If I’m being really truthful, I hadn’t used my Xbox Kinect for about six months before I picked up a copy of Kinect Sports: Season 2 for review. I’d been amused but not particularly impressed by the last Kinect Sports installment, and I’d been relatively entertained by other Kinect titles too. This beauty however, has rekindled my enthusiasm for the Kinect and has undoubtedly provided a fresh breath of new life into the add-on, which has been dying for attention for a long while.
While the graphics have stayed pretty much the same as in the original Kinect Sports, they do appear a little bit smoother and well designed, and the same pretty much goes for the audio. The changes, however, have come to the choices of games available, with all of those that were present in the last installment gone. Season Two offers you a range of popular sports from American Football and Baseball to Skiing, Tennis, Darts and Golf.
I started my Kinect Sports: Season Two adventure off with the snowy surroundings of a steep sky slope. Yes, Skiing has come to the Kinect, and it’s actually pretty good. Crouching your knees and hunching into a standing ball will see you increase in speed as you race down the hill, titling your body to change direction and ski through the assorted checkpoints that are scattered across the slopey course. I was quite surprised at the amount of achievements that came flying my way after just one race, I was quite close to accumulating 100 gamerscore from the game after only playing for perhaps a few minutes. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, just that developers usually make it harder for players to get a mass amount of achievements to prolong the life of the game.
Although I don’t really have much to say about the Skiing mode, as it’s relatively simple, Kinect Baseball is a whole different ball game (pardon the pun!). You must stand to your side and hold your hands just behind your shoulder in order to get ready for a curling ball to fly at you at great speed. Swinging at the correct time will see the ball fly into either the stands or another area of the field, depending on how hard you swung and if you put your foot forward when swinging to increase momentum. Once you’ve hit the ball ‘outta there’ you must then jog on the spot in dashing fashion in order to make it to the next base, jogging at a leisurely pace will almost certainly see you run out and cause your family members to jeer at you in an embarrassing fashion, sigh.
The game’s Baseball mode also allows you to be the pitcher, hurling the ball at the opposing side’s batter in a very aggressive style. Similar to the batting mode, stomping your front foot forward will increase the momentum of your throw, but be warned, the harder the ball is thrown, the further the ball will fly if the batter manages to hit it. Once the ball is hit by the batter, your point of view magically switches to that of an outfield catcher, where you must (surprise, surprise) catch the ball. Catching the ball isn’t always as straight forward as it sounds, in fact, it does sometimes involve you hurling yourself to the floor or soaring to the other side of the room, yes it’s fun, but it’s not such a good idea when you have an unsuspecting cat sleeping on the floor beside you.
If you’re not too familiar with the popular American outdoor sport American Football, KinectSports’ take on the game can be a little daunting at first, but, after a while, it does prove to be a pleasurable experience. The starting kick will see you catch the ball, then requiring you to run on the spot to get down the field, dodging the many tackles that come flying your way from the opposing team. Simply put, you need to get the ball down to the Endzone area of the pitch, to grab yourself a funky 7 seven points.
Golf gives you the option of a one hole, three hole or nine hole match. The game’s objective is pretty self-explanatory, with the player needing to get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. Be warned though, those dastardly lakes and bunkers can lead to several minutes of hair pulling. The best touch in the Golf option is the ability to chose different golf clubs, sticking your right arm out will give you a wide range of clubs to choose from, so, hopefully, you can perfectly set up the exact shot you want to play.
Overall, Kinect Sports Season Two should not be seen as an improvement over the first installment, in fact, you should treat it as a different game completely. The biggest disappointment was Kinect Darts, where aiming could be too unstable and playing the game well is near impossible if you’re under or over average height. Apart from this, however, the game is ideal for a few hours of family fun, and can even provide a pleasurable five minutes for those on their lonesome. So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a sporting aficionado, and feel like you’ll benefit from the game options that I described above, I suggest you give Kinect Sports: Season Two a whirl. Despite its faults, you can pretty much guarantee this will be a top seller come Christmas time.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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