Dance Central – Video Review

Check out Dan’s video review of Kinect!

I’d like to apologise now for our neglect of the RPIReviews channel.. I plan to change that soon and start using it more! (I have 3 videos to film this weekend.. lets see if that happens)

Kinect-ing the world – Kinect Review

This week has been pretty intense for video games, and especially Microsoft. Call Of Duty Black Ops and Kinect have been released. Not only that, but they were released on two consecutive days! I feel sorry for those employees at Game that had to Midnight launch both. Anyway, my Call Of Duty review will go up this weekend.

Kinect, motion controller. If you know me, you will know that after Eurogamer i was pretty set against Kinect. It was extremely buggy and i didn’t like it too much because of that. However, since then they must have ironed those bugs right out. Like seriously! It works so well now. Kinect itself is huge. But that may be because it’s host to an RGB camera, Depth sensor and Multi-array microphone. Together, these pieces of hardware work together with software to give a fantastic gaming experience.

The first game i tried out after buying it was Kinect Adventures. This is a collection of mini games and is supplied with Kinect. As dull as mini games are, this collection is actually surprisingly fun, and i can see myself playing them a lot. In single player, the games are awesome and get you moving far more than the Wii ever could. Especially in the game called Rally Ball. This is where you have to hit Dodgeballs into blocks and the more consecutive hits you get, the faster they become. Not only that, but more balls get added when you hit the power-ups. It can get hectic and i wouldn’t suggest getting behind someone who is playing.

The one thing i was very sceptical about was the multi-player function of the device. At Eurogamer it was multi-player that we tried, and it wasn’t very well constructed and kept bugging out, and initially only picked one person up. But since then, they really have sorted that out. Multi-player works like a dream now. Me and my friends were playing Kinect Joy ride and Kinect Adventures with ease and no bugginess. Kinect Joy Ride is awesome too. Pretending to hold a steering wheel to control a car is something of awesomeness. It can be a little hard to control sometimes, but that might be because i’m not used to it. Boosting sure is fun, you pull your fake wheel into your chest to charge it up and then push forwards to boost. BAM! Super Speed!

The one thing I was very impressed with was the dashboard navigation and voice recognition. Like, it works, and it works well. The multi-array microphone really helps here. It has 4 microphone capsules along the front which all transmit 16-bit audio at 16kHz. I know none of that really means anything to a lot of people, but it’s a good thing. When you set up kinect, it makes you be very very quiet while it determines the level of background noise, and how gaming sounds will affect this. It’s all very very clever, and worth the money. With this technology you can control your xbox by simply saying xbox and then using one of the commands stated. And it works really well. No hiccups at all. It’s superb, and awesome when you want to show off.

Overall, Kinect is probably the best gaming experience i have had in a while. I mean, it’s got potential, but it is awesome for all those Mini-games. And it does that a lot better than the Wii did. How well it will do against full retail games like Call of Duty and Halo is yet to be seen, but for what it is now, it’s something i think i’ll get a lot of the games for it. Kinect gets a near perfect 9.9/10.

Playstation Move – Initial Thoughts

In early september, Sony released their run at motion controllers. Now, straight away, you look at it and you think “Wii rip-off” and i don’t blame you at all. The actual controller design is very similar to that of the Wiimote. ¬†However, it’s what is inside that makes all the difference, and also, what is on top that adds so much more than the Wii could ever be.

Let’s start with just the controller and forget about the colourful bubble on top for now. The controller has 9 buttons on it. The traditional playstation controller buttons (circle, square, triangle and a cross) with the Move button in the middle of those. On the back is the T button which is a trigger, and on the sides are start and select. The PS button is in the middle of the controller. Now, for most of the games i have played, the only buttons used are the T button and the Move button. An example is Sports Champion in which you can press the move button to flick a ping pong ball into the air to serve instead of flicking the remote upwards.

Now, in itself the controller offers 1:1 motion capture, very much like the Wiimotion Plus, but this is all in one device. Very handy, as this keeps the size and weight of the controller to a minimum. But the Playstation Move isn’t just about this 1:1 motion capture, oh no, it’s also about capturing full body movement of the player to give that little extra kick of realism to the game. This is where the Playstation Eye comes in!

As far as i’m aware, the camera technology in the Playstation Eye isn’t as advanced as that in Kinect, but the way it is used along with the controller is incredible. The little bubble ontop of the remote is tracked by the camera and will position it accurately on screen, along with the 1:1 motion capture built into the remote itself, it gives a greater sense of realism in the game, and a huge amount of extra accuracy. Well, that’s the theory anyway. When i set my Move up initially to just have a little go, it took forever to try and get the camera to locate the little bubble on top! This was mainly whilst playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. I don’t know whether that was because the room was too light, or whether it was because the move version of the game had been rushed, but since spending the time to set it up efficiently, i haven’t had this issue.

Overall, the Move control system is very good, and much more accurate than the Wii at this present time. Whether Nintendo release something to make their more accurate in the near future is unknown, but at this time, the Move system is a top contender for the Wii’s top spot in the current market of Motion Controllers. Look out for a video review of move on the RPIreviews channel on youtube!