Killzone 3 with the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter Test

Posted: 2011/02/26 by cubusaddendum in Grey matter, Review, Techniques
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Yes, I’ve been playing Killzone 3 tonight, and yes, I been using the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter peripheral with it, and finally, yes, I like it.

THE BACKGROUND

The EU version is red to make it less "weapony", but you just have to imagine that it's drenched in blood and then it's fine.

It’s weird when you start off.

Fortunately most of the weirdness for me was due to my unfamiliarity with the control scheme in the first place, and the majority of public resistance to this approach will most likely be from other hardcore games who, like myself, are invested in the fingers-and-thumbs skill-set they’ve been developing for years.

That all said, this setup is different in a rather refreshing way, so I don’t mind developing a new skill-set in order to work with it.

SETUP AND USAGE TIPS

NOTE: For the rest of this article I’ve used the right-handed convention. If you are left handed this entire set-up can be reversed, which is great news for you freaks.

First of all, if you’re going to try Killzone 3 (retail or single-player demo) with Move, do the following steps to get it in a usable state:

  1. Assuming all the standard conditions are met, calibrate the Move controller with it pointing along a center line from you to the camera so that butt of it points at your solar plexus. This will ensure that left/right control curves are symmetric. The up/down control curves don’t have to be, especially after step 2.
  2. Set the vertical dead zone to 100%, the horizontal dead zone to 0%, the turning sensitivity all the way down to nothing, and the rotation speed to about 20%.
  3. Hold the Sharp Shooter peripheral out straight along that same center line and put the majority of the aiming deflection into it via your RIGHT hand, using you left hand as a pivot. I’ve found that the Move’s precision becomes falls the further you drift from this center line, so by keeping the light source relatively still and aiming with your right hand, you maximize aiming precision at all angles of deflection.

IN USE

Once I’d performed the above steps, things took off and I found myself dispatching Helghast with an insane grin. This is a good sign. The control layout is largely different to that of the gamepad, and better for it because after a while you start to experience the game with a heightened sense of immersion.

For a start, the melee attack is performed with a bayonet stabbing gesture. This does not get old, particularly as there’s a subtle snap to the wrist needed to trigger the gesture that makes you throw your shoulder into it a little bit. Then there’s the reload gesture, which involves quickly rotating the rifle anti-clockwise along it’s long axis. Again, the gesture is best triggered with a snap to the wrist, which after 20 minutes I had down to a very reliable, fine twitch. Crouch is performed by a duplicate “move” button mounted in the right hand grip under your middle finger. This is a masterstroke in my view, as it is almost as important as the main trigger, and is yet neglected by other rifle-style Move peripherals I’ve seen or tried. Jump and weapon-switch are accessible via the index finger of your right hand, which worked well enough for me to not think it an issue.

Sony's PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter first being demonstrated sometime late last year

The Navigation controller is still in your left hand, which has a clear advantage over other rifle-style Move peripherals that place it in your right. It follows then that running and strafing are still under your left thumb, with running triggered via the thumb stick’s bog standard button action. The L1 button throws grenades. So far, a pretty standard affair.

An interesting twist though is the adaptive zoom, which operates via what would be the analog L2 button. If you are pointing at nothing, L2 switches between the now standard-to-FPS “hip shot” and “precision aim” views. It’s not a momentary control though, and here’s why: If you’re aiming reticule has turned red due to you pointing at something you can do damage to (like a soldier), the precision aim view will lock on to and track this target, giving you a very precise offset-aim around a target window that is drawn around the enemy by your HUD. In practice this is kind of similar to the dead-eye aim mode in Red Dead Redemption. It was a little jarring at first, but once I let it take over my overall aim tracking I found that I gained a notable level of proficiency when taking down enemy soldiers, mostly because I could select and shoot a target’s soft-points even while they were flanking. The standard gamepad control mode does not give you this functionality at all, so already using Move in Killzone 3 gives you a little “more”.

As regards to Sharp Shooter specifics, the best way I found to hold it is not how you should hold a real sub-machine gun, and would be quite dangerous if you did. I even saw a guy make that exact mistake once when checking his safety at a range – his rifle accidentally discharged, driving the stock backwards into his stomach with the recoil. However, this lack of authenticity is often the case with gaming peripherals, be they rifle shaped, guitar shaped, or otherwise. I’m sat on a beanbag while I’m doing this for goodness sake, so realism was never going to be that high on my agenda. What you do get though is a digitally remapped control surface that adds some rewarding physicality to the art of FPS gaming – and that’s the point I think.

Playing Killzone 3 in this way is not without its problems though, as evidenced by the number of times I turned around to find myself pointing at own my feet. However, I’m guessing that half the reason for this is because I’m still getting used it, as I had to when I made the transition from mouse+keyboard to gamepad. I also know that there are plenty of PC gamers out there still who insist that gamepad support for PC games is pointless because it’s less effective than the keyboard+mouse method. This, as some of us now know, is plainly horseshit, and I expect the same is true of PlayStation Move. It won’t stop the trolls from reiterating a gaming myth as gospel though.

CONCLUSION

It’s different and it’s immersive. In the current climate of FPS titles that almost never deviate from the canon (at least, not without b0rking gameplay usually), this a thrilling idea and needed to happen.

If there was any concern that Move support in Killzone 3 was purely a gimmick, then Guerrilla have shown that it is unwarranted. However, other developers should take note that if they are going to elevate Move support out of the casual gaming realm as Guerrilla have, they will need to add the same degree of set-up options in order to tailor Move’s control behavior. It is these special adjustments, as well as the exemplary calibration wizard, that make Move work in Killzone 3 as well as it does. SOCOM 4 developers Zipper Interactive should especially take note.

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Comments
  1. Spot on with this write-up, I truly suppose this web site desires far more consideration. I’ll in all chance be once more to learn rather more, thanks for that information.

  2. As a little post-review remark, playing this game with Move is *really* exhausting! I’m starting to understand why there are so many cut-scenes in the campaign. They may seem annoying when you’re playing with a dualshock, but after 10mins of Move action you’ll be glad for those breaks – just to let your shoulders and thorax recover. (I’m physically fit, in case anyone is wondering).

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