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Kinect Sports Rivals Review

A .500 Season
by Matt Helgeson on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Reviewed on Xbox One
Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
Developer Rare
Rating Everyone

Kinect Sports 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.

Kinect Sports 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 bowling.

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.

Keep chasing Nintendo's last-gen success with a new Kinect-enabled sports minigame collection
It's not ambitious, but the Xbox One's power shows in the highly detailed environments and water physics
I found the coach character's dialogue and attempts at humor to be grating. Otherwise, the audio is pleasantly forgettable
The Kinect controls work fairly well - which is to say, not as well as they could and not as well as conventional controllers
I admire the effort to build an online infrastructure and career story mode, but the selection of games feels slight

Products In This Article

Kinect Sports Rivalscover

Kinect Sports Rivals

Xbox One
Release Date: