|System: X360 (KINECT)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Microsoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: N/A||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
For several reasons, many people will find the experience frustrating when trying to play in an apartment or small room. The camera needs at least six feet of clear space in front of the player to capture their movements, and you probably want at least nine or ten. That's tough to do in any living room, let alone an apartment. The space restrictions are even more important if you're tall. Tall people will need extra space to be able to fit their feet and head inside the camera's viewing angle. Furthermore, many games require you to jump in the air repeatedly. After playing nearly a dozen Kinect games over the last couple days, my neighbors probably despise me. It's hard to be a polite neighbor when a game requires me to launch my 190-pound body into the air a dozen times per race, which can send booms and vibrations shaking through the entire building. Kinect is ideal for a large home with a sturdy floor.
Kinect represents a great opportunity for Microsoft. The glamour of Nintendo Wii is finally fading from the public eye, and there's a new opening for technology to grab the mass consumer's attention. Microsoft is seemingly copying Nintendo's strategy verbatim. They're releasing in early November so that there's enough time to build an installed base before Thanksgiving and the all-important shopping holiday, Black Friday. Wii succeeded largely because gamers were showing off their new motion control gaming system to their relatives during the holiday. Then the next morning millions of people rushed out, convinced it was the perfect Christmas gift. Over the years, Wii has had two standout successes. Dance games, like the runaway hit Just Dance, and exercise games barely existed before Wii. Now Microsoft has created a system that does those two things perfectly in an attempt to take control of the market Wii created.
And it has the chops to do so. If Microsoft can sell enough copies of Dance Central before Thanksgiving, then I believe this system will capture that hearts of millions of people interested in dancing and workout games this Christmas.
Kinect has gotten a lot of flak leading up to its release, as people complained that they want to use games to relax, and Kinect forces you to stand up and be active. This is true. However, it's attached to an Xbox 360 which certainly allows you the privilege of slacking off and relaxing. Kinect is made to enhance active and energetic games. By and large, it does this pretty well. Kinect gets you off the couch and often provides a great workout. If that's not what you're into (or not what you're into that particular day), your Xbox 360 still has you covered.
Kinect isn't a hardcore peripheral. Developers aren't going to be able to create the deep, compelling experiences hardcore gamers crave without the privilege of using buttons. However, if dancing or getting in shape is your passion, then Kinect is going to open up a whole new world of possibilities untouched by Wii or Move.
CCC Freelance Writer