Xbox Kinect – is it any good? You Betcha!

by Clayton on February 1, 2011

Happy New Year! – Am I too late!?

So after moving house (which is also a whole county north from where I was living) having Santa deliver lots of great things and also trying to eat my own body weight during the festive season i can now get back to (well attempting) entertaining my millions of blog readers…well all 20 of you ;)

Having had the Kinect delivered by the surly bearded guy in a red suit (apparently) I was eager to try it out. The incredible voice commands, the constant body tracking and the multiplayer options for games had me quite excited. The prospect of not only some cutting edge technology but it was mainly designed for gaming – good times. The only thing about the Kinect that wasn’t what I expected was the voice commands. Basic and functional but not mind blowing.

I got Sonic Freeriders, Kinect Adventures – which I assume is bundled with most sensors and also went out and bought myself the Kinect Sports. Rich, my best mate, bought me Dance Central so I was all ready to leap about in a whole manner of different ways.

Must...Cover...Balls...

Firstly I tried the Kinect Adventures which on the whole has some pretty cool mini games. I can see why its bundled with it as you’ll see it as more of a tech demo the more you play it. Rally Ball rapidly emerged as my favourite though where you stand at the end of a large virtual open ended box and try to hit balls toward often moving boxes to clear the level. Sounds simple but truly addictive! 20,000 Leaks is also worth a mention. In this game you stand in an underwater box and somewhat angry fish will periodically smash into the box creating leaks which you then have to plug with whichever appendage is closest.

Those fish sure are angry.

The other games are good but like I mentioned it feels more like a tech demo than a bunch of cool games.

Sonic Freeriders was the next offering i tried and I gotta say I REALLY like it. It’s pretty much a surfing / skateboarding simulator. Hurtling at break neck speeds and then performing different jumps to activate different tricks. Leaning to steer the board, holding your arms out to collect hard to reach coins and leaning forward to go faster all culminated into a great gaming experience. If you really go for it it’s a great workout too!

Its all about the rings.

Kinect Sports was up next and at 30 quid a bargain for a release title. The usual suspects played this Rich, Sam, Me and this time my lady decided (after a glass or 2 of wine) to join in. All events are very good. The table tennis is VERY accurate and very easy to put some venom behind your shot but at the other extreme equally as easy to add a gentle slice. The boxing is also brilliant. Having played a similar style game on the Wii I wasn’t really expecting much. Having done several martial arts it’s safe to say I can throw a reasonable punch which never seems to carry over well on this sort of game. Attempting 12 punch combos on the Wii is a total waste of time as you can just alternate the controllers backwards and forwards and pretty much beat anyone. The Kinect, on the other hand, is astoundingly accurate! It recognised all the punches I threw at it jabs, hooks, and uppercuts to both head and body were easily transcribed to screen – again another good workout!

The track and field style section was superb! It included a sprint, hurdles, javelin, discus and long jump all of which are incredibly easy to

Ok, it was a pretty good throw Lesley...

perform but somewhat harder to master. Point of note here that my lady threw the javelin twice as far as anyone else and in her true non-competitive style decided not to mention it again for the rest of the night…

I couldn’t possibly finish this article without mentioning Dance Central. Sweet mother of pearl! The best ‘game’ I’ve tried to date on the Kinect. I do still draw the curtains when I play it but I have to say it’s shockingly good. The body tracking is spot on, the music tracks are good and varied and the dance moves are simple at first but I’m sure would even give Diversity a run for their money at a more difficult level. I find I’m best at this after a couple of Stellas, you’ll possibly be the same…

I do appreciate you can look like a bit of a plum.

We also now have Your Shape Fitness Evolved which we bought at the weekend but it’s not been tried yet. Maybe tonight before dinner.

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