sun 27/09/2020

Kinect Sports Rivals | reviews, news & interviews

Kinect Sports Rivals

Kinect Sports Rivals

Motion-capture technology showcase without a soul

'Kinect Sports Rivals': Amazingly accurate control technology, what's the point?

With Wii Sports even elderly relatives could suddenly play videogames. The addition of motion control to Nintendo's console exPanded its audience far beyond traditional gamers. But then... nothing. Can Kinect Sports Rivals on the new Xbox One rekindle the excitement in waving your arms to control games?

With Wii Sports even elderly relatives could suddenly play videogames. The addition of motion control to Nintendo's console exPanded its audience far beyond traditional gamers. But then... nothing. Can Kinect Sports Rivals on the new Xbox One rekindle the excitement in waving your arms to control games?

Videogames and technology companies go through fads. Right now, with Facebook buying Occulus Rift and Sony announcing Project Morpheus for the PS4, the trend is "virtual reality". Strap on goggles and as you turn your head, your virtual, in-game head turns to match. Except virtual reality requires total immersion, the purchase of a costly peripheral and makes many people feel motion sickness. These are fundamental barriers that even improved technology is unlikely to shift.

Kinect Sports Rivals for Microsoft Xbox One with Kinect motion-sensingIn the same vein, Wii Sports when it launched the Nintendo Wii was a massive breath of fresh air – for the first time, someone who enjoyed playing tennis could pick up and play a tennis videogame by just holding a controller and swinging it as if it was a racket handle. And they'd likely beat a hardened videogamer who didn't play tennis.

Wii Sports revolutionised videogames – grannies could go bowling at Christmas against toddlers. The Wii vastly outsold other consoles of its generation on the back of that. But then... nothing. Most Wii owners didn't buy any more games – because very few other uses for the motion-sensing technology turned out to be much fun.

Now Microsoft is making a stab at revitalising motion-sensing gaming. The new Xbox One's Kinect technology not only throws out the need for any controller, using a camera to sense movement instead, but it also is far more accurate than ever before – down to individual finger or facial muscle movements.

In Kinect Sports Rivals you start by scanning yourself into the machine – a cartoon version of you with your face and hair, impressively, is your avatar in the game. Even more impressive is your first jetski race – gripping and releasing your right hand instantly translates to throttle; twisting arms and body steers; leaning lets you perform tricks – all done accurately, with no appreciable lag from your movement to on-screen mirror.

Kinect Sports Rivals for Microsoft Xbox One with Kinect motion-sensingThe same is largely true for the other sports – bowling, target shooting, football, tennis and climbing. And some of these sports are, crucially, fun too – water racing and climbing stand out as most enjoyable to play, particularly with more than one player in the room (the Kinect can sense several of you jumping about at once).

Soon, though, the fun begins to pall – there's little depth to each event, a fact covered up by sudden difficulty spikes and a plethora of social add-ons. The increased complexity of the controls – enabled by that more accurate technology – also brings its own problems. Grannies and young kids won't manage the  accurate and rapid movements required – this is a motion-sensing game only for active gamers, not families.

Worst of all, though, there's no real point to it all – the mini-games aren't engaging enough, and the motion control isn't dazzling or simple enough. On the basis of Kinect Sports Rivals, motion-sensing technology, like virtual reality, is still a technology waiting for an application.

Xbox One's Kinect... is far more accurate than ever before – down to individual finger or facial muscle movements

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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