Sports Champions 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Sports Champions 2 Game Poster Image
Fun sports compilation promotes healthy movement.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about sports, healthy movement, and social interaction in this polished collection of quick sports simulations. Each of the six featured sports closely resembles its real-world counterpart, which means kids will become better acquainted with rules, strategies, and techniques as they perform movements that emulate those of actual athletes. Plus, multiplayer play lets kids work on their friendship skills in competitive situations. Sports Champions 2 wasn't designed as a tool for teaching, but it helps keep kids moving, introduces the sport, and maintains interest.

Positive Messages

This game promotes a healthy lifestyle by having players physically emulate many actions required in real-world sports. It's also a platform for social interactivity and friendly competition, thanks to a multiplayer mode for up to four players in the same room.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The customizable avatars don't talk much, but instead express themselves by jumping for joy and groaning with defeat. Players can select from a few simple personality options, some of which give avatars a bit of attitude in their poses and expressions.

Ease of Play

Controls are delightfully intuitive, and tutorials are broken into bite-sized bits to make them easy to digest. Things eventually become more challenging, but, as in real-world sport, bettering your performance just takes a bit of practice so your body knows how to move.

Violence

A boxing mini-game involves throwing punches at characters who grunt, look dazed, and eventually fall down, apparently unconscious.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sports Champions 2 is a collection of sports-themed mini-games. Players physically emulate several sports, which means kids are engaged in healthy, vigorous movement as well fun social interaction should they choose to play with friends. The only iffy content is a boxing game that has players swinging controller-wielding fists in hopes of making contact with their virtual opponent, who grunts when struck, sometimes looks dazed, and may fall to the ground unconscious. Note that this game can be played with just one PlayStation Move controller (even in multiplayer matches), but that it becomes a deeper and more authentic experience with two.

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What's it about?

The follow-up to one of PlayStation Move's most popular launch games, SPORTS CHAMPIONS 2 offers five new activities -- golf, bowling, tennis, skiing, and boxing -- and brings back archery, a favorite from the original. Each of the games requires players to make authentic movements, similar to those that they would use were they playing the sport in the real world. Boxing involves throwing punches, blocking, and dodging, golf requires strong straight swings with fluid wrist movements, and skiing has players pulling themselves forward by their poles and raising and lowering their hands to steer. The single-player mode allows kids to work through 18 events in each sport that also trains them in each activity's subtler techniques. A free mode lets players simply play or train however they like; and a party mode has up to four players working through regiments of activities in friendly competition. Regardless of mode, players can create and customize their own avatars, choosing gender and skin color and selecting from various clothing items they unlock throughout the game.

Is it any good?

SPORTS CHAMPIONS 2 is a nice showcase for PlayStation Move. It demonstrates the technology's impressive precision and reliability, delivering true one-to-one control that virtually never fails. For example, it accurately and consistently detects speed, spin, aim, and loft when throwing bowling balls. And shooting arrows -- a process that involves drawing, notching, pulling back, and loosing -- is remarkably intuitive and feels very authentic.

It's only real issue is a case of the "blands." Like most sports-themed game collections, it doesn't have much in the way of personality. Characters are generic, even with the ability to change outfits and hairstyles, and the prevailing visual aesthetic is very ACME in vibe. If the sequel adds a bit of panache while maintaining spot-on controls, Sony may have the motion-controlled sports compilation game to beat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about healthy physical activity. What sports do you like most? Do you think active games such as this one gets your heart beating to the same degree as the real-world activities it depicts?

  • Families can also discuss real-world combat sports. What do you think of activities where the objective is to hurt someone else? At what age should kids be allowed to choose whether they want to participate in such competitions?

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