Review / Sports Champions (PS3)

I realise we’re a little late with our review of Sports Champions, but that’s actually not such a bad thing. The reason being that I can tell you that this game is still the best Move title to date, despite what’s been and gone since it released back in September. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this package, meaning that if you’re picking up a Move anytime soon this is the game to get with it.

Sports Champions offers six different activities to play around with. You can go toe-to-toe with other players in a Gladiator arena, relax over a game of table-tennis and even go for a spot of archery. All the games use the Move controller to try and simulate the sport with some of them requiring two Moves for the best experience.

For the most part these games are a whole lot of fun, with the Gladiator game coming out on top. This is one of the best places to experience the Move’s impressive 1:1 tracking as it really feels like you’re taking control of a sword and shield. It’s fun to stand against an opponent and try and whack the snot out of them, and you’ll be surprised at just how flexible the controls are. You can execute pretty much whatever move you want to, although try not to hurt yourself in the process of doing it.

Archery also does a good job of representing the actual sport. Using two Moves you can reach behind your back as if you were really going for an arrow, then knock it onto your bow and line-up a shot. It’s a little easier than the real thing of course, but it does feel satisfying to go through the motions of actually setting up your shot then letting it fly.

In fact for the most part these games do represent their sport pretty well. Table tennis for example will take some getting used to, but after a while you’ll be able to pull off spinning shots and return like a pro. Even simpler, more mundane¬†games like Disc Golf find some charm in being so close to their real life counterpart.

Not every game is a complete winner though, with Volleyball being the weakest of the bunch. Instead of focusing on the players positioning this is all about timing your shots and hitting back with the right type of shot. It’s easy enough to learn but it doesn’t exactly evoke the spirit of the game very well. You’re simply standing around waiting to throw your arms around in a fairly random sense which ends up feeling a bit more like the original Wii Sports instead of a true 1:1 realistic experience.

There are three challenge cups for every game and you can always play multiplayer with a friend too, meaning there’s a fair amount to do in Sports Champions. Difficulty increases with every cup, demanding that you take things seriously and don’t just wave your arms about by the time you get to the gold matches. Adding that layer of challenge to the game should actually help people treat the game a bit more… professionally (for lack of a better term).

The look and feel of the game is also aiming for an older crowd, clearly to separate itself from Wii Sports and appeal to a more mature market that want to view the Move as a true hardcore gaming device. While the result is some nice character models, everything else can’t help but feel like it’s lacking a little character. There’s nothing mind blowing about the presentation; for the most part you’re playing events in empty halls and areas that don’t really have room for the wow factor.

Sports Champions ends up being everything you ever wanted from a motion sports game. That is to say it’s not the most groundbreaking sports game of all time but just a whole lot of fun. The motion controls work without a hitch and do a great job of making you feel like you’re really playing that sport… for the most part anyway. I’d have liked to see a few more games and a bit of a more stylised presentation, but overall this one gets gold in my book.

+ Motion controls add a lot of fun and work well
+ Mature approach makes it feel like more than a minigame collection
+ Gladitor dueling is AWESOME

– Not all games are great
– Six sports is a little on the short side
– A bland presentation