Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We Are the (Sports) Champions

It's been (counts on fingers) ten days since the last update. I better post something here before I run out of fingers...

Anyway! There was a pretty good PSN sale last week, with Sports Champions 2 being offered for just ninety-nine cents. It's hard to resist any game at that price, and it gives me an opportunity to get some use out of that Sailor Moon wand Sony calls a motion controller.

Seriously... bocce ball?
(image from The Average Gamer)
I bought the previous Sports Champions on disc about a month ago, and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't shake the feeling that the designers had tried too hard to distance it from Wii Sports, offering some really out of left field challenges instead of the usual golf, bowling, tennis, and boxing. The quirky selection of events was a little off-putting... I doubt anyone was clamoring to play virtual bocce ball, outside of a few arthritic Italians.

Sports Champions 2 abandons all pretense of originality and offers many of the same games as Wii Sports. The thing is, Sports Champions 2 does them all better. Bowling is just more fun when you feel like you're actually throwing a ball, and when your onscreen character looks like a real person instead of something from the Toys 'R Us clearance bin. The same thing goes for golf... the more life-like courses, complete with spectators gathered near each hole, makes the game feel less sterile than it had on the Wii. Take a look at the image below and compare it to the gameplay from Wii Sports... you'll see what I mean.

See, that's more like it.
(image from Playstation)
There's no baseball in Sports Champions 2, but you get two events that weren't in Wii Sports... archery and skiing. Skiing is a little awkward, with players pulling the controller inward to simulate "pumping" with the ski poles, but it's fairly entertaining once you get used to the control. Archery, one of the events from the first Sports Champions, comes more naturally... you just hold the Move controller behind your back, then aim it at the screen and fire. It's fast-paced and fun, and frankly, it's more welcome here than baseball would have been.

So yeah, I think I got my dollar's worth out of Sports Champions 2. It's more approachable than the first game, and leaves Wii Sports looking really dated by comparison. I never really got a feel for boxing (I suspect you need two Move controllers to get the most out of this one) and some of the settings are a little weird (who puts a bowling alley in a ski resort?), but past that, I'm happy.

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