First, there was Wii Sports and stories of people letting go of their controller mid-tennis match and smashing their TVs. Then, PlayStation Move came out with its version, Sports Champions, and we heard the same stories. Well, Xbox’s Kinect takes away that fear by taking away the controllers! All while still providing a great sporting experience!
With most Kinect games, you’ll want to check out the controls. See if you can both be on screen at the same time, how to win the game, etc. With Kinect Sports, there’s no problem. There is a tutorial at the beginning of each sport (with the option to skip, if you’d like) however, even if you don’t sit through the tutorial, you’re not going to stand there scratching your head trying to figure out what to do. To complete each sport you simply complete the task as you would if you were actually competing in the sport.
The games are fun, but here’s a heads up: most of the track and field games are going to tire you out! Track and field is comprised of javelin, discus, long jump, hurdles and sprint. With the exception of javelin and discus, you make your character run by running on the spot; the higher you raise your knees, the faster you run. In hurdles, you jump when the hurdles turn green and in long jump you jump as high as you can when you reach the end of the lane. To throw the discus, you swing your arm behind you and forward to release, and throw your javelin the same way you’d throw one in “real life”. For these 5 track and field events, the sensor recognizes your movement quite well, right down to your speed or late jumps.
Once you tire out in track and field events, you can head on over to the more “relaxing of events” – bowling. As I’ve said before, the sports are played quite similarly to how you would if you really had a bowling ball in your hand! You ‘hold’ the ball, swing back, and then forward to release the ball down the lane. The Kinect sensor recognizes the speed in which you threw the ball in addition to the direction. You can also add spin to the ball by swinging your arm across your body! Definitely one of my favorites! Although, since some of the other sports require more physical activity, it increases the level of difficulty, meanwhile, with bowling, it is rather easy to find the ‘sweet spot’ for a game of strikes and turkeys!
Personally, I hate table tennis. I don’t even consider it a sport in my ignorant mind. However, millions of people do. So, some bright little developer decided it just haaad to be a part of this 5-star game! I disagree. A monkey could play this game. Your avatar follows your every move like a shadow. Which, I suppose, is good and the point of Kinect. So, my issue is not with Kinect itself. It’s with the idea some idiot had to include this in a sport game as opposed to American football, soccer or hockey! Seriously. Also, it requires some pretty exaggerated swings to put a spin on the ball. My other issue with this activity (I refuse to call it a sport) is the fact that I was unable to switch the hand in which I held my delightful paddle. I would swing with my right arm, then with my left, hoping it would switch. But alas, it did not. Rather upsetting, if I may say so myself! I truly feel like the paddle should switch hands. But, whatever. The game’s still responsive, so for those who are just dying to play table tennis – knock yourselves out!
I was just kidding. If you really wanted to knock yourself out, though, you can head on over to the boxing ring. Now, that’s a real sport! To play, you stand in an offensive “I’m ready to strike” pose, and punch your opponent square in his or her kisser! Which, I must admit – I liked! Again, the Kinect sensor recognizes your speed and direction for a truly believable experience!
Serve, hit and spike your way to exhaustion in beach volleyball. You think I’m joking, don’t you? Volleyball is probably one of the harder sports in Kinect Sports. You serve just as you would in ‘real life’ then, when you are getting ready to hit the ball, a target appears to show you exactly where the ball is about to go. With some flailing arms, high jumps and quick movements, this game gets tiring – and fast! Word of caution to anyone who’s tall: make sure there aren’t any lights above you! The sensor doesn’t pick up a spike very well unless you actually jump. I discovered this when my Mom’s 6 ft. boyfriend broke our ceiling fan! Also, a more obvious word of caution: make sure you don’t forget you aren’t actually at the beach. Otherwise, you might forget and face plant into your carpet! Try explaining the rug burn on your forehead after that!
Finally, we have football. Or, soccer, if you’re American. (We’re going to stick with football, since that’s what Kinect Sports has named it!) Football is for those who are brain dead. You stand. You kick. You move. You kick. Nothing really exciting and to me, it didn’t really feel like I was playing football. Nor did I tire easily. This and table tennis – you can just play them last!
Overall, the Kinect sensor reacted very precisely to small movement, gauged your speed and direction very well, and succeeded at being as realistic as possible without throwing a boxing ring or a ton of sand into your living room. IGN, Team Xbox and GameSpot have given this game scored ranging from 7.5/10 to 8/10, and, although we do not score games here, I would agree with their scoring! This game makes having a controller and buttons look like the stone ages! A must have for anyone who would like a workout. Tip: just like with Kinect Adventures, if you want added difficulty: add ankle and wrist weights. Just remember: if you get tired or sore, take a break! Safety first. Gaming second!