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Xbox 360 Kinect - Your Avatar and Core Games

By Stuart Andrews



  • Recommended by TR
Xbox 360 Kinect


Our Score:


The use of avatars is a key part of the appeal. When first introduced, the Xbox 360 avatars were all a bit pointless and “me too” (if not “Mii too”). Kinect has made them an essential part of the experience, just as they are on Wii. At the end of the day, we'd all rather see a cartoon version of ourselves playing table tennis than some muscle-bound goon designed to appeal to some adolescent demographic.

But Microsoft also has a few ideas of its own about how to add fun. For instance, in Kinect Adventures completing a set of events unlocks a living statue, which will follow a pose and lip-synch a boast or a song. You can then save this or upload it to share with friends. Sure, it's silly and pointless, but that doesn't mean it's not a laugh. Other games go big on humiliating photo highlights captured from Kinect's RGB camera or even more embarrassingly, video footage. You'll cringe, you'll cheer, you'll point and chuckle – and that's what Kinect is all about.

Of course, some of these early Kinect titles share that classic Wii problem; they're huge on novelty value, but lacking in long-term appeal. That's the case with Kinect Adventures and Joyride, and we suspect it will be true of others too. However, the system already has a handful of serious system sellers, with the power to do what Wii Sports did for Nintendo. We're talking about the sort of games that people will try, think wow, and want for themselves. On this count, Kinect does pretty well.

One is certainly Kinect Sports. Sure, the track and field events are affected by lag and the table tennis shows up the fact that Kinect can't match Move or Wii MotionPlus for snappy response and accuracy. All the same, there's a decent amount of variety and gameplay in there, and every event is simple to pick up, great fun to play and entertaining to watch.

Dance Central, meanwhile, will be eagerly picked up by the teenage girl/post-pub party crowds. For the first time we have a dance game that – amazingly – relies entirely on your ability to, you know, dance. It's forgiving enough to be fun for the inept or inebriated (or both), but challenging enough to keep those blessed with natural rhythm coming back to show off. It's not quite Rock Band in depth, but it's a very good start.


November 8, 2010, 8:32 pm

It was never designed as an attempt to replace a controller for FPSs or, say, a football game but unfortunately the bulk of those with XBox's will look at it's shortfalls in these areas the keenest.

To truly take off, Microsoft must either be relying on a huge number of the Wii type younger or party audiences to have an XBox already or hoping that many of this demographic will be willing to buy Kinect AND an XBox.

I'm not so sure but I hope it does well. Having played games for over two decades now its all to easy for me to be driven to boredom by the latest "greatest" FPSs and what not (Crysis, for example, was a chore for me) but this looks like it'd be a riot - even if the riot only lasted an hour at a time!

And who can deny that they arent at least a tiny bit excited about the prospect of some sort of penalty kick/free kcik game coming to Kinect?! Might help England train up some decent PK takers for future World Cups...


November 8, 2010, 9:43 pm

Maybe in the future they can sold a Hardcore Edition, just give to people some 2 wrist and 2 ankle bands-like and the input lag can be reduced a lot y u still have the freedom you want...


November 8, 2010, 9:55 pm

I wonder if the Kinect has object recongnition built in as well? I.e. for a star wars game you could hold a stick as a lightsaber (cause surely thats what everyone wants these devices for!) :-p


November 8, 2010, 10:06 pm

Stelph - Move does ;)


November 9, 2010, 12:39 am

@Jones Crysis was pure unadulterated fuuuuun ;)

People seem to hate on Kinect for not catering to the "Hardcore" but the Xbox caters plenty for that audience. Why can't it also have content your kids, parents or whoever could easily pick up and play without the massive learning curve? I can see a youngin getting lots of joy out of that silly pet game. Shame with some Move games.

I like the fact the wii, move and now Kinect exist, even if I get little from them.

PS I say this now but not being able to get near console and shot people in the face because my GF was flailing her arms about pretending to be on a life-raft would get old really fast :)


November 9, 2010, 5:01 am

Tut tut T.R. - your nicely balanced review is sure to upset Ahlan!



November 10, 2010, 3:16 am

Whilst the Kinect technology is impressive I feel your review gives it a score that does not reflect that fact that it has clearly not yet fully proven it's definite long-term worth as a gaming accessory and you appear rather too fawning of it's achievements thus far.

I found Ars Technica's excellent review to be more detailed, balanced and comprehensive: "Buy a house, clean your floor, move your butt: Ars reviews Kinect" - http://arstechnica.com/gami...


November 10, 2010, 3:55 pm


You can say the same thing about any new games console or accessory we review, and it's the nature of these things that there value changes over time. All we can do is look at how good the games are at launch and come up with a considered idea as to future potential. Personally, I think the review does just that.

The big issue with Kinect - and I can't say this enough - is that the experience will differ from person to person depending on how much space you have available, and the sort of games you like. In my own home, we had to move furniture to get everything working properly, but we felt that the good times we had playing Kinect made it worthwhile. The most important thing about it is that it feels genuinely new and genuinely fun. It's important to make the points about space and lag, but it's easy to obsess over these issues and miss out on how well Kinect and its launch games work.

And while I hate to stir up a hornert's nest, since we've had Kinect in the house everyone wants to play it. Every member of my family has a favourite game they want to play, and everybody loves it. Much as I like PlayStation Move and Sony's desire to make motion control work for traditional games, I can't really say the same about any of the titles we've seen so far (bar The Shoot, which I've become a bit obsessed with). I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Killzone 3 and Little Big Planet to turn this around next year. Move is a great technology, but so far the games haven't measured up.


I can't see it being a problem. From what I've seen from the full-size body scan in Your Shape, Kinect has no problem picking up objects that shouldn't be in the frame, including my coffee cup if I'm holding it, or my four-year old daughter then she decides to launch herself on me in mid exercise. All part of the fun ;?


November 10, 2010, 4:02 pm

its actually nice to play something different rather than another FPS / shooter / race sim. Whilst its definately not the finished acrticle, it is fun to play and if you have the room,should be great for family party games. We shoud be glad Microsoft are trying something different and not moaning that "you can't play COD on it"...it just needs a killer game that breaks new ground...hopefully in the next 6months / year we will get it, until then, just have fun!!

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