keep them away from the higher scores.
3 years ago
IMO
3 years ago
Yeah, I know, just sayin'.
3 years ago
Good review Denny! I just picked up a copy today with my Move controllers as everyone seems to be saying that this is the best Move exclusive game. The Move controller really is very accurate indeed, and the game is pretty good fun, like an improved, highly detailed version of Wii Sports. Trophy support definitely helps the replay factor somewhat.
3 years ago
I know picking out mistakes really annoys people, but there are a couple of mistakes here : phrases like "pleasing towards the eye" instead of "pleasing to the eye" and "our personally favourite" instead of "our personal favourite".
3 years ago
^ OH GRAMMA POLIzE
3 years ago
THEMAN wrote
8.5-9 imo
Dude you have to be kidding.
Sure it's fun, and I am very impressed with the capability of the Move, but this game does not deserve anywhere near that score. Even this review is a bit generous. It's basically just a tech demo.
Sports Champions is hardly one of the better games of the year.
As a peripheral the Move is everything I wanted (I am thinking of it as what the Wii promised me all those years ago) but there will be better games to come that utilize it's impressive features.
The Move itself may deserve such a score, but not this game.
3 years ago
IMO
3 years ago
Is it true that you have to be 8 feet away from your tv?
3 years ago
Nah, you can usually go anywhere between 1m and 3m away from it and comfortably play.
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