Michael Phelps: Push the Limit

3.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Rated: Everyone
Metascore: 48 / 100
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Platform: Xbox 360
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Product Description


Product Information

Release date October 11, 2011
Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #11,831 in videogames
#850 in Video Games > Xbox 360 > Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
Media: Video Game
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
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By Ryan DeJonghe on October 29, 2011
I'll be the first to admit that when I first heard about a Kinect swimming game, I thought it was a joke. I'll also be the first to admit after many hours of playing Michael Phelps Push the Limit, this game is no joke. To be even more specific, if you are looking for a fun game that is addicting and gets your body moving, then Michael Phelps Push the Limit might just be the game you are looking for.

This is not a collection of mini-games or cheesy distractions. Michael Phelps Push the Limit is straight up competition swimming. There are various modes going into the game. You can dive into career mode, plunge into a quick race, challenge friends (online and local), or do laps around the leaderboards. While finding a match online may be hit-and-miss, I am just thrilled about having online leaderboards. I am surprised at the recent trend of Kinect games with no online play; thankfully Michael Phelps Push the Limit is not following this trend and put forth the effort here.

Playing with two people in the same room works fine. You can see an excellent example of two people playing from this video of Phelps himself, taking on Jimmy Fallon. Of course you will need plenty of space between players, but the larger problem with multiple people in the room is menu navigation. Most Kinect games have no problem keeping track of which players are playing and not letting passing animals or kids take control. See my review of Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster for an example of amazing player tracking In Michael Phelps Push the Limit, menu tracking can be jumpy if you happen to have small kids jumping on the couch or even standing near you. Otherwise, menu navigation is easy and smooth.

This is probably one of the best looking Kinect games on the market.
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First, I'd like to say that there is a patch (update) for this game that automatically installs when the disc is inserted into the 360. I think this may have fixed some of the problems that the first reviewers had.
On to the game, do you like swimming in mid-air??? Not me, but it's a workout, and anything that makes working out fun, I'm game. Sure, I can go to the pool in my condo, but I can't race, and hype up the crowd (well maybe a couple of senior citizens). In all seriousnes, I liked the demo, but wasn't overwhelmed. I also saw the demonstration of the game when M. Phelps visited one of those late night talk shows, and was impressed. The best part of the game is the career mode, in which you can add a point to one of your attributes for the swimmer you create. So, for each race I qualify, I can add a point towards dive, stamina, speed, turn, and finish (reach). The first half of the lap is just diving and keeping in rhythm with the meter.
You don't want to go too fast because you will lose stamina for the second half of the race. On the second half, you can use all your energy when you enter the Push the Limit zone to swim as fast as you can to catch up. The breast stroke is also included in the career mode later in your career, as well as the butterfly and backstroke. Finally, for the speed boost to work, you have to scream "Boost!", but for some reason my voice recognition isn't working. I found this to be a fun workout, and the Kinect reads me accurately, but am having a little more accuracy issues with some of the later swimming styles in the game. I'm glad 505 resolved the problems with the initial release, and overall would recommend this as another workout routine to the Kinect library.
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I admit, like most of you probably are, I was really, really skeptical when I first heard of the game Michael Phelps: Push the Limit for the Xbox. After all, swimming is something done horizontally in the water, while playing video games is something done vertically in the air. But surprisingly, they actually made it work. It's a very enjoyable game--provided you go in with the right expectations. You're not going to become a better swimmer because of it. But you will enjoy an excellent and realistic simulation of what it's like to be a competitive swimmer, and as a bonus you may get some decent upper body exercise out of it.

When you start the game your menu options are pretty simple. You can select "Quickplay" which lets you start competing in swim meets immediately, customizing all aspects of the race including your swimmer, your stroke (front crawl, butterfly, breast, back), your venue (a number of attractive fictional swimming venues such as a New York or LA rooftop by night), your distance (50, 100, 150, or 200 meters), and your level (there are three levels of difficulty, Gold, Platinum, and Elite).

You can choose a swimmer from a list of swimmers with varying levels of skills, the first being Michael Phelps himself, of course. There are a number of other swimmers who I first thought were actual Olympic swimmers but after Googling the names it turns out they're just the names of employees of the video game company that developed the game. It would have been nice to have actual venues and swimmers, but my guess is they just couldn't / wouldn't pay the licensing fees that would have been necessary to get the world's greatest swimmers. A shame, because that really could have helped boosted awareness of the sport, especially as the Olympics roll around later this year.
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