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Motion Control Shootout

Radford C. Nov 25, 2010 2

It has begun. Kinect, Move, and Wii Face-Off. We’ve read through all the hype on E3, tradeshows, commercials, seen the giveaways and watched Oprah. Now the Big 2 are here trying to steer Nintendo’s new gaming audience hoping to provide a better gaming experience without the stigma of becoming the next overhyped toy.

In this video podcast feature, we will go in-depth unlike other reviews have done. From pricing to gameplay experience, we will go through every nook and cranny and leave no stone unturned. You may now watch the shootoff.
Video Podcast was directed, edited and produced by LTG’s own Victor Bognot.

So, let’s get right into it. First, here’s how much it’s going to cost ya:

What’s out there How Much?
XBox 360 Kinect Edition  (250GB)see review $399
XBox 360 Kinect Edition  (4GB) $299
XBox 360 Kinect Only (For those who already own a XBox 360) $149
Nintendo Wii Red 25th Anniversary $199
Nintendo Wii Black $199
Nintendo Nunchuck $19
Nintendo Wii Remote Plus $39
Playstation Move SC Console Bundle (if you do not yet own a PS3) $399
Playstation Move Sports Champions Bundle $99
Playstation Move Controller Only (The Ball Thing) $49
Playstation Move Navigation Controller (The Analog Stick) $29

Environment and Flexibility

Not everyone is going to have the ideal family room for gaming. Out of all the systems, The Nintendo Wii is the most flexible of the bunch since the real sensor is actually on the remote itself and the sensor bar is really just a bar of infrared lights.  The only time you will need to be near the vicinity of the TV is when you need to point at something. Both The Playstation Move and Kinect require the player being in camera view while the Wii player is more flexible where most games make use of the only Wii Remote’s motion sensors. Of course, there are exceptions where some Wii games will make use of the Wii Remote’s pointer requiring you to be near the Wii’s Sensor Bar.

The Wii “Sensor”

Even with the Wii’s thin Sensor Bar, it has a very long wire which can then be placed and mounted easily in most areas while making it flush and still keeping the Wii Remote’s pointer functional at wider angles. Add the fact that the Wii Remote Plus has the convenience of using AA batteries and you have a system that’s a snap to setup.

Kinect for 360

Kinect is the biggest sensor of the bunch which is understandable. It is also motorized where the camera can adjust the angles on its own but it has its limitations. Fortunately, the wire is long enough to be placed anywhere, but if you have a flat panel TV and want to mount your sensor on top of your TV, your luck ends there and you will have to buy a mount ($15).  The instructions say that the sensor should be between 2 feet to 6 feet from the floor/rug but what’s more important is the player’s distance from the camera which is also dependent on the height of the player. The taller you are, the farther you need to be from the camera. Additionally, the farther the camera, the better experience you’ll have, especially when playing with two players. There is one really cool convenience though. It doesn’t need batteries.

Playstation Eye

 

The Playstation Eye is much more flexible in placement than Kinect simply by its size but for some reason Sony decided to keep the cord short. And with no USB ports behind the PS3 you will have to plug your camera on the front of the console making the cord even shorter and you may have to adjust the viewing angle every so often. You may have to buy a USB extension cord if you want to hide your wires or snake your cord around an older rear-projection HDTV. Actually, go ahead and buy one just in case. As for the Move motion controls themselves, be prepared to keep your PS3 switched on to make use of those same USB ports because you will be busy charging your Move controls. Suddenly, the convenience of having a charging station for your stuff seems more like a necessity.

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★¾ 

Interface Control

This particular area maybe unfair for 360 and PS3  because the Wii’s interface was already built with motion controls in place while the other two systems had motion controls added to an interface designed primarily for regular handheld controls. While the Wii is completely friendly in point and click, the other two systems were not so straightforward. On the Move, you navigate the XMB (Cross Media Bar) by holding the trigger and tilting the Move controller in the desired direction. No cursor or pointer where the camera can make use of it. If you don’t have a steady hand, you may find yourself trying to precisely select  something. If you don’t like playing the balance and tilt  game simply buy the navigational controller and just use the analog stick.

Kinect works fine, but only if you’re operating under the Kinect Hub and to get there, you have to wave your hand or say “XBox Kinect”. It’s disappointing considering that you cannot watch Netflix videos with Kinect or leave text/voice messages to friends. You have to go back to the controller. It seems incomplete but it’s obvious that Microsoft has a bigger plan for Kinect Hub and may revisit Microsoft’s lab a few times until they decide to integrate more of  XBox’s regular features with Kinect.

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Gameplay Experience

For comparison’s sake, we used the sports, fitness and dance games to get a feel of the controls – table tennis, bowling, volleyball, dance. Typically, these are the types of games that sell very well for motion based gaming.

On Table Tennis, the Wii and Move is the most accurate with the Move edging out the Wii in responsiveness while the Kinect relies on exaggerating your arm/hands movements.  The Wii and Move can perform the top spins, slices and cross courts easily. The Wii is a bit more forgiving but the players are not limited to standing in front of the sensor nor standing up. So if you have great technique, play off your couch. Kinect has the nice touch of letting you serve the ball from your opposite hand but the realism ends there. Hitting the ball relies heavily on the angles of your arms and hands so you’ll definitely find yourself exaggerating your movements alot to slice or smash balls. Out of the 3, Kinect is the most forgiving.

Table Tennis:

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Bowling puts Wii and Move side-by-side in terms of realistic feel. On the controller-less side, Kinect allows you to simply step into the lane and you can easily bowl from either hands but has a hard time trying to find out when you let go of the ball. Curving the ball in Kinect works similarly to Table Tennis using exaggerated movements and you may find the ball bowling straight often. Wii and Move are in the same boat again as they both curve or twist the ball with good feel.  Ultimately, ball control is more consistent with both the Wii and Move.

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Fitness: For Fitness, we used Get Fit With Mel B for the Playstation Move,  Wii Fit Plus for the Wii and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for Kinect. Between those games, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved felt the most effective in terms of getting a good workout in. However, Get Fit With Mel B has a ton of modes to choose from. There’s even a nutrition mode on Get Fit that’s impressive with itself but of course we are talking about the feel of exercise between the motion controls and not reviewing each of the games in depth. Wii Fit Plus has some interesting modes that make good use of the balance board and are very entertaining but is still limited in terms of range of movement. Ultimately, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved was the winner in terms of tracking movements. There’s only so much tracking that can be done with handheld motion controls and balance boards but Kinect’s full body tracking makes it an unfair fight as Your Shape corrects or praises you based on the full 3D tracking data it gets from Kinect. The boxing and balance game on it is also impressive.

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Already, you know where I’m going with this. To date, only SingStar Dance is available for the Move while Just Dance 2 is Wii’s biggest seller along with other mediocre dance games. Quite frankly, dance games on Move and Wii are simply not up to snuff and resort to the waggling and forgiving position of both motion controls. On the other end, Dance Central for Kinect wipes the floor of all dance games and making them look gimmicky by comparison. This is exactly the kind of game where Kinect really shines. Dance Central really shows how full body motion tracking can play a much more satisfying experience simply because there is no controls to hold on to.

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★★★ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Overall

Advantages

Wii – The Wii has had a 4 year start so they have quite a number of games to choose from. Lots of the games make full use of Wii’s motion controls, especially games that take advantage of Wii Motion Plus’ 1-to-1 tracking (which more and more Wii games are doing now). The game library covers a wide variety of genres and it is likely that you may find something you will like. Wii also does not have to worry too much about family room space nor do they have to worry about constant calibrating, or gameplay that takes place from a seated position. If you’re tired of  playing  Table Tennis from a standing position, you can still do the motions from your couch – we do that here in the office.  Wii also has the unfair advantage between the systems over its integrated experience by making good use of the Wii Remote’s pointer. Another big advantage over its competition  is cost. There are also a ton of r 4-player games.

Move – The Move boasts some impressive accuracy between its games, especially ones that make use of tennis racquets, bowling balls and anything that can use a sword and a shield. The games also seemed more tailored towards gaming enthusiasts so you can expect to see existing games that makes use of controllers today take a leap towards the Move controller. In fact, some games are getting patched up free of charge to take advantage of Move controls to enhance the experience. It is also holds our award for having the least amount of lag, at least based with the current offerings. With high definition and responsive speed, the Playstation Move expects to be the next logical step in game controls.

Kinect – No batteries needed. It is the most intriguing of the bunch. The Kinect Hub has ESPN, Zune (movies and music), 1-1 Video conferencing with other Kinect users and a couple of other things to play with. Stop, Play, Pause and rewind video through voice or gestures of the hand. Aside from face recognition (Kinect ID) and voice commands, Kinect can provide specific gameplay experiences that exploit many of the weaknesses of  handheld motion controls.  Kinect wants to be a revolutionary “controller”. Soccer, Volleyball, Hurdles, Dance and other games that make use of footwork  can take advantage of Kinect. With Kinect, Stepping in to do uppercuts in boxing and jumping to spike a volleyball becomes a more natural experience. Easy to calibrate and easy for players to join games by allowing gamers to “Jump In”

Disadvantages

Wii – Is the least realistic between all the systems. The Wii’s offerings are also littered with tons of shovelware to wade through. Half of Wii’s library still uses the old motion control instead of Wii Motion Plus. A dedicated Wii gamer would rely heavily on 1st Party games and the Wii continues to show its age. It is an SD Console in a HD World. Since 2006,  the console seems to have reached its peak with its sales.

PS3 – Some call the Playstation Move the Wii in HD and it seems to be that way with its current offerings. It is the least unique and seems only to be only an evolution of Wii controls. Move’s controllers must also still be in camera view and must be constantly calibrated and recharged. There are better titles out there but they are mostly old titles being patched for Move – which some casual gamers may find as another chore. The Move also has sloppy Crossbar Navigation. See video.

Kinect – The Kinect hub seems appended to XBox’s main dashboard as opposed to fully integrating it into XBox. It just seems incomplete and more of a framework. Aside from the obvious lag between you and your on screen character, gameplay experience will be dependent on room space  in your family room and clothing. Lighting isn’t so bad. But if you’re one of those girls that like to wear long dresses or one of those guys that like puffy jackets, Kinect will not like you. Kinect is also going through growing pains.  1 good launch title surrounded by decent titles.

Overall LTG Score:

Kinect:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

PS Move:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Wii:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

So Which Is The Best? More importantly, which system fits you best?

If you look at our grade, there really is no clear winner, just preference and budget. Do you have a very small room and just want to play games that are just plain fun? Get a Wii. If you’re one of those guys that would rather play First Person Shooters and action games but want precise control, HD and the least amount of lag? Get a Move. Hated dance games but love the idea of learning actual moves by breaking them down? Do you want to try a completely different experience? Get a Kinect. In the end, it’s all about the software. Software makes the hardware. Hardware doesn’t drive sales. Personally, I see the Move and Wii doing similar things while Kinect can potentially break the mold and get developers to put together games that are not simply games we see today ported over to Kinect. Instead I’m hoping to see more games that would make complete use of full body tracking. Imagine the possibilities.

Best Games to show off motion control system:

Wii -  Call Of Duty: Black Ops, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Wii Party, GoldenEye, Metroid: Other M, Sin and Punishment, Trauma Team, Metroid Trilogy, Super Mario Galaxy 2

Move - Tumble, RE5, Heavy Rain, Tiger Woods, Sports Champions

Kinect - Dance Central, Your Shape, Kinect Sports (Volleyball, Boxing), Kinect Adventures, Kinectimals