December 28, 2011
#1 bestselling game for the Kinect? Who gives a fudge muffin? “Kinect interprets all your moves”? Epic lie. Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there. Hey guys it’s Sam, and I’m about to review one of my Christmas presents that I received. One that’ll definitely put some sweat on your brow, one that’ll definitely teach you the rules of sporting, and one that you can crumple to the floor in seas of laughter with. Indeed, it is Kinect Sports, a game as smashing as its spikes in volleyball.
I should've noted you that this game does an awfully good job of advertising.
One of the two Kinect games released exactly on the debuting date of its console (the other being the pack-in Kinect Adventures), Kinect Sports has a simple 3-million-unit selling plot: you engage in six sports: track & field (shown above in the hurdling quarter of the sport), bowling, boxing, ping pong (titled in-game as table tennis), soccer, and beach volleyball under the sun. The controls differ depending on the sport, like for instance you can swing your arm back and forward to bowl a ball, or you can constantly swipe your arm to return ping-pong shots. Displaying an impressive interface and a good sporting variety, not only is this game a blast, but it’s a hardcore exercise. Every time I play this game and feel my forehead, it’s sopping wet. At the very start of the game, you also get a chance to stay and warm up the crowd if you want. All the “best bits” or best moments of your sporting time will end up as a video compilation accessible for sharing online.
It’s nothing to worry about when you look over the E10+ rating of the game despite some pretty intense boxing, but it all breaks down in cartoony matters. If you can do the motion in real life, you can do it in the game. The controls are darn easy if not slightly unresponsive (and by slightly, I mean 35% of the time), and the way you can level up after winning a game is definitely something worth striving for, worth the time, achievements, and gamer points. If you’re not following me, I’ll review each and every sport.
This banana-suited bowler is definitely a reminder that this game is good to keep yourself healthy.
Select a ball: Move arm out to the left or right (depending on your dominant hand)
Bowl a ball: Swing your arm back, then forward
Bowling has been praised as arguably the sport you’ll keep coming back to the most. Taking place at Neon Lanes, you will go up against either a real or CPU opponent bowler for 10 tries in one game. Nonetheless, the bowler with the most points at the end of the game wins hands-down. Bowling is somewhat the funniest sport there is, since there are abilities to break a hole into the alley (which will actually give you an achievement), and even toss the ball into the crowd by accident if you’re not ready. If you want to add some extra spin into your bowl, swing your arm out further during your bowl.
This is one of my favorite sports of the game. Why? The controls actually manage to regularly register, and it’s a good split against fun, humor, and strangely-felt nostalgia. Was I the only one who felt nostalgic playing a couple rounds? It was as nostalgic as this sport’s final rating, a 9.2 out of 10.
This example of nutrition is so good, it's a bit scary. But I know I wouldn't like to be pitted up against a team as strong as that.
Serve ball: Throw the ball up, and use other hand to slam it into play
Spike: (Only possible during Jump indicator) Jump and slam ball
Defend: Use head, feet, or arms to block the ball
Ah, nothing like a piping hot session of NBA Jam-inspired beach volleyball under the sun. The game takes place at Waveside, where your avatar and teammate earn chances to be paparazzi magnets as well as your avatar getting the honor of picking up the volleyball. This is the sport with the most demerits, all blamed on the near-unresponsive controls. The second or third time around, this sport was impossible to complete, and I ended up losing about 2-7 (yes, 7 is the maximum before victory). I’m not saying the Rare-Microsoft team did a bad job of crafting the sport’s experience (although I deeply boo Rare for abandoning Nintendo and its plans), but all I’m saying is that the sport was a bit…well…off. There’s a lot of excitement in the sport with sweat streaming down your brow as you can finally admit that “the next point wins”, but the bits of nostalgia scattered in the sport like bacon on salad sets it up for a 8.3 score out of 10.
The look on that opponent's face ensures that he can catch that smash...or can he?
Serve ball: Similar to volleyball
Simple strike: Swing your arm from back to forward
Backhand strike: Swing your arm across yourself, and swipe it back
Pinging the pong has never been so entertaining in this game of table tennis. With simple, helpful controls, this game is an engaging, tense, and fun way to burn calories quick. The sport takes place at the Blade Center, where you walk into play with a screaming crowd supporting you, as you muster enough strength to shake hands with your opponent and warm up the crowd. There are two ways to fail in this sport: Miss a shot or shoot one off the table. Easy as that. The controls never bother to troll you by failing to respond, and the only times I got agitated were against my own reflexes. Just another tip: if you want to smash a hit off the table (hopefully), wait for the ball to trail white, wavy lines behind it. If your ball is in this state, then your next hit is ensured to be a smash. Similar to volleyball, you can also ace your opponent by scoring a point without the opponent even touching the ball. The maximum amount of points required for victory is 11, but when you know your pong-pinging, it’ll go by a lot quicker than it sounds. Nonetheless, ping-pong smashes itself into a 9.3 score out of 10.
Wow, this Daddy Longlegs can go past the 10-inch mark and it seems like his walk in the park!
Sprint: Run in place, with knees lifted
Throw discus/javelin: Swipe your arm
Jump hurdles: Jump in place (when hurdle becomes green)
Track and field may be the most sequenced and advertised of the sports, as well as one of the most unresponsive. You are pitted up against 7 CPU opponents, and there are four sequences: sprint, javelin, long jump, discus, and hurdles. What makes the game so challenging is yet again, its unresponsive controls. Your player might occasionally slow down on the track even when you’re lifting your knees as high as you can, and javelin and discus throws go a lot lower than what should be accepted. Set these “minor” issues aside, and track and field is nonetheless one of the most engaging sports of the roster. The nostalgia just kindles as soon as the FIFA-like announcers state a new record has aroused. Instant replays, possibly of “world” records, are the most entertaining of the entire bunch, featuring slow-mo shots of events while famed songs play in the background, such as the classic “Chariots of Fire”. Each sequence is simple and easy without much hassle (save for what I just pointed out above), and track & field long jumps its way into the 8-point distance with a 8.8 score out of 10.
Just knocking your opponent to the ground makes you feel like it's 2006 all over again.
Punch: Punch high or low
Block: Hold hands in front of face or on chest
The nostalgia will definitely feel near in a “friendly” match of boxing. Taking place at Tornado Gardens (I don’t get it), your avatar will be shown dressed in the traditional boxing gear, while the ref talks over the rules of a fair fight, and so on, and so forth. Boxing is arguably the most violent aspect of Kinect Sports alone, and it makes you feel as if you really are there with its 1st-person views. Upon getting hit, your vision will blur and the crowd will muffle, just like the real thing! This serving of Punch-Out!!-styled boxing will definitely have you on the edge of your seats even if you’re standing up! You can either knock down your opponent by depleting their health bar (which engages into the tense counting sequence), or automatically K.O. them for the win. My hits sometimes don’t register (then again, I was swinging my arm in an arc), but look past that, and your great boxing game question will be answered. To make a long story short, boxing slugs its way into a 8.6 score out of 10.
This is what a perfectly aimed goal will look like.
Block: Step into the indicated path of the passed ball
Pass: Kick in the direction of the arrow you want to shoot with, leading to the person you want to shoot to
Style shot: Head or kick the ball
Shoot: Give it a good kick!
Soccer, also known as football in the achievements as well as England (real football would go onto Season Two), is definitely the most educational of the six, taking place in Lotus Park. Teaching you teamwork, defense, and stylizing your shots, soccer may not be the genius of perfect controls (nuff said), but it’ll definitely leave a drop of knowledge on your brow. And maybe, some drops of sweat. Your avatar will start out catering to a snapping camera’s needs, before the field scatters and things go into business. The FIFA-like announcers of track & field arguably return in this sport, and if you’ve visited the world of FIFA alone, this nostalgia trip shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Successful goals will result in replays with the ball sometimes even shooting directly at the camera. And all of the success is tracked by a scoreboard, which gives you approximately 3 minutes to strain your stuff. I’ve said enough, so soccer makes the goal and scores an 8.2 out of 10 score.
4 out of 5 – Educational value – This game will teach you the basis of all the sports it includes, and for soon-to-be athletes, you need all the education you can get.
3 out of 5 – Positive messages – The game’s only message is to compete in sports with friends for fun. Players get good exercise with each sport, and the game is great for kids, excluding the boxing.
2 out of 5 – Positive role models – The only in-game characters are your avatar and a bunch of CPUs, but the game itself is a role model to convince you to get up and active.
4 out of 5 – Ease of play – If you can do it in real life, you can do it in the game. Playing volleyball requires you to jump up and spike an imaginary ball, bowling has you toss a ball down an alley, and track & field has you run on the spot and jump to hop over hurdles. It’s very easy to pick up this game — but choosing an event might be a bit hard.
2 1/2 out of 5 – Violence – The most violent of the mix goes to the boxing, featuring a hardcore battle in a first-person perspective. You may feel a bit violent throwing punches in the air and beating up an invisible opponent, but the avatars are all predictably safe under their [head]gear. Upon a hit, your vision gets blurry and the sound of the crowd is muffled.
1 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – In-game female characters wear very skimpy volleyball outfits.
0 out of 5 - Language – This aspect is not featured.
5 out of 5 – Product Placement – Besides being one of the “buddying” games of the successful Kinect, the game has a lot of advertisement hidden in sports. Names include T-Mobile, Samsung, Xbox 360 (duh) and Xbox LIVE, Microsoft, among others. Plenty of famous songs play during in-sport replays, like Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” (no lie), Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”, James Brown’s “I Feel Good”, Vangelis’s “Chariots of Fire”, and lots more.
0 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – This aspect is not featured in-game.
Fun: A (5 pts)
Style: A (5 pts)
Entertainment: A+ (5 pts)
Gameplay: B (3 pts)
Smarts: B (3 pts)
Play-Again Ratio: A (4 pts)
FINAL SCORE: 25 out of 30 (hot dog!), 4 stars out of 5, 87% out of 100%
CONSENSUS: What’s a good workout, a good game, a good laugh fest, and a good time with friends and family besides some issues? Kinect Sports, that’s what.
RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Buy it with all your power! But if you’ve had enough of some Kinect games’ tomfoolery (Adrenalin Misfits, Deca Sports Freedom, etc.) you may want to consider renting it and taking a good look at it.
PRICE: Kinect Sports sells for $44.99 pre-owned, and $49.99 new. One version at Amazon sells for a regular price of 49 dollars (with a freaking 2% of the savings), but the game is used for $22, and almost $37 new.
Well, that’s another wild winter break day for Sammwak! Keep on commenting, keep on rating, keep on liking (for all bloggers), and surely keep on subscribing! I bet by the peak of 2013, we’ll already have 100,000 hits if we can get almost 50,000 in under a year! But anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to my work so I can get Season Two a-rolling!
Your blogger, brother, and friend,