I don’t know if I’ll ever be sold on the idea that motion-control in first-person shooters can provide any greater fun or any means of shortening the genre’s tactical learning curve into something more instinctive. It is, as I’ve said, like trying to turn a doorknob with barbecue tongs. You’re just better off turning it with your bare hand, even if doing it with the tongs looks cool.
Still, there is the PlayStation Move, and move-enabled shooters like Killzone 3, and so there’s a market for peripherals like Nyko’s Skill Shot, a half-price cousin to Sony’s official Sharp Shooter, and still a suboptimal choice in FPS gaming, some of which is its fault, and most of which comes from the limitations of the experience.
The biggest problem with motion-control FPS gaming isn’t in firing accuracy. It’s in the effort it requires to do all of the other things to get your man ready take that shot. The most essential act that can’t be made more convenient or intuitive with a gun peripheral is simply looking around the battlefield. With a Move and navigational controller, turning and rotating is accomplished by angling the wand toward the edges of the screens, like shining a flashlight to find an intruder. A flick of the wrist suffices. But with these housed inside an assault rifle peripheral, your arms and most of your torso becomes involved in the act. It is fundamentally more laborious and not at all instinctive.
Against all of that, I gave the Nyko Skill Shot every chance to impress me on its own merits, and it did, in a few small areas. But if you’re looking for the tool that unlocks the wonders of motion-controlled shooters, you’re probably not going to find it in a budget peripheral.
The Nyko Skill Shot is a sturdy, plastic peripheral in the shape of a submachine gun, with an extendable stock. It requires a PlayStation Move navigation controller, which fits into a cradle underneath the gun barrel, where the Move controller itself is locked into place, bulb pointed at the screen. There are no buttons, controls or other wired technology in the Skill Shot; it is simply an ergonomic casing for the two controllers.
What We Liked
Ergonomically Correct: The best feature of the Skill Shot is one other peripherals would be wise to incorporate. The navigation controller cradle can angle 45 degrees right or left, supporting a more natural wrist posture, for right-handed or left-handed grips. It takes a lot of the strain out of long gaming sessions, and is a feature I greatly appreciated.
Sturdy Construction: The Skill Shot is a solidly built, attractive piece. The housing for the Move controller is very sturdy – the controller locks in flush. The shoulder stock is very stable and, fully extended, behaves as a solid piece with the rest of the gun. There is no rattling of components and only minimal twist on the navigation controller cradle. My only quibble with the equipment layout came from the cradle. If you angle it left, the thumbstick of the navigation controller will graze the edge of the socket when you push directly forward and then angle left (the same thing happens if angled right, you push to the upper right). Through repeated use this will probably scrape some of the coating off the thumbstick head.
Highly Accurate: The gun sight on this thing, while I wouldn’t necessarily use it all the time, is actually quite functional for both calibrating your aim and then delivering on it for certain shots. The Move controller’s placement is level above your index finger, giving you intuitive point-and-shoot aim. The plastic trigger is very large and a single wedge retracting into the pistol grip. The trigger is sturdy and suffers no input delay.
What We Didn’t Like
Fingers Off The Buttons: The lack of dedicated buttons on the gun chassis means square, triangle, the Move button (and select and start) are all forward on top of the barrel, neither convenient nor even easy to activate quickly. This is a tremendous drawback. Before buying this, you’ll want to play the Move-enabled shooter you’ll be using the Skill Shot with, and take note of its controls. Move games have some alternate controls; for example, twisting the controller reloads in Killzone 3, so you don’t have to reach for square. However, it’s a more grandiose gesture with the Skill Shot than just flicking the wrist. But certain combinations – a running jump for example – are impossible using a standard two-handed grip. Against the Sharp Shooter, which has all of the buttons of a DualShock built into its casing, the Skill Shot’s reduced price tag becomes apparent.
The Bottom Line
The Nyko Skill Shot for PlayStation Move isn’t feature-packed but it is a reasonable enough alternative for those casually interested in motion FPS gaming, given its $US20 price point (some online retailers already are discounting it for less) and the angled cradle for the navigation controller. Still, this isn’t the peripheral that suddenly opens you up to the wonderful world of FPS gaming with the PlayStation Move, especially given the ergonomic inaccessibility of certain buttons on the Move controller itself.
For games where those buttons are essential, the Sharp Shooter remains the most accurate and complete option, at double the price. Something like Dead Space: Extraction appeared to be more Nyko Skill Shot’s speed, which is faint praise considering that game is an on-rails shooter and a downloadable title. Killzone 3, with controls developed for PlayStation Move without the need for a peripheral, was on the whole more playable without the Skill Shot.
Overall, your best bet in PlayStation Move gaming – even in the shooters – remains your two hands, using the navigation controller and Move unaided.
The Nyko Skill Shot was manufactured by Nyko for the PlayStation 3/PlayStation Move. Retails for $US19.99. Released April 19 by Nyko. A unit was given to us by the manufacturer for review purposes.
The Nyko Skill Shot, with all controllers affixed.
The Skill Shot, PlayStation Move navigational controller, and Move controller.
The gun sight on the Nyko Skill Shot is remarkably useful, though mostly for calibration.
Fully extended, the stock still behaves as a solid, immobile piece of the rifle.