The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Rivals is the follow-up to Xbox 360's two Kinect Sports titles, which tried and failed to
do for Microsoft's motion control camera what Wii Sports did for Wii. The
games reportedly sold well, but didn't do much to establish Kinect as a must-buy
peripheral. Now, developer Rare is back with Kinect Sports Rivals, a game that
relies on the new model camera that ships with every Xbox One.
Rival is a showcase for the technology first and foremost, letting users
compete in six sporting events (wake racing, rock climbing, target shooting,
soccer, bowling, and tennis) played entirely with motion controls. Each works
to a varying degree of success, but the package is much better in terms of fine
control than its predecessor.
Overall, it's a
decent testimony to the accuracy of the Kinect 2.0. Sadly, I don't work for A Decent Testimony To The Accuracy Of The
Kinect 2.0 Informer Magazine. As a game, it's never more than mediocre.
Wake racing is well done, and reminded me how much I used to love Wave Race and
Splashdown, but as my arms grew tired throughout a series of races, I wished
that I could play the game with a controller. The tedious target shooting
controls well, but is of little interest. Tennis, which should be a gimme for a
game like this, is the one that seems to have the worst controls. Climbing
won't be for everyone, but I was impressed by how the Kinect tracked my arm and
hand motions while I reached for purchase on a series of handholds. Soccer is
an oddly designed, foosball-like experience that requires awkward leg
contortions to score goals. At least there's bowling - good old, reliable
Rare went the
extra mile in creating the game's structure. There's a (somewhat cheesy) story,
tons of items and clothing to buy with in-game cash, and an online hub for
comparing yourself against others and uploading game footage. That's fine and
good, but it feels like a lot of a sizzle for such a small piece of steak. If
this had been packed in with the Xbox One to demonstrate the new Kinect, it
would seem like a nice extra. As a standalone game, it's just not compelling.