Game Name: MotionSports – Play for Real
Platform(s): Xbox 360 – Kinect Required
Release Date: November 10, 2010 (US) November 4, 2010 (EU)
Price: $89.99 AU
The Kinect has definitely turned some heads in the gaming community, and with its introduction to the world – a whole new demographic of gamers have emerged eager to try out and see what this motion, controller-less peripheral has to offer. With only a handful of launch titles, (all of which are quite basic) showcasing what the Kinect is capable of doing, newcomers can familiarise themselves with how to move, jump, kick, punch roll over, sit, play dead and whole lot of other fun and whacky things that they’d never thought of doing whist playing a video game! If you thought video games were bad for you , you won’t anymore.
UBISOFT’s MotionSports introduces you to six sports – some we’ve played to death on other consoles and some which I personally would never have imagined playing whilst standing in front of the tv. Each of the sporting challenges (I’d like to call them mini-games) don’t take very long to complete but do gradually get more challenging and a little frustrating at times – due to the unresponsive nature of your movements being captured onto the screen.
With Kinect titles you are the controller, so everything you do in front of the camera is relayed back into the game as quickly and as accurately as possible. I know that at times you wish the game would respond a little quicker to your movements such as ducking, jumping or punching , but something we all have to understand and appreciate is that even though the technology is amazing and truly revolutionary, it’s not perfect. Take for example stepping into the ring in for MotionSports Boxing – swinging at 100miles an hour will result in you simply wearing yourself out physically and you will probably only end up hitting your virtual opponent about 2-3 times if that. If you took a more conservative approach on the other hand, keeping your guard up and counter punching with jabs, a few wild left hooks and uppercuts – you will most likely achieve a far better result. It’s not how you’d expect to play a boxing game but due to the not so great motion tracking, you have to meet half way and improvise to get the results and the KO you need to unlock harder challengers, obtain high scores and medals and also build up your “fame”. “Fame” is and works similar to the Wii Sports professional ranking / grade system. The ranking (shown to you in a graph form) raises or falls according to how well you perform at the end of each challenge. In MotionSports, you start off as a local hero and by performing well, you can rise to a national star and then to an international/professional superstar.
The five other sporting challenges in MotionSports are : Soccer, Skiing, Hang Gliding, American Football and Horse Riding (similar to equestrian events you see in the Olympics). American football was a little disappointing – initially I thought I’d be playing a real game of football but this wasn’t the case. All you’re actually doing is running towards the goal line, ducking or jumping over tacklers with a pass or two thrown in. In the first basic challenge you run through a fairly simple looking obstacle course where you have to duck and jump over hurdles which in turn will represent opponents coming at you in the harder challengers. This sounds very simple, but it wasn’t – the game failed to register ducking under hurdles even though I was actually crouching as low as I could go without dropping to the floor, the jumping part worked fairly well most of the time, but the ducking had me frustrated as to why it was not registering my movements.
The Hang Gliding and the Horseback riding challenges we quite interesting and fun. I’ve never really seen either before in other games and I surprisingly handled both quite well, especially the hang gliding where you have to glide through the air using only your arm motions to lower (gain speed) and raise (gain altitude). You tilt your hands to move the glider left and right through gusts of air to reach a landing zone that looks like a giant dart board where you must land as close to the centre as possible to obtain the best result / score. Riding the horse was also very fun – a little challenging at first but once I got the hang of the controls for steering the horse and the motion for performing the jumps – it all felt very fluid and I was picking up some great diamond medals and unlocking the rest of the challenges in no time.
Just a note on the challenges – not all of them are available to you at the beginning of the game. You only get the basic challenge for all the six sports. There aren’t really any details on how to actually unlock them apart from just performing well in the previous challenges that you have unlocked. If you score well you earn gold or diamond medals and you may unlock the next challenge within that sport. This may not always happen but I could only assume this is the case as there are no actual guidelines explaining this.
Multiplayer mode is only available to you via split screen, there isn’t any online play so you won’t be able to punch some random on xbox live player in the head if you are boxing, which is quite disappointing – but you can do it split screen (which is better than nothing). Some games allow up to four players to participate and play challenges one after the other. This was cool but I found that Motionsports was constantly having problems working out which player/guest was on the screen. I also had to login and re-select my player profile (xbox profile) on several occasions when playing with other people.
As a launch title, UBISOFT’s MotionSports has provided us with a fair effort. It’s a little rough around the edges with its control system not registering specific movements on certain games. A lack of online multiplayer oprtions does kill the fun a little as you’re forced to play offline with friends or family that come to visit. Some of the sporting events are great fun and the ranking system ability and achievements will keep you busy for quite some time – especially if you want to become an international superstar.