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 would only buy a kinect to play dance central series.
From day one i've been telling people thay voice command is the best part of Kinect...commanding Last.fm from other rooms or when my hands are full is the best use and typically very accurate
There is a professor at my university who has done alot of research using the kinect, and having listened to some of his lectures I can easily say that the kinect is better at doing everything it wasn't meant for rather than anything microsoft actually wants it to be for.
I only use my Kinect for Skyrim voice commands. I've played Kinect Adventures only a handful of times. I definitely still love my Kinect though.
I love the voice functionality. It's all I use it for.
I have been saying this since Kinect was first introduced, but Microsoft completely lacks the creativity to make it happen. If MS cant do it, the 3rd party is definitely not going to do it.
Voice functionality is all its good for
For 150 dollars i think every aspect of it should work, motion and voice.
Yes! The most exciting aspect of Kinect is the voice recognition software. I want to see more developers looking outside the box with it. Motion control can have its uses as well, for example, what I've seen Ghost recon do with it looks pretty good. But so many games could incorporate the voice recognition, even if just for navigating through pesky menus.
In the future I really hope we see less gimmicky uses of the kinect.
I've found Kinect games haven't been nearly as fun, nor functional, as games enhanced with decent Kinect features in my experience. Just about every Kinect game I have played has been a disastrous experience on the motion detecting front. There are a few developers out there who really know the Kinect hardware though. The problem is they are making games like Dance Central. Great game but I only play it when I have a party or get-together at my apartment. I would like to see those developers handle a more traditional, core game that was designed around the Kinect. As far as applications like Netflix, menu nav and in-game voice recognition goes, the Kinect handles it all near perfectly and that is where I get the most enjoyment out of it. Like others have said, it would be great to see more games include Kinect integration the way ME3 and Skyrim did.
Kinect sucks balls.
The only t hing it is good for is star treak voice commands.
I don't have the Kinect but I would most certainly agree with what I've heard about it. Very interesting article, thank you for your thoughts
Now if only they would have released the Kinect with it's own processor like they initially claimed it might be worth the $$$$$
Wow, I don't own a 360, but the features of Kinect are amazing! That's really cool!
im agree they should focus on voice command instead of just body , the only type of game i like to use is the dancing games
Isn't it even more sad that the best part of kinect is only for voice commands. Imagine if the xbox live headset could do the same thing.
THATS INSANE!!!!! It shows how much they are really trying to use that angle. I never even knew the kinect was voice managable until i saw the video showing off the new kinect voice options for Skyrim. No developers have really taken full advantage of that.
I would love to see them come out with a mic version. No body tracking, just the mic. It would be cheaper, and I would be able to do most things that I care about without the gimmick.