Last week saw the introduction of the PlayStation Move sharp shooter, an upcoming peripheral which transforms the PlayStation Move motion controller into a sleek assault rifle designed for hardcore shooters such as Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4. The sharp shooter’s feature set is extensive, so I went hands-on to learn more about its functionality and (surprisingly easy) setup process. Guerrilla Games Managing Director Hermen Hulst and I field tested the PS3’s new weapon of choice.
Developed with input from the FPS experts at Guerrilla Games and Zipper Interactive, the sharp shooter is a snap to assemble: you secure a navigation controller into the foregrip, then fasten the PlayStation Move motion controller into the “barrel,” which connects to a small digital port on the bottom of the PlayStation Move called the extension connector. In comparison, the PlayStation Move Shooting Attachment is mechanical; the sharp shooter’s use of the extension connector means that buttons can be remapped to other areas of the sharp shooter. For example, the triangle and square buttons on the motion controller have been re-mapped to buttons on the sharp shooter, providing an identical experience for right- and left-handed users as key buttons are duplicated on both sides of the peripheral.
The sharp shooter is customizeable in other ways: a handy firing mode switch will enable game developers to support single-shot and burst-fire settings; the extendable stock enables you to choose to shoot from the hip or from the shoulder; and the Move button (located beneath the trigger) can be “locked” if it’s not needed. Hulst also pointed out that Killzone 3 enables players to customize the PlayStation Move motion controls to suit their play style. “We made sure that the default settings are very accessible, but for more advanced users, we made sure that deadzones and sensitivity settings are customizable.” As an example, Hulst notes that he prefers to make the horizontal deadzone “very small” to enable faster turning of his character.
The darker box you see here is the “Deadzone,” and its size is fully adjustable. Within this area, you can move your crosshair freely. Once you get outside the borders, your character will turn.
Then there are the subtler fit-and-finish details you may not notice immediately. A pump-action mechanism located under the barrel could be used as a reload function, or alternately may serve another secondary function depending on the game designer’s wishes. The RL button located under the gun’s clip can be used to reload. And thanks to the PlayStation Move’s motion capabilities, you can thrust the gun forward to initiate a close combat attack, or tilt the gun onto its side to activate a reload. If you’re sensing an emphasis on total immersion in the experience, you’re on the right track. Combined with Killzone 3’s stereoscopic 3D and first-person perspective, “the sharp shooter literally puts you right in the middle of the action,” Hulst observed. “It’s like getting your cake and eating it too.” That doesn’t mean players using 3D and the sharp shooter will have an advantage in Killzone 3’s multiplayer battlefields — Hulst noted that “the guy with the 2D screen and DualShock 3 can play just as well.”
There were also some updates for Killzone 3, which Hulst confirmed will support two-player split-screen couch co-op for the entire campaign — a feature long requested by Killzone fans. Considering Killzone 2’s buddy assist maneuvers, such as reviving A.I. partners and boosting your buddy up onto ledges, Killzone 3’s co-op support is a natural addition. But don’t think co-op play will make the campaign a cakewalk. “Because the A.I. in Killzone 3 is so autonomous,” Hulst warned, “you never know what to expect. You and your partner will need to keep out-strategizing and outsmarting the Helghast.”
Hulst then gave us a sneak peek at the second-to-last level in Killzone 3 called “The Reckoning.” This goosebump-inducing set piece pits the battered ISA forces against the MAWLR, a 280 foot-tall, arachnoid Helgast mech that tears apart the environment with energy beams and mortars. “When fighting the MAWLR, you’re never safe,” Hulst cautioned. “You can try to hide in bunkers but they’ll be destroyed; you can try to hide behind the nearby transformers but you could get electrocuted.” Your secret weapon comes in the form of Killzone 3’s WASP rocket launcher, which you use to pick off the massive mech’s cooling panels. Don’t expect this to be a cut-and-dried affair: the MAWLR confrontation is a lengthy, multi-layered boss battle, and the battle will rage from ground to the air and back to ultimately bring the Helghast’s war machine to its knees.
Killzone 3 hits the PS3 on February 22nd, 2011, and is fully playable with the PlayStation Move and the sharp shooter at launch, with SOCOM 4 following suit later in 2011. What questions do you have about the sharp shooter’s features and functionality? Let us know in the comments and we’ll dig up answers.