Kinect owners looking for a sports-themed assortment of minigames will find that there's more than one game in town. MotionSports' more realistic visuals may suggest that it offers a more realistic and rewarding sports experience than Kinect Sports, but this isn't the case at all. On the contrary, infuriating controls, unreasonable difficulty, and a lack of clear instruction and feedback make going for the gold in most of these events only slightly more enjoyable than taking a jab to the face from a heavyweight champ. 6284060None Hang gliding lets you escape from your frustrations. Which is good, because the other events contribute to them.
Your goal in MotionSports is to take the world by storm by rising from local athlete to international superstar as you compete in minigames based on six sports. Throughout your career, the same commentator stalks you everywhere, covering your every event. His comments range from wildly enthusiastic ("That is just some freakin' fabulous stuff right there!") to just plain strange ("The kind of girl you can take out with your friends and she'll actually enjoy it"), but he does liven up the audio presentation a bit. Between your competitions, you see a city scene with photos of you plastered on billboards, but any sense you may get of being a superstar is sapped by the often hilarious placement of your image. One billboard might show just your torso; another may show part of your head but get cut off just above your chin. Clearly, your MotionSports athlete needs to hire a new agent.
The best sport among MotionSports' six offerings is hang gliding. It's set apart from the other five events by very simple, responsive controls that leave no room for ambiguity--you know exactly what you're supposed to do and how to do it. You hold out your arms as if grasping the glider bar, lowering your left arm to turn left and your right arm to turn right. Soaring through either a natural landscape with majestic rock formations or the concrete canyons of a quiet city, you must pass through rings on your way to the target landing zone, descending to maintain speed and using columns of rising air to lift you up. Finding the right balance between speed and altitude feels good, and it's rewarding to hit that sweet spot where you're gliding quickly and you approach the landing zone at an ideal trajectory to score a bull's-eye. The way the glider reacts to the subtle movements of your arms makes it feel like an extension of yourself, and the beautiful and peaceful locations make gliding a serene little escape.
But that's where the good news ends. Football is represented, but don't expect to play full games on the gridiron. Instead, you participate in a series of isolated training exercises. You start with vertical and lateral runs, where you're responsible for ducking, jumping, and sidestepping obstacles as the onscreen athlete runs up the field at a steady pace. Then, in a running back challenge, you use these same skills to evade attackers as you charge for the end zone. Succeed as a running back, and you may get a shot at being a quarterback. In these simple challenges, you look for a receiver--there's just one, and he's designated with an icon--and you make a throwing motion in his direction. That's all there is to being a star quarterback in MotionSports.
Dancing like a butterfly and stinging like a bee is not an option.