So it’s finally happened. After shipping only a single Xbox One bundle that includes a Kinect 2 sensor, Microsoft is formally preparing to launch Kinect Sports Rivals, the latest evolution of its Kinect Sports series of games.
For many users, asking them whether they’re going to purchase Kinect Sports Rivals is a loaded question. For as far as the Xbox One’s Kinect sensor has evolved, most users still see it as a side show, a peripheral whose games users should only consider picking up if they either absolutely have nothing else to play. On the other hand, this year’s edition has more depth than ever and takes the series outside of its shallow gesture-based roots. It also gives users possible reasons for picking up the title and playing even when friends aren’t over.
So is Kinect Sports Rivals worth $60? In short, I think it is.
At least it is for anyone who enjoys fun activities and casual games. To be clear, I’m referring to the same crowd who snapped up different versions of Angry Birds, and enjoyed the frustrating feeling that something like Flappy Birds gave them. These are casual gamers, Xbox One owners who might not play the latest Call Of Duty, but do appreciate having something fun to occupy their time.
That’s because Kinect Sports Rivals includes a ton of sports that casual gamers will love. First, tennis, soccer and bowling are all making a comeback in this title. All three are sports that Kinect Sports players have enjoyed in the past and find interesting. Joining them are two new sports: jet ski racing and rock climbing. According to Microsoft’s PR videos, these two sports were specifically created with the upgraded Kinect 2 sensor in mind. They each use the camera to interpret different gestures that weren’t possible before.
It’s not just the sports that make the game worth the $60 for the right market. Microsoft has added to the simulation with a new scanning system that effectively puts users in the game, an in-game currency that users can put towards purchasing different weapons and customizing their in-game character. What’s more, users who don’t play often will still earn credits towards points.
When they’re offline, their character will play against other user’s characters and still help them level up and earn more coins. That feature itself sounds strikingly familiar to the Drivatars feature from the Forza 5 driving game. All of this adds to the list of reasons why people might want to replay this game, which was something prior games in the series lacked.
Of course, there are some users who don’t like the Kinect sensor or see it as another input that’s best used alongside the controller. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think they might enjoy the game too, but they’re not going to pay $60 for it. However, anyone else who enjoys working out, having fun with friends and family, or simply doing something else besides playing first person shooters will find that Kinect Sports Rivals is well worth the price of admission, even if it is four months late.
Kinect Sports Rivals launches in the United States on April 8th.