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Posted by moonhead on Jan 5, 2011
Review: Kinect Sports / Xbox 360 Kinect

Review: Kinect Sports / Xbox 360 Kinect

Wii Are At It Again.

So here we have Wii Sp….. Sorry it’s Kinect Sports, my mistake. Hailing from once great developers Rare this is an almost direct rip off of Nintendo’s sports compendium. However as I have stated in a lot of my Kinect reviews being a rip off does not mean that it’s a bad game. And whilst Kinect Sports is definitely not a great game there are some real flourishes of quality here.

Much like Wii Sports, Kinect Sports is a party game made up of several sporting mini games. Also continuing the cute theme of Wii Sports all the sporting protagonists are Microsoft’s Avatars, the cute Nintendo Mii rip-offs. The Sports which are on offer vary greatly in quality and are Table Tennis, Boxing, Bowling (okay), Football, Track and Field (good) and Beach Volleyball (predictably crap). So there are only six sports in total which is not a great deal but Track and Field consists of five events, Sprint, Javelin, Long Jump, Javelin and Hurdles so this adds a little.

Graphically the game is obviously a step up from its Wii competitor being in HD but it is no quantum leap forward either. The visuals are bright bold and functionally do what they set out to do. In terms of audio the game is a mixed bag. The sports commentators are just appalling. They either sound barely interested or as if they have drunk a whole crate of Red Bull and can no longer reign in their excitement. And why oh why hire the bloke that does the X Factor voice over and announcements? He just sounds like a complete tosser. On the flip side to this is the licensed music played to celebrate your sporting achievements. Ranging from James Brown, Queen and current chart hits they always strike the right chord and get you dancing around.

As mentioned before the sports themselves are a mixed bag and apart from video games sporting nemesis Beach Volleyball, they all play competently well. Table Tennis plays very much like the original Wii Sports Tennis game with no player movement, you just use your hand to strike the ping-pong ball. You can add spin to the ball with upward and downward motions when swinging your arm. It’s limited but fun.

Boxing is also similar to its Wii Sports counterpart even down to not reading your movements very well. However, if you do not move too quickly and use your blocking the gameplay can prove quite tactical, especially in two player. Bowling again is much the same as the Nintendo game. You hold your arm out to the left or right to pick up your Ball and then swing your arm in a motion like the real thing to send it flying down the lane. To add spin bring your arm across your body as you make the bowling motion. Bowling is the only game that can be played by more than two players with up to four players able to play.

Now it starts to get interesting with the Track and Field and Football games. These two games highlight what Kinect is capable of and show why it could have a bright future. Track and Field is exactly what you would expect it to be, a more physical version of the button-bashers of old. To sprint run on the spot, the more you pump your arms and legs the faster you go. The long jump is the same as the sprint yet when you get to the end of the runway you jump within the green lit area, this also goes for the hurdles. The javelin is the same but instead of jumping you make a throwing motion. The Discus is simple you just swing your arm in a throwing motion. The games can sometimes feel a bit hit and miss but they are undeniably fun and in company are a riot. One word of warning though is that its very physically demanding so if you’re a bit of couch potato this may not be for you.

On to my favourite, the football, if you are looking realism in your football games you will find none here, this is purely for fun. Set out as a game of 5-A-Side all you do is pass, shoot and defend. To pass the ball swing your leg as if kicking in the direction you want to, you can see where your team-mates are by the arrows over their heads. The quicker you make the pass the more likely you will find your man. Once you’re in front of goal kick again to shoot the quicker the better. If the ball goes out for a corner or throw-in near to the goal you get a chance for a ‘skill shot’. Dependant on where the yellow marker is you can kick or head the ball goal-wards. For defending you just need to step in front of the opposing players directional arrow blocking them off and winning the ball. If the opposition make it to your goal you play the keeper in the same way as the skill shots. It’s all very simple but its the first time you have been able to play our national sport in such a physical and visceral way in your own living room. And much like the real thing scoring a goal is a thrill.

In terms of gameplay modes, there is party mode which is a further collection of mini games themed around the sports on offer. The game is fully online allowing you to prove your sporting prowess against the world and all of the games are playable two-player local. Another neat feature is the ability to upload the videos of yourself and others to the www.kinectshare.com website. From this site you can upload your videos of embarrassment to Facebook or email them to friends.

(Hmm, you mean like this? – Drew)

The game as whole is not without fault and as an overall package is a little lacking in content. But what cannot be denied is that the game is incredibly good and fun entertainment. The one thing I would like to add though is  now that Rare have finished with this can they get back to some proper game development and try to rediscover some of their old magic.

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2 Responses to “Review: Kinect Sports / Xbox 360 Kinect”

  1. Cstrfreak says:

    LMAO at the video and beginning of this review. “Wii are at it again, oh wait this is Kinect Sports”. Nice review!

    • moonhead says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. As for the video Drew sneeked that in under the radar as he proof reads and edits most of the posts before they go up still you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

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