From the very beginning, Sixaxis motion controls on the PlayStation 3 have constantly been under scrutiny. The complaints have not so much been that the hardware doesn’t work, but instead that games aren’t able to incorporate the motion controls into a fun game play experience. In game review after game review, critics shame developers for even trying to make motion controls an important part of the game play. It is so bad that now that if a game chooses to feature the motion controls at all, it is only as an option buried away under an obscure menu entry.
What happened? After all, the console leading the way this generation is the Nintendo Wii, which last time I checked, was built around the concept of implementing motion controls into gameplay. Surely PlayStation games can utilize the motion sensor features in a similar manner to the Wii, while still appealing to the hardcore crowd.
The biggest challenge that developers face is teaching an old dog new tricks. Hardcore gamers think motion controls are a gimmick and don’t take them very seriously. Take Heavenly Sword for example. The critics hailed Heavenly Sword a visually stunning button masher that was just too short. But, what were their suggestions for the motion controls? Disable them as soon as possible!
This recommendation is one of the saddest moments in gaming. Now I admit that the first level in which you guide crossbow arrows into enemies is perhaps the hardest motion controlled level in the game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to attempt to learn. There was something extremely satisfying about using motion controls to hand guide an arrow into the skull of an enemy a quarter of a mile away. Sure it was more difficult, but it was far more immersive then using the analog stick. If the critics simply spent a little time learning the controls, they could have enjoyed the game a lot more.
Another great use of the motion controls appeared in Resistance: Fall of Man. Whenever baddies grabbed onto you, a simple shake of your controller would throw them off. This was a creative way to help draw players into what could have otherwise been another generic shooter. Warhawk and several racing games have also effectively utilized the PS3 motion controls, but on a whole they are being used less and less.
The motion controls are something that can truly set the Playstation 3 apart from the Xbox 360, if only the developers would attempt to bridge the gap between what hardcore gamers are looking for and what they could accept. As a gamer, I challenge you, the player, to at least give motion controls a whirl before you revert back to your trusty analog stick. You may be surprised at what you find.