Kinect Sports: Season Two Review

Kinect Sports: Season Two (Available exclusively on Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-4
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Rare & BigPark
Release Date: October 25, 2011

Parent Talk: Given the cute nature of the Kinect Sports franchise, your youngest children shouldn’t have any problems with this accessible and fun-natured game.

Plays Like: The original Kinect Sports and somewhat like Wii Sports and Sports Champions.

Review Basis: At a recent party I played through all the sports and tried a couple online modes.

Kinect Sports returns for another season, and now players can compete in six all-new sport events.  Some are better suited to Kinect than others, but overall Season Two is fun for the whole family.

The Great:

Of the six games included, skiing is the most responsive, accurate and fun.  Shift your body left and right to avoid flags and other obstacles, crunching to gain speed, etc.  It feels natural and works well.  If you’re going to show off this game, start with skiing.

The Good:

+ Tennis, golf and baseball work very well.  These play exactly as you would imagine.  Baseball even allows you to play on both sides of the ball, batting and pitching.

+ New voice controls.  You can say “Ready, hike!”  It’s a start and will naturally evolve as the series continues.

+ Online and offline multiplayer is just as fun.  The best way to experience Kinect Sports is with a buddy, simple as that.

+ Challenge mode.  If no friends are online, or around in person, the challenge mode is an excellent tide-me-over.  It works for everything but football, and allows you to participate in specialized games and send your scores to friends. They can try to best you once online. It’s ultra convenient.

+ Simple and efficient menu.  If you’re used to Kinect games, you know how easy it is to navigate from one area to the next.

The So-So:

+/- Space is still the main obstacle for some.  Some events require you to shift from left to right of the Kinect sensor. With a lack of space, your swings (especially for golf), won’t register properly.  The same goes for football and skiing.

The Bad:

– Football.  You only play offense, so half the game you’re inactive and have no way to prevent opponent touchdowns. Throwing the ball is also problematic, as you can’t move, so it’s easy to get sacked. When running, you have no way to avoid the opposition, so you only gain a few yards no matter how fast you book it.

– Darts is equally frustrating.  No matter where I stood, Kinect couldn’t follow my hand.  Anybody knows that accuracy is the key of the game. I tried tweaking the Kinect calibration, but all for naught.  My space is limited though, so perhaps the fault is mine.


The Ugly:

Witnessing my avatar attempting to perform a kick-off when the Kinect camera decides I’m standing too close.  Suddenly legs appear through my avatar’s head, my arms snap back 90 degrees the wrong way.  It isn’t pretty.

The Lowdown:

While improvements are clearly evident, control issues prevent Season Two from reaching the playoffs.  Nonetheless, if you want a game to play with your kids, this is a great option.

Average Score Scale: 7.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 7.0/10 (Neutral)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: Excellent for kids that own a Kinect; Skiing rules.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: Wonky controls and a large space requirement to play some of the games.