26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Great follow-up to Kinect Sports,
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This review is from: Kinect Sports Season Two (Video Game)
I'll preface this review by saying that I was a huge fan of Kinect Sports. Kinect Sports should be a part of every Kinect gamer's library.
While Kinect Sports was fairly global in its sports, Kinect Sports is leans more heavily toward American sports. You get football, baseball, golf, tennis, darts, and skiing as your main events. You also have a number of game activities based on the aforementioned sports. It's a solid package and is one of the few Kinect titles that offer online play.
In addition to the game itself, there is a free download (DLC aka downloadable content) for Kinect Sports Season 2 called the Kinect Sports: Season Two - Challenge Pack #1. This DLC adds more game modes and as well as challenges to send to friends. Each sport receives a new experience: Crazy Kicker (Football), Frantic Fielder (Baseball), Cool Ringings (Skiing), Champion Chip (Golf), Rapid Returner (Tennis) and Smart Shot (Darts).
The main football event allows single player, multiplayer, and Xbox Live match play. Single player is you against the computer. Multiplayer is a 2-player game. You can either play against each other (VS) or with each other (CO-OP). Xbox Live match play is where can play against people through the Internet. Xbox Live online play requires an Xbox Live Gold account as the Xbox Live Free account does not allow online multiplayer.
The scope of the football game is fairly limited. There are 3 difficulty levels (rookie, pro, champion). You can return kickoffs and play as the quarterback and wide receiver. There is no defensive play which is a disappointment. As soon as you receive the kickoff, you are to sprint down the field. Your character will handle the juking while you provide the locomotion. The higher you lift your knees, the faster your character will sprint. Once you have been tackled and have become the quarterback, you have 2 options. You can either let the computer pick a play for you to run (called Coach's pick) or you can select playbook and manually choose a play. If you chose to manually choose a play, you have a small selection of plays. You only have 4 downs to go the entire field but don't worry. All the plays can net you a lot of yards. 20-40 yard plays are very commonplace. On fourth down, you can choose to kick the field goal.
You can either play by going through the motions or using voice commands. Both work well but it felt more like football to go through the motions. For example, you crouch to get under the center, and then when you want to hike, you stand up. Or with voice, you would say "ready, hike". As the quarterback, once you hike the ball, your receivers will sprint down the field. When the wide receiver is open, the icon above their head will turn green. So it's a matter of recognizing who is open. You can throw to a receiver when their icon is not green but your chance of completion drops. To throw to the receiver, you just pivot your body and throw. The harder you throw, the more chance you have to have the receiver catch the ball in stride instead of stopping for the ball and then running. Catching the ball in stride increases your chance of running the distance to the end zone. Once you have thrown the ball as the quarterback, you instantly switch to being the receiver. Once you catch the ball, you simply sprint for the end zone, with the computer handling the juking and dodging of defensive players. In case you haven't realized it yet, there is a lot of sprinting in this game!!! Once you score a touchdown, kick the field goal, or turn the ball over on downs, the computer's offense will take over. You then watch whether the computer can score. You do not get to play defense. After that, the ball comes back to you and you keep going back and forth until the time runs out.
Football is a lot of fun. It is very tiring because you have to sprint every few seconds. If you hated the track and field in Kinect Sports 1, you may hate the constant sprinting in football. While the game play is great and fun, it's very limiting. You only 6 plays to choose from and they're all passing plays (though since you have to go the entire field with only 4 downs, you wouldn't want to do running plays). Also, the inability to play defense is disappointing. The football may also be better with single player than multiplayer because in single player, you are playing both the QB and the wide receiver. If you are playing co-op with a friend, you either get to be the QB or get to be the receiver. The QB only has to turn and throw the ball. The wide receiver has to do all the running. However, if you are playing against your friend, both of you have to be QB and receiver. You can use either your voice or your body, and you'll find out you'll like a combination of both. For example, when selecting plays, I just say the play.
No minigames for football come on the disc. You must download the free Kinect Sports: Season Two - Challenge Pack #1 in order to get the Crazy Kicker minigame. Crazy Kicker is great fun and is a football minigame. If you've played the soccer minigames of Kinect Sports 1, you'll feel right at home. In this case, with Crazy Kicker, you are the field goal kicker. The football is placed at different locations around the football field and you have to kick the field goal. So you'll be moving your body to the left or right side of the room to orient your character for the kick. Then you kick the ball. It's a timed even so the faster you kick, the more points you can score. You definitely can't dawdle if you expect to get a good score. In addition to distance and position, there are other factors such as the wind. You are given a number of footballs to begin with. Miss a kick and you lose a football. Lose all your footballs and your game is over. This was a lot of fun. I actually felt like a field goal kicker, keeping in mind angle and the wind speed. I may actually like this minigame than the actual football game.
Baseball is decent. Not bad. Not spectacular. Though I must preface that I was never a baseball fan. You also have single player, multiplayer, and Xbox Live online multiplayer. You have either the fastball or the curve ball. You can change the speed of the ball depending on whether you step forward on your pitch. It's very simplistic baseball. Pitching against the computer is not much fun. It's much more interesting against a human opponent. If you play against the computer, they will give you a scouting report on what pitches your particular opponent is known to have a weakness. For example, they'll say the player is weak on slow curve balls. Now, this just tells the tendency of the player. It does not guarantee that they won't smash your slow curve ball out of the park. It's set up like football in that you are first the batter. Then once you hit the ball, you have to sprint to first base. If your hit is multiple bases or a home run, you do not have to sprint. But if it's a grounder, you have to sprint to beat out the ball. Again, keep your knees high for maximum speed. Batting is definitely more fun than pitching in this game. They don't let you play a full 9 innings though.
The baseball minigame that comes on the disc is Home Run Hero. In this, you take multiple swings of the bat just like a home run derby. It tallies the distance on all the balls rather than just counting home runs. So you are aiming for the great total distance of all your hits. With Kinect Sports: Season Two - Challenge Pack #1, you get the Frantic Fielder minigame. This is very similar to the minigame in beach volleyball of Kinect Sports 1. You have to reach out to catch the baseballs coming at you. Sometimes the ball will bounce out of your mitt so you have a second opportunity to catch any misses. Once you missed a number of baseballs, the game is over. This one is not as fun as the minigame in volleyball of Kinect Sports.
Darts is a surprisingly good time. There is only 1 darts game available called 501. You are competing against either a computer player or a human and you get 3 throws per turn. Both of you start at 501 and you have to count down to exactly 0. So if on the first dart, you hit a triple 20, second dart you have a single 20, and third dart, you hit a 17, then that round, you scored 97 so 97 will be taken off your score. You must end the game on a double in order to win which increases the difficulty. So for example, if you need 20 to win, you cannot simply hit 20 to win. You would do something like hit a 10 and then a double 5. Or 16 and then a double 2. The game is quite accurate and fun. You'll be honing your breathing technique to just hit that triple 20. And when you hit, it feels like you earned it. When you miss, you'll feel like you did pull the dart at the end of your throw. But because the only darts game is 501, you end up not having to aim for the bulleye because a triple 20 is worth more than the bulleye. So you'll be staring at triple 20 an awful lot. Sure you can go for 50 in the bulleye and if you miss, you'll get 25. But go for the triple 20 and if you miss, you'll get 20. Higher risk but higher reward.
The minigame included on the disc is Pop Darts. This is like your carnival game. You have a spinning board with balloons that you have to pop. There is a person attached to the board which you are not supposed to him. It's basically a speed game where you have to be accurate. The other minigame is called Smart Darts and this is a lot of fun (but then again, I'm a geek). Smart Shots is an awesome darts game. If you've played Brain Age or Body and Brain, you'll feel right at home. They'll show a simple math equation that you have to solve, e.g., 2 + 3 = ?. So after you solve the equation, you have to find and then hit that number on the dartboard. So if they say 40 / 2, you have to hit 20 on the board. It's a timed event so you have to work fast. This is a great challenge game and is fun because it requires quick thought, quick identification of the number on the board, and then accuracy in hitting the target.
The game of golf is a lot of fun. The only negative is you cannot play a full 18 holes. Then again, the 9 holes game does take awhile to finish. Your options are the front 9 holes, a 3 hole match, or a single hole match. You can change clubs, view the hole, change the direction of your shot, etc. It's a lot of fun. The computer will pick the club it feels is most appropriate for the shot but you can change it any any time. The voice commands work great for this. You can raise your hand to your eyebrows which will let you see a bird's eye swooping view of the hole, just like on TV. While in your golf swing stance, you can walk forward or backward (not actually toward or away but rather on a horizontal line from the TV) to change the direction of your swing. You can even crouch like a golfer to see the terrain better but it's more cute than useful. When they kick in the wind, the graphics make it look like a hurricane which is funny. The drives feel good. The putts feel good. Just a solid game if you like golf. You will definitely want to play more aggressively than the computer's suggested shot, especially on the dog legs.
The minigames include Ocean Driver and Champion Chip. Ocean Driver comes on the disc. You have to drive the ball to a bulleye on an island and the closer you get, the more points you get. This one is not as interesting as Champion Chip. Champion Chip is obtained via the Kinect Sports: Season Two - Challenge Pack #1 download. Champion Chip is a golf minigame and is akin to hitting a bulleye target. Surrounding the putting hole is concentric circles. The closer you get to the hole, the more points you score. When you exhaust your supply of golf balls, the game is over. If you get a hole in one, they'll give you bonus balls. This was a lot of fun. Makes for great challenges as well.
Skiing is actually one of my favorites. It's very fast and intense. To have a fast start, you strike your arms down as if planting your poles to push off. If you ski in the crouched position, you'll ski faster so this event almost becomes a constant squat exercise. To steer, you lean to the appropriate site. At first I was fighting the controls but when I realized how it works, it became very accurate. The trick is to follow the terrain and not have big leans. When I figured out when you need big leans and when you need little leans, racing became easier. Most of the curves are banked. So if the curve is sloping rightward, don't lean right heavily or you will careen to the right because the slope is already pushing you rightward. If the curve is heading to the right but you want to head leftward, you will have to lean more heavily because you are working against momentum and gravity. To jump, you jump when you are in the green zone of the ramp. This is an awesome multiplayer game.
Cool Ringings is a skiing minigame where you ski down the slope but there are cow bells at various positions on the course. You have to reach out your hand to ring the bell. The more bells you ring, the more points you get. So you'll be reaching left, right, and up to hit bells. It's a timed event so you have to run the course fast but you have to hit bells to score points. This was so good fun. If anyone played the roller coasters in Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do, it feels like that, but I would rate this higher because it's easier to control and you feel like you're more in control of the event.
For tennis, at first I didn't like it. I thought it was a copy of table tennis in Kinect Sports 1. But the more I played it, the more I enjoyed it. I don't know if I like it more than table tennis. But it is some good fun. Note that if you are used to playing table tennis in KS1, you will have to adapt as the play is different. I still don't know how to do fast serves in tennis whereas it was very easy for me to slam serves in table tennis.
Rapid Returner is a tennis minigame, and it is like the rapid event in Table Tennis for Kinect Sports 1. It's okay, but I preferred the frantic nature of the table tennis event in KS1. It's not a bad event by any means but it pales compared to the aforementioned activity.
Now, Kinect Sports Season 2 has a feature that no other Kinect game has. In addition to the online multiplayer, it has a feature called challenges. This is where you select a minigame or event and you challenge someone over it. For example, if I challenge my friend in Smart Darts and I score 56 seconds, my friend has to beat that time to win or else I win. This doesn't have to happen in real time which is a boon. Let's say you and your friend cannot schedule time to play against each other online (family commitments, work, etc.). Now you can play against each other at different times of the day. It's like the leaderboards but it's more interactive and specific.
Now that the events and minigames have been discussed, I'd like to wrap up with my thoughts on the game. Once you figure out how to use the voice commands, they become a nice perk to the game, especially in golf and football. You'll end up using voice for some things, hands for other things. The graphics are beautiful. The resolution seems higher. Colors just pop. You'll see beautiful courses in golf. The sensation of speed in skiing is awesome.
The big question is: is it better than Kinect Sports 1? No. If you had to only own 1 Kinect Sports title, it should be Kinect Sports. That aside, is Kinect Sports Season 2 worth owning? I give an emphatic YES. This is a great game on its own. It's just that KS1 is amazing. And if you like any of the events in KS2, you have to have this game. Golf alone will be a decider for people that like golf. I love the darts game, and now I no longer have to have holes in my real wall from my errant dart shots. The challenges let you play against your friends without the worry of whether you can coordinate and schedule times to play against each other. Without the Kinect Sports: Season Two - Challenge Pack #1, I would've been disappointed in this title because the title appeared to be lacking in content. But with the DLC, it became a bigger game and thus worthy of our attention.
They are still intent on releasing new DLC (downloadable content) to keep the game fresh and judging by Rare's past history, they will support Kinect Sports Season 2 until the end. The next DLC will give you 9 new holes in golf.