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Kinect Sports review: A first-round pick


Since the launch of the Wii with its bundled Wii Sports, Nintendo's competitors have been ready with sports compilations designed to show off their respective motion control technologies. Sports Champions was arguably the most successful part of PlayStation Move's launch lineup and now, Microsoft brings Kinect to market with a completely stand-alone title: Rare's Kinect Sports.

In my (significant) time with it, I found an actual game that manages to deftly side-step being just a collection of tech demos through its polish, presentation and wide variety of genuinely fun activities.

Gallery: Kinect Sports (11/4/10) | 10 Photos

To risk sounding cliched, there really is something for everyone in this slickly-presented package. Events range from track and field staples to bowling, beach volleyball, table tennis, soccer and boxing. Like me, you're sure to find a favorite (or favorites), and if you're not up for the more strenuous ones (read: any of the track and field games) it's nice that you can, for example, just have fun bowling.

Kinect Sports really does justice to its namesake technology. Events such as table tennis, which you might expect to be imprecise or shallow without a physical controller, are actually surprisingly nuanced and very natural in their controls. Even boxing, which looks very similar to its Wii Sports counterpart on face value, turned out to be a lot of fun and not a mindless flurry of fists.

Admittedly, I could have done without the not very good commentary. I also disliked the high number of menus between the title screen and actual gameplay, though the ability to quickly jump right back into an event after you've played it helps.

But the important thing, especially for those wanting to show off their new toy, is that Rare's work on Kinect Sports really demonstrates what the camera is capable of when it's used by a capable developer. If you've already got the hardware to play it on, consider Kinect Sports a must-have.

This review is based on the final retail version of Kinect Sports provided by Microsoft.

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