It is rare for one to find a video game that is completely devoid of any redeeming qualities. The majority of games have at least one or two positive things about them. “Graphics and sound are terrible? Bah, at least the gameplay is passable.” “Not fun to play? Well, at least it’s nice to look at!” With some games, you just have to take the good with the bad, or the bad with the ugly. MotionSports Adrenaline from Ubisoft falls into one of the above categories, and it resembles the title of a classic Clint Eastwood movie...with one exception: there is no “good”. It’s simply bad, and ugly.
Ubisoft threw their gaming hat into the Kinect fray back in November of 2010 with the launch day release of MotionSports. At the time, it was up against the first-party Microsoft title, Kinect Sports, and the disastrous Deca Sports Freedom. Critically and financially, Kinect Sports was the big winner of the three, distancing itself from the other two titles by a canyon-size margin. MotionSports made a small ripple in Kinect Sport’s ocean, but Deca Sports Freedom couldn’t even muster a drip. It was with curiosity, then, that I slipped MotionSports Adrenaline into the Xbox 360. I had plenty of questions: Did Ubi learn anything from the less-than-stellar showing of the original MotionSports? Could this sequel top the sequel to the monster Kinect Sports, which released at virtually the same time? Should I just play this and get it over with? So play I did. Well, I say “play” in the weakest sense of the word...
"The lag was horrendous and in hindsight, it was stupid to expect the movements of two people to be better detected, than just one."
MotionSports Adrenaline uses Kinect technology to take the player through six extreme sports experiences: kite-surfing, kayaking, wingsuit gliding, extreme skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Through leaning, jumping, and gesturing, Adrenaline tries to simulate the real thing. The player gets a score based on how fast each activity is completed, and how many coins and collectibles are picked up along the way. There is the requisite single player World Tour mode, where the player is taken through eight different locations. Multiplayer modes include co-op challenges, races and relays, for up to four players both locally and online.
The visuals are standard for this generation of consoles, but there is little else going for it. The biggest problem I found with MotionSports Adrenaline was that the game rarely registered my movements properly. Lag was a big issue. While kite-surfing, you are expected to hold your hands out in front of you as if you are holding the handlebar, motioning your arms left and right and leaning to make turns. This was an absolute mess. The sensor didn’t pick up the movements roughly 25% of the time, and it made for a completely disjointed experience. It’s hard to blame the Kinect sensor for this, as most other games have embraced and utilized the technology to positive effect. The rock climbing was boring, and it was left in the dust in favor of trying the other activities. The extreme skiing was the one and only bright spot, being the most fun of the six sports. The game had no problem with my leaning movements, and the gesture of digging my ski poles in to go faster. If the other five activities worked as well as the skiing portion, this game would have been a thousand times better, and it would have received a lot more of my attention.
A few friends came over for game night, and I decided to give the local multiplayer a chance, giving Motionsports Adrenaline the benefit of the doubt. The same problems were experienced, but this time worse. The lag was horrendous and in hindsight, it was stupid to expect the movements of two people to be better detected, than just one. The game quickly exited the 360 in favor of Dance Central 2.
I hesitate to spend any more time writing about this game. I also fall short of telling you NOT to buy it, but I am only here to edge you in the right direction, valued reader. MotionSports Adrenaline will inevitably find itself in the bargain bin a few months down the road, and you will see it...then pass it on by for that fresh copy of Bomberman: Act Zero.
Release date : 2011-11-01
Publisher : Ubisoft
Developer : Ubisoft
Gameplay : Sports
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