Kinect MotionSports Impressions

Posted November 8th, 2010 at 10:11 am

In my initial impressions of Kinect for Xbox 360 I noted that despite how capable the hardware was ultimately it would be the software that makes the experience worthwhile or not. Of all the Kinect games I’ve played so far I’ve only been let down by one and that is MotionSports from Ubisoft.

MotionSports offers six different “sports” to take part in. Each one has only a single mini-game unlocked at the start and they have to be played through successfully to open up the next one. Unfortunately it turns out to be a painful process, one that provides little incentive to continue with how poor the first ones are. I gave up on them before even unlocking the majority of the mini-games and even got frustrated by how you can’t just retry them right away but have to go completely through the menus to restart them.

Football: The main advertised mode in football is essentially a rip-off of Backbreaker’s tackle alley. The user makes the moves for the player on screen to evade tackle as he runs down the field in an attempt to score.

This one isn’t unlocked at the start though. The first thing to do is basically to run down the field and duck under obstacles or jump over them. There is more lag in movements reaching the screen in MotionSports than the other titles for Kinect I’ve tried by far. Jumping has to be done well in advance of reaching the obstacle.In some cases it took me dropping completely to the floor to get the player to duck, and other times it just wouldn’t happen and he’d run right through it. Moving on to the different football mini-games there are more types as a running back, throwing passes as a quarterback, and kicking field goals.

The problems experienced right away in football basically showed the central problem throughout MotionSports and that is being unresponsive and unreliable. Going from another title such as Kinect Sports to MotionSports really highlights the difference in overall quality.

Soccer: If there was one sport I actually found the urge to go back to and play multiple times it was soccer. It starts with a penalty kick shoot-out. The actual kicking was okay but hard to get a feel for. What I liked the most was playing as the goalkeeper. It required quick reaction time and seemed to represent the attempts at a save well both from side to side and high to low.

Hang Gliding: This one seemed to be programmed more cleanly than the others, then again it is slow paced and methodical so it would seem to be the easiest. It was nice as a change of pace and while not terrible it really wasn’t any fun either.

Boxing: This felt pretty comparable to the boxing in Kinect Sports (which I’ll be writing up impressions on that game this week). That means it was decent, a good workout, but not anything more than jumping in for a quick bout with little skill required. It didn’t feel as though it was capturing all my motions (particularly sharp ones like jabs) and blocking was difficult to get a feel for.

Skiing: I had some trouble with the skiing but my brother actually handled it well and thought it was one of the better mini-games when doing the downhill. Later on there is a ski jump which would seem to have potential but I didn’t feel like working up to it.

Horseback Riding: Yes, this is one of the six “sports”. I couldn’t even finish the first event. Terrible.

MotionSports offers some interesting variety in the types of sports provided. Despite that it is plagued throughout by poor reaction time and, most damning, simply not being any fun. There are several options out there for Kinect that provide a better overall experience, much more value, and display the potential of the system.