Self-Defense Training Camp Review
After several quality Kinect titles, Ubisoft is back at again with Self-Defense Training Camp. The controller-free peripheral has seen a wide variety of excerise-type titles, anywhere from yoga to UFC, but Self-Defense Training Camp seemed to offer an innovative experience unseen in titles like Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012. After anaylizing all the title had to offer, it was clear that it was a unique Kinect experience, though very different from my initial thoughts. Does Self-Defense Training Camp stack up well against its competition, or is simply a rushed poser?
Well, Self-Defnse Training Camp, like other Kinect fitness titles, interests me due to the fact that it can only be done with the Kinect's capabilities. With a controller, the idea of working out just seems foolish. With that in mind, the game surprised me in that it compliments the peripheral fantastically. The menus can be navigated smoothly by swiping your arm left or right, then punching to select or cancel. In terms of gameplay, the Kinect sensor tracks your movements quite fluently. Response times between your movements and the on-screen instructions can vary, but it's nothing too extreme. The only issue comes when the Kinect has to pick up your quick movements; every so often, it will leave off certain moves you performed, leaving you a tad frustrated.
Where I expected Self-Defense Training Camp to shine was in its presenation. I expected an upbeat, thrilling style of presentation, highlighting the self-defense persona. Sadly enough, the game uses the same type of presenation as seen in games like Zumba Fitness and Your Shape. The instructors give you an example of the activity you're participating in, while an omnicent voice explains in detail just what to do. Many of the non-self-defense activities are done by a Dance Central-like moves bar. The formula works, and it's quite good, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. It just feels like Ubisoft missed an opportunity to fully utilize the self-defense setting. Graphically, the game looks exquisite, especially the backdrops.
As stated in the title, the game aims to teach you valuable self-defense lessons, and it does a pretty remarkable job at it. Each move is distinctly detailed and used by real-life self-defense trainers. Despite this, the game takes itself so seriously that some of moves seem ridiculous--not even mentioning that the game tells you these moves are only used so you can have enough time to escape your attacker. Nevertheless, the self-defense portion of the game takes you through five stages and will keep you busy for an hour or two. The real downside to each stage is that it becomes very...well...boring. That's most likely due to the fact that the game barley rewards you (outside of the easy 50 achievements).
Surprisingly enough, the self-defense portion of the game is only a smidge of what the entire experience is. The game also allows you to partake in reflex training, yoga, and full body workouts. Each of these components are just as lengthy as the self-defense portion, and some are possibly as exciting. Reflex training is where you actually can get a "workout," doing boxing-type training. Yoga is quite peaceful and is accompanied by a nice soundtrack. However, the full body workouts are laughable at best--not because they are worthless, but because they put so much emphasis on working out. Heck, you can probably work out more of a sweat playing Dance Central or Kinect Sports.
Overall, Self-Defense Training Camp feels like an above average game for select folks. Much like Rocksmith is simulation game for the music genre, Self-Defense Training Camp is simulation game for the exercise genre. The game will teach you valuable self-defense lessons for those interested in that type of workout, but it doesn't reward you in any interesting, exciting way. The real fun isn't there. If you're a self-defense minded person, you may want to check this title out. If you're into pure workout games, though, steer clear of this one.