The lights are on
I was watching a movie on my Xbox 360 the other night, when I had to go upstairs. The controller had long turned itself off. My hands were full of empties. Rather than drop everything onto the floor (my immediate instinct), I just said “Xbox, pause,” and the system obediently put the action on hold. I couldn’t help but agree with my wife as I trotted upstairs. Her statement? “That’s insane.”
Now that it’s been out for a while, we’ve gotten a pretty good sense of how developers are choosing to incorporate Kinect in their games. It’s disappointing. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think all it did was give people an excuse to jog in place, jump, and stretch their arms out like airplanes. All the while, the peripheral’s most powerful and interesting functionality is ignored. That’s insane.
When I played Mass Effect 3, I was able to command my squad with my voice. I didn’t have to enter a menu. I didn’t need to interrupt the action. I could just say, “Liara, singularity,” and she’d fire off her biotic attack, neutralizing Cerberus soldiers while I finished them off. After Bethesda released a patch for Skyrim, I could easily access my map, quick-save my game, and even rattle off dragon shouts with ease. And again, I did it using my voice.
Getting Kinect to recognize my body is often an exercise in trial and error. Entire limbs will suddenly cease to exist, or at least they will virtually. And I don’t know how many times I’ve had to futz around in menus after someone on the couch has the nerve to move an arm. In contrast, Kinect correctly responds to my voice with stunning accuracy. It doesn’t matter if people are having a conversation in the background or the in-game audio is blasting away. It works, and it works quite well.
Steel Battalion was a failure for many reasons. When I review a game, I review what’s in front of me, not what I wish the game would be. I can’t help but believe, however, that the game would have been more successful had it incorporated at least some voice commands. You’re stuck in a mech with three other people, and you’re only able to silently bat at the air? Why didn’t players have the option of directly commanding their crew in battle?
It’s easy to carry cynicism around like a trophy, and I’m certainly guilty of it. I’ve been disappointed by Kinect, but I’m not quite ready to abandon all hope. Kinect has incredible potential, and I wish developers would push themselves to take advantage of it, instead of focusing on full-body waggle.
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I've been saying this about the Kinect since day one. Maybe the entertainment "experts" at Microsoft and its affiliates will catch up eventually.
Motion gaming, even if Kinect may or may not be better, that's what my Wii's for and in my opinion they did a mighty fine job with it... While I would like to try my hand with the mic and a couple other great features featured by Kinect!
I don't know, i'd say the voice commands for work half the time.
The real reason behind Kinect's success. We always knew it had nothing to do with Microsoft.
I thought Kinect was dumb from the start, however when I saw how good the voice recognition is I had to admit I was impressed. However even with the voice recognition the Kinect itself is still useless. Voice recognition in any game could easily be done through a headset which basically everyone has. But that would mean that Micro$ft couldn't charge everyone $150.
the voice is way good, but they need to work on the camera part.... every time me and my friends play dance central or me and my family do, if someone moves they become the main player now, and it make me mad!!