Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures (on Amazon.com)
Being an owner of roughly every console since the Atari 2600 (yes I’m in my late 30′s) I could not help but give my review of this system and a couple of games we picked up along with the Kinect system. I remember standing at a best buy for hours before buying the WII on launch day. It was a fresh concept with a new direction and revolutionary in what it did and how it did it. We enjoyed it but with the lack of strong first person titles it got old. But because it was revolutionary it endured and was a smash success despite it’s lack of many quality games (yes it had great experiences) but not deep gameplay (though Twighlight Princess was a great game and showed the potential of the system) Here we are about 4 years later and with only minor exceptions the WII has found success by catering to children and the casual crowd along with providing some excellant fitness type concepts. I bring all of this up because it leads me to the purpose of this review.
As a gamer that enjoys COD and Halo along with all of the other staple franchise properties out there I found myself on the fence about the MOVE and KINECT systems. I’ve learned that not every concept works and sometimes a company is just trying to keep up with the Jones’ rather than making a product that it plans to support and grow it’s participant base. Clearly both Sony and Microsoft have been working on this technology for years but facts are facts… The Move is just not revolutionary in any way. It is a refined (yes very refined) Wii experience. The graphics are better by far and the company will put it’s weight behind the product (as Sony always does) and likely it will have success of it’s own.
But owning all systems and having put the Wii through its paces why would I buy a better looking Wii? The Controller is silly looking but even getting passed that, what does it do different than the Wii? We can argue graphics all day long and it is a valid arguement but seriously… It’s a better version of something we have already seen and experienced. Until it does ANYTHING I haven’t experienced before it’s a pass for me. I’ve tried it in stores on demo. I have not bought it. I realize that this makes my arguement less credible as I don’t own one. I have played it and tried out several games. It’s the Wii on steroids. The games are what you might expect… First generation and meant to show its functionality. But it does nothing of note that my Wii doesn’t. Being late to the party even if you refined the product is just not that exciting… yet. I say yet because this could change with a press release or an addition to the functionality of the system.
Which brings me to the Kinect… I have a wife that games with me (plays Halo along with more interactive games(rock band, dj hero, Lips) I have 3 children- ages 10, and twins that are 3 years old. So my gaming is not exclusive to my own tastes. I might buy Call of Duty Black Ops and Kirby in the same checkout. So I evaluate and research this thoroughly before making a jump to buy anything. I was going to pass on both the MOVE and KINECT but I have friends in the gaming industry and they told me that I should NOT pass up on the Kinect and further I should buy it now as it was likely the supply would be in question by xmas. So after several trips to best buy and Eb games I bit the bullet on a reccomendation and bought it.
IT does not look like much. It is a bit pricey at retail 150.00 at EB Games. But you get a game along with it which really makes them equal in price (sort of) For example (and I priced this hardcore)
Move kit is $99 (tricky part to Sony’s offering is the following) It comes with one contoller, the eye toy, and a game (no navigation controller). IF you want to play multiplayer you will have to buy another controller at around $60.00 and an additional Navigation Controller) total would be around $230 and you have just one game to play so go spend another $50 on that. Kind of tricky if you ask me. The Move was the lower cost option I heard at one time. But this is clearly a falsehood. I felt the same trickery when I bought the Wii. Classic controllers versus Wii remote? Had to buy another controller for your friends and then there was the possibility the controller would break and you might have to buy another one (or a new TV). My kids tore one of them up in around a month. So there is an upkeep involved in keeping the “car” on the road with both of these systems.
That’s why I bit on the Kinect… NO CONTROLLER!!!!!! NO need to buy any more of em. No need to charge them or to replace them. I guess you just have to worry about breaking an arm or a leg because YOU are the controller.
I didn’t believe it could work. I had heard of Project Natal and thought that this was the next generation in systems. But Microsoft- for all of the delays and the fact that they were the last system to make it to retail- was simply biding their time. This is revolutionary. At $150 you get the Kinect Sensor and one game (kinect adventures)The game is Ok but is more to show some of the things that the system is capable of. It was easy to take it out of the box and plug it in. It was strangely small and unexciting at first look. You might even think to yourself… Really? $150 for this? But once you get the cords attached and start it up (and it’s simple to plug it in and get going) you will be met with a stange feeling. The menus are navigated by voice command and hand gestures.
(AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SPACE REQUIREMENTS)!!!!!!!!
You need to have space on this. Don’t believe the reviews that say you don’t. Sure you can make it work with 4 feet of distance from your Tv but You need more like 6-10 feet to get the most out of it. And height plays a factor. I’m short 5’6 and so is my wife but we had a friend over who is 6’4 and he needed about an extra foot for the sensor to fully pick him up. So after spending several hours rearranging the entire room to make it work we were ready to go. But keep this in mind- or you, like me, will be sitting there with an opened kinect but no space to play it. That can be a frustrating and tiring reality so plan for it and set the room up in advance.
Once the space is good you are ready to go. There is an instuctional video that walks you through the motions and voice commands. Good to watch it even if tempted to speed passed it. Soon you are in control and you move menus like in the movie (Minority Report when Tom Cruz is using the computer with his hands. It’s not that fast but it works that way.
The interface is top notch and you can see why the Xbox Live interface was updated prior to launch for the experience and it works. You can use voice to load the game and connect back to various menus. It is purely magical for a 30 something to see the evolution and what this new product could do for gaming. It is a breath of fresh air.
We bought Sports, Dance Central, and Harry Potter (which is not a full Kinect game (buyer beware))
Kinect sports is great fun. Track and Field is just too much fun. We tried the bowling and a couple other games. The best part to us was not the games (which were alot of fun to play) but the video after the games (the recaps) Gone is the avatar you watched while you jumped the hurdles or threw the Javelin.. In it’s place is live video of you and your friends looking like dorks while participating mixed with avatar highlights. IT WORKS!!!!! SO funny!!!! We all were ROLLING on the floor as grown men made the most stupid faces and actions. It was hyserical!!! I am not exagerating. The Sports game is absolutely worth the price and great intro to the concepts you use in games. I give the sports title a solid 8/10 for the game itself and a 9/10 for the fun factor.
Dance Central was also great fun. It is a one player game (somewhat missleading but I’d done my research on it) but there are times in game where people not playing can jump in and freestyle. The lack of multiplayer was but a small problem though as you can switch off and will want to if you are doing it right. The motion capture works FANTASTICLY on BOTH of the prior mentioned games and is only very, very, slightly laggy. I think the games individually dictate this problem. Some are going to be better then others at using the technology but do your research and stay away from the dogs (ie.. Sonic, fighting etc.) Yes there are bad launch titles much like every other system. Dance Central teaches you dance moves and counts your calories as you dance. IT is a work out and you will feel stupid making the motions but it will make you sweat and laugh and it also has the real video mixed with the avatars actions. Good stuff and a solid 8-9/10. There are around 35 songs and more for download if you want to expand the song library but the opening titles will keep you coming back to perfect the moves. This is the best launch title I have played for the kinect.
I have not tried other games yet but will update as I do. I spent too much time moving chairs and couches to make it fit my man cave. It was worth the effort as it is a magical feeling when you stand in your living room using your very EMPTY hand to make things happen. I don’t see me getting tired of it and who else has this technology? Well, considering the MOVE is out and the Wii is overexposed it will likely be some time before the competition launches there own version. They will have to if they want to compete on the cutting edge!
A Great family purchase. Maybe not for the hardcore gamer yet but it likely will. IF not… it’s still pretty cool.
Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures (on Amazon.com)