The game of the week for this week's Retro Weekly is one that is very close to my heart: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Is The Kinect Worth It?
For nearly two years, Microsoft’s motion sensor has been out and boasting sales of 18 million. There is no denying the drive to the sensor that consumers have nor its award winning technology. With the Windows version of the sensor now out, it will be interesting to see if it catches fire on PCs or not. Since the Kinect’s initial release there have amazing hacks done to it on computers to add new functionality to the sensor. We’ve seen World of Warcraft played with the Kinect. We’ve seen how the Kinect could help doctors on the operating table. It is truly amazing what this thing could do. However, that’s the key word here: could. So far on its native homeland of the Xbox 360, the Kinect has been the focus of a new dashboard redesign but has barely any noticeable software to back it up.
Most of the Kinect games out there are made for non-core gamers. Halo Anniversary and Mass Effect 3 have Kinect capabilities but are nothing short of voice commands which sometimes don’t work or are too delayed to be useful. However, we’re going to breakdown by groups of gamers and determine if the Kinect is worth it.
Maybe you have a family that enjoys playing games together. Lucky you! I can see a lot families like this in the near future which spells great news for the Kinect. Most of the games in the Kinect library have great premises for family-oriented fun. If you like dancing, you have plenty of choices to sort through. If you enjoy a bit of family rivalry, you can compare shooting accuracy or created heroes in some of the games. Whatever activity you feel like doing with your family, the Kinect probably has it.
Sports, dancing, shooting, adventure, game shows, fitness, and racing. All of these are represented for family play on the Kinect. Gather up the kids and the dog and get moving.
Suggested Games: Kinect Sports, Dance Central, Family Game Night 4, Disneyland Adventures, Just Dance.
Is it worth it for Families: YES
Playing by yourself with the Kinect means one thing: no one else can see how ridiculous you look! Games like Fruit Ninja and The Gunstringer could keep your attention for a while. If you are a fitness guru, you’ll be at home with the Kinect since there is a bevy of games out there to hit your different types of training and work outs. Aside from those, you may find some solace in some of the family games that allow single player play. Unlike families or parties, this is where the Kinect begins to lose steam.
Suggested Games: The Gunstringer, Fruit Ninja, EA Sports Active 2, Zumba, UFC Personal Trainer, Rise of Nightmares, PowerUP Heroes.
Is it worth it for Casuals: NOT YET… unless you like fitness.
Do you host a lot of parties? The Kinect could be a blast. There are a lot of multiplayer games on the Kinect that focus on fun. You could even make some adult beverage games out of some of them. People at parties tend to find amusement and fun in a lot of different areas and Kinect has a bevy of different types of games to satiate them. Once again, you’ll be swimming through a sea of dancing and fitness games to find your preferred titles.
Suggested Games: Hole in the Wall, Twister Mania, Kinect Sports, Family Game Night 4, Kinect Adventures, Game Party: In Motion.
Is it worth it for Parties: YES
Not into fitness games or dancing? Can’t get into Fruit Ninja? You won’t find much to your liking here, then. You have Tiger Woods ’13 and a couple voice commands in Mass Effect and Halo. Core gamers are basically looking at the upcoming titles and hoping. If you already own a Kinect and are a core gamer, then you have some titles that may interest you but beyond that you won’t find much right now. Go talk to Master Chief or Commander Shepard if you’re feeling lonely.
Is it worth it for Core gamers: NO
There are a lot of announced games that are coming for the Kinect but most of the dates given are a while from now or TBA. Still, we have Ryse, Fable: The Journey, DragonBall Z Kinect, Minecraft, and Madden to try and change our minds on the sensor. Games for every group mentioned above have announced games for future release so new titles aren’t the problem. The slow down of news concerning new titles recently may be an issue later on, though.
Kinect 2.0 & The 720
A lot of spec rumors have come out about Microsoft’s next gen offering. One report from yesterday suggests that the 720 may have a 16-core CPU. Yes, 16-cores. If that is true then it is easily to come to the conclusion that Microsoft is trying to free up processing power for the Kinect. The 360 is holding back what the Kinect can really do. We’ve seen the much better functionality on the PC with all the hacks and mods. The delays in commands and movements that we see now may very well be the 360’s hardware is just not ready for the sensor.
This brings up another question entirely, though. Is the Kinect good enough for the 720? Will Microsoft shun 18 million people and create a Kinect 2.0? Doing so will most likely make the current sensor obsolete and useless. When you have plenty of critics out there already, is a new version of the Kinect a good idea? Too many questions. We may get the answers at this E3 or we’ll have to wait until 2013 to know for sure.
The Kinect just doesn’t have the library to justify the price tag. Unless you sit in the living room often with your family and want to spruce up your gaming time together, I would stay away from this right now. The Kinect is a very cool piece of tech and there is no doubt that it very well night be the future of gaming. However, if this is what we’re going to see from it then it will flop. The Kinect may have sold a butt ton of sensors but it has a Wii conundrum. Is it being used? Would you buy it again if you knew what you’d do with it? Would you buy it again after seeing how the gaming library has been? My guess would be a “no” to all of those questions.
A lot of the problems could be fixed with the 720 but are people willing to wait that long?
I want to like the Kinect but all I do with it is the occasional Hole in the Wall, Fruit Ninja, PoweredUp Heroes, and stopping my friends from controlling the system when I’m using a controller. The new dashboard design works great with the Kinect and the updates coming from apps like Netflix give you plenty to do with the sensor while not gaming. If you’re looking for a great new way to control the 360 then the Kinect is like a fancy new universal remote. If you want it for the gaming aspect, its main aspect, then hold off. Let’s see what E3 brings us as it may be a saving grace for the sensor. It could possibly be a final straw for fans, too.