Zipper Interactive's recently revealed SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs is one of the games we were least expecting to be fully playable with the PlayStation Move controller. Can a hardcore online shooter stay competitive with a motion control scheme ?
Fortunately for the less curious SOCOM fan, the Move controller is not a requirement. The game can obviously be played with a DualShock controller. Based on my hands-on time with the Move in SOCOM 4, a game that requires both liberal use of motion controlled aiming and the numerous buttons, players will be more accurately served sticking to their familiar gamepads.
The control layout in the pre-alpha build of SOCOM 4 required aiming the ever present targeting reticule with the glowing Move controller. Character movement—strafing and running—was performed with the Move sub-controller's analog stick. Movement and point-aiming didn't take too long to get a grip on, but I was very happy to be playing as an indestructible SEAL, thanks to god mode. I took a lot of damage while playing my very first Move game.
The control complexity started to kick in when I was forced to perform any SOCOM 4 action that went beyond moving and shooting. The four face buttons—circle, square, triangle and X—are positioned not in their normal, familiar spots, but rotated about 45 degrees clockwise, flanking the Move logo button (aka the squiggle). My thumb's transition from analog stick to d-pad on the Move sub-controller, which also sports its own square and circle buttons, was another awkward motion.
For the record, the squiggle button is not necessarily a replacement for, say, the L1 button of a DualShock. The squiggle zoomed in the camera in the control method we were using, but Zipper staffers indicated the button's use may be defined per game.
Surely, some of this controller dexterity will come in time, after spending more than 10 minutes wielding both Move accessories, but it made my SOCOM 4 experience rather clumsy. Fortunately, Zipper Interactive reps say they have plenty of playtesting ahead of them, as well as plenty of development time before SOCOM 4's release later this year, so it's possible that Move control could eventually become the preferred option.
Is it likely? Maybe not, but at least adventurous SOCOM fans eager to play something more core-oriented with their Moves will be able to test their motion controlled headshot skills online against others.