Ubisoft had a tough time and some stiff competition with their first attempt at a Kinect sports compilation, but they haven't thrown in the towel yet. This time around they chose to focus on six extreme sports to try and spice things up, but did they improve on the controls which were the biggest problem in their first attempt? Can this sports compilation get your adrenaline pumping, or will it leave you feeling like you just finished a heaping helping of Thanksgiving Turkey?
MotionSports Adrenaline promises to throw you virtually into six extreme sporting events which include: Kite Surfing, Mountain Biking, Wingsuit Skydiving, Rock Climbing, Extreme Skiing and Kayaking. Altogether, it’s an impressive offering of sports that have either never been done, or rarely done in a video-game. This should give Ubisoft an edge on the competition making it stand out in the ever growing crowd of sports compilation games flooding the Kinect library.
First off, there are three modes of play offered: Quick Play – Lets you play alone, or with a friend in an event of your choice. -- Adrenaline Party – Supports up to four players. You are entered into a competition of 10 randomly chosen activities with the person with the highest score at the end of the event being the winner. -- You Against The World – Allows you to compete against other players from around the world. This option requires that you sign up for a free Ubisoft’s Uplay account which seems a little unnecessary considering you are already logged into Xbox Live. It is one of the most interesting parts of the game though as it allows you to accept and give challenges to players from around the world via popups that occur during certain parts of a level.
The object of each event is essentially the same. Get to the finish line in as little time as possible while avoiding all obstacles that are thrown in your path. To build your score further, you need to collect coins and perform as many stunts as you can to build your boost meter and give you a slight advantage.
At the end of each event, you will see your unlock meter build based on your performance. If you earned enough adrenaline points, you will unlock another location or piece of clothing that is supposed to give you a boost in that event. Since there are only two to three levels for each event, it does not take long to unlock them all. Unlocking all the clothing on the other hand does take a bit of work, but can still be done in a few hours.
The first thing I noticed when starting the game is the annoying menu system. It’s not so bad when there are only a couple options presented to you, but when there are more than two options, you get a glimpse of the precision problems you can expect in the rest of the game. To make a selection, you move your hand up and down, then sliding it to the left or right to accept. It sounds simple enough, but it jumps around far too much making it difficult at times to make your selection. It may not have been as original, but I would have preferred the more traditional Kinect approach (moving your cursor around and make a selection)
How the controls work, or "should" work
Considering the range of sports offered in this title, and the fact that it requires the Kinect, you can pretty much guess how the controls work, or dare I say “should” work. All too many times I found that my actions were not represented on the screen or were delayed which for a game that focuses so much on speed and quick timing can be a deal breaker.
Most events require you to lean to one direction or the other to move, reach out to grab objects and duck or jump to avoid obstacles. Thankfully there is no running involved on this one. There were slight modifications to this approach when Mountain Biking, Kite Surfing and Kayaking as the game makes you pretend to hold handle bars or paddles. It works, but feels a bit awkward and unnatural due to lack of physical feedback. The best event for control would have to be Wingsuite Skydiving since it felt the most natural. On the other end of the spectrum though, I found Mountain Climbing to be an exercise in pure frustration. I often found myself waving my arms around trying to get the character to grab a crack or reach out for a coin and it just would not register. This left me waving my arms around like someone who can’t swim that was just pushed into a pool trying to grab at something that just wasn’t there. Just to be on the safe side I had a couple friends try and the feeling was mutual.
In each all events, you will see a silhouette of pose pop up on the screen. When you see this you have to think quickly and try to mimic that pose. If done correctly and on time, you will perform a special stunt and help build your boost meter.
All too often I found that there was a noticeable delay from when I made a move and when it was picked up. When this happens, you often find yourself flailing your arms around in an attempt to get the game to respond. This lag happens all too often and can really take you out of the feel of the game. (so much for the adrenaline). I will say one thing though. I can kind of understand why the game is sponsored by Degree Deodorant. It really will make you sweat if you put your all into several events in a row (jumping, dodging, ducking and posing), but really Ubisoft, the overabundance of Degree ads on every menu and signs in the game is simply tacky. I could possibly understand if this was a bargain title, and not a game that costs $50.
The Blur of Motion
Considering the "Extreme" nature of these events, you would hope to see a lot of high quality textures and fast moving frame rates to get your "adrenaline pumping". When you first jump out of the plane, you get a brief moment of ahhhhh, but after that, and in most of the other events, this just was not the case. I found that even the motion blur's in skydiving and mountain biking seemed a bit pixelated. Also there are slight pauses that occur more frequently than a lemming jumping off a cliff which really hurt any chance of feeling any sort of immersion into the game. In most cases the pauses happen when trying to pose to pull off a trick and really couldn’t happen at a worst possible time.
If you like the music that goes hand in hand with extreme sports, then you will get what you expect. The music is typical for those used to extreme sports and is quite good, but I found the playlist a little too short. In the course of a couple hours, I heard the same songs several times. Sound effects were the typical grunts, water, and wind and neither hurt or do anything to boost the games atmosphere.
Ubisoft had great hopes and ambition when planning and creating MotionSports Adrenaline, but when an fast paced extreme sports game has unresponsive controls, it leaves you feeling very let down and frustrated. Although the scenery is nice, and the selection of events is interesting, it’s not enough to keep you coming back for more.
- Interesting selection of events you more than likely will never have the opportunity or guts to try for real
- World wide multi-player challenges
- Music sets the mood
- Limited replay value
- Most events play pretty much the same
- Multi-player requires a Uplay account (free but anoying at best).
- Uplay actually exits you out of the game in order to connect
- Degree ads appear everywhere
Quote: "Ubisoft had great hopes and ambition when planning and creating MotionSports Adrenaline, but when an fast paced extreme sports game has unresponsive controls, it leaves you feeling very let down and frustrated."
Reviewed by Jim Holiko | 12.06.11
Similar Games: Kinect Sports (6.2) | Kinect Adventures (7.0)