When the original Kinect for Xbox 360 came out, one of the games that showed off the new tech was Kinect Sports. Later a sequel would be made and both games received positive reviews, but weren’t mind-blowing, and most people thought Microsoft was wasting Rare’s talent. So now, the Xbox One is here with a much improved Kinect, and Kinect Sports Rivals. Does the improved technology make for a better game? Or is Kinect Sports Rivals just more of the same?
Well one way the new technology helps is the graphics. Kinect Sports Rivals looks great; it has tons of color, style, and this high energy vibe that you feel coming from the entire game. Character models look good, and are very expressive. One complaint I do have is when you scan yourself into the game. When I scanned myself into the game, we got a pretty close representation of my face. When we scanned Anthony and Bremenn it wasn’t even close. So it can be really hit or miss when it comes to scanning faces.
As for sound the music can be a catchy, but is a bit generic, and I find it weird that there is only one track with vocals. The voice acting is fine, even though it feels a bit too enthusiastic, but for a game pitched at kids and families, it’s alright. Sound effects are pretty much perfect in every sport from Bowling to Soccer.
Then you have the game play, which at times it is one of the best motion control sports games out there. Then other times it doesn’t respond to my movement quick enough, or I move too quickly and it doesn’t register the movement. These technical hiccups are few and far between, but when it happens it takes you out of the experience. That said, when it is working some of the sports are a blast to play, especially with friends or family. Bowling, soccer, tennis, wake racing are all entertaining. Shooting and climbing on the other hand can be a bit on the dull side. The tech is really impressive, that it really can model what you are doing one to one while you are doing it.
The single player is solid, with a lot to do with all six sports, even if they aren’t very deep. But I hated how you couldn’t jump into the sport you wanted to from the start and had to go in a specific order, and go through a tutorial. It is also irritating that you can’t take your created character into quick play.
The multiplayer is definitely the highlight. Bowling especially is something everyone can pick up, learn quickly, and enjoy. But I do wish there was a quick tutorial mode to teach new players the basics when hopping into quick play for multiplayer. Not only that but in a smaller home (like mine) you can cause some damage to your friends and the furniture playing soccer or tennis.
As a whole Kinect Sports Rivals uses all of the new tech in the Xbox One and Kinect to make a better game, that does a better job of tracking you, even if it still isn’t always perfect. It’s a lot of fun alone or with friends even if it does lack depth. It is a perfect party game or something to pick up and play now and then.
Final Score: 7.5/10