Kinect for Xbox 360 Hands On
Formerly known as Project Natal, Kinect has been a bit of a mystery to us here at Game. But Microsoft put a stop to that today by allowing us to get hands-on (so to speak).
The basics of Kinect are that it will let you play and navigate with out the need of a controller. Instead of slouching in a cheer you'll need to get up and active in order to play.
We got to go head on with Kinect Joyride, Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. These were our impressions...
My Kinect playfest began with Joyride, a fun little driving game using your Xbox Avatar as the driver. To steer your car you hold your hands in the 10-2 position and steer like you would in a car (a bit like Mario Kart Wii, without the wheel!). You won't need to worry about accelerating as this is automatic, but you can boost by simply thrusting your hands forward and to send your car shooting into the screen.
Drifting is also in Joyride, and just like steering it's easy. Just lean into the turn with your body whilst steering with your hands and your car will start to slide around the corner. There are also jumps to hit and whilst in the air by you'll be able to pull of some pretty awesome tricks with simple hand gestures.
Next up was Kinect Adventures, which boasts several minigames that let youyou're your body to control the on-screen action.
First up was the river rapids game, which saw me and my colleague, Chris, stood side-by-side as we navigated a perilous rapid river in a little rubber dingy. It's crucial to point out at this point that if you are playing cooperatively on Kinect Adventures, communication is key.
To begin with we stepped independently and jumped at different times, which got us around some of the obstacles in our way but by the smallest of margins. It wasn't until we started yelling "LEFT" "RIGHT" and "JUMP" that we started to make good progress in missing obstacles and gaining greater height by jumping at the same time.
We then tried a game in Kinect Adventures where we needed to duck, jump and sidestep obstacles whilst riding on a cart on tracks, which was pretty fun. Next we tried a game where we hit red balls at blocks, which broke revealing targets beneath them.
My time with Kinect proved to me that it's much better than I thought it would be.
Kinect Joyride and the Bowling game in Kinect Sports were fun and the responsiveness was impressive. Navigating the menus by swishing your arms around is awesome as well, straight out of a sci-fi spaceship!
My only concern is that the games I tried weren't quite enough to carry the device by themselves - but I'm sure more titles will arrive once developers get to grips with this incredibly clever piece of kit.
All in all, I'm pleasantly surprised!
There's no doubting Kinect is cool. I loved being able to move my hands and navigate a menu, or runnin and jumping about to watch my little avatar do the same!(that's right your Xbox avatar is you in the game, so seeing my little gear of war running around would be wicked!)
Having one of your friends jump into the game just in time to push your raft round that rock in the rapids is a really nice feature, too; anyone who walks within the scope of the Kinect camera can jump in to the game and help you out!
Kinect is a serious bit of kit, and I truly believe that in a couple of years when developers have had some time, to go all out, we will see some incredible titles and have some awesome fun!
The 2009 Xbox E3 conference had me whooping and hollering at my PC monitor, with Microsoft's sci-fi Kinect video and demonstrations hinting at an entirely new way to play games. As you can imagine, I was more than excited to finally get a go with what's being touted as the future of Xbox gaming!
I started with the bowling game in Kinect Sports, which was even easier to play than the famous Wii Sports interation of Fred Flintstone's favourite pastime. With the camera swooped in behind my on-screen Avatar, I reached down to my right to make him pick up a ball, then held it in front of my head to aim, and, to my delight, got a strike on my first throw, with the Kinect camera managing to pick up the spin I naturally impart on a bowling ball in real life, and translate it to the screen in much the same way.
Next up was a swift go on the athletics mode of Kinect Sports, which had my same Avatar running a hurdles race. For me, that meant running on the spot - the faster I did so, the faster my Avatar sprinted - and hopping up in the air when the upcoming on-screen hurdle turned green as I closed in on it. Luckily no actual hurdling skills were required!
Obviously there's a big question mark about how Kinect will handle titles for 'core gamers', and the selection of games on show when Microsoft headed to GAME HQ was never going to answer that. What it did show us though was how responsive Kinect is to movement, which can only be a good thing; the crowds of people cheering and laughing as people jumped, bounced and yelped as Tom and Chris played on Kinect Adventures(and as I crashed through my fourth hurdle in a row... *sadface*) would attest to that.
Put that together with some of the videos Microsoft have already shown and you start to build up a picture of the kind of experiences Kinect will offer. Can you imagine playing a first-person adventure game where you can walk in the spot to move, grab in-game items with your arms to solve puzzles, thrust your arms to slice a sword, and talk to characters using your actual voice?
The possibilities are practically limitless. I am excited!
So, summing up...
Our time with Kinect was brief, but it was responsive and fun. Kinect is an outstanding piece of kit with some great software due out at launch and shortly after. It will bring friends and families together around one screen to have a laugh without having to master button controls in order to have fun.
Check out the video from launch night at GAME Oxford Street!