Reviewed: April 6, 2011
Released: March 22, 2011
I always thought it would be cool to intermix video game characters and their franchises; something like Lara Croft teaming up with the Prince of Persia or even Indiana Jones for a buddy-adventure. Somebody at Sony had the same idea and decided to take six of their favorite action heroes – well actually three heroes and three sidekicks – and toss them into their own action-party game. |
Personally, I would have appreciated a more serious approach to game design, but once the mandate came down that this was going to be a PS Move-specific game I guess the only place you can go is down the party game path. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad, but given the stature and quality of these franchises, PlayStation Move Heroes comes off as more of a celebrity reality show than a video game. Let’s face it; the games that make up the core of Heroes could have been designed for any new video game character creation, but by inviting six of our most beloved PlayStation characters to the party Heroes is definitely going to get a lot more attention and play.
The opening cutscene is most impressive and will have everyone clamoring for next-gen installments (not HD re-masters) of their favorite franchises. It seems our three pairs of adventurers have had their worlds put on “pause” while they are encouraged to participate in a series of games hosted by a pair of creepy aliens – it’s like being drafted into the Olympics. Oddly enough, there is no team scoring for any of the duos so the whole "appealing to their competitive side" is totally lost once the opening movie ends.
Heroes is an assemblage of a few styles of mini-games, divided into various stages and set across several visual themes. You can play alone using the Move motion controller with or without the navigator (it’s better if you have it) or bring a friend along to help out with another motion controller. At first the co-op mode seems to be a bit tacked on, kind of like in Super Mario Galaxy where the second player merely collected stars with the pointer, but in Heroes the second player has a lot more to do than simply point and collect. They will have various abilities and power-ups they can activate with the face buttons, making them a valuable addition to the team.
So you basically pick your world, pick your stage, and then pick your hero or sidekick who will compete. Your choice doesn’t affect all that much other than obvious visuals and the choice of weapons like a cane for Sly or a wrench for Ratchet or a purple whip for Jak or an orange whip for Ratchet. You’ll then play a series of mini-games which require a variety of skills. If you score high enough you unlock more levels, stages, and worlds. Continue until finished.
The mini-games are pretty interesting and make great use of the Move. One of my early favorites was the disc game where you throw a Frisbee-like device and then steer it around the 3D world trying to smash cages to free trapped alien critters. Depending on your piloting skills you can keep this disc in the air for quite some time. In one stage I managed to smash nine of the ten cages with a single throw. You can also fly your disc into power-ups and explosive crates, and if you have a partner they can be collecting any goodies you leave behind.
Other stages include an arcade-style bowling game where you can steer the ball and even make it hop over obstacles or jump off ramps or boost off acceleration pads. There are classic brawling levels where you can smash things with your cane, wrench, or whip enemies using side and overhead slash moves. The game is surprisingly physically; at least for player one, but is still suitable for side-by-side two-player gaming.
Despite a slowly ramping difficulty level, the relatively limited selection of games has things getting repetitive around the second world. Sure, the scenery is changing, but if you’ve tossed a disc, bowled a ball, or beat down a hundred robots once, you’ve done it a million times. Still, younger kids are going to love the colorful art style and adorable characters, and the gameplay is totally family-friendly with minimal violence against robots only.
Visually, PlayStation Move Heroes looks impressive, kicking off with a stunning CG opening movie then immersing you in a colorful fantasy world of aliens and a variety of unique location themes ranging from futuristic to western and even some ancient ruins. The interface is intuitive and kept to the borders of the screen and there are plenty of dazzling lights, animation and special effects to keep things lively. The 3D camera works surprisingly well. Fans of the original franchise will love the original voice actors who have returned to bring our favorite characters to life. In addition to all the charming dialogue, there is excellent music and outrageous sound effects thanks to an immersive Dolby Digital and/or DTS mix.
Older gamers will probably play this game for a couple of hours and dismiss it as a waste of three good franchise licenses, but younger kids or anyone looking for a great way to enjoy your PlayStation Move and share the experience with a friend can expect countless hours of fun. I played the game for about two hours my first time and then had a friend join in and we easily played for another two hours. The co-op is so much fun when you figure out all the intricacies and work as a team. And look for all sorts of crazy Trophies you can quest after as well as secret areas and hidden collectibles.
I loved PlayStation Move Heroes for what it is – not what everyone was hoping or expecting it to be. This is a fun and challenging collection of party games enjoyable for one or two players that puts Sony’s unique motion control system to great use. And the fact that Sony decided to put six of their most famous characters into the game doesn’t sell those franchises short. It merely reignites and fuels an interest in those characters and their stories so we can start looking forward to their next-gen sequels. Heroes is a great party game for young and old, family and friends. Check it out!