"Better With Kinect" Becoming A Reality

 

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

We’ve been seeing those words on more and more Xbox 360 games, “Better With Kinect”. I was a bit skeptical at first, but lately I have to admit that I’m sold on Kinect integration with pretty much any game on the Xbox 360, as long as it’s done with the same kind of care we’ve seen in Forza Motorsport 4.

It wasn’t too long after this past E3 where Microsoft came out and said every first party title would feature some kind of Kinect integration, some people complained, some were happy and some were just indifferent about the whole thing. If it’s just optional Kinect support I’m all for it, I think you need to keep it optional for titles like Halo, Gears, Forza and the other Microsoft heavy hitters. I honestly don’t think people have an issue with Kinect optional games, it adds quite a bit to the game and gives Kinect owners a little something extra. Can we really blame Microsoft for trying to put Kinect integration in as many titles as possible? Kinect was a huge gamble and investment and people who spent money on the device want to see some games.

The first time I saw a Kinect optional game was the pretty awful Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1, in which you could do some spell casting and complete some mini-games with Kinect. Needless to say I wasn’t too impressed and I was hoping to see some better Kinect implementation at some point. Then earlier this year a great little game came out called Child Of Eden, the game was fantastic, fun and best of all it was “core”. Which is something opponents of Kinect have said the device was incapable of achieving. You could play Child Of Eden with a standard Xbox 360 controller, but where the game really shined was when you played the game with Kinect. The game actually felt like it was made for the device, if you played on a big screen HDTV, you were in for a treat. The game played with Kinect immersed you into a wild, music filled world and it’s still one of my personal top games of this year.

So after Child Of Eden I started to get excited about the possibilities of games having optional Kinect support, we even heard Halo CE Anniversary is going to have some sort of support, speculation has even started about Halo 4, which is slated to come out next year around the holidays. As I said earlier, it only makes sense for Microsoft to add Kinect support, but they have to do so in a way that doesn’t threaten the everyday core fans. I think that Microsoft needs to lose the whole “You are the controller” mantra first though. I like a lot of the Kinect titles that are Kinect only, I believe Sega moved in the right direction with Rise Of Nightmares, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a solid start. Gunstringer also proved Kinect is viable to core gamer’s and that even a game on rails can be fun. I think there needs to be a solid mixture that blurs the line in the future, keep pumping out those types of titles, but also keep putting Kinect as an option for other titles as well.

This past Tuesday saw the release of Forza Motorsport 4, and it’s hard to get a more “core” game then that one, yet it has a ton of great Kinect options. You could easily play the majority of the game with Kinect if you wanted to. Navigate menus with either hand gestures or voice commands, you can also enjoy the new Autovista mode, where you can open car doors, look under the hood and even start the engines of your cars. It’s all very interactive and a heck of a lot of fun. When Kinect released one of its release games was a racing game called Joy Ride, well Forza 4 has a more complete game for Kinect than that Kinect only game. You can race and even have two player split screen races with Kinect om Forza Motorsport 4, one of the best Kinect optional aspects of the game is the head tracking feature, which let’s you look to the left and right and the camera looks to those sides so you can check where your competition is. I’ve heard more people talk about buying Kinect strictly for use in Forza 4, then at any other time or with any other game.

I definitely feel thus far Forza Motorsport 4 gives you the most optional Kinect usage, and with Kinect being enabled with the new Xbox 360 dashboard update that features the Bing search engine, I think Microsoft might be on to something. Controlling menus and content with simple voice commands is fun, easy and quite futuristic, the fact that it works well proves the tech is right where it needs to be. Child Of Eden and Forza Motorsport 4 have proven to me without a doubt that Kinect options are great options when done right, as long as it’s not tacked on or rushed, I feel like I actually will start to look forward to Kinect support options with future Xbox 360 titles.

Next year we already know about the Kinect integration with Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon Future Soldier, both look and sound like exciting options to Kinect owners. Microsoft is seeing to it that the term “Better With Kinect” is more than just random talk, it’s definitely become a reality and as a Kinect owner, I couldn’t be happier with that.

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