Microsoft

What the hell? Kinect Sports Rivals isn’t terrible!

What the hell? Kinect Sports Rivals isn’t terrible!

The Kinect may have sold well, but there wasn’t much to get excited about in terms of games outside of a few dance titles. Many experiences were made frustrating due to the motion controls, not fun. So I wasn’t exactly all that excited to try the jet-skiing game from the upcoming Kinect Sports Rivals.

The good news is that it works. You hold your hand flat to begin, and then clench your first to pump the throttle, mimicking the motion of working the handle on an actual jet ski. So that’s pretty neat, and it shows the Xbox One’s ability to pick out much finer motion than the first-generation Kinect.

Turning is handled by moving your hands as if you’re riding a bike. Move one hand forward and the other back, and you turn in one direction. Reverse the motion and you turn in the other. I found myself leaning my body in the turns, but it was hard to tell if that motion was helping, or if it was just something my brain thought made sense.

The hardware is able to pick up subtle movements, and it felt great to be able to make small adjustments to your racing line even as you move across what can be some pretty choppy water. Imagine a motion-controlled Wave Race and you have the right idea, although the hardware did have trouble picking up the kicking movement you have to make to activate the boost.

Still, this was already a much better and more satisfying experience than nearly anything I’ve used on the first Kinect, and I’m looking forward to really testing what works and what doesn’t when I get the game at home, away from the controlled environment of the Microsoft event. There will be a bundle of five minigames released for free at the launch of the Xbox One, so you don’t really have a reason not to try it if you’re picking up a launch unit.

I’m not saying it’s a good game, not yet, but my experience was promising. I’ll admit that my expectations were very low, but now I’m looking forward to at least trying the other events.