Sports Champions is still regarded as one of the best games to be released for Sony's PlayStation Move controller. It was simple, enjoyable and most of all, it worked. Now the sequel is here, bringing us six more events based on real world sports; but does Sports Champions 2 capture the essence of what was so great about the first game in the series?
Before the action kicks off, players are given the chance to choose their champion. There are 24 pre-set champions to choose from or you can use a fairly comprehensive set of customization settings to create your own unique champion. Settings here include the ability to change facial features, body, make-up, tattoos and other areas, such as the clothes they will wear in each sport.
The sports are obviously what make this game tick and in this respect we are treated to bowling; boxing; golf; tennis; skiing and the return of archery. One of the first sports I tried out was boxing. Here you are given the option to use either one or two PlayStation Move controllers, although I'd highly recommend using two as it gives you a larger scope of moves, therefore providing a more realistic boxing experience. When you start any sport you are given a small tutorial as to how the controls work, so with boxing for instance you'll be shown how to block high and low as well as learning how to take down your opponent. I have to say that I found boxing a lot of fun, generally the controls worked perfectly, with every move and block being registered. It's also pretty competitive and certainly helps you work up a sweat, especially in the latter levels.
Another challenging sport included in the game is tennis, although it's perhaps not quite as polished as the boxing, as while most of the on-screen action reflects your own movements, sometimes it feels like the racket does have a mind of its own, with shots still connecting, put perhaps flying up in the air or in a different direction from what you were expecting.
There isn't too much to say about the other sports such as bowling and of course archery, which was one of the best from the first game. In latter you can play with two move controllers, using one to grab the arrow and the other to hold the bow. You then simply aim at the various targets and get as high a score as possible. Things are mixed up a little by the game adding in different hazards in front of the target, such as a windmill, so you will need to concentrate, while still being fast enough to defeat your opponent. Lastly there is Skiing, which is perhaps the most unusual sport out of the six. Here you pump your controllers to ski and bend in each direction in order to turn. Racing against other opponents, you will try your best to get air time by jumping up ramps, whilst also trying to avoid barriers and various obstacles in your path.
In the single player cup mode, the above games will reward you with stars for your performance, which will then translate into a score at the end of the match. Of course you can compare your scores to others on your friends list and online players around the world. You are met with various rounds in cup mode, each increasing in difficulty, so there is quite a bit to keep you busy here if you are playing on your lonesome.
Away from the main modes of play you are also able to take part in the FreePlay and Party Modes. Depending on the sport, FreePlay gives you a variety of options such as the arena you'd like to play the game in, the time of day and how many rounds you'd like to take part in. Archery seems to be the most feature packed as far as this mode is concerned, giving you access to various game types, such as Marksmanship, a Shooting Gallery and more.
Party Mode allows for four players, either using one or more motion controllers. The objective here is simply to defeat your opponent, be it at bowling, tennis, boxing or whatever sport pops up. For a bit of fun, if you win then you get the option to draw on your friends face using the augmented reality pens which appear on the screen, you can even choose which colour you would like to deface them with.
There are a few other fun areas to the game, such as a photo booth where you can hold up a set of skis or boxing gloves and take a photo to mark your victory plus you can also record your characters voice. These may be small additions, but they are fun and appreciated.
On the presentation side, Sports Champions 2 is a fairly decent looking game. It won't win any awards in this department of course, but it's passible and I can't really recall any major problems which are detrimental to the experience. The same can also be said of the sound, which is quite basic in its approach and not necessarily that noticeable, however it seems to fit in well with the action.
Sports Champions 2 does exactly what you'd expect from a sequel for one of the PlayStation Move's better known games. It brings new sports and therefore a new experience to the console. It may not stand out amongst the big hitters this Christmas, but it works and it's fun, so if you enjoyed the original game, then the sequel will no doubt appeal to you.
Review Policy (Version tested: PS3)