Kinect Sports: Season 2 looks to build off the enjoyable, controller-free gameplay that Kinect has been offering, much like the original Kinect Sports, however, the over simplification of the new sports makes the game appear a little sub-par.
- Motion controls are improved
- Easy pick-up-and-play game modes for all ages
- Various difficulty levels push you to play better
- Limited mini games (for now)
- Calorie counter seems inaccurate
- Voice commands not always responsive
Kinect Sports Season 2 Review:
After enjoying the many hours of gameplay in Kinect Sports, I found myself giddy at the prospect of a sequel, but after playing Kinect Sports Season 2, I feel like it should have been just a bit more. You’ll find the six new sports to be eye grabbing at first, being able to quarterback a football team, or trying to hit “tops for the win” are all well and good, but sadly seem to lose their appeal after a few playthroughs. There are new features to experiment with, such as in-game voice commands, a calorie counter, and Challenge Play, which should entertain you for a while, but they too have some small problems that can’t be avoided.
Please Sir, I’d Like Some More
Kinect Sports: Season 2 takes six well loved sports and simplifies them so that all ages can enjoy playing. The game offers three different difficulty levels, which essentially boils down to how mean the computer will be when simming its outcome. Like the first, you have to push yourself to play as best as you can, and then better if you want to take down the Champion of each sport. You’ll also be able to level up by playing more and earning fans, though this time they give you a breakdown of how you can get more, like hitting a home-run or kicking field goals. The game also comes with online gameplay in case you’re friends aren’t close by, or if parents would rather relax after work rather than lose to their eight-year-old.
Most of the games can be completed rather quickly, with the obvious exception of Golf. Sadly, that also means you’ll probably do everything in an hour or two. The mini games this time around are fun and offer new challenges, but are, at the moment, limited to just one per sport. I hope that DLC with more mini games will be out soon as the ones out with the release are enjoyable, but lose a little of their luster after playing them a couple of times. The party mode didn’t seem to have an end, like all good parties, but you just play the games while being represented by a mascot on either the red team or the blue team, and then when you get bored, it’s over. The game keeps track of who wins what, but that’s about it. Again, another nice feature for families, but perhaps not quite the competitiveness that other gamers might expect.
New additions include a Calorie Counter, Challenge Play, and Voice Commands for use in game. The calorie counter is a nice addition to let players know what they are actually doing for themselves by playing the game. My one skepticism with it was that I was able to burn more calories playing nine holes of golf than a fellow player who hit fifteen singles and had to beat out the throw in baseball by running as fast as he could in place. I’m sure there are various elements into how the game determines how many calories you’re burning, but the man broke a sweat. As delusional as I am about my fitness level, something seemed a bit off.
Challenge Play is probably what will keep you playing the game the longest simply because you can issue challenges to any of your friends at any time. You chose the sport, play, and then send your score for them to beat at their earliest convenience. Again, your choices are limited to the six current mini games, but being able to claim glory and dominance over your buddies will never get old.
The voice commands are exciting if for nothing else than to see the future of Kinect technology with games. Sure you can navigate menus like many other titles and applications, but now you can actually play the game using your voice. Most notable are in football and tennis. Football lets you actually start each down by telling your center to hike the ball, and, McEnroe you may want to be sitting down for this, you can challenge line calls in tennis by yelling at your XBOX. Sadly, the responsiveness of the voice commands wasn’t very inconsistent. Perhaps I wasn’t set up in the ideal play space, but I will assume that an open living room with plenty of space to actually play shouldn’t affect how well the Kinect microphone picks up my commands. I spoke as clearly as I could, even tried accents, but a lot of the time, it just didn’t work. Fortunately, you don’t really need to use them to play the game, they just add more enjoyment. I’m sure Trebek will be able to play the game with ease.
The Future is Now, or at least, Soon!
If nothing else, Kinect Sports: Season 2 gives players a glimpse at what we can expect from upcoming titles for the Kinect. The natural input for the game has improved over the first, with a little hiccup from time to time when batting in baseball, and the new features take a chance at bringing new elements to how we play games. This title seems like a great fit for the family as the game modes are easy enough for anyone to play, but offer enough of a challenge for those looking for it. Plus, the achievement list is intriguing and, like the first, there are avatar awards a plenty to unlock.
This game suits families perfectly, and hopefully more DLC (free please!) will be out for the title sooner than later, because for now, there just wasn’t quite enough that makes me want to spend full retail price for the game. But then again, I don’t have any kids and my friends are lazy. In all honesty, I liked the first Kinect Sports a bit more and would have rather seen this game being an addition to the first rather than a separate title. The control improvements are nice, but the rest of the game seems a little too simple. That being said, it is a great way to spend a few hours if you’re the social type, and because of its straightforwardness, it is a lot easier to get those non-gamers to drop in and play. A good game for sure, but with the future of Kinect titles looking so promising, this may want to just be a rental, or at least a try-before-you-buy, though if you loved the first, expect good things from the sequel.