There’s no denying the technology on show in Kinect Sports Rivals is impressive. Whether it’s the first moment you close your fist to grab a bowling ball or waggle your index finger to adjust your aim in shooting, Rare has made every effort to show what Kinect 2.0 can do on Xbox One that its predecessor couldn't on 360. The shame is that it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm for these feats when they are embedded in what is an ultimately boring game.
As much as Kinect is designed to get us off our sofas, the sports that demand little are actually the best. Rock-climbing’s verticality means that players aren’t going to kill each other with wild arm flails as they desperately scramble for the win. Bowling’s patient, methodical approach is nice, bringing the improved accuracy of Kinect into play, as it is in the shooting. Wake racing remains the best of the bunch, as many will have experienced in the pre-season offering at the Xbox One’s launch.
If developers understand the limits of the peripheral, then it is a solid piece of kit. When stretched, though, it becomes the laughing stock people are quick to criticise, soccer being the perfect punchline.
Remember on the Wii when you resorted to simply waggles of the wrist to win games? Well, that quickly becomes the case here. Lazy flicks of the leg are enough to elevate players to heroes, bringing old grievances about motion gaming to light once again. Enthusiasm to play the sport ‘properly’ dies when you learn to cheat the system, expending as little energy as possible.
KSR is fun in short bursts. Any session beyond 20 minutes and you’ll be frustrated by the long load times, feel self-conscious because you look like a pillock, and get bored by the lack of challenge. The tech is there. Sadly, the game isn’t yet.
Played for 5 hours
5 / 10
- Wave racing is enjoyable.
- Rock climbing is good.
- Frankly boring.
- Long load screens.