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Smart moves from Sony

The closest analogue to the Move is Nintendo's Wii-mote, and it's almost certainly what you'll think of first when you see them. The basic controller is a wireless black cylinder with a garish ball on the top that changes colour depending on the situation and it corresponds to onscreen actions.

Different configurations are possible -- some games will be able to use two motion controllers at the same time while others will require an additional navigation controller which replicates the more complex buttons of a regular gamepad, equivalent to the Wii's nunchuck.

The other piece of kit you'll need is the PlayStation Eye -- a USB camera that's been available for a couple of years now.

The games on display included expected party titles such as TV Superstars, Sports Champions and Start the Party, as well as on-the-rails shooter The Shoot, updates of existing PS3 games such as Heavy Rain and Eyepet Move and more unique properties such as The Fight and Kung Fu Rider.

The Fight stood out because of its impressive one-to-one movements and gritty style. It's an often brutal fighting game.

The violence seems like a deliberate attempt to distance this early Move title from the Wii's unrelentingly cheery fighting games.

We spoke to Kieran Gaynor, associate producer on The Fight and he said they know their audience. "The Move will have a lot of games that are going to cater to all ages but with The Fight we went out to make something that's aimed at older players, at someone who knows what a streetfight is and is going to enjoy the game for what it is."

We also questioned Gaynor on the inevitable comparisons between the Move and Nintendo's Wii-mote, but he doesn't see the two systems as direct competitors.

"The Wii does what it does really well and we see ourselves as going one to one. We want to give people a fully immersive experience of the characters and that's what we're aiming to do with the Move."

This one-to-one relationship between controller and game is easily the most impressive thing about the Move, though dated titles such as The Shoot do nothing to showcase it.

Start the Party was actually the most memorable example, featuring a series of party games suited to two or more players. A series of games are randomly selected, featuring everything from popping balloons to catching flies.

The response time is incredibly quick and while you're staring at the screen you'll almost feel as though you're holding onto whatever bizarre instrument the game is projecting over your controller and you can even twirl your tennis racquet like a pro in 3D space.

The one-to-one responsiveness is also put to good use in the minigames of TV Superstars and the revamped EyePet. The heft of the controller and ergonomic feel really add to the immersion and wielding two motion wands as sword and shield in a gladiator duel in the Sports Champions pack was immediately compelling.



aspirational

As with our experience of Microsoft's Kinect, the most telling thing is the lack of AAA games on display, only a month before the PS Move goes on sale. We did get a brief look at Heavy Rain Move edition and while the game's shoddy controls are a terrible showcase for the navigation controller, the newly implemented motion prompts worked pretty well.

More worrying is the lack of launch titles -- 13 games will be compatible with the Move on day one, including the updated EyePet, Resident Evil 5 and the previously mentioned Sports Champions, Kung Fu Rider and Start the Party. Apart from the potentially innovative RTS Ruse there's little here that we haven't already seen on the Wii more than three years ago.

The PlayStation Move may seem to fall into a technological no-man's land, somewhere between the Wii's competent party tricks and Kinect's aspirational, controller-free future.

But Kinect remains unproven and the Wii has never consistently capitalised on the legions of gamers who would rather shoot strangers online than beat an invisible pinata with an imaginary stick while their family watches.

There's a fanatical niche market there and the Move's impressive accuracy coupled with Sony's world-leading catalogue and its true HD graphics could be the perfect combination to harness that potential. We just might have to wait until the Move and 3D-enabled Killzone 3 next February before we can see what the technology is really capable of.

The PlayStation Move launches in Ireland on September 17. Starter packs containing one motion controller, the PlayStation Eye camera and demo disk will sell for €59.99 with the Eye and navigation controller available separately for €29.99.