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PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter may not completely change the way we play games with the PS Move, but the device is a nice addition for those who like to play games with Sony’s motion controller.  While I may not have had the definitive experience when using the Sharp Shooter when playing Kllzone 3, Sony’s new peripheral isn’t just a cheap gimmick and actually has a lot of potential if the software out there is engaging.  With a reasonable price ($39), there isn’t a huge barrier of entry for the Sharp Shooter aside from the amount of worthy action centric PlayStation Move games currently available on the market.  If the amount of thrilling games increase, then the Sharp Shooter is definitely something you may want to look into if you’re an avid lover of motion gaming or want to recreate the vibe of playing arcade lightgun games.

The Pros: 

+ The design of the Sharp Shooter is brilliant and doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic shell.
+ There’s a nice weight to the gun, especially once the PlayStation Move and Nav Con are inserted.
+ Holding the gun and using the Nav Con feels entirely comfortable.
+ Using the Sharp Shooter for games like Time Crisis: Razing Storm or Dead Space: Extraction is really fun.

The Cons: 

- The Square and Triangle buttons are a bit small, at least for my massive fingers.
- When used with Killzone 3, I really didn’t find things to be amazing.
- I wish the secondary fire trigger had more of a click to it or more resistance, if only to prevent accidental firings during certain occasions. Rating : 

A lot of things have changed over the years as we play games and the industry continues to evolve.  The games we play get bigger, better, more pleasing from a visual perspective and the way we play games has changed as well.  If you told anyone during the heyday of the PS2 era that one day we would have three different consoles that would all support motion gaming in various forms, I think someone would tell you to stop smoking whatever it was you decided to take a puff of.  But here we are, in the bright and always optimistic (ok, sometimes optimistic) year of 2011 and the video game industry is a vastly different place from where it was eleven years ago.

One thing that hasn’t changed all that much is how companies don’t have a problem hawking their latest plastic peripheral based wares, some of which can be absolute trash.  So far Sony’s foray into the motion control market hasn’t been met with an overwhelming resounding success, at least compared to Microsoft’s Kinect which reached an almost appalling number of units sold within its first month. But in an attempt to further enhance the PlayStation Move, which is pretty nifty by itself, Sony has released the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter controller.  While the device doesn’t offer an extra level of motion control, it does in a way make it more comfortable to experience a game where you’re either blasting away at a Helghast or trying to destroy a massive tentacle armed mech.  The Sharp Shooter controller is good in theory and overall design, but is it worth laying down an additional $39 for?

The most appealing thing about the Sharp Shooter controller has to be the fact that there’s no assembly required at all. Just like all good peripherals, all I had to do in order to get into action was take the Sharp Shooter out of its cardboard coffin and oh so soft protective wrapping, slide my Nav Con controller inside and place the PlayStation Move inside after taking a small piece of plastic off. It’s completely easy peasy and the only thing you need to worry about is the charge level of the Nav Con and PS Move batteries as they don’t run on an internal source when inserted in the Sharp Shooter.  Other than that, the complete set-up of the Sharp Shooter took me less than five minutes, which was only that long as I was making sure my Hulk hands didn’t break anything by accident.

Once I had the PlayStation Move and Nav Con inserted into the Sharp Shooter, I was surprised at how balanced things were and the overall sturdiness of the peripheral.  By itself the Sharp Shooter doesn’t feel like a cheap toy that could easily be broken, but once the Move and Nav Con have been inserted, there’s a nice weighty feeling to the controller in the mid-section, which I assume is how a real gun feels.  Sadly I’m not a gangster nor do I live in Texas so I haven’t actually held a gun before aside from Airsoft replicas.  Despite being a device in which a black controller with a bulbous glowing ball is inserted inside, the Sharp Shooter isn’t a cheap or overly silly looking product.  While not having the feeling that the thing is indestructible, the Sharp Shooter does feel like a solid product that when gripped tightly during an intense gameplay session, won’t buckle and suddenly shatter into a thousand pieces, that’s unless you pull an Angry Ian and decide to throw the thing at a wall.  And no, such a thing has not happened yet nor will it seeing as how I actually bought my Sharp Shooter instead of receiving it for free.

The Sharp Shooter feels rather sturdy and it’s slightly compact size definitely helps things. While not the size of an automatic machine gun from an arcade game, the scale of the Sharp Shooter feels comfortable, and not once did I feel like I was holding a small toy and I didn’t feel embarrassed holding the Sharp Shooter to the point where I didn’t want to be seen holding the peripheral.  Once I put the Move and Nav Con inside, I immediately got the feeling that the Sharp Shooter was a legit controller, albeit one that looks better suited for arcade gaming rather than one aimed for consoles.

So how did the Sharp Shooter fair when playing the oh so wonderful fps games that are available on the PS3?  Well, to be honest, the controller is good given certain circumstances.  Now, I need to say the that designers at Sony, Zipper Interactive and Guerrilla Games really have done a terrific job in mapping the buttons for the Sharp Shooter and actually engineering the thing as everything has a solid feel to it.  The square and triangle buttons that are present on both sides of the Sharp Shooter may be a bit small, at least for my massive fingers, but they feel solid and aren’t too mushy to the point where I couldn’t tell if I was pressing them or not.  The trigger on the Sharp Shooter feels good as it isn’t too loose nor did it start to wane under repeated use and it helped that the Move button (which plays a major part in most games) is situated right underneath the trigger near the handle, which makes it easy to reach.

Taking the Sharp Shooter out for a test run, I decided to play Killzone 3 first seeing as how it’s a full-on fps as opposed to a rail shooter.  With my hand firmly gripped around the handle of the Sharp Shooter and my thumb on the analog stick of the Nav Con, I began my mission into the destroyed streets of Helghan and the results were kind of mixed.  Now, perhaps my time with the Sharp Shooter playing Killzone 3 was a bit mixed because of the slight learning curve there’s to be had when playing Killzone 3 with the PlayStation Move. When using the Sharp Shooter for Killzone 3 and then switching to just the PlayStation Move, the difference between the two control methods is as clear as light and day.

It’s not that the Sharp Shooter completely ruins the Killzone 3 experience, but for me I felt a certain disconnect between moving the Sharp Shooter to change the direction of my aim and actually moving my character.  Accessing the Nav Con was rather easy, but trying to take into account the amount of movement when aiming and how that affected my character was a bit hard for me to grasp and handle initially compared to when I just used the PlayStation Move by itself.  I did enjoy the feeling I had while playing Killzone 3 with the Sharp Shooter as it was cool to actually please a reload button while battling the Helghast, but I didn’t feel like using the Sharp Shooter offered the definitive experience when playing Killzone 3.

On the other hand, when using the Sharp Shooter to play games like Time Crisis: Razing Storm or Dead Space: Extraction, the experience I had was pure bliss.  Yes, using the Sharp Shooter doesn’t offer a greater deal of motion control as the peripheral isn’t akin to the Wii MotionPlus.  But, when playing Time Crisis I did have a certain nostalgic feeling wash over me as it was nice to actually play an on-rails shooter game with a nice heavy gun that was responsive, just like in the arcades. I also felt that both Time Crisis: Razing Storm and Dead Space: Extraction did benefit from the Sharp Shooter as having an actual trigger button and something sizeable to hold on to is better in the long run and overall immersion factor when compared to just holding the PlayStation Move.

Whether or not purchasing the Sharp Shooter to experience the feeling had when playing arcade shooting games is ultimately up to your personal preference.  For the quality of the product, how easy it is to get into gaming and the potential it holds in the future, I must say that the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter is a good deal, even if it isn’t a great joy to use when playing Killzone 3.  If Sony and third party publishers release content that’s good and has equally good motion control integration, then I could see the Sharp Shooter catching on amongst the core gamers as it’s a well-designed device that certainly has the potential to make good games even better.