PS3 Fitness Game Reviews

Review of MotionSports Adrenaline for Playstation Move

motionsports adrenalineThe original Motion Sports was released about a year ago for the Kinect. By virtually all accounts it was underwhelming. The concept sounded great–simulate real sports, and instead of using cartoony avatars use realistic graphics. And instead of using controllers, allow players to control the action with their body. But the execution on the Xbox just fell short.

This year, Ubisoft is at it again, but instead they’ve released MotionSports Adrenaline for the PS3, Wii, and Xbox. Their focus this time is on six “extreme sports”.

As you start each activity, you choose whether you’re left handed or right handed, and then calibrate your Move controller by holding it at shoulder level, at hip level, and across your belt line, just like with Sports Champions. The controller accuracy and precision, not surprisingly, is pretty good. I wish I could say the same about the gameplay itself.

Here’s my take on each “extreme sport”:

Kite Surf: Here, you’re kite-surfing. You hold the Move controller sideways (you only need one) and you “steer” by tilting your hands as if you’re steering a wheel. You jump by holding the “T” button and raising your arms. You can get a speed boost by holding the “T” button and pushing forward. You can “strike poses” at various points (which they call “hitting tricks”) and you can “collect coins” to earn points.

While the graphics were decent and the motion controls were responsive enough, it just didn’t feel like a realistic experience. I was expecting more of a realistic “simulation”, but but at the end of the day it just felt like a video game that I may as well have been playing with the Dualshock controller, as the Move controllers just didn’t feel natural at all.

Mountain Bike: Here, you’re mountain biking, but the controls for steering, jumping, and accelerating are exactly the same as with Kite Surfing. In fact, except for one part where you need to “steer” your bike through a tight turn they’re essentially the same game. Again, the best way I can describe it is that it felt like a “video game”, but between the controls, the physics, and various gimmicks like “collecting stars”, it¬†really draw me into the experience nor make me feel like I was immersed in the world of mountain biking.

Wingsuit: In this game, you’re skydiving. The controls are slightly different for this one–you steer by holding your Move controller out to the side and tilting your body left or right. You can “drift up” by holding the “T” button and raising both your arms, and “draft down” by lowering both your arms. To speed up, you press the Move button. You have to contend with wind gusts and rock formations, and again you can collect points by striking poses and collecting coins.

This game lasted far, far too long and once again, and yet again something about the controls and the physics of the game was off and unrealistic. To be honest, even the silly “flying chicken” game in Wii Fit felt more like “real flying” than this did.

Climbing: This is a rock climbing “simulation”. You’re climbing the face of a mountain that happens to have “handholds” all over it. To climb, you grab onto a handhold by reaching out to it with your Move controller (whether to the side, or diagonally up) and making a “grabbing” motion. Some handholds will be out of reach, so you need to “flick” the controller to jump to them. To drop down to a lower handhold, you press the Move button.

This is one I really wanted to like, but at the end of the day the “flicking” really didn’t feel like real rock climbing, plus half the time my motions wouldn’t register properly.

I guess they wanted to add a little “excitement” to the game so there will be the occasional “earthquake”, where if you have enough “adrenaline” stored up, you can press the “T” button for a “shield” which will protect you from them. Again, I didn’t find the experience very realistic.

And worst of all, once you reach the top, you’re not even rewarded with a view.

Skiing: I’ve been pretty harsh on all the games so far, but I found skiing to be the one bright spot of the game. Finally, I felt like I was really skiing. The controls were intuitive–you hold your Move controller in front of your like it’s a ski pole and bend your body left or right to ski downhill. You can accelerate by intuitively pressing T and pushing the pole.

This is one I really enjoyed, as everything worked together–the graphics, the physics, and the intuitive controls. I even broke a sweat while playing. I only wish the others were more like it.

Kayak: With Kayaking, we’re back to a rather unfulfilling experience. Again, the controls just don’t feel very natural. You use the “steering wheel” method of steering. You can paddle by pressing the “T” button and moving your control like a paddle. But you can’t do both at the same time (like you’d do in real kayaking). There are other oddities–you’ll occasionally get swept into a whirlwind, and to escape you need to “strike a pose”. Again, things like this kind of detract from the realism.

Here’s a problem I have with all the games in general. With the exception of skiing, they just didn’t feel realistic. For most of the games your on-screen character just seems to proceed on the course without any kind of effort from you, the only thing you really do is jump and steer to collect “coins”. In this sense, it just feels more like a 3-D version of Pac-Man or Mario Brothers than an “extreme sports simulation”.

To me, the whole point of calling this franchise “MotionSports” is to help us experience what playing the real sport must feel like. As I mentioned a couple times, for most of the sports the controls just weren’t realistic and it almost feels like the game was designed for a Dualshock controller and the Move controller was just thrown on as an afterthought, and not a very good one at that. For example, instead of making me press the T button and throwing my arms up to make me jump, why couldn’t they just…make me jump?

Something else I didn’t really like were unrealistic gimmicks in the game such as striking poses and collecting coins. To me, it just felt like the developers knew their simulations weren’t very good, so they added these things to make it feel like you’re accomplishing something. I wish there were more simulation games like Sports Champions, where your reward is playing the sport itself, not collecting points.

Finally, one very, very annoying part of the game is the Degree ads all over the game. I don’t mind a little product placement when it’s subtle and even tongue-in-cheek, but if a company is going to get a sponsor to plaster their logo all over the game, then for heaven’s sake don’t charge $49.99 for the game.

I hate to say it, but I just can’t recommend MotionSports Adrenaline. If you’re a die-hard fan of any of the sports, you may enjoy the graphics and the concept of being able to somewhat simulate the sport.

But from a “fun” perspective, with the exception of the skiing game, I really didn’t find any of the games compelling enough to ¬†even play more than once or twice. There wasn’t even very much of a workout component, something I was really hoping for when I first picked up the game.

What could have been a innovative foray in the world of virtual reality sports just ended up being just another tired video game that happens to support motion controls.

2 of 5 stars.

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