I know it's a bit late but today I got a chance to play the Xbox 360 Kinect. For those of you who don't know the Kinect is a full body camera for the Xbox 360. For those who are thinking it is like the EyeToy for the Play Station, you are completely wrong. I must admit I had pretty low expectations going into the trial but after about 10 minutes of playing my opinion had changed.
To put it simply, the Kinect uses a continuously- projected Infrared light to read 3D scenes. The Kinect is simply a really cool webcam! It is described as controller free gaming. It has a built in microphone for voice recognition and other activities like headset-free party chat over Xbox-live. The most amazing thing with Kinect would have to be it's ability to see who is actually playing and who isn't. What I mean by this is that when we were trailing the game there were about 15 of us in the room. The majority of us could be seen in the background but never prevented the Kinect from recognising who was actually playing the game. It also helps by telling the user(s) whether they need to move into the camera's range. It gives directions to the user(s) telling them to either move left, forward, back etc. so that the camera can see them. You also don't have to adjust the camera for height because the camera calibrates and has the ability to move to get the player in the camera.
The Kinect has made it much easier to get multiple people in the range of the camera at once. Some of you might remember the how the EyeToy could really only have one person on screen at once and with two it was really difficult. With the Kinect there is plenty of room for two or three people to fit on the camera.
There are quite a few games out at the moment for Kinect with a lot still to come. From the look of the games, a lot of them are mini game type games. At the trial we were playing Kinect Sports. The standout for this title would have to be the boxing event. You hold your hands up as the boxing gloves and try to knock your opponent to the ground any way you can. Once the game is over you can look at footage that the Kinect camera has taken throughout the event. It was quite funny watch the recordings of us frantically trying to swing in every direction hoping to land some hits and score a knockout. In the soccer game the Kinect even picked up what foot the user(s) was kicking with.
Kinect Joyride is coming out soon here in Australia and there is a demo on Xbox live if you have it. The game seems like a racing game where you use your hands as a steering wheel. This looks like a really fun game to play.
The Kinect is a really great idea and there has been lots of thought put into it. The gameplay is smooth and the kinect does a great job with accurate movements. The games that are currently out have done a great job utilising the Kinects functions. I think we can expect great things from this device in the future. I'm hoping to buy a Kinect within the year so I can do some game reviews on it.
Final Score: 8/10