Developers Rare are best known for classic games such as the old Killer Instinct and the older Donkey Kong Country games and for a while it disappeared off the radar, but now they are back with this travesty of a title, published by Microsoft Studios, Kinect Sports Rivals. Yeah I said travesty unfortunately, it doesn’t really offer the fun of other Kinect games even though it does show off some unique abilities that the new sensor offers. I was instantly introduced to the mechanics of the game by forcing me to run a few laps around a simple course on the Wave Race mode. I had to stand with my arms out front, just like I was holding the handle bars of my on screen Jet Ski, pulling either arm back turned my ski left or right and leaning made my turns tighter, opening my hand lets off the gas and pulling a fist controls the throttle. It’s super responsive and this was by far the best mode on this game for that reason. After completing my training, I was made to undergo a race against computer controlled opponents who were extremely easy to beat. The problems though were the god awful cut scenes that introduced the basis of Kinect Sports Rivals story, the voice acting was robotic and the dialogue was cheesy which made me cringe and grind my teeth. It’s something about being part of a team with two other teams fighting for the title, I didn’t take much notice because I was busy poking my eyes and ears with hot pokers. After this one race though, I was left to choose whichever event I wanted to play, this is when the game really comes to its own.
The six sports this game contains each play differently and require different gestures and postures to control them. Rock climbing stuck out as a highlight for me as it required me to really climb on an invisible wall as fast and accurate as I could whilst battling other climbers in a frantic race to the top. The Kinect accurately picked up my arm movements and hands allowing me to play efficiently. Tennis and bowling both control how you would expect using motions of actually bowling a ball and hitting a ball with an invisible racket, I was pleasantly surprised at how the sensor picked up my slight hand motions that enabled me to spin the bowling ball. These games will always remain incredible fun with friends to play against thanks to the easy pick up and play (sort of) gameplay. Sharpshooting just required me to hold an imaginary gun. Then there’s the Soccer…..this was easily the biggest let down of the game due to the fact that the Kinect didn’t like looking at what my feet were doing, this caused me to pass to the opponents players unintentionally. If you have a small room, I would recommend skipping this game as the game constantly complains that it couldn’t see parts of me that it blatantly could. What I mean is, a small box appears with a silhouette of you and it doesn’t disappear until it can see enough of you to continue, the problem was, the silhouette of me was complete yet it still told me to move back, I found this infuriating. No flaws to point out in the visuals except the icky cut scenes which I won’t mention again. Multiplayer is good fun on Bowling, tennis, climbing, wave race and sharpshooter but Soccer was just a mess as our players feet were glitching all over the place.
Kinect Sports Rivals shows us some cool new features that the Kinect 2.0 has to offer and five out of its six games are great fun and worth your time, if only they could have put something else instead of Soccer. Lovely sharp graphics make the game nice to look at as well as play however the story cut scenes are spine tingly bad.
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Kinect Sports Rivals
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
Release date: 11th April 2014
Story – 2/5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 4/5