Kinect Sports Season 2
With motion controls now so wide spread no genre is save, none less than the sports genre, which once again finds itself moulded into a set of multiple sports designed to fit the console specific motion setup. Kinect Sports gave the Xbox 360 its first motion sports title back at launch and now returns with Season 2 to with a set of entirely new sports for you to embarrass yourself with. Unfortunately the scope is so narrow that Kinect Sports Season 2 may find its season cut short.
There are six new sports in total, abbreviated versions of football, skiing, darts, baseball, golf and tennis. Each offer a cut-down, Kinect friendly facsimile of their real world counterparts with a focus on accessibility and fun, and for the most part Kinect Sports Season 2 achieves this. The pick-up and play design, and family appealing aesthetic of using Xbox Avatars as your characters works to compliments the party game setup is a very similar fashion to Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. However, what Kinect Sports Season 2 lacks is the same feedback and control of the aforementioned titles and it suffers for it.
There's an ambiguity of motion that frequently causes random actions on screen. Additionally the dreaded Kinect delay is still a nuisance, although Kinect Sports Season 2 reduces this annoyance to a minor one through thoughtful design to counter it. For each sport different control issues occur. In baseball the timing is difficulty from a first person perspective with hits connecting seemingly at random, taking all the skill out of the game and a lot of the fun along with it.
Darts suffers from the lack of physical feedback. With no object in your hand for weight and to aid in aim it's very difficult to achieve the shot you're after. An aiming reticule is present to mitigate this aiming issue but regardless it's still lacks accuracy and feels significantly removed from the actual workings of the real-life game. The other sports fair a great deal better, with golf in particular feeling pretty natural as you swing you arms as if you're holding clubs to make the right hits. The courses are also brilliantly designed on both a technical golfing level as well as an eye catching one, add to that the ability to use voice control to change clubs and you'll be hard pressed to find a better motion golf title. It's certainly the most comparable to the Wii counterpart.
American Football also works well, with running in place causing your player to run forwards and a range of appropriate motions allowing you to hike, throw and kick the football respectively. As does skiing, which has you crouching to gain speed and swaying to each side to dodge barriers and pass through flags. However, both are so simple their enjoyment suffers from a lack of longevity. It's easy to master each after only a few tries and despite its initial charm fails to maintain your interest.
Tennis requires you to swing your arms to return hits, however, you can't move around the court on your own. Instead it's automated, requiring you to solely swing and hit the ball back. You can also use the voice feature to challenge a line call, which is nice feature for you John McEnroe fans, but overall tennis lacks the control to really make it more than a shallow imitation of the real game.
All the sports also include mini games for a little extra replayability as well as some competitive challenges for multiplayer, but otherwise the package is missing the quantity of content to keep you engaged. This and the issues with the control and the depth of each sport certainly can't compete with the Wii or PlayStation Move titles overall.
Kinect Sports Season 2 is certainly not a bad game. The multiplayer is inherently fun and it provides a decent enough workout in the guise of a fun aside, it's charming presentation and simplicity makes it a hit at parties, it's just not a title to convince you to invest in a Kinect and offers only the bare minimum in content to keep you entertained for the long haul.