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Brief thoughts while wheels spin

Brad Gallaway's picture

Kinect Sports Screenshot

The Supreme Court seems to be a lot more savvy than the California lawyers pushing for game restrictions have bargained for. There are plenty of places online with transcript excerpts, and after reading some of those, I've got a whole new respect for some of those justices.

Oh, and Postal 2 was the main example California was using as something that should be restricted? Talk about clueless.

Kinect launched last night, but you didn't find me standing in line for one. The launch software is stunningly unimpressive, on top of the fact that it seems as though every games journalist in the world has forgotten that Sony's EyeToy ever existed.

I own an EyeToy and I've played the Kinect several times, and the two are basically the exact same thing. Of course, the Kinect is more advanced and (probably) better tech, but the fact remains that the two share the same general concept and perform essentially the same functions. Given this, I find it incredibly puzzling that not a single review or article I've read so far ever compares the two. Someone alert Rod Serling.

Gameplay-wise, I bailed on Red Dead Redemption's campaign for the time being. I might come back to it, but I had too many issues to really get immersed in it. Instead, I loaded up the Undead Nightmare DLC and although I only put a little bit of time into it, it's been a fun ride so far. I'll probably finish it up and then save the rest of Dead Redemption for some rainy day.

Apart from that, I've been juggling too many things... playing the co-op in Splinter Cell: Conviction with the wife, doing a level or two a day of Defense Grid, and still plinking around with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

I should really pick one or two of these and just power through, but while I'm sort of vaguely enjoying them all, none of them has really captured my attention or has engrossed me to the point that I'd put everything else on hold.

Hopefully something that knocks my socks off will come down the pipe sooner rather than later… can't say that I'm really a fan of feeling mired in the middle of so-so software.

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Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3  

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Get Dance Central

Dance Central appears to be the only well-reviewed game so far.

It might not even work well in apartments. I've heard lighting conditions must be perfect. Nobody knows for sure whether the games are just poorly coded or the hardware has inherent problems with lag.

If you did get suckered into buying it, a lot of the games are going to be in the bargain bin soon, so get Dance Central and hold off on the others.

Kinect

I'd say don't knock on Kinect until you've tried it.

I was skeptical of it, and I ended up buying Kinect Sports and Dance Central. So far, I have enjoyed both immensely.

It's hard to say if Kinect will have legs though. I remember the first day I bought a Wii -- I played Wii Sports for about an hour and later decided to play some "real games" when I was done with it. Yesterday, however, I played Kinect for about 5 hours straight, and I am paying for it dearly this morning.

It does require a bit of room to move around in however. As for the lighting, I was able to play with no issues with all the lights turned off, by the glow of the television.

As for the middling launch software, I'd say it looks pretty good juxtaposed to PS Move's launch several weeks ago.

I guess, in summation, I really like the Kinect, and I know that all of my friends/internet peers are going to ridicule me for it. :)

Motion Lag

For me, the lag is a real thorn in the side of the Kinect. I was at once surprised and disappointed by the time I spent with the peripheral at Best Buy.

Surprised because it actually worked, and it wasn't the boondoggle the internet had pegged it for.

Disappointed because the lag seems inherent to the hardware, and there doesn't seem to be any way around it. I was playing a kickball-esque game on Kinect Adventures, and I would have to "predict" where the balls would end up, and plan my moves accordingly.

If I reflexively moved as the balls came near, my onscreen avatar would mimic my actions a few seconds late, without fail.

If immersion is the goal, that's not going to cut it.

"A few seconds too late"

"A few seconds too late" too late is quite an exaggeration. It might not seem like much, but when lag is usually measured in miliseconds, it is a gross misrepresentation.

I picked up a kinect on launch night and have played it for close to five or six hours. While lag is present, it is not a few seconds. At worst, I experienced maybe half a second of lag.

Some games the lag isn't noticeable at all. For example, Dance Central does a great job of hiding the lag by making it invisible. Similarly, Kinect Sports makes some very good design decisions to hide the lag.

The lag exists, and it's something that will hopefully be eliminated with future iterations of the hardware or as developers become better with the software. I just wanted to temper the above poster's lag assertions with some lengthy, play-tested info.

Kinect space requirements

Much has been made about the space requirements, which isn't really the problem for us. The problem is that when you are required to stand at least 6 feet away from the television to play, and around 8-10 feet for two-player mode, we can hardly make out what's going on in the screen.

This is really a product for people with large plasma televisions.

Facts about Kinect

Spokker wrote:

Dance Central appears to be the only well-reviewed game so far.

It might not even work well in apartments. I've heard lighting conditions must be perfect. Nobody knows for sure whether the games are just poorly coded or the hardware has inherent problems with lag.

If you did get suckered into buying it, a lot of the games are going to be in the bargain bin soon, so get Dance Central and hold off on the others.

Spokker, it appears that you know nothing about the hardware/software you are criticizing. The Kinect does not have a problem playing the games in low-light/no-light sitatutions. It does need light to auto-log in a person for the dashboard, because it needs to recognize facial features (something IR can't do). Source: CNN

Dance Central seems to be the only Kinect game with an 80ish score on Metacritc. However, Kintesimals, Kinect Sports, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved are not that far behind. In any case, what games any person are going to like on the system are going to come down to personal preference. I (a 21 year old guy) would rather play the sports game or the animals game than the fitness game, but that really doesn't mean anything.

And on the lag front, many developers have come out and said lag could be eliminated. (Source: Gamasutra.com and Eurogamer.net)

Although lag is apparent in some of the current games, that does not make it a necessity.

Kinect lighting

"Spokker, it appears that you know nothing about the hardware/software you are criticizing. The Kinect does not have a problem playing the games in low-light/no-light sitatutions."

I said that lighting must be perfect, not that it only works in bright lighting. You can play Kinect in pitch darkness, but that won't mean much if you want to play it during the day and you can't completely control the amount of light coming into your home.

Lag could be eliminated, sure, but that lends much more credence to the opinion that you should give Kinect some time before plunging in.

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