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Preview: MotionSports (Kinect)

Kyle Orland

Ubisoft's entry into the already burgeoning Kinect casual sports game market was roughly 60% complete in a demo at Gamescom this week, so the game was still looking pretty rough around the edges. Of the six different sports available on the menu, only downhill skiing and boxing were available to play.

The skiing game was enjoyable enough, detecting slight variations in my lean to guide the on-screen skier down a pretty basic hill. The experience felt much smoother and more natural than similar games designed for the Wii balance board, which I usually find a bit twitchy in skiing simulations. I liked how the game recognized a low crouch as a way to improve aerodynamic speed, and how swooshing my arms at any time resulted in a satisfying ski pole push. Aside from some frequent graphical glitches (which made my skier look like he was showing off the bottom of his shoe), the demo was a great proof of concept.

Gallery: MotionSports (Gamescom 2010) | 8 Photos

The boxing gameplay, on the other hand, was not nearly as polished. It looked pretty good, to be sure, with a nice first-person perspective barely obscured by some large transparent boxing gloves. But the game had real trouble detecting a wide variety of punches, translating them to on-screen blows roughly 50 percent of the time. Even when a punch was detected, it took the form of a delayed, blurry wave of motion, rather than the accurate recreation of the actual punch I was expecting. Compared to my experience in Sony's The Fight demo or even boxing games on the Wii, it just didn't shape up.

I'm willing to give the still-in-development game the benefit of the doubt for now, but as of now it looks like it needs some serious elbow grease before its planned holiday 2010 launch.

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