Features// Xbox 360 Kinect Launch Line-Up

Posted 4 Nov 2010 04:02 by
Nor, from my experience with Kinect Joy Ride, it is aimed at Forza or Blur fans either. In fact, it's not even aimed at Mario Kart or ModNation Racers.

Pulses Racing
Having previously left Marcus and a younger member of staff to bowl with the most downhearted looking avatars I've ever seen - for an hour or so. I set the 'review' rota in action and returned to the Kinect room with Mark for a crack at Joyride.

I love kart games. I mean, I genuinely love them. I loved F-Zero and that wasn't even a kart game; nor was Blur and I loved that. As for Sonic & Sega All-Stars , I loved that to bits.

They're not hardcore titles (well, maybe Blur), they are the kind of fun games that footballers play with their families.

Joy Ride, sadly, has found new ground in between casual and not-hardcore. I'm going to call it CasUCore or maybe CashCore. There is every chance that this is exactly the kind of driving game that the huge numbers of people who have never played a video game in their lives have been waiting for.

It is unworldly because you have no sense of connection with it. That's common to CasUCore games. It is not difficult to do, but then again, it's not satisfying either. You can see that your actions should be having some effect on proceedings, they just take their time. All finesse and difficulty has been removed - ideal for newcomers I understand that. But - and the same can be said for table tennis and soccer in the Sports title - all the actual involvement that I expect as a gamer has been divorced from the experience.

Joy Ride's handling (pretend to hold a non-existent steering wheel) is too unwieldy and inaccurate. Going into a drift, for example, that's usually one of the those little triumphs that comes with getting used to a kart; the way it accelerates and brakes, the way the steering works. These things have to be learned and once learned, honed. With Joy Ride there is no learning. Because you don't get to accelerate or brake, and your steering often sees you looking away from the screen, there is no learning curve.

On the upside, the boosting technique felt at first to be a great idea and showed off Kinect's depth perception to a fine degree. You pull your entire body back until a power meter fills up and then you thrust forward. Good idea.

I felt hope. The hope in the fact that Kinect so obviously and so easily did observe me moving forward and back.

Tricking, however, is distinctly underwhelming and also somewhat disconcerting. There are two or three reasons to trick in a good kart game:
Reason 1: get points.
Reason 2: get a boost.
Reason 3: watch yourself doing a cool trick.

Reason 3 falls away with Joy Ride as, for most of the time, tricking either means that you're looking away from the screen or that you are leaning slightly, bored watching a trick that you've really had very little control over.

As for the two-player mode. Unless you are absolute bestest friends in the world and you have practiced being driver and co-driver (helps you to trick) as much as you've practiced your JLS dance moves, I didn't get it.

Now, before I move on. Let's hear from our beloved 'Girl Gamer', Lizzee 'Pocket Frenzy'.

Girl's Eye View
By Pocket Frenzy
Welcome to the future - but let's start with the past. Specifically let's start with what I see as the obvious motivation for Kinect's existence. Wii - is now appears, after Move and now Kinect, was a genuine game-changer. However, after the initial marketing explosion, the Wii was a damp squib for gamers.

In general and with hindsight, and with the partial exception of Mario Kart (as it was better on the SNES) and as I'm certain you agree with these facts, I shall go on.

The simple fact is that the Wii has made a "metric shit load" of money specifically for its first-party - and then eBay made a load of money too; everyone was a winner. Or at least Nintendo and eBay were.

Roll on a couple of years to circa now and the release of Kinect for the 360. Lo! Upon the desk! A Sports game where I have to bowl, play tennis, and now (so thrilling!) kick a football (or a 'soccer' to Americans).

First things first, the SPOnG team told me that I would have to come to it fresh. This part was relatively easy as I've just returned from two weeks on an island with no Internet (seriously). They all had a day with the system. They told me nothing about the unit. I am an Xbox 360 user of old. But I approached Kinect (and had to get it working) just like any casual, happy family member would...

This is where the 'stand in front and it logs you in' bit didn't come off. I don't have a login on the SPOnG review Xbox 360. So, I had to pretend to be SPOnG's login and rescan (or rather let Kinect scan) myself. This suggests to me that everybody in the household is going to have to have their own profile set-up on the single, happy family Xbox 360.

There first image I see of myself is in ghostly grey, hands glowing in white or purple. It looks like a rave in Victorian London. This alone keeps me entertained for several minutes, but once I realise I haven't got a clue how to sign in and get playing the claustrophobia is almost unbearable.

I knows that it has voice recognition and that you control it with your hand. So there I am struggling with it and shouting commands at it in faux-American accents. (“Xbox! Fuck off” is a command, isn't it?)

Roused by my shouting, a more knowledgeable player (Tyrion for SPOnG regulars) steps in and instructs me. I get in, play games... but then how do I change games? Both myself and Tyrion now stand or sit waiting for the sluggish recognition of a hand in a certain area; bemoaning having to go through a tedious series of 'back' buttons before changing from volleyball to table tennis.

My own feeling of ennui was only surpassed by my avatar's which, possibly weighed down by the sense of deja vu, slump-shouldered and saggy-kneed his way through a sequence of mini games, full games and party games, just about managing not to kill himself, even when the crowd stopped rapturously applauding after his 70th saved goal.

The controls are incredibly frustrating. The sensors seemed to jerk and wobble to an unknown, possibly Parkinson's-riddled spectre that aped my movements cruelly, making me aware of my own inevitable mortality.
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