If you have a PlayStation Move, there is a pretty reasonable chance that you also have Sports Champions, Sony's popular pack-in title not unlike Wii Sports that originally shipped with the Wii. This Move-only game features gladiator dueling, table tennis, archery, and a couple of other sports. Looking to capitalize on the launch of the Move, as did many accessory makers with the Wii (to this day), is Interworks Unlimited with their Champions Pack. This pack of accessories includes a shield, sword, bow, and table tennis paddle to, ideally, enhance the Sports Champions experience.
Unboxing And Testing
While marketed directly for Sports Champions, it's not too hard to imagine how these accessories could be used in the future for other games. The problem is, in any event, you really don't need to bother with them. The only advantage these accessories bring is giving the Move Remote a more realistic feel.
Before getting onto testing results, I'll mention the unboxing of these accessories. Interworks did a nice job packing up the individual pieces of this set. Included in the box are the individually wrapped components (three bow sections, a shield, two sword pieces, two paddle pieces) and two paper inserts. One paper insert is the manual, which you won't need, that shows you how to assemble the accessories. The other is just a basic warning and disclaimer.
Assembly of the accessories is a snap, literally. The shield comes ready with its Remote holder attached. For the sword and paddle, you simply combine the Remote holder with the actual 'blade' or paddle. The bow is made up of three pieces that snap together. When you've got your pieces assembled, you're all set. Just don't try to take them apart again -- more on that disaster later.
I fired up Sports Champions and decided to try the table tennis game first. As most of you know, each time you start the game you have to do a quick calibration. With the Move Remote in the paddle accessory, I was not able to calibrate the controller. Try as I might, the PS Eye was not seeing the Remote through the accessory. I pried the Remote out of its holder and did the calibration and then tried to play. Frankly, the results were terrible -- the paddle representation on the screen was consistently at a ninety degree difference to what I was actually holding it at. So for example if I were holding the paddle parallel to my TV, so that the broadest side is 'facing' the TV -- in the game, the paddle was ninety degrees off, meaning that the thinnest edge of the paddle was facing my opponent. Table tennis can be challenging enough with out this mess; so while the accessory did give the movement of the controller a better feel, as though I really were swinging a paddle, the control and calibration issues made it unusable for me.
Next up was archery. Again, the bow made things feel a bit more realistic, but the performance just wasn't up to par. While it worked better than the table tennis paddle, the accessory still caused me some trouble and I found myself prying my Remote out of the accessory again.
Moving on to Gladiator Duel, this was the best use of the accessory pack for me. One Remote goes into the shield and the other into the sword. Tests seemed to work alright with this and it added a bit of satisfaction to the gameplay. The soft rubber and flexible tipped sword has safety in mind but it also sacrifices what cool factor it may have had. The shield is similarly really small and feels kind of gimmicky before long.
Reboxing And Conclusion
I have to point out how difficult I found it to get the Remotes out of their plastic holders once inserted. The only good way I found to do this is to push the trigger into the controller housing and pull with what little space there is available with your other hand; it's frustrating. While the holders do a great job of keeping your Remotes from falling out or moving, I wish there were a better design here that made getting your Remotes out of these controllers quicker and easier. As it stands, I literally have to pry my Remotes out, being as cautious as I can given their value.
When I decided to box up the Champions Pack, I ran into some major issues. In trying to disassemble the bow, the top half of the darn thing literally shattered, leaving me with a broken accessory. The same happened with the sword, so half of my accessories were already busted just by applying some light force in trying to disassemble them for storage; surely there is a better way!
Let's get to the summary...