MotionSports Review (Xbox 360)
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The best way to describe MotionSports is to paraphrase Dennis Green: It is what I thought it would be. It checks all of the required boxes to be a member of the burgeoning motion-sports genre, but that’s about all it does. There are very few surprises, little style and zero reasons to get excited.
MotionSports is yet another mini-game collection designed for motion gaming, which follows in the wake of Wii Sports Resort, Sports Champions and Microsoft’s own Kinect Sports. I will give the game some credit for eschewing some of the more traditional mini-games (e.g., bowling, Frisbee, etc.) in favor of new ones, such as skiing, football, hang gliding and equestrian events. In addition to those, you do get more standard offerings like boxing and soccer.
Generally, these sports are reduced to a few basic components. For example, a common football activity is sprinting, ducking and stiff arming opponents in your quest for the end zone (not unlike Backbreaker’s Tackle Alley). Soccer is basically penalty shooting and goal keeping.
In all, these are mini-games in the strongest sense of the word. Each event will take just a few seconds to a few minutes to complete. You could easily strip the sports theme away, add some spaceships or dragons, and play the game exactly the same. The motions and concepts of the events are not necessarily tied completely to the complexities of the sport they represent.
The motion controls work well enough for the most part, but the game seems to have been patched in the span since its release. Regardless, the problem is that the challenges themselves are not that remarkable, or fun. I had the most fun with the "newer" events, notably horseback riding and hang gliding. Even these, though, hardly qualify as engaging activities.
As for the others, it’s a lot of mediocrity, shallowness and repetition. These things have just been done better in other games and there’s little incentive to keep at it here.
This game has some unique presentational elements in it, but it pretty much sticks to a generic template. Some flourishes, such as a personalized newspapers or some first-person stuff in the football event, liven things up. However, you typically have a very light-feeling game that telegraphs how shallow it is before you even start to play. It actually reminded me of an old multi-sport arcade game I used to play in one of the various ESPN Zones. That’s not exactly praise, but there was sort of a '90s nostalgia factor that kicked in for me.
It should be noted that the announcer in this game is probably one of the most annoying commentators in the business. Of course, the repetitiveness of his dialogue does not help things.
I also noticed some weird menu glitches now and again that, while not ridiculously intrusive, relayed a certain lack of polish.
There is a progression system that seems ripped wholesale from Wii Sports, but it's nothing that enticing or rewarding. You can unlock new challenges, but it is not clearly spelled out how you do so; you will often end up accidentally unlocking some new event.
Without a more in-depth single-player mode, the games alone are not that much fun to revisit. I doubt a line graph indicating your progress is enough to bring you back.
MotionSports is a shallow, but not entirely incompetent game, residing in the shadow of better options. Sports Champions, Kinect Sports or even Wii Sports are simply better options in this particular genre. I could endorse this product if it were a $10-15 downloadable game, but at full price, it seems like a very expensive tech demo.
Learning Curve: Non-interactive instructions show you what you need to do, but it may take a few times before you become proficient. Generally, though, after becoming familiar with the controls, the game is not too challenging.
Control Scheme: Kinect works okay for the most part, but it is actually quite minimally used. For instance, in horseback riding, you are moving your arms and jumping. MotionSports certainly is not taxing the technology.
Visuals: The game is rather generic, but there are decent enough player models and arenas. Some neat camera effects are an occasional treat.
Audio: The announcer certainly gets annoying. Other than that, nothing in this category excites or offends.
Multiplayer: This probably sounds familiar by now: You will get more out of this game as a multiplayer title than one you play by yourself. There’s no online mode, but I guess you could use this as party entertainment.
Score: 3.5 (Subpar)