the few impressive moments involving mechs and power armour are pissed away in the sheer ridiculousness of the dialogue
peej about Time Crisis: Razing Storm
Imagine the bounteous day when not one but three new games appeared featuring three of the best loved heroic pairings the Playstation consoles have ever played host to. Sly Cooper, back from the dead and ready to burgle. Ratchet and Clank - well, yeah OK they never really went away, fair enough - and a new Jak and Daxter game surely by now long overdue?
Well Playstation Move Heroes does indeed feature ALL of those characters, dragged kicking and screaming through a blue swirly thing in space to fight shoulder to shoulder in a single game for the first time. With a setup like that, surely Nihilistic Software couldn't possibly fail to produce an engaging and absolutely essential gaming experience could they?
They could. And how.
You see, something went wrong in the knocking of heads while the developers were thrashing out exactly how to do justice to three sets of iconic characters such as the aforementioned. Someone, some nasty little N64-owning fanboy crept into the meeting, kept whispering "Super Smash Brothers" in between all the hubbub and rhubarb and some complete drekzoid thought it would be a smashing idea to try and create the PS3 equivalent to Nintendo's most puzzling success story.
Only it's not even that good (and believe me I use the word "good" loosely because Smash Brothers is the sort of game I cross four lane motorways blindfolded to avoid). They've stripped out the combat. They've stripped out the comedy and what's left is an odd experiment in trying to create a Move-enabled party game that isn't really fun enough to wheel out at even the most emo-infested gathering of cheese-football-heads.
Describing the gameplay in Playstation Move Heroes is a bit like trying to randomly determine the flavour of your next girlfriend. Lick of a 9V battery with a hint of Guinness perhaps? Anchovies distilled with rice wine vinegar? You see, it's tough but not as tough as trying to wring an ounce of fun out of this title.
At the risk of upsetting the Sony Defence Force I'll try and placate them a little first. The Playstation 3 plays host to some of the best and most innovative games of this generation. Also, for what it's worth, The Playstation Move Controller works a metric ton better than Kinect does. No lag, ace AR-style graphics mapping to the controller, and one or two delicious little games available for it. But in the rush to provide fodder for the starving millions who adopted the controller early, tat like this is being rushed out to market. The sort of tat that worked well enough on the Wii where the majority market for the console are confused Sun readers, virile randy grandmothers looking for a better outlet for their lustful energies, or the under 7s.
Put simply, we expect better from the PS3.
Though to be fair to Playstation Move Heroes, I'm not the intented market. Random party games with a motion-sensing flavour are no country for old men, embittered by the countless disappointments dished up during the gaming year. So because of that it's probably fair to detail the game a little and see if it would be the sort of thing that would float your boat, now I've got my rant out of the way.
So the setup is that some nasty omnipotent force has gathered together Sly Cooper (and his brainbox sidekick Bentley), Ratchet and his robotic buddy Clank, and Jak and his fuzzball buddy Daxter for a series of challenges ranging across the various gameworlds these characters inhabit. Nihilistic have done a good job of representing each particular world and the different stylings you'll have previously encountered in each character's game series.
Graphics are fairly good, in fact it's a little upsetting to see such loving attention paid to representing these iconic game characters in a game that falls well short of the mark. Achingly you'd love to see a proper this-gen version of Jak and Daxter, or a brand spanking new Sly Cooper outing to compliment the recent HD re-release of the original Sly trilogy. We're already doing well for Ratchet and Clank stuff so there's not much mileage in cooing over their likenesses in this.
Choosing a character to attack each challenge is key to how a level can be solved. The idea is to liberate a hapless bunch of lifeforms locked up on each level, using your chosen character's particular skills. Ranged weapons are backed up by melee sidearms that fans will recognise from each character's own games. The object is to bash, blitz and boomerang your way through each of the imprisoned lifeforms until they're all free and a level is clear.
Your progress is hampered by several evil lifeforms, again culled from the character's own gameworlds. Heavily armed robots, slime creatures and weird flying things are all out to put you in the ground.
Using the Move controller is fairly intuitive and it's the one part of the game that stands out as having a fair amount of polish applied. Controls are highlighted on screen and it's a case of matching the prompted moves with your controller in order to succeed.
Local and online co-op modes allow two (or more) characters to fight shoulder to shoulder to clear a level (either as a main character or a sidekick). Progress and unlockable goodies can be gained once a particular game 'world' is clear. Unlockables range from new weapons and armour to new abilities, again mostly culled from each character's own mythos.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. As I've previously said, I'm not the intended market for this game quite obviously - and it is a game that would come alive with a bunch of co-op players working through each level. It's just...well it's the core gameplay. It's so inherently dull that it would be difficult to sum up any enthusiasm for it, even if you'd eaten ten packets of fruit mentos and guzzled a couple of dozen litres of Dr Pepper. To their credit, Nihilistic were given a poisoned chalice in the first place and they did the best they could with it, but the aching feeling underpinning this game is that the effort might have been better spent if Sony had given Naughty Dog, Insomniac Games and Sucker Punch Studios a shedload of cash and sent them off to develop brand new games based on the original gameplay and characters, rather than getting Nihilistic to throw them together in a lacklustre minigame marathon like this.
(As a further footnote, how Sony has the gall to charge 40 quid for this on the PSN Store beggars belief).