Pin It
Favorite

Kinect Sports: Season Two 

A sports sim that finally makes me feel like I'm on the green.

click to enlarge A sports sim that finally makes me feel like I’m on the green.
  • A sports sim that finally makes me feel like I’m on the green.

I’ll give the Kinect credit: It’s improving. Microsoft’s motion-sensitive, hands-free videogame controller for the Xbox 360 arrived last year to the usual gimmicky fanfare. Yes it was amazing to be able to control games simply by moving my body.

But at the same time, the Kinect was sloppy. A thumbstick was something I could touch, so I was never in any doubt about how I was steering through a game. But the Kinect forced me to slowly wave my hand in the air in front of me, trying to find out how far I had to reach before the system realized that I was moving. And it was almost useless at detecting whether I was moving fast or slow.

Fortunately, after a year, that broad-range motion sensitivity has been fine-tuned, and Kinect Sports: Season Two provides a number of games such as darts and baseball that demonstrate the system’s improved programming. Now, the act of aiming feels intuitive. Once the Kinect starts to track my moving hand, every subtle shift I make translates onto the screen as I try to keep my aim steady while I pull back my arm and throw the dart or pitch the baseball.

And the system has gotten much better at detecting the speed at which I’m moving. If I throw a dart with a direct, rapid flick, it flies with a solid thunk towards the target. But if I’m lazier, and don’t throw with as much direction and force, the dart might sail onto the screen in a sloppy arc.

Season Two’s version of tennis may be the most accurate and enjoyable motion-sensitive racquet sport simulation that’s available in a videogame. I can’t quite send the ball to every corner of the court, but the system does an admirable job of detecting my general aim. And the game’s golf simulation translated the stance and speed of my swings in an entirely fair manner. Eventually I forgot I was trying to control the Kinect, and started trying to play golf.

THE GOOD: The Kinect is a much more sophisticated motion-detecting device than the Wii and PS3’s pointer-like controllers. The Kinect won’t give me credit for simply waving my arm through the air when trying to throw a ball. My passes in football kept being intercepted until I really started to pretend to be throwing a ball with some force. Instead of finding out how lazy I could be when moving my body, the Kinect encouraged me to find out how clearly the game could capture my real-world focus.

THE BAD: Season Two uses the Kinect’s microphone to allow me to simply say what I want the system to do. In theory this makes it easier to navigate the game’s menus. But for some reason I’m perpetually required to say the word “Xbox” before issuing my orders, as though the machine has such a short attention span that it stops listening after a single statement. Or maybe it’s just become a hard-nosed militaristic machine, asking for brand name respect before it will even listen.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Kinect Sports: Season Two delivers yet another season of mini game sports, but brings along more accuracy, too.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Good Goes Bad
  • Good Goes Bad

    The Avengers have to fight themselves in the CGI-happy Age of Ultron
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • Student and Pupil
  • Student and Pupil

    Ethan Hawke's documentary Seymour: An Introduction mediates long and hard on artistry
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • War Games
  • War Games

    In Country unpacks Vietnam by recreating it
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
SFCC International Film Festival

SFCC International Film Festival @ Garland Theater

Tuesdays. Continues through May 26

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Pay to Play

    The power struggle between three music-licensing agencies, local venues and musicians trying to get paid
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • War Games

    In Country unpacks Vietnam by recreating it
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Music


Film


Hip-hop


long reads


Rap


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation