The PlayStation Move might have gotten off to a slow start, skewing towards the casual gamer with more motion controlled sports games ala Wii Sports, but the tide’s changing. Last month’s release of Killzone 3 with support for PlayStation Move and the Sharp Shooter peripheral was just the beginning. Ubergizmo stopped by NYC’s Sony Style Store to check out SOCOM 4 with the motion controller in check and we came out impressed. The amount of thought that Zipper Interactive put into creating motion-based controls that make sense truly caters to the hardcore gamer, even in SOCOM 4‘s “casual” mode. Read our quick hands-on after the jump.

To say that Sony’s not pushing the full gaming experience on the PS3 would be completely false. With SOCOM 4, Sony was showing it off in 3D, with the PlayStation Move and Sharp Shooter combo. Being a third-person tactical shooter, we expected the game to have controls similar to Killzone 3, but nothing more advanced.

Boy were we wrong. Playing SOCOM 4 with the Move and Navigation controller locked inside of the Sharp Shooter (SS) is like playing a Wii shooting game on steroids. The game’s super sensitive, so there really is no need to make full sweeping body movements to adjust the field of view. Nifty features like charging the SS forward to perform weapon melee attacks, pumping the SS to reload, calling a squad over to follow a command with a button press, and accessible action buttons located on the side of the SS for things like doing a crouch make it more than a gimmick. The SS is not some funky piece of plastic that you just snap a Move into and aim – it’s a peripheral that’s designed with hardcore gamers in mind to play hardcore shooting games. If you want a casual shooting attachment for the Move, you can get the other shooting attachment Sony sells and find an on-rails shooter.

And while we have experience playing shooting games in first-person and third-person with traditional DualShock controllers and 360 game pads, we still found a steep learning curve to SOCOM 4. In fact, one of Sony’s reps, Scott Pytlik who was demoing the game for us even said it took him about two hours to adjust to the motion controls. Despite having three levels of toughness for casual to hardcore gamers, we still kept getting killed quickly even after about 15 minutes of toying with it. We didn’t see a single “natural” who could pull off the game’s controls immediately, which is a good thing – it’s innovative and isn’t the same old control scheme we’ve used for the last handful of shooter games. If you’re looking to just jump in and run and gun, this game is not for you. If you’re interested in exploring complex controller schemes because you’ve got the cranium to remember all the button commands for it, then no game does it better with motion controls than SOCOM 4.

For Sony, the future of shooting games appears to ride on the SS. From the looks of things, games that support Move will only get better with more development time. With SOCOM 4 being the second game to take advantage of the Move and SS, we can’t imagine what Resistance 3 will do with the tech. Sony’s selling the SOCOM 4 combo bundle which includes a Move and Navigation Controller, PS Eye, copy of SOCOM 4 and the SS for $150 on April 19. Sony’s just put all of its chips into the pot. Your move Microsoft and Nintendo.

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