Motion Control gaming has become a sort of breeding ground for action sports games, and Ubisoft's upcoming MotionSports Adrenaline is a perfect example. While the build I played only included three of the games extreme sports, the full game will include eight different options. The eight options illustrate a pretty diverse group of "extreme" offerings: Wingsuit, Kitesurf, Kayak, Mountain Bike, Rock Climbing, Extreme Skiing, Parkour and Extreme Trampoline. I was able to get a chance to play the Wingsuit, Kitesurfing and Mountain Biking games; and both the Wingsuit and Mountain Biking games offer two different ways to play. One thing that really jumped out at me was the lack of direction - I know it was an early build, but the instructions for each game were barebones, and I had no idea how to pause the game without using my controller.
The other big thing that threatened to kill the enjoyment was a few graphical glitches. At one point I was racing down a mountain on my bike, when all of a sudden the lower right third of the screen clipped out of existence. It was only for a second, but when I got back on track the frame rate dropped fairly significantly for a few more seconds. In a game where moving your body determines your character's movement, losing sight of objects can really hinder your ability to dodge that tree coming at you.
The first game I took a stab at was the Kitesurfing. My task was to navigate my surfboard/parachute combo through a course straight out of a Splashdown game, while picking up tokens and striking poses on big jumps to gain points. This "Trickstyle" mode is pretty straightforward for an extreme sports game. The only issue is that the motion controls are far less responsive then using a controller would be. While they're intuitive enough, hold out your hands like you are holding the grip to steer, push forward for a speed boost and jump to, well, jump. The motion to steer your character is slow, resulting in a lot of missed coins, jumps and a lot of running into sandbars. I also encountered a nice little rag-doll glitch as the run ended. Overall, the Kitesurfing could be a pretty fun way to compete with your roommate, all that's needed is a little tighter controls.
After hitting the surf, I thought I'd switch up the pace a little. I dove, literally, into the Wingsuit games. There are two options here, both with single- and two-player options. Both involve you strapping on a wingsuit and leaping out a helicopter then avoiding the massive rock pillars on your way down. The controls here are simple enough - hold your arms out to slow down, put them at your side to speed up and hop to get a speed boost. And the response on the motions seemed a lot tighter than the Kitesurfer mode, at least the speed controls did. The steering was a little slower, possibly because that requires you to lean your whole body. For a Kinect game - you really don't move much during this mode. The only time you really will exert yourself here is for speed boosts. As for the actual game modes - both take place on the same course, so if you're looking for different scenery, you won't find it. Grabbing coins is fine and all, but the wingsuit is more suited to the speed trial mode. Just fly as fast as you can - there really isn't a penalty to hitting those rock pillars I mentioned. When you're done, get your medal and unlocks and move on.
I ended my day with a nice little bike ride down the side of a mountain. The controls are the same as the Kitesurfing controls - mimic holding handlebars to steer, jump to jump and push forward for speed boosts. However, instead of being free to go all over, you're limited to three paths and you steer between them. This simplified mechanic works out much smoother than the Kitesurfing. You have two modes here too, the trickstyle points gathering mode and the speed trial one. Either mode is fine with this particular extreme sport. One thing to note are sweeping turns down the mountain path - they're divided into three zones, a
yellow, a green and a red. I was completely unclear what to do my first time down. Eventually, I figured that you had to turn in the green section. Simple, but I would've liked to know ahead of time that was what I needed to do. Of the two sports I played with jumps, the window to make your leaps in this one seemed the smaller of the two, but that could be from the speed - you really do fly down this mountain. I should mention that this was the game I was playing when I experienced that graphical glitch that threw me for a loop.
In the end, while my experience was really limited, I think that MotionSports Adrenaline is exactly what you expect it to be. I will say, I was looking forward to trying the Parkour and Extreme Trampoline elements. If Ubisoft can tighten up the controls a bit, fix the graphical issues, make the unlockables more meaningful than just alternate costumes and provide players with a more clear explanation of what's about to happen; then the game could be a solid experience for people bored with Kinect Adventures. Look for it this October for Xbox 360 and PlayStation