At last, we've felt Sony's long awaited motion controller, now at last officially known as "PlayStation Move," in our unworthy, sweaty hands. We have a bunch of videos on the way, but for now you can revel in our first close-ups of the controllers in the gallery below. Here are some of our initial thoughts:
The controllers are light. Much more akin to the DualShock3 than the Wiimote in heft, and we're guessing that's due to Sony's continued love of rechargeable batteries.
The main controller does have some subtle vibration (not DualShock or Wiimote level, but present), but we're not sure yet about the subcontroller.
We hate to say this about "pre-alpha" software, but we're feeling lag. An on-rails shooter we tried out, dubbed The Shoot, was discernibly inferior to shooting experiences we've had on the Wii, both in precision and refresh rate of the aiming cursor.
The gladiator game is about as fun as it looks, we'll have video after the break momentarily. Unfortunately, while it's less of a defined experience than something like the sword game on Wii Sports Resort, you're still working through a library of sensed, pre-defined actions instead of a true 1:1 fighting game with simulated physics. Not that it isn't possible with PlayStation Move, just that it's not this.
The lightness of the controllers means we might be feeling less of that Wiimote fatigue, always a good thing! There's an aspect of the controller that feels a little cheap, but at the same time we wouldn't call it fragile.
As far as we can tell, the control scheme for Socom 4 is quite similar to dual-controller shooter setups on the Wii, with the camera moving based on your aiming cursor hitting the edge. It's hard to see this as the preferred hardcore setup, but we're told it's configurable, so we'll try and see what else is on offer.
The system seemed to have a bit of trouble understanding the configuration of our body in a swordfighting stance: even though we selected "left handed," it was putting our sword arm forward instead of our shield. Right-handers didn't seem to have similar problems, and we're sure this will be ironed out in time, but it certainly shows that the controllers aren't magical in their space-detection prowess.
As would be expected, you're supposed to stand relatively center on the TV, and at a certain optimal distance. The system is forgiving, but there's a sweet spot that users will undoubtedly have to learn.
Lag is less prominent on Socom 4, and we'd say we're pretty accurate with the controller already, though the framerate choppiness of this pre-alpha build obviously hampers that a bit. We did get a slight feel of being in "scene to scene" shootouts instead of a free-roaming FPS, perhaps a design choice to mitigate the limited camera movement offered by the controller, but we'll have to see more levels to know for sure.
Update: We added in a longer video -- are you ready for three minutes of nonstop excitement?
Update, final edition: We've got a new video with close-up walkthroughs of the controllers and some in-depth gameplay of Socom 4.