Sports Champions 2

August 11, 2013

Sony hasn’t forgotten about your PlayStation Move, even if you might have left it collecting dust since last Christmas (or even the Xmas before). Sports Champions 2 has arrived, a mere two years after the original attempted to do for the Move what Wii Sports did for the Wii. Let’s just say it didn’t quite do that. But, it was a fun game which showcased different sports (frisbee golf?) than you might have expected out of a motion control game. It’s taken a little longer to push a sequel out for the flagging control system than I expected, but it’s finally arrived and it’s… fine.

The first Sports Champions seemed to go out of its way to showcase sports that weren’t in Wii Sports, but Sports Champions 2  figures that the statute of limitations on game similarities is now over. Contained within its plastic layers are several sports – Bowling, Tennis, Boxing, Golf, Skiing and the return of Archery.

You can play all of these sports in a ‘free play’ mode, with friends in a ‘party mode’, or more interestingly if you’re playing by yourself, a ‘cup mode’. This mode allows you to tackle the sports one at a time, as you compete against different opponents and play with different restrictions and rules. It’s not a very deep mode, but it adds variety to each of the sports and gives you a reason to play through them a little more than you would in free play. There are also more special video-gamey challenges that you’ll come up against from time to time, such as taking down lines of moving pins in bowling.

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So, going through each of the sports – Bowling is probably my favourite. Ten Pin Bowling can’t really be too different, no matter which console you’re playing it on, but it does feel like you’ve got a lot of control over your shots, thanks to the Move’s accurate ability to pick up spin and speed. When playing against the computer, the AI tends to be quite easy, although that might be partly because you can usually get spares and strikes without breaking a sweat.

Tennis and Golf are also everything you’d expect. Like most motion control tennis games, this version moves the player for you, allowing you to focus on your shots. The Move can accurately detect the angle of your racket, which looks really cool, but in practice doesn’t seem to affect the game as much as you’d think. The big sweeps you’d normally perform when actually playing tennis can be done with smaller motions. It’s not as bad as Wii Sports where you can play sitting down and reading a magazine, but it’s not quite 1:1. Still, there’s a measure of challenge in timing your shots right, as the Move vibrates as the ball reaches its optimal point, rewarding you with a boost should you hit it then. Golf is par for the course (thank you, thank you, I’m here Wednesdays), although I do like the way your shot power meter bends to indicate which direction you’ll be swinging towards.

Skiing is actually kind of fun, although it barely necessitates being a Move game. Generally, it takes the form of racing, as you point the controller forward and tilt in the direction you want to go. That’s basically it – except for mimicking pushing your poles through the snow to get up hills. I’m a sucker for SSX and the races have the faint feel of that game, allowing you to pull tricks off ramps and speed down sharp slopes.

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Boxing appears simple, consisting of a fairly basic range of punching and blocking. You can throw whatever punch you want with 1:1 controls, but you’ll just be aiming for the face or stomach. However, it is a lot more challenging than any of the other games, as the AI seems to have been kicked up a notch. You can use two Move controllers to control each hand, or just use one and press the face buttons to pull off pre-scripted moves with your left fist (which is more than a little confusing).

Finally, Archery is much the same as it was in the first game, although there is a little more variety this time in the targets you fire at, with some mini-golf style inclusions such as windmills that periodically block your target. It’s probably the most accurate and well rounded of all the sports on offer.

The game looks great, featuring customisable cartoony characters with selectable personalities, which are very expressive in both victory and defeat. The environments are all sharp and colourful, and it’s definitely a lot more attractive than anything Wii Sports has ever offered. It’s also 3D-compatible, although this decreases the resolution significantly and isn’t really all that immersive.

It’s a little hard to get excited about Sports Champions 2 because there’s not really much new here. All of this motion controlled sports malarky was impressive five years ago, and even two years ago Sony was stretching it when they released the Move. As it stands, it’s a solid title for the Move, with a range of popular sports that mostly work pretty well. It’s just all been done before, and while it is a fun game if you’ve got other people over, you won’t be really be digging it out too often. So then, not a reason to buy a PlayStation Move, but a perfectly decent Christmas gift for someone who has one.


Worth picking up if you have a Move | A fair bit of variety within the sports


Nothing really new | Novelty wears off quickly

Overall Score: