26th January 2011 - Essentially Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii Sports, or Wii Sports Resort in terms of a standardized mini-game collection launched with their new motion sensing tech, Kinect. We all know what Kinect does, and what it promises, but does what is arguably the launch line-up leader have what it takes to carry Kinect to the masses and show just what this new tech is capable of? Read on to find out…
Kinect Sports has 6 unique mini-games, or sports to partake in. Including the likes of Bowling, Boxing and Table Tennis, its easy to compare the package to Wii Sports. But while its essentially Xboxs’ version of the game, it should be looked at in a different light due to the heavy differences between the Wii Remote and Nun-chuck and Kinect’s full body motion tracking.
The sports within the game are all designed for pure enjoyment. They don’t attempt at ultra-realism, but what they do attempt, they pull of with flying colours. There is the occasional hiccup in Kinect’s technology if you don’t follow the somewhat strict guidelines to playing, but that aside, the sports are great. My only problem here are the mini-games that actually involve your entire body (more specifically, legs). The Soccer game, and the series of Track and Field events are not up to the par in quality and fun of the other sports and will often have you sticking to the better ones, which is nothing to loss sleep over given the more interesting nature of said sports.
Another factor that should be distinguished between this title and the great Wii Sports is that Kinect Sports offers more in terms of game modes and playability. The gameplay itself is debatably better or worse but that’s for the individual to decide. What im talking about though, is the fact that Kinect Sports offers players the ability to partake in a number of tournaments from any and all of the given sports. It also offers a certain amount of challenges or challenge modes per sport, giving somewhat deeper replayability.
Like most other Kinect titles and the gameplay of this game itself, Kinect Sports doesn’t make much of an attempt to look realistic. Its got your basic cartoony style with Xboxs’ Avatars as playable characters, and as you’d expect, the environments and all round visual effects are much the same. There really isn’t much to go on, but with the simplicity being pushed here, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
I was surprised to see, or more appropriately hear, that Kinect Sports makes use of a fair selection of suitable licensed tracks, much like the ‘real’ sports games from the likes of EA and 2K. Coupled with a fairly decent and comprehensive commentary tracks for the sports themselves, and topped with your standard crowd sounds and what Kinect Sports offers in terms of Audio really is comparable to the big hitters of the genre. Sports genre that is, not motion genre or mini-game. Compared to those, it’s a big hitter itself. Probably the biggest.
It takes a gamer who likes a bit of casual fun to like this game. If you like to have a laugh with some mates, or just like an easy going gaming experience, then Kinect Sports is a great way to have a bit of fun and get some borderline exercise. Personally, I don’t think its as enjoyable as Wii Sports, but that’s because im not the biggest advocator of Kinect’s ‘full body’ deal. Its probably the most well-rounded of the Kinect titles so far, and a great example of what’s possible with a mini-game collection. Expect to see a lot more of these.
Something to watch out for though, is how quick motion technology can creep up on you. It can be a swift thing, coming down from the gimmick of it all, and once that happens you wont be spending much time back in Kinect Sports land.
It should have been a packaged-in game, Kinect Sports. Its got all the makings of a title just begging to be played to show off the hardware, and even though it wasn’t included with the Kinect, is still worth a look. It can get old quick, but if easy going and sporty is your thing, Kinect Sports should hit all the right spots and really have you enjoying yourself.
AAG SCORE: 7.8/10
+ Good selection of sports
+ Very fun, Single and Multiplayer
+ Surprisingly aesthetic audio
- Kinect sage can get old
- Letdown in a couple of sports
- Nothing new
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott