hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

I am officially done with the Kinect

6:00 PM on 06.20.2012 // Hamza CTZ Aziz

I owe everyone an apology. This past March, I stated that "Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor validates owning a Kinect." As it turns out, I was so, so wrong. We went as far as having the Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor review pass through the hands of three different Destructoid editors in an attempt to get the game to work, until finally realizing that Heavy Armor is, in fact, simply broken. 

The reason why I was so hyped for Steel Battalion in the first place, other than loving the original Xbox game, was because I wanted to believe that the Kinect could actually succeed with a real core game. Up until this point, Kinect seemed designed to work with a few specific types of games: exercise games, on-rails experiences, and party games.

The key driving force here was that Steel Battalion was going to be the first game to use the actual controller in conjunction with the Kinect motion detection. That's what I, and I'm sure many others, believed would be key to making a legitimate experience on the Kinect.

After yesterday's review, however, I've come to the realization that the Kinect is a glorified beta test that we've all been suckered into buying.

First, I need to address my earlier hyperbolic statements. When I went hands-on with Steel Battalion just prior to GDC a few months back, the setup of the room was the most ideal environment one could have to play any Kinect game. Brightly lit, lots of room, and optimal spacing between the Kinect and player. When I played it there, Heavy Armor was functioning just fine for me.

So you can hopefully understand where I was coming from when I made what is now an obviously outlandish statement. I downloaded the Steel Battalion demo last night to see how the game would do in my living room. It was barely five minutes into the demo before I rage-quit after getting stuck in a loop where I was entering and exiting the cockpit view. I was sitting as instructed, with my hands and controller in my lap, yet the Kinect was just unable to process that I wasn't moving my arms at all.

It was then a realization dawned over me. I've been making excuses with every Kinect game up until this point. Every time a motion or voice command failed with any game, I would shrug it off until I got whatever I was trying to make happen. Why have I been so forgiving all this time? We would cry bloody murder if we had to press a button on our controller or keyboard multiple times to get an action working. Imagine trying to shoot a weapon in something like Call of Duty, where your gun would only fire on every third or fourth pull of the trigger. That would be unacceptable, and yet nearly two years since the launch of the device "Kinect forgiveness" is applied to every Kinect game released.

I'm done making excuses, as it's become grossly obvious to me that the device doesn't work, and I doubt it will ever be fixed in its current form. We've all just been test subjects, feeding the device data that will shape the next iteration of the Kinect. The rumors regarding the next Xbox console have been increasing since the start of the year, and this supposed leaked document detailing Microsoft's future vision proposes the Kinect 2 with higher accuracy, improved voice recognition, four-player support, and a dedicated hardware processor. Wait, some of that sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Oh yeah. All this and more was promised when the Kinect was known as Project Natal. Instead, what we got was a shadow of what was shown. As for the voice recognition, the whole feature is about as useful to me as it is to say "Xbox, open disc tray."

I think the main problem with Kinect is that seemingly no one in the industry is pushing the hardware at all when developing for it, with most attempts feeling like half-assed cash-ins. It's rather telling when a first party published title doesn't even try, as was the case with Kinect Joy Ride.

I say most. Like I said earlier, the Dance Central series is done rather well, and titles such as Twisted Pixel's The Gunstringer and Grasshopper's Diabolical Pitch have been fun, but they seem to be fun in spite of the Kinect features rather than because of them. The best Kinect-enabled games that really take advantage of the device seem to only be the ones directed at children, with Double Fine's Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, and Kinectimals being some shining examples. If anything, kids are the perfect target for the Kinect, as they're hyper little monsters that won't be fazed from having to repeatedly wave their arms or scream at their TV trying to make something happen.

The Kinect was designed for gaming, but the areas where it actually excels have nothing to do with games. Hacks of all sorts have been designed for the Kinect, from acting as a virtual dressing room, making autonomous flying robots, helping doctors in the operating room, to so much more. There's a serious problem when the hacks and mods do so much more with the Kinect than the games do.

I'm mad because Microsoft has been shoving the Kinect in everyone's faces since 2010 as if we need it, like Xbox 360 owners can't live without it. It is not an enjoyable experience at all having to repeat the swipe of your hand or voice command to do something as simple as navigate the poor layout of the Xbox 360 Dashboard, especially when it's far easier to do anything with the controller itself.

None of the motion controller experiences are flawless, but between the big three, the Kinect is the worst offender of them all. I can't help but feel all this is moot at this point. Microsoft has laughed all the way to the bank, selling 18 million Kinects worldwide as of January 2012. Perhaps my grievances with the Kinect are too little, too late. Still, there's this odd sense of peace knowing that I'm done with the Kinect this generation.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -