Friday, August 5, 2011

Why I Still Own a Kinect

I purchased a Kinect last November with Dance Central and the packaged Kinect Adventures. I played both games at a relatively normal pace, showcased the technology to friends, and had a generally good time with the hardware.

It has been at least six months since I have genuinely played anything Kinect associated. Besides the occasional voice command items while doing chores, it sits quietly and collects dust.  And yet, I am hesitant to sell the device.

It's not due to the current lineup, I will be the first to admit it. Let's face facts, the software released with the Kinect left a lot to be desired. Though Dance Central proved to be the best use of the tech and most enjoyable title I experienced, it only lasted so long before the appeal faded. Kinect Adventures was much like that of Wii Sports, and was a series of mini games that held my attention for a day at most.

Future Software for Kinect?
  I initially held on to the hardware for E3's showcase. I thought to myself, surely they have some top developers throwing something incredible our way. With each title unveiled, my optimism dwindled. The Star Wars game every one had hoped for looked lag ridden and dull (Though in its defense is looking to have improved functionality since E3). The Fable Legends title looked like a rail shooter that might hold my attention for a few days, and seeing that I have no children (that I am aware of) Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster had no appeal at all.

That's not to say there are not a golden few Kinect titles that hold potential. Ryse is a first person hack and slash game from the fine individuals at Crytek (Crysis 2) that puts you in the shoes of a roman warrior. Sega has a first person survival horror game in the works known as Rise of Nightmares. Even arcade titles such as Twisted Pixel's Gunstringer look like fine use of the Kinect technology. They just do not look like titles that I would drop a big game for...

So why do I still have this thing? What is keeping me from taking it back and throwing it toward one of the dozen big name titles coming out this Fall?

It is the big name titles themselves that are holding me back.

A handful of games are featuring Kinect support for a few elements of gameplay. Mass Effect 3 will make use of the voice recognition technology that allows you to speak the dialogue options aloud. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary has already admitted to including some Kinect function in their game. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier showcased a bit of how they will integrate menu navigation and working gameplay to the Kinect.

I don't expect to use these features all the time, nor do I expect them to work perfectly; but the inclusion alone is a big check in the win column for the Kinect. The potential of the hardware to enhance games we already love is something I have been hoping for since release. A small inclusion of issuing squad base orders by voice or maybe solving a puzzle with motion control could prove an interesting addition. Though I am skeptical as to the functionality of the Ghost Recon gameplay (see below), the Minority Report inspired navigation of weapon customization blew me away. Regardless of the functionality, I like the direction developers are taking in providing some support for the hardware.

I would not go out and purchase a Kinect right away just because a big title is including an option to offer voice recognition, but it is something that has persuaded me to hold on to the hardware a bit longer. It's much like choosing to see a movie in 3D instead of 2D; you get the same product in the end, but that 3D can make things look awfully spiffy...or inexplicably burn your retinas.

No comments:

Post a Comment