Review / PlayStation Move Heroes (PS3)

I’ll admit I got a little giddy when I started up PlayStation Move Heroes. Mini-game collections (especially motion controlled ones) don’t usually do to well among us hardcore gamer types, but there was something about seeing my favourite platforming pals on the same screen that sparked a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe this game wouldn’t be that awful.

And you know what? It isn’t. Sure, it’s not going to run away with any awards, but stacked up against other PS Move offerings, Heroes is actually a pretty solid title.

The game takes PlayStation’s biggest stars (Ratchet, Sly Cooper and Jak), along with their respective partners in platforming, and chucks them into one big mash-up. What little story that’s in place sees each character sucked out of their homeworld and entered into a contest to find the best hero. What follows is a set of six different game modes that has you doing everything from whipping enemies to chucking flying discs.

Each game mode is mixed up by two different factors; the objective and the tool you’ll use to achieve the task. You might be using a gun to defend points in one game, and then use a melee weapon to do the same objective in another.

The positive? All the games work pretty well, although some are definitely more fun than others. Using a whip to keep enemies at bay leans a little too heavily on the “desperate waggle” side of things, but that’s balanced out when pin-point accuracy is required to guide a flying disc around a map.

Heroes tries to keep things fresh by mixing up its tasks, making sure that every round of bowling is separated by a bunch of other games so that you never get bored of one specific type. However there’s simply just not enough on offer to keep you entertained forever. By the time you’ve come to the end of the (very brief) campaign, you’ll have had more than enough of each game type. You can argue that, unlike most mini game collections, what it lacks in variety it makes up for in gameplay, but then it dawns that the campaign is the only thing to do in the entire game.

A mini game collection without a party mode? Isn’t that a bit like a shooter without, well, guns? The only slightly different option is a team play mode where a second player can grab a Move and then use a cursor to collect points a bit like in Super Mario Galaxy. It’s basically throwing you a very small bone and it really isn’t good enough for a game that could easily lend itself to multiplayer.

Where it disappoints most though, is when you think about what Heroes could have been. Case in point; the game, which stars platforming characters, doesn’t have a jump button. Obviously there’s not much need for it in any of the games, but then why does it even star the heroes at all? It does little in the way of keeping faithful to any of the franchises. There are no crazy weapons from Ratchet’s games, or stealth sections from Sly, and Jak can’t even perform a spin-attack. That’s where the potential for Heroes really lay, and it’s gone to waste here.

That said there are a fair few nods for fans of each franchise. Every character is voiced by their original actors and at the very least the arenas you play in are themed on the different homeworlds, making it a colourful title. It’s also nice to see Jak and Sly get a graphical boost, as they’re sadly yet to receive their own PS3 titles. It’s a sharp boost too; Heroes is pretty easy on the eyes, but the effort that’s gone into the presentation just makes it more of a kick that the game itself is so far from each character’s own set of titles. Plus, the announcer (who I guess is meant to be Captain Qwark) has about five lines in the entire game which he’ll continue to repeat throughout the 50 or so levels. It gets annoying fast, so shut him up asap.

It’s the characters, structure, and gameplay that make it hard to hate Heroes. It’s not a mindless mess like other Move titles, although that makes its multiplayer omissions all the more obvious, but it also restores my faith in the Move as a controller. Not one game completely realises the potential of the device, but for the most part, this is the most functional, well controlling mini game set I’ve come across, especially on the Move.

What was an exciting E3 2010 surprise has unfortunately been boiled down to a low-key release, but Heroes is definitely one of the better reasons to own a Move.

+ All the games control well and are pretty fun to play
+ Tight presentation gives it a better feel than most Move games

– Lack of multiplayer really hurts
– Does little to include defining elements of each hero