Sunday, 26 August 2012

Kinectting to the motion future, kinda

A while ago I wrote my thoughts on the PlayStation Move, Sony's attempt at making motion control work. I concluded that while it works well with somethings, it is a largely unnecessary addition that they try and shoe horn into as many games as they can. So, I brought a Kinect (pre-owned cheap, no way would pay full price), and I can’t say that my feeling to the Kinect differ radically from the Move.

So the good stuff? It is integrated quite nicely into the Xbox dashboard, and you just leave it on all the time, and can be pretty easy to use. Certainly compared tp the PS3, II think it is safe to say that no one would use a Move to navigate the PlayStation dashboard. It has hand controls and voice controls. The voice controls actually work surprisingly well, being quite intuitive and responsive, and I have actually used then a couple of time instead of the pad. The hand gestures are not as useful as you pretty much have to stand in front of the TV to be recognised, OK if you are playing a game but less useful if looking for a movie on LoveFilm. I should point out that neither me or my wife have a strong accent of any kind.

Speaking of playing, how does the Kinect hold up. Perhaps it is a little harsh of me to judge as I have hardly played all the titles, however I am impressed, kind of. The most impressive being Dance Central, the problem I have always had with dance games, and this goes for the Wii and PlayStation, is that it is really only tracking your hands. However the Kinect seemed to be able to tell quite clearly what you are doing with all of your body. This seems to be born out with the couple of fitness titles I have tried too. The only real downside being that the kinect can't track two people. Also my living room is not huge, and we had to stick the couch on the other wall in order to get the best out of the Kinect.

Downsides? Well I am pretty damn sure it is not worth £120 pounds. I brought one off ebay with a fitness game and Dance Central for just shy of £50 which is far closer to reasonable. Also Halo Anniversary, unbeknownst to me at the time, has Kinect support. What the support is essentially amounts to, is doing things by talking to your telly, that you could have easily done with the pad. I discovered the Kinect features after talking to my wife whilst playing and the Master Chief sporadically lobbing grenades. Also having played The Gunstringer a bit, the game is fun but very slight. I suspect this would be true of most, if not all games Kinect games.

So the Kinect, for games at least, is just a silly fun little distraction. I find it hard to criticise it for that. If you see one cheap it may be worth picking one it up. However certainly not worth getting full price unless you love dancing.

NB I would love to hear from anyone who has tried Kinect for Windows. I am interested but it is way to expensive.

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