Hands on with Sony's full-sized Sharp Shooter rifle controller

Ever since the Wii remote, third-party companies have been keen on building as many useless plastic shells to cash in on the instantly popular motion controller — including guns. They range from stuff like the family-friendly Wii Zapper to the more realistic Wii Sniper Rifle Gun. One thing they all had in common? They never really added to the experience.

Now, it looks like Sony's PlayStation Move controller is plodding down the same plastic road. In an attempt to get more hardcore gamers excited about the Move (and perhaps more casual gamers excited for Killzone 3), Sony is calling in the Sharp Shooter. It looks cool enough, but is it fun to use? We took it for a spin.

First off, it's worth noting that the Sharp Shooter requires both a Move and Navigation controller. Both parts slip into the rifle's shell with a snap. Moving around is done entirely with the analog stick on the Navigation controller, but your vision is manipulated by moving the gun around. It was a little awkward at first, but we liked how it felt to pull the trigger, and taking out an enemy in the demo of Killzone 3 was no problem. Reloading the gun was accomplished by jerking the Sharp Shooter to the side — a small nuisance compared to a button press and one that became tiring after a couple minutes of holding the gun up. Holding it is pretty comfortable, though. The gun's got a collapsible stock which you can rest against your shoulder or move out of the way if you'd rather be more relaxed.

Still, we found controlling the camera a little frustrating. If we weren't disoriented from struggling to find out who was shooting at us, then we'd be getting stuck behind a rock or falling into a pool of water, forcing us to restart. Moving the rifle to shift the camera takes some getting used — it definitely slowed the action of the game. We tried to run and gun, but even activating the dash didn't really speed up our reaction time because of all the movement we had to do. Now we get why running and gunning isn't realistic in real warfare — it'll get you shot real quick, just like we did in the game.

That said, you can certainly do everything you can with a controller with the Sharp Shooter. While using Killzone 3's jetpack — new to the sequel — we found the Sharp Shooter more than adequate and were quickly hopping from one perilous platform to the next. Also interesting: the Sharp Shooter has a scope mount on top of it that will fit any standard rifle scope. That's right, you could mount a serious hunting sight on it if you wanted, though Sony didn't have one handy for us to try.

The Sharp Shooter isn't for everyone, yet it's got a little something to it that all those Wii remote guns lack — in this case, it's honestly fun to use. No offense to Nintendo, but the Wii doesn't really have anything to offer up when it comes to shooters of Killzone's caliber, which could be adding to the fun of the Sharp Shooter. Will it replace the controller in our hands? No. But it is it definitely fun to use, and it's an interesting experiment.

If the idea of a plastic gun gets you sweaty and excited, you'll have to wait till next February and cough up an extra $40 for the peripheral. If Killzone 3 isn't your cup of tea, then you'll be happy to know that the Sharp Shooter is compatible with other PS3 shooting titles such as Time Crisis: Razing Storm and SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALS.

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