Kinect Sports Season Two unveils a fresh helping of six new sports. Well, five sports and darts, which certainly has the potential to be a motion-controlled disaste – in the event, though, it scores a veritable bullseye – but it’s set amid a collection with a few patchy areas.
While it employs the usual slightly wobbly aiming cursor method which can take a little patience to aim with, the Darts event reads the weight of the throwing motion very nicely. The end result is as authentic a version of virtual darts as you’re ever likely to get until someone invents holographic projectiles.
Skiing involves leaning left and right to steer between slalom gates, again with the sensor doing a good job of reading even slight body movements. The Kinect Sports software certainly feels more fine-tuned to the motion sensor than the original game. Skiing is also pretty immersive, allowing the player to crouch for speed, with the onrushing scenery whipping past quickly and giving the sport a nice authentic flavour.
Golf is another of our favourites. Kinect Sports Two now reads the player with greater precision when standing side-on, and when you whack a drive it booms down the fairway in a highly satisfying fashion. Some liberties have been taken in terms of the swing – it’s impossible to hook or slice – but a good player with a proper zippy golf swing will still out-distance and outplay a flailing-armed fairway hacker.
Baseball and football
Baseball makes a reasonable crack at the popular US sport, mixing slugged home runs with reflex catches and a dash of furious base running. Sadly the other American-centric event, US football, doesn’t work very well. It’s very limited in scope – you can’t play defence, and can’t run on offence, only pass – and unlikely to keep anyone entertained for long. The voice command driven audibles and play selections show off another Kinect strength, however.
The final event, tennis, is again a decent effort, very much along the lines of last season’s table tennis. Unfortunately, though, we found directing our shots rather tricky at times, with unpredictable results- making for some frustrating rallies.
Lack of mini-games
Another disappointment is a lack of mini-games compared to the original. There are only five on offer, which doesn’t lend as much variety to the party play mode. On the upside, a new challenge mode allows for online play against friends, setting them a score to beat even if they’re offline at the time.
- Refined motion tracking; some highly entertaining sports.
- Not many mini-games; a couple of weaker events.
Kinect Sports Season Two refines its motion-tracking technology and adds some nice bits of voice support. It remains a very enjoyable party game, and we particularly liked darts (which is surprisingly accurate), golf and skiing.
American football is a duffer, however, and the mini-games are lacking in numbers. Hopefully a swift shot of downloadable content will cure the latter problem - and fingers crossed it'll be free, as the first add-on for the original game was.