MotionSports for the Kinect takes a shot at the sports games that Kinect Sports didn’t attempt. After playing it though it is obvious Microsoft didn’t feel like some of these sporting events were going to work well enough and that is where Ubisoft came in.
Fortunately though Ubisoft used Kinect technology to really add something to the game that I haven’t seen in other games yet and that is where the game had me impressed.
Once again this Kinect title(like others) does not offer any online play. This is not a big deal like it was in Fighters Uncaged because unlike Fighters Uncaged you can play Motionsports with 1-4 players.
Now a lot of the games were hit or miss with me so I will be reviewing each sport in the game rather than rate the gameplay as a whole. Each sport though offers different game modes inside of the sport. For example inside of Football you do obstacle courses, running back runs, quarterback target practice, field goal kicks,etc.
I did not find this game that fun to play although it was probably the best of the worst in this game. The gameplay consists of keeping your arms out straight in front of you then whipping your arms down to speed up your horse and then angling your arms to steer. You also must jump over hurdles or bars depending on if you are doing a race or if it is just an obstacle course.
I couldn’t get a grasp for the controls although it sounds real easy I didn’t see an increase in speed if I whipped my arms rapidly over doing it at a steady pace and half the time my jump wouldn’t register penalizing me on obstacle courses and making me almost turn my horse into hot dogs or glue whatever they do with them.
Skiing is easily the worst sport in the game. For the sole reason that it doesn’t work. It is hard to say that, but it feels unplayable.
To play you bring both arms up towards the side of your head and then whip down to build up speed. You then bend your knees slightly and put your weight on whatever direction you want to go. At least that is the idea, I found myself hitting the fences and unable to turn myself a lot of the time. Almost as if the game was non-responsive to my movements. I was in amazement at how I managed to end up 8 feet off the course turned towards the east when I couldn’t do it intentionally when I tried.
Football saved this game for me. One of the sports that Kinect Sports didn’t choose to offer happened to be the best in the game. I feel like this was the most worked on sport in the game and it shows. If only this amount of effort was shown in the other sports this may have outdone Microsoft’s own first party software.
Football allows you to do some different things from running back where you dodge defenders, quarterback where you hit a receiver on the run, and kicking field goals. All of which are pretty neat but do have some flaws.
Surprisingly QB was the most functional of them all, I mean you aren’t running plays or trying to aim at multiple targets with a rush coming so I can’t tell you how accurate it would be then but from what the game offered it worked flawlessly and felt pretty good to hit a receiver.
Running back is a lot of fun and juking, spin moves, stiff arms all work great almost seamlessly but ducking is the most infuriating thing to use. I think I cursed a few times trying to duck defenders and obstacles that forced me to duck. The motion seemed simple enough making you “duck” but it didn’t get picked up at least 50% of the time which is unacceptable. I found myself hitting the ground trying to do it and sometimes that didn’t work. I am only 6 feet tall I couldn’t be more average size and it struggled. But when I didn’t have to the duck move I was just stiff arming opponents and jumping diving opponents and it was enjoyable.
Field goal kicking which seemed like the easiest and fun game mode was sort of a terror for me. In the video below where I show this gameplay in action the field goals are being made by my eight year old cousin because he was just destroying the ball and getting scored for perfect kicks. Now this game was getting me very mad because they make you place the ball down first and it makes you do a motion of bending and placing the ball on the ground. It didn’t register almost ever for me just constantly slapping the floor bending waiting for a response. My little cousin though found no problem (but like I said I am only 6ft?). Then you took a step back and were left to aim and blast a kick through the uprights. Sometimes you had to adjust for wind but other than that it was basic and fun. Not for me though because it wouldn’t register my kicking attempts half the time so I would have to re-align myself and keep trying.
I found this amazing because Kinect Sports has Soccer and you can play it 1 vs 1 or even co-op and the accuracy is dead on. I could aim at any part of the net and it will hit almost identical to where I aimed. I think my height could have been mostly responsible oddly enough.
This works similar to horseback riding and skiing. Its all arm movement and angling your arms in direction to gain height or turn left/right. Also similar with the other two games it is hard to steer yourself. Although this one was the easiest of the three to steer. In the end I couldn’t get that much into it for the obvious reason that it wasn’t really that fun. You just steer yourself and hit vortexes to give you height boosts and land the glider. Nothing real exciting or fun in my personal opinion.
Now Boxing was better than the Kinect Sports version in the category of accuracy but it also has many faults like the Kinect Sports version. I found it hard to know where my punches were hitting or if they were hitting at all except for seeing a blue splatter sometimes when I threw punches, and watching the health ring of the fighters that was in the form of a cool Ironman style interface.
I don’t know what needs to be done with these fighting game but they should be one of the coolest things that Kinect should be able to do and they are turning into the hardest game to really duplicate.
Soccer happened to be my biggest disappointment. Like I said in the Football section when I talked about kicking field goals, Kinect Sports really made soccer great. The accuracy of passing and shooting, along with making the gameplay a lot of fun even without running around was amazing to me. This just fell short and made me crave having my avatar back defending corner kicks in net as goalkeeper.
It had the same set up as field goal kicking and as you can see in the video below (luckily without audio of me cursing) I am just swinging my leg vigorously trying to kick it at all.
Presentation is where this game thrived in my opinion. Before I get into that though it needs to be said that this game has absurd load times. I mean ABSURD load times. In the generation that we are currently in it is amazing to think load times would ever be a problem but this game just kills you if you are impatient.
With the announcer who likes to make fun of you if you are screwing up and knowing that you are going to have to wait through another long load screen for another chance it starts heating up your boiling point if you are struggling.
That being said that is the only fault in presentation. I actually enjoyed this interface more than Kinect Sports. Basically you start up the game and you calibrate it by standing in front and placing your hands in various locations. The voice over then makes you take a picture of you smiling, you making muscles, and you “raising your arms in the air, like you just don’t care”. I was unaware what these would be used, but embarrassingly enough they are plastered on huge billboards in a city that is the back drop for all games.
You then play the different game modes and earn points and medals that put you on your own local leaderboard for your console. This is where they use the smile picture. They place the image next to your name and score, I know that doesn’t sound amazing but let me continue. You have to remember Kinect and motion gaming in general is a party platform. So when my little cousin played with me during my review time whenever it was his turn he stood in front and it told him to smile to take a picture. That picture then was used for his guest profile and his high scores (in the field goal kicking) showed his picture and score on my leaderboards. I thought that was awesome strictly because I have a big Italian family and relatives so whenever people come over to play they have the potential to be placed on these leaderboards. So I will have a colorful assortment of friends and family filling up my game.
The last part of presentation I liked was the actual leveling system they had. Each sport has its own system that starts at 0 and you earn fame points by getting high scores in different mini-games in each sport. So in Football for example where I excelled. The points get added up and raise your Celebrity Level and right now I am at International Celebrity and I have to earn a lot more fame to be put up into the Icon category.
Although I loved Kinect Sports 1-50 leveling system and presentation I am already a 41 and it doesn’t offer a leaderboard that impresses me as much as MotionSports does.
The graphics are very similar to the Backbreaker football game that came out earlier in the year. Maybe even a little less than that but as far as I am concerned graphics don’t do much for me where gameplay is so important for motion gaming.
At points the graphics made Kinect Sports look child-like but seemed to allow better onscreen animations. A good example of that is in Kinect Sports where in Soccer you can use any piece of your body to block a shot and you could see the avatar mimmick you beautifully. While in MotionSports Soccer I only noticed very limited arm movements.
The sound is fine my only complaint is listening to the announcer insult me. He really doesn’t hold back when I am struggling to ski downhill and he is telling everyone that “They may need to fix up the course after this player is through with it.”
If you are looking for games to add to your Kinect collection and use it for a lot of party gaming I suggest picking it up especially if you are a fan of football. The leaderboards feature is enough to make it worth buying if you entertain a lot but for solo players the load times and lack of functionality sometimes may get to you.
A copy of MotionSports for the Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Ubisoft.