Billed as the ideal solution to the Christmas shopping Wii shortages, the Realplay system for PS2 brings motion sensitive control to Sony's last-gen console. While it's easy to scoff at the range of themed controllers and accompanying games, there is certainly space for more motion control. With Christmas becoming more expensive every year, and PlayStation 2s tucked under televisions across the country, Realplay has the potential to be an affordable way of bringing casual gaming to homes across the country.
The way the system works is that unlike the Wii, each title comes with its own specific controller. At £35 to £40 for a game with controller, Realplay might seem expensive by PlayStation 2 standards. However, compared to the trouble of finding a Wii, buying it and then purchasing a game, for most Realplay will be the most affordable option.
Each controller comes with a simple gadget that looks like an oversized USB memory stick. Plugging this device into your PlayStation 2's USB port instantly connects the controller, but unfortunately you need to swap USB receivers as you jump from one game to another. There's also no space in the PlayStation 2's twin-USB ports for two receivers.
The controllers themselves feel rather cheap and plasticy, and certainly have a flavour of something you'd by from Woolworths' toy section rather than from a game store. Still, the sensitivity of the motion sensitive controllers is quite surprising, as they are efficient, responsive and accurate. The real test for Realplay though, comes in trying the games themselves, which is exactly what we've done.
Anybody considering the potential of Realplay Pool is likely to ponder how workable the game can be considering you have no table to lean on. However, despite a particularly cheap feeling cue, this is certainly the best Realplay game. Its graphics are again basic but the features are fully fledged, especially in comparison to the other titles in the series. While it's far from revolutionary, it's certainly a hard one to put down. If it were a budget game this would no doubt be a hit, but it's still an interesting and playable novelty.