Aiming for Realism
I have yet to play a Kinect game without a delay from my movements to what happens on screen. Any game, whether it involves Kinect or not, needs to properly respond to the player’s actions. Without this, the only result will be frustration and ultimately turning the game off. MotionSports Adrenalin, like other Kinect games, falls unto this frustrating short coming.
It is too bad because there are good ideas found in this title. Instead of using Mii-like avatars, Ubisoft is going a different and more mature route by providing a realistic setting and offers sporting events rarely capture in a video game. Rock climbing, kayaking, kite surfing, mountain biking, skiing and wingsuit skydiving are definitely extreme and different but prove disappointing due to lacking controls. Each game is also heavily based on time, which is a bit limiting.
Some games function better than others and each game has difficulty picking up certain movements; the biggest culprit of this involves a squat motion. For example, it is difficult to gain or lower altitude in wingsuit skydiving by bending at the knees, I was never able to register a bonus gesture that involved legs when hitting a jump during skiing, rock climbing doesn’t really work at all, and rowing and flipping is inconsistent in kayaking. Again, these are nice ideas just the controls lack confidence.
Another part of the frustration comes from a lack of tutorial. Besides the little stick figure images portrayed in the loading screen, the player has no indication on how to actually play each sport. Sure, anyone can shift from side to side, squat and flail an arm into the air, but the overall lack of a movement indicator is misleading. Rock climbing and kite surfing are probably the most tedious as they require specific hand gestures that the Kinect just doesn’t seem like it is capable of picking up these more subtle movements.
One of the game’s cooler features, however, is the ability to post challenges in real time. While playing any event, the game secretly retains ghost data on certain sections of each track and posts it to Xbox Live. So on occasion, the player will see and essentially race against another random player’s ghost. This is a nice draw to keep competition high and engaging. The downside of this challenge system is the inconsistency. There is no indication of when or where a challenge will take place and there is no rhyme or reason to the player ghost you compete against. There are quite a few Achievements tied to this challenge system as well, even pitting your score against your Xbox Live friends, but the overall system is a random crap shoot. To give you an idea, I magically uploaded over ten challenges in a couple hours of playing. The only way how I knew about my uploads was by unlocking the Upload Ten Challenges achievement. It is a nice feature, but having a better way to track and plan for these challenges would have been beneficial.
There are some creative multiplayer options, like relay rallies, but the staying power won’t last longer than an hour. And players are also required to create a Uplay account, Ubisoft’s way of gathering your contact information, to get the most of the game. While I understand why this was implemented into the final product and it is only a slight annoyance at most, it seems like it should be optional for gamers who just want to casually play.
Instead of being upset at MotionSports Adrenalin, perhaps it is more justified to be upset at the Kinect hardware itself. The one second delay from what you do to what happens on screen is more than enough to throw off the entire experience, no matter which Kinect game is being played. Although Adrenalin has its issues, it can still provide a couple hours of experimentation entertainment for Kinect purchasers.
Not As Good As: Wii Sports Resort
Better Than: Sonic Free Riders
Wait For It: a Kinect game without movement delay
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