Kinect Quick Recap
I don’t want to label this as a review because most new game console’s first year tend to fall under development. It is really unfair to “review” something in early stages. If you look back at the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii launches and consider where they’re at now as platforms you’ll see a huge difference. This is more of a look at Kinect and how things are starting. So after spending some time “being the controller” here’s what I’ve come up with. Kinect is pretty neat and definitely something new in the world of console gaming, but you might wanna consider some things before taking the leap. As far as performance goes Kinect works fairly well, depending on a few things. The sensor requires 6-8 feet of space to function properly during use. This can be a problem for dorm rooms, bedrooms, and small or crowded living rooms. This is something you want to consider before purchasing if the person will be gaming in any of these mentioned settings. If your setup meets the requirements then you’re pretty much in the clear.
The first time I used Kinect to navigate my Xbox Dashboard menus felt pretty cool. It wasn’t completely smooth like navigating screens on an iPhone or Android device but it did get the job done. To get started all you have to do is wave your hand and the system will begin tracking your gestures. What really impressed me was the voice command functionality, they’ve done a really great job with this. The system handles voice commands very well and avoids background noise and sound pretty consistently. The real letdown was that the Kinect controls aren’t fully integrated into every menu yet, so you’ll still need a traditional controller for some areas. I can see this changing in time with software updates, but it would’ve been a nice way to launch this new platform.
Considering myself a hardcore gamer I went into this expecting shovelware-city, but tried my best to keep an open mind. Kinect Adventures was surprisingly fun, sure there isn’t any of the intensity you’ll find in a FPS like Call of Duty but if you have a competitive spirit you’ll easily get sucked in. There are also demos for Dance Central, Joy Ride, and Your Shape Fitness Evolved. Being honest I’m a gamer, I’m lazy! I haven’t experienced Your Shape Fitness Evolved yet but as far as the other titles go, controls were responsive with some lag but there wasn’t any deal breakers. These types of games are best played with friends and family and realistically that appears to be Microsoft’s aim. It really is to be determined how or if Kinect will be incorporated into more single player and mature themed titles. As long as you understand that there shouldn’t be any major problems.
In the end some people call $150 a high price tag but consider this, you’re getting near an additional console with a game that accepts two players. Two wireless Xbox 360 controllers retail for $49.99 each and a new non Kinect game retails for $59.99. So you’re pretty much looking at the price of two controllers and a game. When you look at it that way, it really doesn’t sound so bad. However, I would advise visiting a kiosk and giving it a try before making an impulse buy. Now if you’re a parent and this is at the top of your kid’s Christmas wish list then it’s a must buy. Just be sure the area they’re playing in has the required space for the system to operate, or they’ll be terribly disappointed and your money will be wasted. Microsoft is billing this as “the future of gaming” and treating Kinect practically like a new console. Though they seem ambitious in their efforts, coming along for the ride is entirely up to you.