Racquet Sports Move Hands-On Preview

By Darryl Kaye on July 12, 2010, 10:30AM EDT
PS3

Gaming Union were fortunate enough to be invited to the Ubisoft Summer Showcase last week and one of the games being shown off was Racquet Sports using PlayStation Move.

Racquet Sports was released as a Nintendo Wii title in March of this year and utilised Wii MotionPlus as well as the Ubisoft Motion Tracking Camera, so porting the title to the PS3 seemed like a perfect fit. Perhaps the quality of the game could even be improved, as it received very lukewarm reviews upon its release.

First things first, it's important to bear in mind that this was an early build of the game and by no means represents the final product. However, even considering that, first impressions weren't great. Despite the game needing to re-calibrate the PlayStation Move controllers quite frequently, the calibration was in some instances, terrible. Shots wouldn't register at all, and at the end of the game it was easy to see why - the PlayStation Move controller thought its centre was 90 degrees to the right or left. Quite how it came to that conclusion remains to be seen, but even when this wasn't the case, the gameplay didn't fair much better.

There are five individual racquet sports, including tennis, table tennis, badminton, squash and beach tennis. Fans of racquet sports couldn't really ask for any more and the addition of squash is a real plus point - it's a very frantic game.

However, squash also highlighted some of the issues the game faces. Sometimes backhands wouldn't register no matter how vehemently the player swung and considering the speed at which squash is played, it lead to frustration. However, it was probably the most competent and enjoyable of the sports on offer. Rallies seemed to be more common place and the fun factor was most certainly there.

The only thing hampering the experience was, you guessed it, the controls. We were assured that doing full swings really affected the type and velocity of the shot - it didn't. Wrist swings worked just as well, which was slightly disappointing. It would have been nice to experiment with shot direction too, but as with many other games, the majority of shots gravitated to the right-hand side of the court. It's probably unfair to comment on this at present though, as the PlayStation Move wasn't working properly.

Sticking to the subject of squash; to the exasperation, and also relief of players depending on what side they're on, shots still manage to register even when the squash ball has gone past the racquet face. Oddly enough, this doesn't happen in any of the other disciplines. It would also be nice to see some improvements of the graphical variety as to be honest, they didn't look that impressive.

If Ubisoft can sort out the quite significant problems with PlayStation Move, Racquet Sports might actually be a fun game. The included sports are there to be enjoyed, but the controls are undermining everything that the game hopes to accomplish, and right now, it's looking arguably worse than the Nintendo Wii title - not something to be too proud of.

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