As far as launch titles go the Kinect has far more than the PlayStation Move did, albeit only a few are actually worth playing. I managed to play three Kinect launch titles in total. In my opinion, Kinect Adventures is probably one of the best bundled games you could hope for. The entertainment and unique experience of playing without a controller means it is hours of fun but the other two titles I played hold less hope for the potential of the Kinect.
Fighters Uncaged is a brawler in which you train and fight to become the best street fighter. I was hoping to get an idea of how other companies are using the Kinect and how far motion controlled gaming could stretch. As I considered this the first video game for the Kinect rather than a tech demo, the geek inside of me really wanted it to work. Unfortunately it did nothing but disappoint due to the game being broken. Playing a game that is completely based around fast paced movements and lighting reactions is just asking too much of the Kinect. Your movements are rarely reproduced on the screen, which makes it damn near impossible to play. Wearing a price tag of £40, this game should be avoided as it will only damage your faith in motion gaming.
Motion Sports is Ubisoft’s alternative to the Microsoft published Kinect Sports, but I really wish I had been able to play the latter instead. Motion Sports boasts that it allows you to “play for real”. In total there are 6 different sports to play: soccer, American football, skiing, horse riding, boxing and hang gliding. Although Motion Sports is presented well and building a career within each sport is good fun, the game is lacking in polish. The controls work for some of the sports, but not for others. Soccer only worked for me if I kicked the ball with my left foot and the rest of the time the game took the shot for me. Other games, namely boxing and American football, simply do not work. American football is realised by having you jumping and ducking over obstacles while holding a ball, not really American Football is it? Every time I would go for a jump I had to do so at least 3 seconds before I wanted my character to, and ducking was simply out of the question. My housemate was laughing at me crouching on the floor while my character ran like a lemon into every obstacle on the pitch. The controls did not utilise the Kinect’s capabilities at all. In the future the developers really need to take their time and make sure that these schoolboy errors do not occur again, otherwise the Kinect will have a short life span.
It is the future, but it is not the future of gaming
If you are a gamer who prefers the feel of a controller pad in their hands, there is no need to worry about the threat of motion controlled gaming, as it is certainly not able to match in performance and reliability. Although the Kinect can work extremely well and there are a number of games on the market that are compatible with it now, there are some things that the Kinect will never be able to do. As much as it is a cliché to say, the Kinect is made for the casual gamer and families. The Kinect is not a gaming peripheral, it is an expensive toy; as fun as Rallyball is, it just does not feel like a video game.
The Kinect is an outstanding technological achievement, and will no doubt interest its target market – the non gamer. It is another product for the so-called ‘Wii generation’, in which gameplay is boiled down to the mimicry of movements. Until games are produced that allow you to fight one-to-one with other characters properly and you are able to shoot and throw grenades as if for real, the Kinect will probably not be fully accepted within the hardcore gaming community. You could never get the precision and reaction of a headshot through the Kinect as fast as you could with a controller; this is what Microsoft needs to work towards if they are really going to dominate the videogame market with such a peripheral.
I look forward to the day when I can play as Ryu in Street Fighter and throw a Hadouken at the screen and pretend I possess an array of powers that are superhuman. The Kinect may work and will certainly get casual gamers and those bored of the Wii more interested in the Xbox 360, but it lacks the diversity for a gaming revolution. It is however, the winner in the motion gaming battle for me.
Likely chances are, you are one of the people considering a purchase of the peripheral and the main question you want answering is if it actually works; which of course it does. Some of the launch titles are not worth your money or playing time, but the Kinect is worthy of your interest. Microsoft have developed a wonderful piece of technology and even I, who usually spends most of his days playing Guitar Hero and Mario Kart, was amazed at how much I enjoyed playing with the Kinect and how intuitive the controls really are. I have no doubt that in the future there will be games that truly show us the Kinect’s possibilities and that those games will appeal to a larger portion of the gaming community. The Kinect is worth your time, but at £130 it is up to you to decide whether it is worth your money.
Pros: Works brilliantly, truly remarkable technology and considerably good fun
Cons: Needs too much space, some launch titles are awful and use the device more as a gimmick rather than a fully realised game peripheral.