Distinguishing itself with much more realistic graphics than the other offerings, MotionSports offers up six different events for virtual sportsters to compete in. Unfortunately, the motion controls are frustratingly spotty across the board, making this mini-game collection fall short.
- Horseback riding and hang gliding are original inclusions
- More realistic graphics should appeal to older gamers
- Could potentially be patched and therefore made playable
- Some of the events just feel outright broken and completely unresponsive
- Lag time issues
- Terrible commentary
With every new motion-based add-on for your console, you can expect a flood of "me too" mini-games to be rushed out to market to cash in on any potential gamers hungry for titles that use their new shiny gizmo. Ubisoft has been quick to release titles for the Wii and the Move, so it’s no surprise to see a sports-themed Kinect game come from the company. It’s also not that surprising that the game is lackluster at best, and outright broken at worst.
Jump! Duck! Veer!
MotionSports contains vague and simplistic reproductions of activities found in skiing, hang-gliding, horseback riding, soccer, football, and boxing. Don’t get the idea that you’ll actually be playing a game of soccer or football here. The jumping, ducking, veering, kicking, and throwing gameplay is entirely rooted in the mini-game style of design. While each type of sport offers a few variations on motion gameplay, there’s an unavoidable sameness to the overall package.
The two most distinctive events are hang gliding and horseback riding, which could appeal to more patient gamers. Hang gliding, in particular, is a doggedly slow, Pilot Wings-like event where you lazily try to follow the air currents to keep air time and reach the goal (or giant glowing rings). The controls require you to hold your arms out in front of you at all times, and while it’s not particularly comfortable, the game is easy to grasp and (possibly due to the slow pace) the most responsive. The horseback riding events take even more patience. While the steering response is tolerable, getting the timing and motions for jumping can be an exercise in pure frustration.
More Like RandomMotionSports…
The football events start off with a gigantic thud and don’t ever recover as the events press on. Going with the ever popular jump/duck style of gameplay that seems to be pervasive in the Kinect world, these mini-games just feel broken. The game doesn’t have too many problems detecting when you jump, but utterly fails at registering ducking and most other motions that you’re supposed to be engaging in.
The kicking mechanic that the soccer events focus on aren’t much better—even Kinectimals is more accurate when detecting kick angles and power. The skiing game fares somewhat better, since it’s mostly a sport of leaning. Sadly, the responsiveness is so suspect that you’ll have to be nearly psychic to compensate for the second and half it takes the game to register your motions.
Finally, there’s the boxing, which while not particularly responsive, at least ditches the rock ‘em, sock ‘em robot approach of Wii boxing. The more realistic graphics help convey an illusion of boxing more so than the random response (or lack thereof) to your body and punching motions. When the game works, it’s not bad. Blocking is usually responsive, but that’s the only time you can see your virtual fists. The rest of the time, you get a bare glimpse of ghostly punches and usually have no idea what’s really going on.
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The graphics are bare-bones, but detailed enough to seem like an improvement over just watching your Xbox Live avatar shake. Animation is sketchy, and character models are a bit rough. Also, the jockey’s outfit in the horseback riding events is a tad disturbing in its superhero spandex-like tightness. Of particular cause for concern, however, is the game’s overly enthusiastic, yet bizarrely serious commentator. Acting as if he’s auditioning for a job at ESPN, the voice work here is ridiculous, often completely off-based, and completely annoying.
MotionSports does support up to four-players via hot seat or split-screen (depending on the event). Unfortunately, even if the controls did work, there’s little here that shouts out “party game!” Also, players who dig the online options seen in Kinect Sports will be out of luck here as well—multiplayer is local only.
You Bore Me and Now I Must Dance
If you’ve managed to set up your Kinect in an ideal, Microsoft-approved environment, MotionSports will provide a bit more mileage. Even under ideal circumstance, the game’s responsiveness is a constant issue and at least partially broken. It’s possible that Ubisoft might figure out a way to patch these issues in the future, but even then you’d just be left with a second-string Wii (or Kinect) Sports knockoff.