MotionSports, another example of poor use of the Kinect technology, does its best to fit in rather than stand out. In what could’ve been a realistic approach to the genre of sports mini-games, MotionSports does little to give gamers a reason to stick around beyond their first few play sessions.
Let it be known that MotionSports attempts to provide a serious look at sporting events such as horse riding, football, soccer, skiing, hang gliding and boxing. Rather than using the Xbox Live Avatars – Kinect Sports makes use of Avatars and is a better game too – MotionSports features realistic character models that should be applauded. Soaring through canyons as the sun sets while hang gliding is a sight for sore eyes when comparing to the family-friendly approach of other sports compilation titles. Animations of acts being performed are believable when compared to the exaggerated performances in rival titles such as DECA Sports Freedom. If there’s one thing to take away from Ubisoft’s blunder, it’s the visuals.
But good-looking graphics doesn’t erase the fact that terrible controls and awful lag riddle MotionSports for all six sporting events. Starting with the worst sport, horse riding, and following up with what could be called the easiest to control, hang-gliding, MotionSports serves to be a game that tests the patience of the gamer. Maybe I needed to feed my horse a few more steroids or, perhaps, a carrot, but that furry bastard never wanted to jump over fences. Its stubbornness shouldn’t be blamed on its lack of an evolved brain but, rather, on the poor recognition of the player within the game. The poor use of Kinect technology for properly allowing the player to control his/her character is a disappointment, but then again, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise after seeing the results of Ubisoft’s Fighters Uncaged.
Players do progress to unlock new variances of each sport, but it’s the beginning levels that set the tone for the rest of the game. Who wants to stick around for the game to get potentially better when the beginning hour or so is a pain in the ass? Well luckily, I’m here to tell you that beyond the first hour, it’s still a letdown around every bend. Sure, earning in-game celebrity status is attractive for those who appreciate vanity, but it’s not worth spending a free night that could be better devoted to, say, watering a plant and watching it grow over the course of several hours – translation: MotionSports is at the bottom of the barrel of entertainment value.
If players are determined to stick around in effort to find gold from this depleted mine, then it’s recommended they wisely play the hang-gliding segments. Outside of asking players to hold their arms up and swoop around as if they were a plane, hang gliding doesn’t ask for too much physical labor. Yes, it will hurt after awhile to keep arms in the air for a certain period of time, but at least the controls work from time to time. When compared to playing goalie in soccer and/or dodging incoming punches in boxing, hang gliding shows that MotionSports did have potential, at one time or another, to live up to expectations.
Beyond the visuals, MotionSports does employ a user interface that isn’t too hard on the eyes or hands. Menus don’t take an agonizing long time to load, are simple to understand and control, and also are graphically pleasing. Sadly, even with the visuals, the team had the right approach – realistic sports compilation – but couldn’t properly execute it.
The best advice to any gamer looking for their next Kinect title from the small library of quality titles is to avoid MotionSports. Here’s hoping that the team can take what they learned here and have time to build a sequel that carries out their agenda and also controls well.