Review

PlayStation Move Heroes Review (PS3)

Holy crossover hell, Batman! Admit it - the first time you heard about this game, your heart skipped a beat. Ratchet, Clank, Jak, Daxter, Sly and... that annoying turtle thing, all in one place! Then you delved a little deeper, and realised that not only was it a gimmicky PlayStation Move title, but it was also being handled by Nihilistic Software, the devs behind the average Conan, and the incredibly average Vampire: The Masquerade.

Which is why, even though PlayStation Move Heroes is as bland and unexciting as we were expecting, we're definitely surprised to find ourselves liking it just that little bit. Sure, the action is repetitive and progression is hopelessly linear and jarring, but then again there are enjoyable minigames packed in and familiar environments to revel in. We're still left wishing these characters had been used for far more entertaining purposes, but we're still glad we gave Heroes a play.

We'd like some real Ratchet and Clank now please!

Our six heroes are brought together when an alien race sucks them all into a different dimension to save their young ones from hordes of evil robots. Over a variety of Move-enabled minigames, you're required to blow things up, break open cages and free those trapped inside.

Totally flimsy, we know, and the cutscenes don't really help matters, with ridiculous setpieces about how each hero thinks they are the best, sidekicks make silly remarks, and generally pointless happenings occur. If you're looking to buy this for the characters, expect to cringe a good few times.

The minigames start off relatively simple, eventually widening in scope and testing your aiming arm. Certain games are ripped straight out of Move launch title Sports Champions, such as the disc throwing and the bowling, although in Heroes' defense, it does put its own spin on the original experiences.

The bowling in particular is mildly entertaining. Initially you'll just be rolling a ball down an alley, but later on it will be falling through wormholes into other areas of the map, flying up ramps, speeding through portals, and other assorted tricks. It can be exciting to see where the next bowling level takes the concept.

The majority of the minigames, however, involve running around as you favourite character and shooting, chopping and whipping enemies. Attacking by swinging the Move controller is pretty solid, and gives the feel of playing a R+C, J+D or Sly Cooper game with motion controls.

The shooting sections aren't too shabby, but need more variety

Power-ups are supplied based on whichever character you're currently using - so for example, Ratchet will throw his Groovitron Ball out and get the enemy dancing. Little touches like this made us smile, but also made us long for some proper sequels. Each world, too, is modelled around each character's universe, giving the action a warm atmosphere, but inevitably maing us wish for a real platforming experience.

This would be a decent set of minigames, were it not for a bundle of terrible design decisions. The camera, for one, can be a real pain at times, jumping around like a madman whenever you back a character up into a corner. It will sometimes decide to follow the completely wrong bit of action too, leading to some frustrating sections.

Then there's the issue of linear progression. From the start, one world is opened up, with multiple challenges to complete. It appears that you may be able to complete a portion of the challenges to open up the next world, and hence have a variety of missions and environments to choose from at any one time.

No such luck. There are only ever two or three new challenges available at any one time, and you need to complete every single one to progress to the next world. It gives a horrible sense of being boxed in, having to venture into the small areas over and over again to do the same missions.

That's the other main problem - the lack of challenge types. After half an hour you'll most likely have seen every type of minigame there is to play, and after that it's just expanded versions with more enemies to beat and targets to hit. There's plenty to work your way through, and it will take several hours to beat the whole game, but you'll have turned it off in boredom long before then.

In an attempt to inject a few more hours of life into the title, multiplayer options have been added, allowing two players to take on the role of one of the famous duos and beat the challenges together. These are enjoyable for an hour tops, at which point the repetitive elements once again mar any enjoyment you might be having.

Boom! Bang! Explosion! etc

There are also gold bolts to collect on each level, which unlock costumes. Which is utterly exciting, obviously. Finally, you've got online leaderboards for each level - perhaps the single element that may bring us back to play again, in an attempt to bag those high scores.

PlayStation Move Heroes isn't awful, but it's a shame these grand old licences have been used for something not so grand. If your PlayStation Move has been gathering dust since the launch, then this may well get you swinging again - but we'd suggest waiting until it goes half price first.

Top Game Moment: The bowling minigame can be pretty entertaining at times.

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