So yes, I played Kinect for the first time last night. The wife was busy with some golden globe thing (which I screwed up by taping the wrong thing… I’m sorry) so I went over to a friends house and he was gracious enough to let me try out his Kinect he got for Christmas. Let’s start with the bad shall we?
The biggest problem with the Kinect is that it’s 2+ years too late coming into this genre. As Tycho Brahe said (the PA one, not the scientist), “I’ve already played bowling… give me something new.” Yes, I paraphrased there… so shoot me. Kinect sports is the game that comes with the apparatus. It includes soccer, bowling, track & field, boxing, ping pong and beach volleyball. I tried 4 of those 6 with thoughts on them later.
The second problem I had with it is that the controls are a little clunky. This was especially evident in the ping pong game where it seemed the ball accelerated towards the player giving little to no time to react. The player would have to think about how to hit the ball right after the opponent had struck it to determine the best way to strike it. In congruence with this, there were times when the Kinect did not recognize where my arms were during a dance game. You have to exaggerate your movements too much for my liking, though it makes it fun watching it as an observer.
Now for the good things:
I’ve played a little bit of PlayStation Move at a Best Buy and a lot of the Wii back in the day, and I must say that I’m impressed with the Kinect. I don’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination on all things motion controlled, but there are things that you can do with the Kinect that doesn’t seem like it would be possible with motion controls that require (well) controllers. For example, one of the Kinect games is beach volleyball. You have the ability to bumb, set, spike and block the ball. But to spike or block, the player actually has to jump. There’s no getting around it. Now, I know the Move has a similar game, but I don’t see how you couldn’t just trick the game because it’s not based off your whole body… just where the controller is. In Wii Tennis, you only had to flick your wrist to get the ball sailing back over the net. You actually have to move your body with the Kinect.
Not having a controller blows my mind. Just standing in front of the TV and moving my arms about to control everything in the game is an ethereal experience. I just placed my arms a certain way and the game pauses (no it doesn’t pause randomly).
Since the Kinect uses a camera, it takes pictures/videos of you playing the games, those videos are hilarious to watch afterwords and adds to the fun/comradery of the whole experience.
Lastly, and I hope this doesn’t come across as a knock towards the Move or Wii, but playing Dance Central, you would have to move your legs and your arms. I don’t see how the Move or Wii would force you to do that, if someone has used the Move, please comment below and explain it.
To give a brief review of each game I played:
- Bowling: Not much to say here. I think I like the Wii bowling better. Though it is a nice change from actually having to move all over the place. More of a relaxing game
- Track and Field: 5 minigames in this. 100 m dash, javelin throw, long jump, discus throw and hurdles. This one got me sweating like mad. You have to run in place (the higher your knees are the faster you run) and jump a lot. This one would take a lot of practice to get really good at it. Also a ton of fun in party games.
- Ping Pong: One of the more irritating games I played. The controls were too clunky to actually understand what was happening. It’s probably more fun as a single player game.
- Beach Volleyball: This one is what we started with and was a blast. Skying for spikes and jumping as high as you can makes you feel like your movement actually determines what your avatar is going to do.
- Dance Central: My legs were sore after this game. A lot of fun moves to learn, but unless they add DLC, I can see where it would get hella boring. Great party game nonetheless.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with the Kinect. I probably wouldn’t buy it at this point, but if I came into a huge sum of money, I could see myself buying it and being glad that I did. Thankfully, I believe they’ve only scratched the surface for what you can do with the Kinect. I look forward to more innovations.