Playstation Move games (Article)

Another post from Kotaku. This one was prompted by the announcement that the game House of the Dead: Overkill was being ported from the Wii to the PS3, complete with 3D and Move functions.

So House of the Dead: Overkill is coming to the PSMove.

While I have absolutely no problem with Overkill coming to the PS3, is anyone else concerned about how many PSMove games are nothing more than ports of games from other consoles or simply existing PS3 games with really basic Move features thrown in?

On the ports side we now have Dead Space: Extraction, HotD:Overkill, No More Heroes, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (forthcoming), The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, The Sly Collection and Time Crisis: Razing Storm.

(And yes, I'm aware Aragorn's Quest was a multiplatform release, but it was delayed to add Move functionality to the PS3 version, so I'm counting it.)

On the 'enhanced' side we have de Blob 2, Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5, Tron Evolution and Toy Story 3, to name but a few.

Like I say, I've not much of a problem with this happening, but shouldn't the advent of the Move have been about creating games that genuinely needed the Move, like Sports games (Top Spin 4, for example), keep fit titles (like Zumba Fitness) or just fun stuff like Heroes on the Move (I refuse to call it PS Move Heroes, which is just clunky)?

If the majority of titles released that use the Move are simply going to be enhanced ports of Wii games, then why bother releasing them on the Wii in the first place? Ok, the Move wasn't announced when the games I mentioned were released, but is it really worth digging them up and converting them just for a few precious more pennies? Will they even break even?

And if you're going to enhance existing games with Move functions, do they have to be so token? Toy Story 3 was particularly bad, with one measly shooting minigame, and Tron Evolution wasn't much better with its brief Lightcycle sections... and nothing else.

Again, games that genuinely use the Move to fully enhance a game, like Sports Champions or Top Spin 4, I can fully support. They do a great job of pulling you into the game and if I could just be arsed to play them I'm sure I'd lose loads of weight, which'd be nice.

And games that are built around the system, like Heroes on the Move or Zumba Fitness, I can also support. Heroes is... well, it's entertaining enough, and it makes good use of the Move, as do the keep-fit titles.

But when a game is simply a port, that's when I get concerned. Because if you already played them on the Wii or whatever (and if you had a Wii, then you definitely did play them, because what else was there to play?), then what's the point of getting them again?

Finally, I note that a lot of the ports or upgrades don't actually need the Move. Most of them are fully playable without needing the Move at all. Which begs the question of why bother porting them if you're not going to make sure people play the game the way it was designed?

First Thoughts on Lego Pirates OT Caribbean

The demo for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean came out on the XBox 360 today, and I played through it, taking notes as I did so. Here's the end result. Enjoy!

Standard Play

- Blimey, there's a lot of cutscenes. One before the title screen and one before the level even begins! What is that, five minutes before I actually get to play? Was Star Wars this long? Was Indy?
- They changed the sound for picking up studs! it sounds more like jingling coins now. More appropriate, but it just doesn't feel right!
- Is it taking longer to build things or is it just me? I think it's taking longer. I like how you can knock the pieces around the floor before building the item in question, that's kinda nice.
- Well, the combat's interesting. It's like you take turns doing a four-hit combo on each other. Hope it's not like that for every enemy, that'd get old fast.
- A CHARACTER SELECT WHEEL. Oh thank god. Six games too late, but better late than never.
- Oh, Captain Jack's run just looks silly. Also, nothing like the way he moves in the movies. They didn't even get his swagger-while-walking right.
- You can run along narrow ledges? That's a neat idea.
- Barrels! Wait, how many of those were in the movies? Oh who cares, it's fun to jump on one and roll it around the level. Wee!
- Oh good, the combat's much more straightforward on standard enemies. Guess the whole take-it-in-turns thing is for bosses and such. That works pretty well, when I think about it.
- That pirate I just rescued did a little jig as thanks. I probably shouldn't find that as entertaining as I did, but I don't care. Dance, Lego Pirate man, dance!
- Using Captain Jack's compass to go on scavenger hunts might be more fun if he moved faster with his compass out. It's a bit tedious at the moment and makes the whole exploration aspect really slow the game down.
- Will that dog drop his sodding bone already! (This really shouldn't irritate me as much as it does)
- Hey, they made the minikits little boats in glass bottles! Nice.
- Heh, Jack's wearing a seashell as a hat. That's silly.
- Ok, slight problem. If you knock all the pieces away, where do you need to stand to start building stuff? That might get a bit frustrating if you accidentally walk through a buildable object and knock half the pieces into the water, as I just did.
- Wait, you have to hold your breath while underwater now? And if you run out of air you die? That sucks! And you hardly get any time at all! I could hold my breath longer than that!
- Oh wait, you can climb in a barrel and just walk on the bottom of the ocean. I remember that from the movie.
- Wee! Sliding down ropes is fun!
- You can use your sword to activate certain switches. For some reason I find this thoroughly awesome.

Free Play

- Nice of them to include this in the demo.
- Wow, the character selection in Free Play is somewhat awkward. Lemme try to explain. Y'know that Character Select screen that normally appears before each level in the other Lego games? When you hold down the Y button, that's what appears on the bottom half of the screen. Slightly cumbersome, I think you'll agree. Still, at least you don't have to keep pressing the trigger buttons to swap characters.
- Oh, what? When you do use the trigger buttons, you can only select between the characters the level normally use and the last character selected from the great big list! Well that won't get old, will it?
- There's a wall-jumping feature now. Don't expect to use it too often though, I think it's only on certain walls.
- My god, the model for Elizabeth Swann looks wrong. It's like they couldn't think of any animations for a woman in a dress.
- Ok, so I went swimming and a shark ate me. I don't think I lost any studs though. Oh, sorry - I don't think I lost any 'treasure' though. About time they stopped punishing me for exploring.
- I never noticed til now, but the jump attack sounds really vicious. A nice big 'CLANG' when you hit something. It's great.
- Who the hell is Hadras? Is he in the new film, or did I just blink and miss him from one of the other films? Either way, I totally need to unlock him in the full game to get anywhere. Able to walk underwater, travel through mushrooms(?)... Thanks for telling me, demo!
- Oh hey, there's that shark again. Can confirm that you don't loose studs- TREASURE if he swallows you.
- The thing that normally unlocks cheats (Red Bricks, Parcels and the like) is now replaced with Captain Jack's Compass. If you find all 8 of his scavenger items, you're given the Gold Brick (and, presumably, the ability to purchase a cheat) at the end of the level.
- ...and now I know exactly how to get all the Minikits in the first level. Again, thanks, demo!

Ok, so to briefly summarise - it's a Lego game. But there's enough things different here to keep people interested. The humour is there, the level design is just as good as always and while the cutscenes seem to be overly long for a Lego game, they're just as entertaining as ever, so it's not the end of the world.

Or should I say, the World's End?

...I'll get me coat.


Just a quick update on the last post I made.

Turns out they are getting James McCaffrey to voice Max, they're showing Max age gradually (from his MP2 look through to his modern, bald appearance) and the plot will show how Max got from New York to... wherever the hell he is now.

Still not sure, but at least my mind has been put to rest on a few of my main problems with the game. I'm more cautiously optimistic than before, but I've yet to be convinced this is a true sequel.