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Game review: 'Rivals' offers fun for family

By: Terry Terrones Special to The Gazette
April 22, 2014 Updated: April 22, 2014 at 9:45 am
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What is it?

The next generation of the motion-sensing sports game "Kinect Sports." Like its predecessor, "Sports Rivals" uses the Kinect sensor to monitor body movements and listen to voice commands. As you'd expect with a next-gen version, "Kinect Sports Rivals" comes with more advanced features and new activities. Gamers can participate alone or with friends in bowling, soccer, rock climbing, wake racing, target shooting and tennis.

The good

- A refined Kinect experience. The first Kinect sensor was fun but felt like a work in progress. The new device has seven vision systems that can detect skin color, hair color, facial hair and physique. The Kinect can tell whether you're wearing glasses and track body movements. It also does a better job of tracking people. The previous model for the Xbox 360 would sometimes get people playing the game mixed up.

- Some fun sports games. There are a number of games in "Sports Rivals" that are easy to play but tough to master. Bowling, wake racing and tennis are all fun, but if you want to display true skill, finesse is required. My favorite sport, soccer, plays a lot like bubble hockey (one of my favorite arcade games), with your teammates moving in set sliding positions and gamers guiding a ball with their feet or head. All of these sports are great to play with friends or family.

The bad

- Flaws remain. While the Kinect device is improved, it still has issues. Gamers don't need as large of a space, but you won't find anyone playing this in a studio apartment. A bigger room is certainly better.

The swiping motion used in previous Kinect games is not in "Sports Rivals," so you have to use a controller to reach certain areas of the game. I found this cumbersome as after awhile my controller would time out and turn off. There are also some surprisingly long load times.

- Some not so fun sports games. Pulling your opponent off the wall in rock climbing is devilishly fun, but most of the time I found this sport frustrating. In the game, climbing is all about getting up a wall quickly, but when handholds are far apart, your avatar will fall frequently. Target shooting, where you use your finger to aim at moving targets, is overly simplistic and uninteresting.

The verdict

While it has some flaws, "Kinect Sports Rivals" is a wholesome, family friendly fun game that everyone, regardless of age and skill level, can have a good time playing.

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details

Title: "Kinect Sports Rivals"

Format: Xbox One

Price: $59.99

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Developer: Rare

ESRB Rating: E10 (Everyone 10 and older)

Grade: B -

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