E3 2011: Kinect Sports: Season Two Hands-On Preview - Tee Off

We try our hand at golf during our hands-on time with Kinect Sports: Season Two.

The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo is in full swing here in chilly Los Angeles, California, and among the games being show is Microsoft's own Kinect Sports: Season Two. Season Two is an all-star collection of sports based on what the fans have been asking for, explained codeveloper Rare studio head Scott Henson, and it will include football, golf, skiing, tennis, baseball, and darts. During its press conference, Microsoft gave us an extensive look at how football will work in the game. Therefore, during our hands-on time with it, we decided to go with golf instead.

Once we were on the green, our first order of business was to find where the hole was. Holding our hand up to our forehead (like a visor) triggered the game's camera to take flight and fly across the course to where the hole was. A flag icon overhead also helped get us pointed in the right direction. Moving left or right changed which direction we were aiming. Once we had our shot lined up, we raised a hand to signal the game that we wanted to take a few practice swings. Once we felt confident, we exited practice mode, bent our knees, straightened our back, and took the shot.

Thankfully, we avoided the numerous tress and bunkers and dropped square on the fairway with a straight shot to the green. It wasn't too long before we had to break out the putter. Taking shots on the green was a bit simpler than on the fairway. A faded white bar drew a straight line across the grass, indicating where our ball would go. As we lined the bar up with the hole, it gradually turned solid white. Once we felt good about our positioning, we took a few practice swings to make sure we weren't going to overshoot it and miss our birdie. Someone would get a digital club thrown at them if that happened. Thankfully, it didn't come to blows, as we easily sunk the shot.

Overall, Season Two's golf felt simple and responsive. Our tactical options, such as putting spin on the ball, were nonexistent. However, these are features Henson assured us were being considered and worked on. We also asked about online multiplayer in Season Two. According to Henson, playing with your friends online will happen through asynchronous gameplay. What this means is that, in golf for instance, when you complete a game, your final score will be sent off to your friends. They then have the chance to try to beat your score and put the proverbial ball back in your court. You can find Kinect Sports: Season Two later this year.

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Is golf the only game mode with asynchronous gameplay? Table tennis online was what gave the game massive amounts of replay value for me. It will be a shame if we can't ski, play darts, or tennis with others.