Some might say it's commendable that Sony didn't put out a Wii Sports rip-off for the launch of its PlayStation Move peripheral, but I think it was a missed opportunity. While Sports Champions works as a title to show off the capabilities of Move, it isn't the instantly playable game that Wii Sports is. The big omissions are tennis and bowling, the two sports that I'd imagine rack up most play time in Nintendo's pack-in sports collection.
Ubisoft is looking to fill part of the void with Racket Sports, a collection of five - you guessed it - racket sports that see you swinging the Move controller around as if you're Roger Federer, or the equivalent for badminton, squash, table tennis and beach tennis (I hadn't heard of that last one either). Racket Sports is already available for Wii, but surely this Move version will offer more precision and PS3-quality graphics. Or perhaps not.
Core to Racket Sports' problems is the lack of 1:1 motion. You can move your controller about, but this isn't accurately replicated by your in-game character - of which none of the selectable men and women are likeable in any way whatsoever. Directing your shots feels less intuitive than it is in the original Wii Sports, and that's a game that doesn't even benefit from MotionPlus. Far too often my sportsman would end up caught in-between wanting to play a backhand and a forehand shot, and end up doing neither.
Due to the fact that directing your shots is harder than you might think, it's easier to get caught up in epic rallies, with neither player able to force a winner. You can hold down the trigger on the Move controller in order to perform an advanced stroke, but this often isn't even enough to win a point. Wii Sports Tennis might not be the most accurate representation of the sport, but it's rarely, if ever, frustrating. In Racket Sports the controls frequently get in the way of whatever fun can be had.
Tennis and badminton are the best of a poor bunch, at least delivering some mild fun when the controls work as they should. Squash doesn't seem suited to video games at all, the version of table tennis pales in comparison to the nuanced game in Sports Champions and beach tennis feels like something tacked on to make up the numbers.
There are numerous options for solo players, four-player support on a single machine and online matches for two players, but I expect most people will dabble with friendly exhibitions against friends and then get fed up. There isn't even anything pretty to look at, with the in-game visuals doing little more than what was seen in the Wii game, albeit in HD.
Ubisoft clearly knows how to take advantage of PlayStation Move, as evidenced by RUSE, but Racket Sports is nothing more than a port of a Wii game rushed out to cash-in on Sony's new peripheral. It's seriously lacking content and of those included only two of the sports are worth bothering with for more than one match. Avoid, even if you're caught up with Move fever.
VideoGamer.com Score4 Score out of 10
- Visuals are cute
- Only two events are worth playing
- Only five events
- Move controls don't work well at all