Kinect Sports Rivals

Posted On: 4/7/2014  Publisher: Microsoft Studios

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Since Kinect was introduced on the Xbox 360 it has battled negativity at varying degrees from being a spy camera to wonky and unresponsive games. This just continued to soil the reputation of the product in the eyes of gamers and consumers. Kinect on the Xbox One is a whole new story though with brand new technology that has really enhanced the peripheral to all new levels. Kinect Sports was a great game on the 360 and probably one of the better Kinect enabled games on the market. So here we are with Xbox One and Kinect Sports Rivals and Rare should pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Kinect Sports Rivals is on a whole new level when compared to its predecessor. The game offers up rock solid gameplay, competition online with your friends, and a superb all-around experience. I am not saying this game is perfect nor will I even come close to saying that, but I can assure you that it is damn good. Itís fun to play, great to look at, and gives you plenty of hours of exercise when you donít even realize it.

 
 

Forget about what you know about Kinect Sports on the 360 as KSR is a whole new experience. Sure bowling makes a return but itís still not the same game. Everything from how the sports are presented to exact pinpoint movements really make this the first Kinect game that is a must own. Itís definitely a must own if you have family and friends to play with. And the social aspects of the game are fantastic giving you the opportunity to show off your skills and compete against friends and the entire world.

KSR also offers up an experience similar to Forza drivatars. As you play games in KSR, the game learns your tendencies and how you compete. This then allows for a much more precise matchmaking experience and offers up opponents regardless of whether they are online or not. As I said itís very similar to Forza 5 in the regard that youíll find yourself competing against your friends at any time. You donít have to wait for them to come online.

The game looks super and all of the game animations are smooth. Itís not very often that youíll get some wonky avatar poses from Kinect freaking out. That is something that happened a lot on the original Kinect games. The colors are bright and eye catching and the actual event environments are spot on and inviting. While this is only a fictional place youíll really feel like this place exists and you are a part of the tropical island. I was definitely impressed with the way each sport was presented and how it looked while it was played. Fantastic.

 
 

When you initially fire up the game youíll be asked to create a champion. Kinect scans your face and body and transforms your champion into a digitalized likeness of your true self only looking more like a super hero. The technology works really great and the only work youíll have to do is move your face around a little and select your gender. Once the champion is created you can then tweak certain aspects that give you an even better representation of your real life image.

Next up youíll be introduced to Coach who will train you for each sport showing you the ropes and giving you some pointers. Youíll train and compete in six different sports: Wake Racing, Rock Climbing, Target Shooting, Soccer, Bowling and Tennis. Everyone will definitely have their favorite sport they like to play and youíll be able to compete in those sports in various ways.

As you complete your training youíll also be able to play through the story mode. The story mode familiarizes you with the 3 different teams represented in the game and youíll have the opportunity to join one of those factions later in the game. The story mode includes various competitions in each sport that will net you XP and credits but you can also play Quick Play for any of the sports as well. You can also try out suggested events and challenge or compete against Rivals.

My favorite sport to play in the game is bowling and I have to say that I found it a bit too easy once I learned how to throw a hook. My real life average sits right around 200 so this game definitely helps my confidence level. But I also enjoyed playing the other sports as well and I have to say my least favorite sport was Tennis and this is actually the only time I experienced wonky Kinect issues as well as unresponsive moments here and there. Honestly there is a game for everyone in KSR.

 
 

The game has all sorts of stat tracking and leaderboards for you to view. You can check out your standings in the Fame leaderboard overall or check out each sport individually. There are tons of unlockable items and power-ups that coincide with each sport. And as you win events youíll earn more coins and fans that will continually unlock new items to give everyone their own unique style and experience.

Now as I said, the game is not perfect. The menus can be little tough at times to use with gestures and there are some instances where Kinect doesnít recognize your movements or something interferes like a dog. I did enjoy using the voice commands but there were still those few moments when I would have to repeat myself. I also noticed a few small things here in there with games such as bowling where I had a 3-10 split but it didnít register on the scorecard as a split. There were a few load time issues too but nothing really terrible. I just hate waiting. But all in all itís a solid game that provides more fun than frustration.

I really enjoy KSR and honestly thatís the first Kinect game that I can say that about. The social aspect of the game is phenomenal and layer in the great accessibility and gameplay and you have a game fun for the whole family. This is one Kinect game you wonít be embarrassed to say you play and invite your friends to play. I think everyone will enjoy seeing their persona come to life in digitized form and this really make you feel like you are part of the game. And heck, remember you are also burning a few calories despite the game not being full of aggressive movements. Rock climbing definitely gives you a workout. Check out Kinect Sports Rivals and be sure you also download the KSR Hub as well. Now itís off to try and attain that 300 in bowling.

 
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