At this point the number of titles designed to simply demonstrate the capabilities of the PlayStation Move vastly outnumber those that make Sony's motion controller simply fun. If you could sum up the range of Move titles currently available with one word, it would be shallow. They are good for basic use of the controller and casual pick up and play sessions, but little else. Those that were hoping that The Shoot would be among those that break the mold will be sorely disappointed.
The Shoot is a no-frills rail shooter that takes players through five archetypal movie sets; a western, a sci-fi film, a zombie shooter, a mobster movie, and an underwater adventure. Each level has four stages and is populated by a wide variety of targets for you to unload a barrage of bullets into. Per usual for the genre, players are rewarded for accuracy, combos, and, of course, the sheer number of baddies they can dispatch. In this regard, The Shoot should be all too familiar to anyone who has ever played an arcade shooter like Time Crisis, Target Terror, or our personal favorite, Revolution X.
Unlike Revolution X, however, The Shoot is a relatively family-friendly affair. That's right; there are no strip club gunfights or Steven Tyler gyrations to be found here. Instead, the game limits the violence to the destruction of wooden cutout targets and the movie sets themselves, and players can't die, they are simply given another take. But we can't be fooled, if you have to start a stage over because a cutout enemy wielded a knife at your face, it's because you died.
There are two ways to lose a take -- taking too much damage from enemies or making the director angry. While the former is pretty self-explanatory, the latter could use a little clarification.
As you progress through each level you will hear the voice of the film's director, who shouts words of encouragement or frustration depending on your performance. The voice is accompanied by a graphical representation in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, which features a portly director with a circular gauge. With combos and precision, the director will be appeased and the gauge will fill, but missed combo opportunities and fewer kills will cause the director's satisfaction level to drop. If it reaches zero, you lose a take; after five takes, you have to start over.
As far as level design and gameplay are concerned, the levels are fairly straightforward but vary enough between stages to keep it interesting. The environments also have a lot of destructible elements and there are plenty of hidden items that trigger explosions and other contextual events that either clear an area of enemies or enable a score multiplier. Attempting to rack up high scores in the singleplayer mode can be fun, but the two-player multiplayer mode spices things up a bit with a little friendly competition.
The Shoot's Career mode is the best way to rack up Trophies, as many bronze and silver trophies can be obtained through level progression or by shooting X amount of enemies or items. A handful of Trophies are also awarded in the game's two alternate modes, Score Attack and Challenges, which are shorter challenge-based modes.
But not everything about The Shoot is business as usual; Cohort Studios makes interesting use of the Move controller beyond its capabilities as a light gun, and the Move's built-in inertial sensors are used to bring tilt and motion gesture controls into the mix. For instance, if an enemy lobs a stick of dynamite in your direction, you have to lean left or right to avoid it. Similarly, players must perform a full 360 turn, swing the controller around their heads, or point it up or down to initiate certain power-ups like bullet-time, a shockwave blast, or rapid fire.
Motion tracking and accuracy wise, the Move works fairly well, though the game did seem to have trouble detecting certain movements while seated. Like all other Move games, how carefully you calibrate the controller will determine how accurate the aiming reticule is on the screen, and if you leave the room a recalibration may be required. Otherwise, however, there seemed to be very little lag between the controller and screen.
Despite its unique control scheme and reasonably fun gameplay elements, there are certainly plenty of issues to be found with The Shoot. For one, the game takes forever to boot up, load levels, and return to the main menu, which for a title as basic as this, makes little sense. Furthermore, the graphics are a little rough around the edges, and framerate drops were common when environmental events were triggered. The soundtrack works well enough, though the relentless commentary from the director can get tiresome. With only three modes and five levels with four stages each, The Shoot is also incredibly short. Completing a single level will take a player 30 minutes or less, and unless you're playing competitively with another player, there is little reason to revisit a level.
But again, the biggest problem with The Shoot is its lack of depth. The gameplay mechanics, while somewhat unique, cannot disguise the fact that the game lacks a soul. There is no narrative to pique a player's interest and the design is deliberately generic to make it accessible to a wide audience.
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