If you’re like me and acquired an Xbox One on launch day, you’ve probably spent the last 4 months yelling at our Xbox using the Kinect since that’s all we could use it for. Sure games like Ryse: Son of Rome have voice commands but they seemed tacked on as an after thought. However, we finally have our first Kinect game for Xbox One Kinect Sports Rivals, this is the next generation sequel to the Xbox 360 Kinect Sports games.
Navigating around the menus wasn’t designed for a controller, but you can use it if you desire too, it’s designed for hand gestures and voice. The issue I have with the voice controls is I have to say “listen” and than a keyword that’s on screen. After I do something like Listen, quick play, it will make me say listen again to perform another action. I disagree with this sequence, since the Kinect knows I just used my voice to do an action, so why make me do that again?
If you’re like me and live in a apartment or condo, you may have a hard time finding enough space to play this game. I have just about 4 feet from my TV to my sofa and don’t have the space to move my sofa in order to play and Kinect Sports Rivals is constantly telling me to move back because it can’t see my feet.
Like the previous Kinect Sports game the soundtrack features artists like Avicii, Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand. The good music adds to the atmosphere. I really enjoyed hearing some good tunes while playing various sports.
Kinect Sports Rivals Hub is a companion app that I had to download separately (why it wasn’t included in the main game or just on smart glass I don’t know) but it’s the source for news, updates and global competition. The more you play the various sports and challenges, the more fans you’ll earn, allowing you to move from the bronze league (beginner league) to the silver, gold, platinum, diamond or master league (rivals league consists of six different leagues each containing six star divisions).
Rivals offers six different sports for you to play which include; wake racing, climbing, target shooting, soccer, tennis and bowling. The latter 3 on this list are returning from Kinect Sports and have been updated for Rivals.
Let’s start with wake racing which has the player reach out with their right hand, close it in which engages the throttle. Players than move either their right or left hand in and out depending if you need to turn right or left. If it’s a sharp turn you’ll be required to use your body to lean. Want to perform a trick? You’ll need to bend forward. This will allow you to unlock power-ups in the game like force field, speed boost or mine drop.
Rock Climbing has a player use an open hand to peg, close your fist and than repeat with the other hand which will allow you to move up the wall. You maybe required to perform the same actions to go sideways before you can go up. Can’t reach a peg? you’ll need to jump and than grab a peg to continue your climb.
Target shooting is basically move your hand and point at the target as fast as you can to hit it. If your quick enough and you can see your opponents targets shoot ’em and steal their points. Your competitor can activate a power-up that will have you dodging incoming fire but if you get hit you’ll lose points.
Soccer (it’s really called football but that’s ok), my favourite sport is back, and as you expect it’s quite simple to play. Side kick to pass, kick it with your toes to get some air under it or even try heading it into the net. It’s sounds simple but you’ve only got 20 seconds to score before the shot clock runs out. They’ve removed defending completely and I’m not sure why exactly. It kind of feels a little half ass in my opinion. Now it’s time to defend and by that I mean play goal and simply move your body to where the ball appears on screen trying to stop it.
Bowling feels the same like it did in previous Kinect Sports games. Put your hand over your head to start the game, grab a ball from either the left or right side and throw the ball like you would if you really bowling. You’ll need to move your body slightly to align with the arrows on the lane and if your feeling brave after releasing the ball move your wrist to the left or right to add spin to the ball.
Last up is Tennis. Reach out to either side and grab a racquet, throw the ball in the air and swing, it’s really that simple. You could also put in some back spin or top spin if you can pull it off successfully (it’s quite easy).
Besides the issues I experienced in getting the voice commands working properly in order to navigate around the island and the issues with my feet not being seen while playing soccer, I really enjoyed Kinect Sports Rivals. Yes, my Kinect is barely 4 feet away from where I was playing but when you live in a apartment or condo you really can’t change that. Microsoft and Rare need to do a better job of that aspect. The gameplay was fun and I was constantly checking out the Rivals Hub to see how my friends were performing.
Besides the issues I experienced in getting the voice commands working properly in order to navigate around the island and the issues with my feet not being seen while playing soccer, I really enjoyed Kinect Sports Rivals. Microsoft and Rare need to do a better job of that aspect. The gameplay was fun and I was constantly checking out the Rivals Hub to see how my friends were performing.
Feed Your Console Gives Kinect Sports Rivals a 7 out of 10.