Anyone who has ever had the chance to enjoy an arcade will almost certainly tell you about some 'light gun' game or another that has stolen quite a few of their quarters. Be it classics like Area 51 or Time Crisis, the genre has always had a consistent following and found new life in Nintendo's Wii. With the release of the PlayStation Move, the genre can again proliferate, only this time on a much more capable platform. This week saw the release of two light gun games for the Move, SCEA's own The Shoot, and Namco's newest Time Crisis game, Razing Storm (which I will review this week). I've spent the better part of a week with The Shoot, and I'm pleased to say that it may very well be the first must have game for the Move.
The premise of The Shoot is that you are an action star who is participating in twenty different scenes across five different movies. Your goal is to get through each scene as accurately and as unharmed as possible. Your mistakes -- missing targets, shooting innocents, and taking damage -- will upset the director, and if you're not careful, you may have to do another take. A take is a Continue, and you get five of these per movie. They put you right back into the action, but once they're used up, you will have start the movie over again.
The equivalent of your health meter in The Shoot is a small icon in the right corner of the screen that shows a circular meter and an animated director. The more green in the meter the better, but it's just as useful to listen to what the director is saying to figure out how pleased or upset he is with you. The director provides steady feedback as you shoot your way through each scene.
So before you can take the star role in these films with your demanding director, you'll first spend a few minutes in Studio 101. It's here that the game briefly but informatively explains how The Shoot works. The Shoot works a bit differently than a lot of traditional games of the genre, but certainly the core mechanics are familiar. Obviously, the game is played from a first person view and is on rails; the game controls your movement and what happens on screen, all you need to do is point and click. You actually don't even have to reload, your main goal is just being accurate. There are also dozens of enemies per level, or scene, along with hidden objects, although there are no shootable power-ups.
You control the action solely through the Move Remote, which works best when coupled with a gun controller accessory. Recently, I reviewed Interworks' Precision accessory but I actually found Sony's own gun controller better due to its size, weight, and easy of use (especially when it comes to inserting and removing the remote). Calibrating the Remote is quick and can be done anytime. All you need to do for calibration is point at the camera and press the Move button.
Besides the obvious point and click use of the Remote, The Shoot uses it in a few other ways too. Two of the most common uses are the quick draw and for dodging incoming projectiles. Quick draw sequences have you pointing the Remote at the ground, then drawing it up, six shooter style, and shooting from the hip, usually to finish off a boss with a final, single, epic shot. In dodging moments, which are much more common, you sway the controller to the left and right (and almost instinctively your torso as well) to dodge attacks.
Style Shots (power ups) are also used by manipulating the Move. There are three Style Shots that can be earned anytime during gameplay. The first Style Shot takes about five consecutive accurate shots to get. This power up slows down time, allowing you about ten seconds to get easy, accurate shots on any enemies that pop up during that time. It's especially useful for quick moving, flying enemies or when the screen is just packed with targets. To use this power up, you have to move the Move controller in a lasso like motion above your head, or, simply spin yourself around in a full circle. I found the latter method more reliable, quicker, and more fun to do. The second Style Shot, Shockwave, requires shooting ten or more enemies consecutively without a miss. This Style Shot, which is activated by shooting the ground (in your room, not in the game), destroys all enemies on screen. Finally, Rampage, which I've very rarely obtained, requires yet more accuracy and allows you to shoot machine gun style without any effect on your multiplier. Style Shots can be used at any time during a film although not between films, and you can store as many of them as you can earn to use at your discretion.
Getting those Style Shots is an important part of the game because they help you earn a lot of points, which is the ultimate measure of success in the Career mode. As you take accurate shot after accurate shot, your multiplier keeps going up. When you miss, the effect of the multiplier is halved and as you can guess, it takes very few mistakes to drop it back to just 1x. You'll really understand the importance of being very accurate after rolling through the first movie and then facing a much starker challenge in Robotomous Crime, the second film. While just as short as the first film, it's much harder to complete. The difficulty doesn't lie in getting through the four scenes or beating the boss, however. What I found really hard about the second movie was just being accurate enough to earn 600,000 points to unlock the third film. It took me the better part of four hours (compared to twenty minutes for the first movie) of play to finally get enough to open up the third film. Unfortunately, I couldn't have a co-op friend join me for the Career mode, although there are a few ways to play locally with a friend in other modes. You're also not able to save your progress in between scenes, so you really have to be spot on for the entire film which is much easier said than done.
Career mode is but one of a few modes available to play. As you unlock films in career mode, you also unlock the same films in Score Attack, which can be played with one or two (local) players. The idea in Score Attack is to play one scene at a time and get the highest score possible, which is automatically posted up on the online leaderboards. It's a good way to try and find your strategy for beating the films in Career. In Two Player Score Attack, the idea is basically the same. Each player shares the collective Style Shots earned, but multipliers for score-keeping are kept separate so you can see who the better shot was. Finally, there is an interesting Challenge Mode for each film. The Challenge can only be unlocked when you've found (and shot) all of the pieces of the movie poster that are hidden throughout the scenes in a given film.
In terms of presentation, The Shoot has a great, smooth look to it. The graphics are very colorful and well animated and pop nicely off the screen. You definitely get a nice variety between the five different films in terms of overall theme both in the sets and the characters. My only very minor issue with the visuals is that it would have been nice to be able to change your crosshair appearance or color for just a bit of customization. In terms of audio, the effects are good. The soundtrack is basic but functional and I found the director's voice to be well done. You'll hear a lot of the same phrases over but I liked that many of them were positive and not just critical of your performance.
With that, let's get to the summary...