When I got home last night I tried out Kinect Sports: Season 2 which had just arrived via Gamefly. If I had to sum up the game in one word it would be ‘Ugh.’
The game consists of 6 different sports (Football, Golf, Baseball, Darts, Skiing, and Tennis.)
Golf and Skiing were probably the only two of the sports that were actually enjoyable to play though, although Golf seemed to be very easy, as I hit a 160 yard chip in eagle on my first shot. As for Skiing, you tuck for speed and shift side to side to make it through your gates. Both did a decent job of motion detection and could have been fun to play with others.
Now let’s move onto the rest…
Football – Pick your play from 1 of 8, either by hand gesture or by saying the name of the play, then duck under center (by squatting in front of the TV with your hands out,) and say “Ready, Hike” (or wait 5 seconds.) Then once the ball is snapped, you stand up and wait for a green icon to appear above any one of your three receivers. Once the receivers is open, then you making a throwing motion that points towards who you want to throw to. After that you run in place until he is tackled or scores. Basically the game involves talking, waiting, making a throwing motion, and then running in place. You don’t do anything on the defensive side of the ball, instead you watch a drive summary for the other team.
Darts – This game had the potential to be a lot of fun, and could have been a great multiplayer game, but I had terrible control issues in the game that caused it to be more frustrating than anything else. You hold your arm up in front of you like you are aiming a dart, then pull your hand back and mime a throwing motion. When it worked, it was fun. The problem that I ran into was that the aiming marker on the screen kept jumped all over the place. My initial aim would be at the 20’s, then all of a sudden the reticle would be in the bottom left of the board, then it would jump back to the 20’s, then to another part of the board. After 1 match, it became too frustrating to want to continue with.
Tennis – If you haven’t seen this video from Kotaku, you don’t need to do anything other than to hold your hand out to hit the ball. Sure you can step into a shot and swing to generate more power, but for the most part, you can just wait for the CPU to make a mistake. I also had some issues with Tennis due to the fact that my character would swing when I didn’t move my arm or it wouldn’t detect my foot moving forward to provide power for a shot. This game mode alternated between frustrating and just plain boring, once you find that you don’t even have to move your arm to hit the ball.
Baseball – Batting involves making a baseball swinging motion at the screen and timing your swing to hit the pitch. If you hit early, you can pull the ball to left field, or wait to hit to right. After you hit the ball, if the fielder doesn’t have a play on the ball, your player will automatically run to 2nd or 3rd. If the fielder is closer to the ball he (or she) will either make the catch or you will have to race to the base to beat the throw. With this game (or football, for that matter,) was I able to determine the appropriate speed at which to run in place to run faster. It seemed that no matter how fast I ran, I was never able to really alter the speed at which they ran.
As far as pitching is concerned for Baseball, you choose which arm you throw with for each batter by sticking out a right arm to be right handed, or the left arm to be left handed. Then the catcher will prompt you with information such as, Joe doesn’t like fast throwing left handers. From that information, you try to mimic the instructions in order to best the batter. Multiple problems came into play with this due to the fact that sometimes when you would stick out your arm to determine which arm you were going to throw with and it would detect that as a throwing motion and the game would then make a pitch. Also, the detection of arm angle and speed seemed to be very erratic as I could never get the game to detect the same pitch consistently even if I used the exact same motion.
Before you say something about whether or not there might have been an issue with my Kinect that was causing all of the erratic movements, I spent time with the tuning application in between a few of the games and found that the system was detecting my body frame and, for lack of a better term, skeletal grid without any issues. I was in a room that was lit from overhead without any back lighting behind me that could have skewed the camera.
Every minute that I played the game became a minute that I was more and more frustrated with the controls.
The only really redeeming aspect of the game was how well the voice controls seemed to work. There were a few issues now and again, but for the most part, if you saw it on the screen, you could do it. Although if you have all these voice controls, it would be nice to be able to say “Xbox: Go to Dashboard” to exit a game.
If you have young kids, they may enjoy this take on some of our favorite sports games, but my advice for adults would be to stay away from this title.