Remember when Rare produced some of the best platform games ever released? Banjo Kazooie, Conkers Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark? Ok, technically that last one is an FPS, but it was still a fantastic game.
Then Microsoft stole Rare away from Nintendo. The fans got excited – imagine the possibilities! If Rare could do that on a console such as the N64, what would they be able to do for the Xbox 360?
Kameo: Elements of Power.
Ah. Ok, well it was a release title, so I guess we can forgive them, right?
Rare seemed to fall a little into obscurity for a while, until the announcement of the Kinect, when we learned why the developers had been so quiet. They had been working closely with Microsoft to create the software (and to an extent, the hardware) which they wanted to rival the Nintendo Wii, which at the time was dominating living rooms thanks to sparking the imagination of the ‘casual gamer’.
Casual gaming became a huge deal, with games such as Mario Party, Rabbids and Wii Sports selling like hotcakes. It was only natural for Microsoft to want a piece of the action.
Their answer: Kinect Sports, a release title for the Kinect. Despite the Kinect’s problems, Kinect Sports coped well and the result is a surprisingly fun, and not to mention surprisingly tiring game which utilised the control dynamics exceptionally. Kinect Sports 2 struggled to reignite everybody’s love for the original (with perhaps a less interesting lineup of games), so did that mean the death of the franchise was imminent?
Well, it certainly isn’t yet. Kinect Sports Rivals is on its way for Xbox One, which together with Kinect 2.0 should bring a new lease of life to the franchise. It was the lack of 1:1 movement with Kinect which hurt the fluidity of the gameplay, but now that Kinect 2.0 is closer to achieving this, gameplay should be smoother, faster and a lot more accurate. Whereas Kinect could pick up 2 people and 20 joints, Kinect 2.0 can pick up 6 people and 25 joints, so wrist and finger movements now play an integral part in the controls.
So what are the games? It’s been confirmed that we will have rock climbing, tennis, bowling, target shooting, jet skis, and (my personal favourite from Kinect Sports) soccer. It’s great to see that Rare have taken some of the previous games and brought them in to the new generation, because if they were fun with the pervious Kinect, then they’re certain to be fun with the improved version.
What stands out in Kinect Sports Rivals is the new avatar you will play as. Kinect can read your face and body and shape your character around you – with surprisingly accurate results. Gone are the Mii style cartoon avatars and instead we have a semi-realistic style which is almost spooky in its accuracy. Rare have billed these avatars as Champions, and will represent you whenever you play the game.
The game was playable at Gamescom, the annual gaming convention held in Germany, and feedback from those who played the title was nothing but positive. I think gamers are still a little apprehensive to fully embrace motion controls (myself included) but Kinect Sports Rivals looks like it may be one of those games to finally give people faith.
Multiplayer and interactivity seem to be a huge focus Kinect Sports Rivals – Rare have stated that even when you’re not playing the game yourself, you’re still playing. Essentially your character is uploaded to the cloud and will play as an A.I. on somebody else’s console even when they’re not playing online. It’s going to add an extra thrill to check your players stats every time you log in to the game.
The game looks like fantastic fun, and Kinect 2.0 is just what the series needed to bring it back in to the forefront of motion based gaming. The game is due for release in Q2 of 2014, so keep your eye on this page for more information soon.
To read an interview with Rare on Kinect Sports Rivals check out news.xbox.com
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 9/12/2013
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