Features// Kinect: The Year Ahead

Posted 14 Jul 2011 14:39 by
Kinect. It?s been a bit underwhelming really, hasn?t it? At least it has, if you fancy yourself as one of those ?core gamers?.

For everyone else, it?s been bloody marvelous. It can be quite easy to have a pop at Microsoft for adopting the same ?blue ocean? strategy that Nintendo made famous with the Wii, but it?s sold over 10 million of the buggers because of it.

And as we head into the holiday season, it?s clear that Microsoft wants to push away from the initial wave of fitness clones and dancing titles in order to bring back that core audience. They said it couldn?t be done. But I went to a showcase event in London last week that really proved... it couldn?t be done. At least not for a while yet.

We all know that the turning point for accuracy and fidelity in Kinect games came with Q Entertainment?s sublime Child of Eden, released last month. Similarly, Microsoft is broadening the horizons of what Kinect can do when it released Funlabs shortly after E3 - an application that scans objects with the camera and can be interacted with using your body.

What developers are really trying to drive home though, is that gamers will finally be able to experience free-roaming, core games using simple gestures to explore open worlds. SEGA?s Rise of Nightmares adopts a free-roaming concept against a gruesome hammer horror backdrop.

Playing as Josh, a chap who?s unwittingly ended up kidnapped by a Frankenstein-esque doctor after a train crash, your aim is to escape the Hostel-style dungeons and survive the attacks of many grim enemies along the way. Putting one foot in front of the other allows Josh to walk forward, while turning your shoulders makes him turn.

I saw a sequence where you battled a zombified chap who looks like something out of a Japanese visual kei band - the idea is to swing your arms around like a chimp to smack the shit out of him. An assortment of weapons can be picked up from the ground, like lead pipes and electrified gloves, to do your bidding. It was one interesting way to tackle free-roaming, and perhaps the best-designed.

Another approach came from the unlikeliest of places - Frontier?s Disneyland Adventures. Yes, we all saw the demo at E3 and it was cheesy as all hell. But what we didn?t see was the expansive hub world, designed to be an exact replica of Anaheim?s Disneyland theme park. Controlling the kid on screen is a matter of pointing your hand at a part of the game world to direct their movement. A bit like a point and click adventure really. Point and hand, maybe.

There did seem to be some detection issues, and maybe holding your hand up for extended periods of time could be troublesome on the arms, but I?m sure Frontier?s considered all the angles. I was shown the railcart minigame again and kind of wanted to die though. Good for kids, like.

Gunstringer was one of the most intriguing though, aiming to replicate a dual-stick run-and-gunner using your hands. Your left hand would guide the cowboy marionette by moving left and right, while the right hand would imitate a gun and be used to aim. Line up a string of lock-on targets and you flicked back your hand to fire your bullets. There was an interesting cover-based scene as well, where you were able to peek around barrels and shoot the crap out of enemy puppets at will.
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Comments

PaulRayment 15 Jul 2011 08:32
1/1
Well that's a lot to look forward to. I think what's been most interesting about Kinect is the price - It didn't take long for that 130 with Kinect Adventures to go below 100. I picked mine up for 75. For that price I was willing to give it a punt. Sure, it's not perfect but for that price it puts it in the Guitar Hero world. Heck, I have an arcade stick worth more than that at home. I do wonder how many they would have sold sub 100.
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