If you’re going to play shooting games using Sony's motion-sensing controller, I’d strongly recommend considering the new PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter. It's among the most impressive light-gun peripherals I’ve ever tried.
Designed in conjunction with Guerrilla Games to resemble the LS57 submachine gun found in the recently released Killzone 3 (watch for our review in this weekend’s paper), the Sharp Shooter is a nearly life-sized rifle made of grey and orange plastic—so that no one would confuse it with a real weapon—with an extendable stock, pump-action reloading, and a mount for scopes which may eventually be released on their own or in conjunction with other games.
I’ve never held a real automatic weapon, but I imagine it would feel vaguely like the Sharp Shooter. With a PlayStation Move wand snapped into the barrel and a Navigation controller slotted into the front handle, it has a nice heft—though my arms got tired hoisting it up during longer play sessions.
What’s more, its design includes a wide variety of digitally mapped controls placed in intuitive locations. Square and triangle buttons are located just above the trigger on the side of the firing chamber and in easy reach of the player's forefinger. The Move button--which I imagine will be programmed to function as a secondary firing button in upcoming games--sits under the trigger on the grip, right under the middle finger, while a three-tiered firing rate switch is located just above the thumb rest. These controls are duplicated on both sides of the gun to accomodate lefties and righties.
Up front, the player’s steadying hand can grip either the inserted navigation controller, providing easy access to its triggers and buttons, or the barrel. Either way, you can pump to reload, assuming the game’s control scheme supports this movement.
The PlayStation Move wand is used primarily for aiming. The face controls have been left uncovered, but interacting with them in the heat of battle would require repositioning your grip, making it rather impractical. However, there are plenty of buttons located elsewhere on the gun and on the Navigation controller. Control assignment shouldn’t be an issue.
As well designed as the Sharp Shooter is, it’s unlikely to become my preferred method of interface for standard first-person shooters. I used it through several missions in Killzone 3, and while it was undeniably fun to wield I found it hampered my speed and accuracy just a little too much for my liking. Guerrilla Games offers plenty of tuning and assist options, but the assists either feel like cheats--like locking onto enemies with the tap of a button--or just didn’t do enough to compensate for the awkwardness of controlling the camera with the nose of the rifle.
That said, it’s ideal for on-rails shooters like, say, Dead Space: Extraction. The Shoot , one of my favourite PlayStation Move games, was also made more compelling with the Sharp Shooter even though it wasn’t designed with the rifle add-on in mind (I encountered a few awkward scenarios, like quick-drawing from the hip).
Priced at $40, the Sharp Shooter is affordable. However, keep in mind you’ll also need the PlayStation Move wand, PlayStation Eye, and a Navigation controller, which will run an extra $120 in total. It’s not the sort of peripheral worth picking up for a single game, but it’s a no-brainer for players who fancy mixing motion controls with their shooters as often as possible.