Kinect won’t go out with the Xbox 360. It will continue on in some way, shape and form — and perhaps even another name — when the next Xbox launches before the end of the year (probably 2020 in Australia).
The hardware has for better or worse redefined Microsoft and its Xbox brand’s placement in the market, shifting from the “hardcore” Halo crowd to the casual “core” crowd that might be so inclined to use voice recognition when playing Mass Effect 3.
In other words, it serves a purpose, but at this stage, it’s never truly gone above and beyond to enhance an experience for the better.
Well, at least not in all games it’s included in. The Kinect-only demo games like Kinect Adventures are supposed to get the hardware right, so which games are either built around or implement the motion-sensing device to its best capacity?
Below are fives games I feel provide the best Kinect has to offer.
Child of Eden
This ambitious experience is artistically driven, offering a burst of colour and inventiveness through its intriguing narrative and fascinating visuals. Kinect gameplay is immersive and empowering, although the game is still plenty of fun with a standard controller, just not quite as memorable. Child of Eden is a game that must be played with Kinect.
Dance Central series
The Dance Central series has gone from strength-to-strength since launching alongside Kinect in 2011. As far as using Kinect’s motion-controls to the best capacity, the series relies on expertly choreographed moves to challenge (and frustrate) you, bringing with it a solid track listing to keep you coming back. It’s probably as close to perfect for a dancing game as you can get.
This game went tragically under-the-radar, but it manages to use Kinect’s controls joyously to offer an entertainment, funny and at-times challenging experience. It’s simple but surprisingly engaging, and while its motion controls aren’t perfect — you sometimes need to flick your wrist two or three times for the character to shoot — the mechanics are implemented in such a way to keep the experience firmly embedded in cheeky simplicity.
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
Gameplay varies quite a bit in Once Upon a Monster, offering an ever-changing and engaging experience for younger gamers. Some mini-games require basic problem-solving skills, while others rely on movement and the following of directions on-screen. The game is designed for children and is thankfully very kid-friendly, rarely punishing for mistimed movements or other mistakes. Kinect tracks movements quite accurately and the game is quite inviting for guardians to jump in and help out without compromising Kinect’s ability to track movement.
So I’m one of those guys that plays ENTIRE matches in NBA games. That’s full 12-minute quarters. And full seasons. All 82 games. So you can probably imagine that I like to play as close to the real thing as possible. Kinect actually ENHANCES NBA 2K13’s simulation capabilities. It makes calling plays — and there’s a CRAP TONNE of them — and calling for picks easier than when using the controller, because all you need to do is say what play you want to run, or what defense you want to use, and the players will move accordingly. It works really well.