Kinect Sports Rivals
Gamescom 2013: Kinect Sports Rivals Body-On Preview - Rare Unleashed on Kinect 2.0
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Ever since the dawn of time - or at least since the beginning of Kinect… you know, when it was called Natal - Microsoft has used Rare and its Kinect Sports franchise to show you what Kinect can really do. While the software might have been solid with Kinect 1.0, you'd have to say that if anything let it down at times it was the Kinect itself. If you were to believe rumours around the games industry, the Kinect that shipped for Xbox 360 was a shadow of the Kinect that was originally planned.

Here we are then - effectively half a generation later - and at Rare's disposal is a Kinect ten times more powerful than this current generation's Kinect. Can Rare do the unthinkable and create a motion controlled game that isn't marred by problems? Well, yes, and no.

Kinect Sports Rivals, which is now scheduled for a spring 2014 release after its recent delay, includes six motion-controlled sports for gamers to sink their teeth into. There's "soccer," tennis, climbing, wake racing, target shooting and bowling. At this year's Gamescom, Rare came equipped with two of those six: wake racing and climbing.

Built into the core of the experience is the whole "Rivals" concept. Firstly, that means you can use the Kinect 2.0 to scan yourself into your game and play as yourself. As to whether it works, let's just say it does its job; avatar Webb looked like a much-more attractive and slightly less receding real-life Webb - I did seemingly have a purple beard though for some reason. Secondly, it means that you won't be competing against random avatars anymore, but you'll instead be performing against other people's avatars, whether it be your friend's list or those who populate the servers. And thirdly, at the beginning of each event you'll have a rival who you have to beat, presumably for a bigger XP boost.

That's enough of the background of the game, let's talk about what matters most: the tech and the gameplay.

First up we were thrust into a three-lap race of Rare's wake racing mode, which is effectively jet-ski racing - think something akin to Wake Race 64 - where you trick out and race your way to first place. In terms of controls they're fairly simple: the turning is controlled with hand actions like you're riding a jet ski, tricks are executed by leaning backwards or forwards over a jump - it helps you get the speed boost quicker - and you kick your leg back to initiate the boost. That's it. The course we raced on had your typical ramps, more rampant waves as time went on, and plenty of shortcuts. There isn't much more to it, other than the big factor, and that's that it actually works. It works! It does what you want it to do. My, we nearly fainted when this happened.

Second up was climbing. Yes, climbing. Yes, we're being serious. Honestly. We wouldn't lie to you, I swear. So how does that work? Well, you reach up with your right hand, grab, pull down; reach up with your left hand, grab and pull down; then you rinse and repeat. Sure, you can choose which bracket you grab onto, but that's it. Oh, you can jump every so often and pull people off the rock face too. Exciting, huh? It's likely to keep your cousins or drunk mates busy for all of 30 seconds, but it's essentially grabbing and pulling with alternate arms until you're bored. We've seen the new hand grab and release mechanics... We get it, Rare!

Therein lies the problem with the two mini-games shown off to the media at this year's Gamescom, and that was that they felt more like tech demos than actual games you'd play with friends or family… or even your worst enemy! On the one hand you had wake racing, which you felt was included to show that Kinect 2.0 actually works, and on the other hand, you had climbing, which we kind of got the feeling was included just to show off the closed and open hand capabilities of the Kinect 2.0. Both were fun for about three seconds, and by fun, I mean bearable - and yes, I'm thinking of this from a family perspective too. Based on these two modes it's a fairly tame showing for Rare's next-gen debut if we're being perfectly honest, but it's not all bad.

If Rare sets out to prove that Kinect 2.0 is a cut above its current-generation fledgling, then it can only be looked at as a success. Kinect 2.0 works. It wasn't quite 1:1 tracking, but it's as close as we've ever seen with our well-travelled eyes. Not bad for one of the early titles built around the new tech if you ask us. Let's just hope the other four game modes are a little bit more fun, but also maintain the accuracy these two Kinect Sports Rivals modes achieved.

Kinect Sports Rivals is scheduled for a spring 2014 release.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 343
Comment #1 by STLfan2468
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 10:54:00 AM
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I believe in Kinect.

Forum Posts: 86
Comment #2 by SonsOfDisaster
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:00:09 AM
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I hardly used the kinect 1.0 for games, but I actually do think Kinect is a pretty cool piece of hardware. I mainly just use it for netflix on the current gen, I plan on using it alot more for next gen.

Forum Posts: 32
Comment #3 by Chibiuk
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:05:30 AM
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As someone who worked on Kinect Sports 1 and 2 in testing and avatar biometrics with Rare, the sports they chose for 1 were perfect. Fine for 2 and terrible for Rivals. Rock climbing was an odd choice and I agree only put in to show off or use the hand motions they can now do.

Track and field was the best sport by a mile, they should of redone it.

and dont get me started on pistol shooting in rivals?!

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #4 by Peter File
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:06:31 AM
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I still think the best thing about kinect was being able to shout 'quicksave' lol

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #5 by Wayne Warren
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:11:09 AM
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The only fully responsive titles for the original Kinect were the Kinect Sports titles alongside Kinectimals and Fable: The Journey..

I'm sure they'll get it right this time, but it seems that Rare are the ones that know what they're doing with Kinect..

So, in that case.. I'd love to see a Viva Pinata game where you have the choice to use Controller or Kinect.

Forum Posts: 1212
Comment #6 by ZedChuva
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:32:21 AM
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I'll only use my Kinect for XB1, if they integrate it for a new Katamari Damacy, where I have to roll around my livingroom, to control the game.

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #7 by Tommycbs
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 11:41:17 AM
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I agree with #1 :)

Forum Posts: 292
Comment #8 by ViNyLek
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 12:09:29 PM
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It sounds lame and boring like most Kinect games. I do have a few in my collection, but you could file them in fitness and dance category. That is really only decent offering I could recommend to anyone and that if you feel justified spending on Kinect alone. Well soon you won't have choice in the matter lol. The only exception was Gunstringer, I rather enjoyed and found it worked well=)

Forum Posts: 84
Comment #9 by Bickle
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 12:19:03 PM
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Silly they didn't bring back boxing and golf. Bothworked well

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #10 by Spandex Stiffy
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 12:41:48 PM
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I'm sorry, but you seem really predisposed to hating it. What do expect from a racing mini game? You wouldn't preview Wave Race by saying "you just move your thumbs back and forth, there isn't much more to it." Climbing... yeah okay, I hear you on that one.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #11 by Sith Dragon DDG
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 02:45:35 PM
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I have a handful of retail and arcade games for Kinect. Some of them are pretty enjoyable and others not so much. While it serves as a nice change of pace, no games have been published that would make me buy it "Day-One" (although I did have high hopes when Ryse was originally announced for the 360 Kinect). I do know and understand that Kinect for the 360 is pretty much 1st generation technology and don't put it down when it doesn't do as I or others wished it did. That being said, I do have higher expectations for the XB1 Kinect and hope that more interesting titles come out for this improved technology!

My favorite game that required Kinect is by far Fruit Ninja Kinect!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by sheeeaaannn
Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 12:48:16 AM
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sooo can i kind of say its trying to be like wii sports

Forum Posts: 2200
Comment #13 by cheevo360
Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 04:24:08 AM
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Never like Kinect and can't wait turn it off in system setting when I got my Xbox One this November by launch release. :)

Forum Posts: 358
Comment #14 by kizwiz
Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 05:34:18 AM
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"Both were fun for about three seconds, and by fun, I mean bearable - and yes, I'm thinking of this from a family perspective too."

That pretty much sums up every Kinect game. Can't believe this shitty peripheral is mandatory still.

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US April 08, 2014
Europe April 11, 2014

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