Having not played the original Kinect Sports, Season Two stands as my inaugural Kinect Sports introduction. Is it better then it’s primary competition, the standard-bearer Wii Sports Resort?
I’m a big sports fan. I love watching golf, baseball, basketball, football, tennis, I’ll watch racing and hockey occasionally, I watch the World Cup when it comes around and the Olympics are usually a big draw for me. My TV is usually on ESPN News while I work, like when I’m writing articles such as this one. As such, motion collections of sports mini games are fun to me because, honestly, I’m not athletic. The opportunity to act out the sports I enjoy instead of pushing buttons on a controller is usually pretty satisfying. Does this apply to Kinect Sports: Season Two? For the most part, yes. It’s not really very realistic but it is fun.
I do play golf so I’m most picky about that mode. The control is smooth and responsive, making it my pick over Wii Sports’ golf. In fact, I’d pick it over the recent Tiger Woods games for the Wii. There doesn’t seem to be allot of difference in surface types when hitting the ball (I’ve hit clean shots out of over a foot of water in the game, for crying out loud) so that’s a demerit. The fact that you can use natural gestures to look down the course or scope out a putt make sense and fit the game well.
Baseball is fun but extraordinarily basic. You take a stance and swing to hit the ball which works but has little to no depth. Pitching too is more luck then skill. Darts and Skiing don’t do a thing for me.
Tennis is probably my second favorite on the disc. It feels natural to swing your arms around like a racquet to hit the ball. Serving has some hiccups with picking up my swing and tends to interpret my getting in position to serve as a lazy serve attempt. Football is my favorite of the bunch. Thanks to improved voice controls (more on that in a minute) calling plays is a snap and it’s fun to read the field and throw to a receiver when they get open. It’s almost too basic though with no first downs. You have four plays to get the length of the field and that’s all. With that in mind, what’s the point of short hook routes? They can be used on the goal line but 90% of the time you’ll be using the medium or long passing routes. I’ve also had issues with the game not sensing my throwing motion or instead sending the ball to the wrong receiver but those instances have been rare.
It’s obvious that advances have been made in utilizing the Kinect’s tech. For example, the first gen games (in particular, Kinectimals and Kinect Adventures) did not respond to voice commands well if at all for me. Now, even when I’m winded from running down the field in football the game has no trouble hearing what play I’m calling. Similarly the gesture recognition seems to be a step up from the early games. If this progression continues I think that the Kinect may actually have a spot in the future of gaming.
Visually it looks like a bland, generic, muted Wii Sports. Without a roster culled from your army of Miis, the other characters you see and play against are generic and you have no ties to them. It was fun to watch the many Miis I’d created in and around the different games of Wii Sports Resort and I kind of miss that. Sound-wise, I would like it better without the announcers. They’re not interesting to listen to and add next to nothing to the game.
As an authentic sports experience, Kinect Sports: Season Two falls way short. Taken as just a game, however, it’s fun. If you can stand running in place allot and ever imagined yourself on the gridiron or baseball diamond you can have fun here. There’s nothing revolutionary here but that’s not always a bad thing.