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Review

Kinect Sports Rivals Review

  • Coming Dec 31, 2015
  • Reviewed:
  • XONE

Championing mediocrity.

With the new Xbox comes a new Kinect, one that Microsoft claims can read your movements more precisely than its predecessor. But the first game that put the device through its paces, Fighter Within, was an unmitigated disaster. Now, we have Kinect Sports Rivals, a better game than Fighter Within but hardly one that makes the case for the Kinect as an essential piece of gaming hardware. Rivals is a collection of six sports-themed minigames that range from mildly enjoyable events like wake racing and rock climbing to a thoroughly underwhelming and absurd approximation of soccer. It's good for some short bursts of goofy, physical fun, but Kinect Sports Rivals is neither a strong assortment of motion-controlled games nor an entirely promising showcase for the capabilities of the new Kinect.

Before you compete in your first event, Rivals invites you to create your own champion, the digital representation of you who will battle it out in sporting events across the game's island setting. Like the "drivatars" of Forza Motorsport 5, your champion may appear in events for other players, and ostensibly, he or she will perform at your skill level. For the champion creation process, the Kinect scans your face, and then creates a character who may or may not bear a likeness to you. The shape of the face might have an uncanny similarity to yours, or you might see no resemblance whatsoever between yourself and your champion. Still, it's always fun to see what the game comes up with. Unfortunately, you have to sit through an unskippable intro sequence each time you go through this process, so if you're hoping to jump into a game with friends or family, you either need to be willing to wait longer than you should have to for everyone to create a champion, or just skip the process and use generic characters.

When you do get to the island, Kinect Sports Rivals starts by putting its best foot forward. You're ushered into your new life as a sporting champion with some wake racing--what we might more commonly call jet ski racing. The controls are simple, intuitive, and responsive. To steer, you turn your arms like you're turning handlebars, and you can ease up on the throttle by opening your right hand. When you go over ramps, you can do flips with a quick lean forward or backward, and you can lean from side to side to turn more sharply. The courses are gorgeous, and there's a sense of impact with the water as your jet ski crashes against larger waves.

Rock climbing also works quite well. Here, you just move your arms and then close your hands to grasp handholds, and then move your arms down to pull yourself up. It's especially fun when competing with a friend because you can grab opponents by the leg and send them plummeting to a digital demise. Camera angles create a sense of precariousness as you cling to the undersides of rock surfaces. It's too simple to stay interesting for long, but it's hard to imagine the activity of rock climbing being more effectively converted into a Kinect activity than it is here.

You can pull your opponents off the wall in rock climbing. Competition is rough on the island.

Bowling plays out exactly as you'd expect, except not as good. You make a motion mimicking the release of a bowling ball to make your champion release his or her bowling ball. The motions you have to make to put spin on the ball are exaggerated, so it doesn't feel as natural as, say, Wii Sports bowling. But it's still satisfying to rack up the spares and strikes. Similarly, tennis is played by making swinging motions with your arm, and sending the ball rocketing past your opponent faster than he or she can react feels good, but it's hard to get a good feel for the timing with which the game wants you to swing.

The last two events, however, are exercises in absurdity and frustration. In target shooting, you just point at the screen, moving your hand around to line up crosshairs with targets. Once a target is lined up, you fire automatically. Some targets need to be shot in sequence, and other targets have skulls on them; hitting these costs you points. Even if this worked perfectly, pointing at a screen would hardly be a thrilling way to spend your time, but it doesn't work perfectly. Crosshairs sometimes jitter around, which is a big problem in an event that's supposed to be entirely about precision.

Rivals' version of soccer is a silly attempt to boil the sport down to something that can be played just by kicking, and occasionally making a banging motion with your head. You kick the ball from one team member to another to another, timing and bending your kicks to avoid defensemen who slide back and forth. The game doesn't respond to all of your kicking motions, and making shots on goal can be infuriating when you clearly try to kick the ball to one side or another and then see it fly straight into the middle of the goal and the goalkeeper's eager hands. When you're on defense, you only control the goalie, moving yourself into position to prevent shots from scoring.

You earn coins that you can spend on new outfits and gear for your champion.

The disposable narrative is a strange tale of competing clans that may have you questioning the entire concept of the game's world. (If the island is the weird postapocalyptic society centered around athletic competition that it appears to be, why does that one obnoxious guy in Viper Network keep referencing tired Internet memes? And why does State Farm Insurance advertise there?) Surrounding the events are tacked-on systems that have you earning coins, fans, and experience points, but if the events aren't good enough to keep you coming back, these unnecessary systems won't do it, either. And there's a separate, free app called Kinect Sports Rivals Hub, in which you can do things like view challenges created by the developer and share images of your champion on social media, but why this functionality isn't built into the game itself is anyone's guess. Kinect Sports Rivals is an inconsistent collection that will get you up off the couch and moving around for a bit of mild fun, but that's about the best you can say for it.

The Good
Wake racing is beautiful and controls responsively
Option to create champions modeled on yourself is fun, if inconsistent
Rock climbing and bowling are pleasant diversions
The Bad
Target shooting and soccer are silly and frustrating
Disposable story and superficial progression mechanics
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Carolyn doesn't spend as much time outdoors being athletic as she knows she should. She's played plenty of motion-controlled sports games in the past; her favorite is still Wii Sports Resort.

Discussion

149 comments
dallasboycows
dallasboycows

as always you review is lower than every other site.  Do u even like video games because u seem to score really harsh. If the games were as bad as u always say, the devs would go iut of business. How bout someone who actually enjoys games do these reviews.

RevLux
RevLux

Remember folks: Video game reviews are nothing more or less than the reviewer's opinion of the game. As such, it can neither be wrong nor right. Just like your opinion of the game can neither be wrong nor right.

Don't agree with the review score? I've got some good news for you: You just formed your own opinion and are still allowed to either love or hate the game as you see fit. Congrats!

boilermaker76
boilermaker76

I disagree with this review. This game is a lot of fun, a lot of the negativity is exaggerated, unless the reviewer played this in a jail cell, the controls are quite well. This game does require a very large amount of space for it to work correctly, also the lighting has to be fairly decent, which is why people give Kinect bad reviews, they're either playing in a cramped space or not enough light or a combo of both. The game works much better than the reviewer gave it credit for, I've been having a blast playing it.

modms11
modms11

I'm not spending 60$ on this climb mountain thing !!

maybe when its free with gold I would try it.

I miss the old kinect sports 

pdfanboy
pdfanboy

Oh, Rare, what did they do to you?


*sad face*

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

So this is what Rare was so proud of?? 

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

I can't wait for the Vr headsets to start coming iv not had enough bowling.... So next gen

pip3dream
pip3dream

Is it weird that I found the female characters in this game attractive.

bluefox755
bluefox755

Kinect is garbage, maybe some day when they release the console without forcing me to buy a webcam along with it, I'll pick up an X1.

mathg04
mathg04

Wow, the formal famous rare with a crew of 120 employees and 80 freelancer can't do anything better than this? It's a shame they still call themselfe rare.

lady_galaga
lady_galaga

Thanks Microsoft. Actually, thanks everyone who took the promise of motion gaming and crammed it with mediocrity. Nintendo with their incompetence and their insistence on not playing nice with developers. Microsoft with their constant courting of the neckbeardy hardcore crowd. There's no reason it should have gone this badly, but you all made sure of it.

The Wii was the first time since the Atari arcade days that young men and women could grab a beer and have a fun time playing video games together. But you know, we needed another Zelda game and some shooters where man-boys can call each other rude names over headsets, so...

BiggChonies882
BiggChonies882

Why are people upset with this low score? This game looks awful. The Kinect is awful. Rock climbing? haha give me a break. 

santinegrete
santinegrete

Looks more like it's hit or miss in it's components.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I'm not saying that this isn't a shitty game, but in general I can never trust any XB1 reviews done by Gamespot, especially non-American Gamespot editors and that news chic... Jess McDonald. They have a serious problem with being objective and in their eyes the PS4 can do no wrong. I don't come to a news & reviews site to be force-fed a bias opinion when I'm trying to get an honest take on something.

The only somewhat trustworthy editor, imo, at Gamespot is Carolyn. I think she gives all games, regardless of the platform, a fair shake.

Being I own both XB1 & PS4, I want a straight-up opinion. I don't want sugar-coated PS4 reviews, and I don't want to see everything related to the XB1 be portrayed in a negative light. This site has lost a LOT of credibility when they combined all of the world-wide editors. I only really read the news here lately, but even that has gone down the tubes. I really hope Gamespot gets their act together because it used to be my favorite site.

As for this game... yeah, it's garbage. Didn't need a review to tell me that.

slaughterdj
slaughterdj

Of course Gamespot rates this lower than anyone (almost). This site has an extreme PS4 bias. This is why I do not trust reviews from them. Although, there are extremely mixed reviews (probably based on how fat and against exercise the reviewer is) but metacritic shows from 40-85.

cvantu
cvantu

Ahhh...trolls everywhere. This game has been all over the place in the review category, but of course the trolls choose the bad reviews as the ones that are correct. Sadly, every single Kinect game will always be reviewed with such a fluctuation. For some reason, the experience with Kinect seems to differ between each person. As an owner of Kinect Sports Rivals, I have yet to have any issues with the game. The shooting game is absolutely abysmal and obviously just thrown in. I would have been happy if they would have not cared about the stupid story mode and put in something like golf again. Regardless, every game controls quite well. In fact, bowling is so accurate, that it is quite amazing, especially compared to the original Kinect Sports. After having a party of people over, every single person who was not a "real gamer" or a gamer at all, they all had a great blast. This is why I enjoy games like this. It gets every single person who has legs and arms involved. It gets them into technology and gaming. Kinect is absolutely worth these experiences.

playstationzone
playstationzone

Well Kinect will always ha.ve crap games just like motion controller and so will VR Games  and xbox1 should stop supporting kinect games.

eran_le
eran_le

So there's not even one Kinect game for xb one that worth anything. I think that's their main problem with this console - they push this Kinect with every console, it costs much more than the ps4 as a result, yet there's no content to support it.

Bregzeinkul
Bregzeinkul

>> Disposable story and superficial progression mechanics

ugh, its a party game...

Ash2X
Ash2X

" Disposable story" - oh yeah,I play this game totally for the Storyline...
Maybe not all Contents are awesome,but some are great.
The Reasons why this game got such a medicore rating ist hilarious...sorry Miss Petit but you got this game wrong.
It is a Party-Game and as long as it´s working as a Party Game it is much better then most games like it and definetly not a 5 of 10.

RedWave247
RedWave247

I, for one, am shocked - SHOCKED - that a motion control game is bad.

lsdbaby
lsdbaby

I've already played this game, it's called Wii Sports Resort.


Isn't it amazing how Microsoft's vision of the future looks uncannily like the past?

Javier
Javier

"Rivals' version of soccer is a silly attempt to boil the sport down to something that can be played just by kicking, and occasionally making a banging motion with your head. You kick the ball from one team member to another to another, timing and bending your kicks to avoid defensemen who slide back and forth. "   


Isnt that what soccer is all about?


UNCStriker88
UNCStriker88

So this game has a lower review score than Zoo Tycoon? Maybe someone who actually plays sports should have done the review for this one

namitokiwa
namitokiwa

The only games I want to play with Kinect are Dance Central and Just Dance. They are good, they are what Kinect about: Fun, Play with your friends and your family. I hope to see Dance Central and Just Dance for Xbox One soon.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

beach volleyball and decathlon should have been here… why target shooting?! WHY?!

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

More xbots complaining that Carolyn gave it a low score for the story but its just a shitty game.  Why isnt the motion controls for the kinect used more in other games?  Because developers dont want to waste their time with it.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Well that is disappointing. Does highlight one good thing though, that if you can rock climb and jet skiing using hand opening and closing accurately for this it might translate reasonably into other games also.

I guess we will have to wait and see what the developers can come up with. I'm looking forward to seeing some use of the Infra-red camera personally. Heart-rate monitors in an action or horror game for example.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Motion controls are not the future and never will be.

observer98
observer98

Oh Carolyn, its a sports game and you're complaining about story. Your reviews seem to be getting worse every time.

dallasboycows
dallasboycows

@RevLux people come to this site to read reviews that the majority of gamers would agree with not reviews that are only positive if they fit a certain genre or are from a certain dev or whatever it is that she actually likes. She scores lower than ever site on every game. So is she the only reviewer on the planet with a good opinion or is she just hard to please. 

tony56723
tony56723

Well it happened, it's kinect less now

Choad-Warrior
Choad-Warrior

Are you kidding? The reviews for PS4 games haven't been good enough to validate such claims.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@Vodoo  Between the two, Microsoft has made far more lofty comments about their product and had some very questionable practices and policies in place this current gen. They've reversed on somethings and have recovered alot but yes they started out with a bad self-inflicted wound. What news that's less than positive concerning the PS4 do you feel that GS isn't sharing? Considering how the PS3 got slammed pretty hard here I find it difficult to believe that they would flip flop preferences because of a generation switch. Then again I didn't find the negative PS3 news to be bias.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@slaughterdj Ugh, they disagree with my opinion? Clearly they are on the OTHER side.

Sheesh, you know the world isn't black and white, right?


Also, siding with and defending a piece of electronic equipment is pretty damn sad.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

@slaughterdj   BS.  When Titanfall came out, Gamespot had the front page filled with it and MS articles.  Even now there are plenty of MS and titanfall articles.  this place is Microspot.  Dont bitch because a shitty game got a shitty score.

RevLux
RevLux

@cvantu That's the thing. There are no "correct" reviews. Just as there are no "incorrect" ones. Reviews are simply the opinions of the reviewer. So many of you fanboys, regardless of which platform you worship, seem to not grasp how opinions work...

Bowser05
Bowser05

@playstationzone  Crappy motion controller games...like Skyward Sword and Dance Central for example? ::rolls eyes::

Vodoo
Vodoo

Actually, I would wait until Sunset Overdrive (by Insomniac) comes out. Supposedly they are using Kinect in a unique way that hasn't been done yet. Every preview I've read says the game is extremely fun and uses Kinect to supplement the main gameplay.

I think the majority of motion games have sucked up to this point, but I'm reserving my final opinion for Sunset Overdrive. So I wouldn't be so closed minded just because you don't own an XB1. Because there's even less of a reason to own a PS4 at this point in time.

RevLux
RevLux

@Ash2X I also enjoyed saving the princess during the bowling segments. I found myself unable to continue with the rock climbing though. The narrative about the sad old witch with the tiny hands at the top just had me bawling and proved too much. Just, too much... 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@UNCStriker88  

Yet you expect that other person to consider the fantastical presentation of "sports" in this game in a kind light?

TabularBeast
TabularBeast

@daikkenaurora12  Or maybe it could be because the console has only been out for a few months. Give it a few years. There is a horror game on kickstarter that will use the Kinect to read your heart rate to determine whether you are scared or not and adjust the horror elements accordingly. And how do you know it's a shitty game? By your attitude it seems like you hate the Xbox so you haven't played it most likely. Haters will hate.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@observer98 The fact that they tried to include a story at all should be minus points.  If you're not going to do it right, don't do it at all.

RevLux
RevLux

@horizonwriter@Vodoo I agree. The simple truth is that every opinion is affected by bias. At least somewhat. That's unavoidable. Still, I haven't noticed Gamespot collectively being overly biased one way or another. 99% of the info gleaned from video game sites are based on opinions so it's important for us to keep that in mind. Their opinions may not always match our own but that's not an indication that they are any more or less biased than we ourselves are. We often allow our own biases to color the way we perceive articles like this.


Side note: Bias, bias, bias...

RevLux
RevLux

@Vodoo You made some excellent points in your post. Then you ruin it with the pointless fanboy comment at the end. In fact, I completely agree with everything you said until that last sentence. The XB1 and PS4 are both great consoles with a great deal to offer. There really is no reason, or need, to trade angry comments about one or the other. Your words can hold so much more power by not stooping to that level.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

@Vodoo  PS4 has infamous, what does xbox have that I can't get elsewhere? Titanfall?, better on PC. Killer instinct? The first Early access game on a console...woot,


Still Waiting on that great X1 killer app.... 

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

Less reason to own a ps4 but still somehow outsell the console that actually has games.... Does show something......

observer98
observer98

@Thanatos2k @observer98  True, but seeing as how it doesn't actually add to anything I don't see it as affecting the quality of the game. The game is still shit but its not because of the story.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Exactly. If it's in the game, it's quality should be reflected in the score.

Kinect Sports Rivals More Info

  • Coming Dec 31, 2015
    • Xbox One
    Kinect Sports Rivals is a sports game for the Xbox One that captures your likeness as a champion and plunges you into a world of sports competition.
    0
    Average User RatingOut of 0 User Ratings
    Kinect Sports Rivals has not been released yet!
    Developed by:
    Microsoft Game Studios
    Published by:
    Microsoft Game Studios
    Genres:
    Sports
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Mild Violence