Kinect Sports: Season Two

Lace up those track shoes, and wash that old gym kit. It’s time to talk about one of the first Kinect sequels – Kinect Sports: Season Two. Containing nothing but new material, Kinect Sports 2 introduces you to six new sports; American football, Baseball, Darts, Golf, Skiing and Tennis. With all sports containing single player, multiplayer and online modes, plus additional mini-games you have no excuses not to join in. Especially as the wide variety means you’ll be hard-pressed to find something you don’t enjoy.

Kinect Sports 2 is exactly what you’d expect – highly accessible to a wide demographic of gamers. With tutorial videos to show you the moves whenever you do something new it’s easy to jump straight in. Couple this with higher difficulties needing to be unlocked by a win, and you have a very basic starting point that any gamer should be able to enjoy (Please be aware that when you play the top difficulty this game will have you puffing and panting with the best of them). It even removes the excuse of not knowing about sports by boiling them down to their simplest form – handy for those who don’t follow the sports in question. If you do follow them you may find it difficult to overcome the bastardised play, but once you start to get into the game that fades away pretty quickly. With an estimated calorie counter added in (seems a little high by my reckoning) you can even feel like you’re doing yourself some good by playing.

Right, let’s kick off the review (no pun intended) with American football. No mini-game for this one but this can be seriously fun once you forget how blasphemously far it is from the real sport. The most dumbed down sport on the disc, it does redeem itself with an option for you to call the plays. For n00bs, this means that you decide whether you want a short, medium or long pass and in what formation. You can choose to ignore this and let the coach call the plays but it does add a degree of depth. A great deal of the commands work seamlessly with the voice controls, and it certainly feels natural and rewarding to be shouting on the pitch. Occasional commands seem to struggle to be picked up but overall it’s very impressive. You can expect to find yourself throwing a ball, sprinting to the end zone, and occasionally kicking a field goal. Great fun and moderately active, this is a super addition to the Kinect Sports repertoire.

Next up to the plate (sorry, I just can’t help myself) is Baseball. Another American sport, but seriously disappointing. You can expect to find yourself swinging a bat, running the bases, catching the ball and pitching in various ways to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses. In fact there’s so many different interactions that it can become confusing as to when something is needed. Of course, you are prompted, but this can still get boring fast. There’s no tangible connection in this one and it feels like it’s just making you do things whilst it plays the game without you.

Darts seems overly optimistic in two ways to me. Firstly, I’m not convinced it’s a sport and it definitely feels out of place in the collection. Secondly, Kinect may be impressive but this is overly ambitious. Simple enough in theory, you throw darts at a board that hints where you should aim, but this does not respond well in practice. The movements required are simply too small to be accurately registered. It feels too much like luck when you get a good shot, and can end up frustrating rather quickly.

Golf  and Tennis have always been a sport compilations best friends, and this is no exception. The gestures are incorporated incredibly smoothly and these are fun and natural experiences. These two play just as you’d expect and can deliver bundles of fun.

Skiing. Surely this should belong on a winter sports edition, as it just seems another odd choice in this bundle. One of the more athletic games, it is definitely worth a look. If you’re jumping in and out of different sports then this may lose some of it’s charm but on it’s own it’s something different. Enjoyable but a little too short, the aim of the game is to beat your opponent through a slalom course.

Challenge is an additional mode in which you play a mini-game, an individual golf hole or a ski run. Once done you can issue a challenge to one of your friends list and see who comes out on top. It’s entertaining enough but unless you’ve got some competitive friends you may miss out on any real joy here.







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