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Review: Kinect Sports Rivals – Finally, a Reason to Dust off Your Kinect

by on April 8, 2014 1:00 PM 63

Time to get off the couch and compete. When the Xbox One first released we were all patiently looking forward for the right game to truly put the Kinect through its paces. Kinect Sports Rivals will make you jump, swing and fingerpistol against your friends. You may also burn a calorie or two.

First thing you should know is that Kinect Sports Rivals requires the Kinect sensor in order to play. Be warned that you need a lot of room. Many of the activities require lateral movement and even more so if you’re playing with a friend. In my bedroom I had it set up at six feet away from my Kinect sensor.

As a new arrival to the Island where Eagle Legion, Wolf Clan and Viper Network compete in what seems like endless competition, you’re enlisted to help in a number of different events. Impressing teams not only gets you cred but also cash rewards and fans; the former used to unlock all sorts of apparel and gear in the in-game store. The Team Story is silly and filled with characters who take jet skiing and rock climbing way too seriously. Consider this preparation for when you’re ready for action online.

Games like tennis and soccer will have you jumping side to side. If you plan playing with more people, be ready to move the action to the living so you don’t end up hitting a loved one with an errant backhand.

KSR Screen Shot 2014-04-07 02-17-52

There are six games that emphasize the different parts of your anatomy needed to bowl, play soccer or rock climb. Here’s a quick rundown on all the game types:

Wave Race: Grab your pretend handlebars and race your jet ski. Exaggerated leans and turns of your body are encouraged to nail hairpin turns while leaning back will result in a killer back flip. Warning though, playing more than 5 minutes will tire your outstretched arms.

Tennis: If you played virtual tennis on let’s say, a console by Nintendo, you’ll know how it works. This time though, you’ll have to do more than flick your wrists. The full range of movement needed to chase down volleys leave room for openings for the perfect shot.

Bowling: Another great game. You grab your ball, line up your body with the arrows on the lane, swing your back and let her rip. Your release and wrist movement dictate how much back spin you give the ball. It does take a couple of frames to really to nail down the arm swing and follow through.

KSR Screen Shot 2014-04-07 02-18-14

Rock Climbing: The most physically strenuous of the lot. I found this to be when the Kinect was most often finicky. In order to grip the hold you have to close your hand while reaching out, then pull in the direction you want to head to. There’s a rhythm that needs to be accomplished in order to reach the summit. Other players can grab your ankles if you’re too slow and send your virtual champion plummeting to his doom.

Target Shooting: Your index finger acts as a pistol as you fire at a variety of targets that pop on-screen. One cool thing is once you score enough points you can activate a turret that fires on your opponent. You’re also vulnerable to a turret strike which means you’ll have to move to body out of the way to avoid fire. Meanwhile, the targets you’re firing at will increase in difficulty.

Soccer: Hands down the most fun. It’s a essential a shoot-out mode where you take turns alternating between the goalie and the attacker. Attackers make a series of passes that charge the ball until you’re to take a shot at the goal. The key is having your leg linger left or right to get the ball passed to the goalie.

Overall, Wave Race and rock climbing are novel ideas but difficult to actually play. Bowling, Target Shooting, Soccer and Tennis are what people are going to be excited to play. As impressive as the new Kinect is, there are still times where the Kinect just loses track of you, although it’s less often than its predecessor.

KSR Screen Shot 2014-04-07 02-24-07

With online matches, setting one is pretty simple: pick the game you want to play and you’ll be matched up in seconds. I enjoyed any mode where it’s just me and some random guy online. Tennis and Soccer feel the most competitive online with a healthy amount of trash talking. Matches go by quick and the number of champions to face online seem to be plentiful even though I was playing a pre-release copy.

Call me a cynic but one of Kinect Sports Rivals‘ most impressive traits is that the Kinect actually works fairly well. I guess after all this time of feeling in constant odds with my old Kinect sensor, it’s finally nice to see the hardware work the way we were promised so many E3s ago on the Xbox One.

What truly is the most groundbreaking feature, however, is its robust avatar generator. It only takes a couple of minutes — all you really need to do is just stand there while the generator works its magic. The result is a champion that is eerily similar to you. Of course your champion has a lot more of a flattering physique than the real life counterpart. I’d love to see future games take advantage of the Kinect’s face scanning features. I kept thinking about how great the next epic RPG would be if it accurately captured my face to replace the main character. I took a short video of the process, mind the dancing.

Kinect Sport Rivals gave me a renewed faith for the Kinect. What Rare did was show us the technology works. Finally we’ve got a fun party game for the Xbox One that’s easy to pick up if you have the space. It’s not perfect but the title atones for past motion control sins. Most importantly, it gives us confidence for the hardware’s future.

rated rating-7.5
Review: Kinect Sports Rivals – Finally, a Reason to Dust off Your Kinect
  • Kinect Sports Rivals
  • Xbox One
  • Rare Studios
  • Microsoft Game Studios
  • April 8, 2014
  • 59.99
  • Review copy provided by the publisher.

Join the Discussion

  • Thats Mr. Smoove

    Like the other kinect sports titles I’ll be picking this one up. I’m just a little bummed that it cost $60 at $40 or even $50 it would be a no brainier no hesitation purchase. Hope it is as fun as the others!

    • MasterofMidnight

      Just wait a month or two and it’ll go down in price.

  • Delsin Row

    Nope, i dont think a game that score 64 in metatric worth to dust of our kinect ( thank god i dont have a force kinect and xbox one)


    • Dan

      I love the comments about how bad the Kinect is from people that don’t have an X1! Its hilarious. Have you noticed that the people who own an X1 not only have little bad to say about the Kinect, but in fact really like it. The majority of complaining is coming from PS4 owners.

      • Delsin Row

        name one good reason to own a kinect. and please dont tell me skype and voice command , because my phone is capable of doing this stuff :)

        • Dan

          I don’t use Skype but am told its awesome. The voice commands are so good that when I watch TV in my bedroom, I’ll try and pause it with my voice. When you set the controller down the camera sees it not in your hands and turns it off. Twitch is huge now, another time the camera comes in handy. People keep saying things like nothing my headset, phone, ipad, etc can’t do. No one said nothing else can do this stuff. But none do it as well.

          • Delsin Row

            your controller can to this stuff too. remember , a gaming console should run games at 1080p and 60 fps , not this kind of stuff. then again , my phone can do that honestly.

          • Dan

            No a gaming console should run expansive deep worlds, with rich stories, and fact paced action. NONE of those things need 1080p and most don’t need 60 fps. If it were the case the X360/PS3 era of gaming wouldn’t have been the best of all time.

          • shinitaru

            It wasn’t the best. PS2 era had better games

          • Dennis Djoenz

            In other words you are not a big fan of Titanfall? or other FPS’s in general?

          • Delsin Row

            that was for the last gen. so you say that when we move forward , a gaming console shouldnt ! how odd is that.

          • Dan

            It was not last gen its always and forever. But you know what limit yourself to the games that are 1080p/60 all you want. You’ll miss out on some of the great experiences to come. But you’ll be so “next gen”

          • MasterofMidnight

            Personally, I thought new generation consoles this gen were more about making games easier to develop for, and cheaper, for veteran programmers and indie companies, lowering production costs, whilst complimenting ways of making it easier to sell them to the consumer, meaning more risks can be taken, and games made faster and, theoretically, of better quality. Gamers then benefit from more variety of games, at hopefully at better quality, and find it easier to acquire them, along with new features regarding sharing, playing with others, and when needed, peripherals like Move and Kinect added when necessary. Indeed, if 1080, 60fps are all that matters to you, why are you invested in console gaming? PC is the way to go.

          • MasterofMidnight

            Best of all time? Better than the PSX / Saturn / N64 era? Nah! :P

            But I agree with your other stuff. Specs, to me, have meant very little. I still play my Saturn and Dreamcast regularly because the games are fun. If a game is fun, I’ll buy it, no matter the system or specs.

          • Jorge Jimenez

            At not point did the gaming industry define next-gen as 60FPS/1080p because if that were the case PCs had consoles beat years ago. Next-gen is supposed to provide us an experience we can’t get anywhere else.

            Also just for giggles:


            Infamous 3 runs at at an average 45FPS, which is a gorgeous looking game regardless. I bet that didn’t hamper you’re enjoyment of the game whatsoever when you shooting lasers out of hands did it?

            So lets stop defining next-gen with numbers that mean nothing but with quality gaming experiences.

          • Grieving

            I’ll wait till Infamous 3 exists before I judge thanks.

          • Jorge Jimenez

            You know I meant Second Sun. =p

          • Michael Norris

            To be fair you will always have 1080p,30fps on consoles even on Ps4.I bought a Ps4 over a Xone because of the DRM bullshit,the Ps exclusives and the hardware difference.Kinect imo is a waste because MS could had sold Xone for around $350..though Sony could sell Ps4 at $350 as well.

          • Jack Joyce

            It runs first party games like Forza 5 at 1080p @ 60 FPS.
            What’s your point? The better looking games and games that utilize the kinect better will come along in First party games.
            So far we’ve only seen one First party AAA game and Forza can’t really utilize Kinect.

            You have to open your mind to possibilities of giving EVERY dev the tools rather than limiting it.

            The voice commands on BF4 and Ryse work perfectly.
            Motion tracking works good in some games like BF4 and bad in others like Thief.

            It’s up to the devs.

          • 3rdworldgamer

            but i thought kinect was made to enhance gaming?

          • Delsin Row

            apperently , its made for voice command. because we havent hands and cant use controllers :)

      • Dennis Djoenz
      • Jorge Jimenez

        If you have the space, you’re going to dig Kinect Sport Rivals. If you have a small bedroom like a dorm or something, you have to gauge whether or not its worth the trouble of moving furniture.

      • shinitaru

        Okay, so what you are saying is that we have to go out and buy an Kinect or XB1 before we are entitled to have an opinion?

        • MasterofMidnight

          No, he’s saying you have to have actually played a kinect game for your opinion to matter. Come on dude, I thought you were one of the more intelligent members on this site.

          • shinitaru

            Fair enough, though that is not exactly what he is saying, is it?

        • Born2Game4Life

          Remember that when someone in the future says something bad about the PS4. Don’t you dare judge them that time.

          • shinitaru

            how are those NPD’s looking? Have you checked?

        • Daniel Lawson

          no.. you can have a opinion it’s just that no one can take you serious since you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about

          • Sucka Free

            Never stops your from spouting spouting nonsense about the Playstation. Besides, my opinion is not about how bad it is, its about how I don’t want one. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about when I say that

          • Daniel Lawson

            No… I own a PS4 and a X1… I may have a preference, but that doesn’t block my love for good games as it appears to do for so many of you Sony Ponies

          • Sucka Free

            Name calling, how classy. My opinion of MS has nothing to do with Sony. Even if the Playstation never existed, I would still not buy an Xbox.

          • Raven Nafariea

            I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I feel the same way.

          • mooshroom

            First time I’ve seen the term “sony pony” in person.

          • Sucka Free

            won’t be the last, xbox fanboys actually think that’s witty or something. go figure…

          • mooshroom

            Well, to be fair, “x-bots” isn’t any better in terms of creativity, but ponies? Why ponies?

          • Sucka Free

            Agreed, xbots isn’t much better, but “ponies” doesn’t even make any sense, it just rhymes

      • Bankai

        Actually, you hear little about the Kinect because it goes unused by most Xbox owners and having actually used it, I can tell you that all the negatives you hear about it are true. It does nothing to enhance gameplay, adds nothing to the overall experience the console provides, inaccurate and just plain unnecessary.

      • V For Vincennes

        As an Xbox One owner, I respectfully disagree. If it wasn’t the only quick means of recording a game clip to the DVR, it would have never been plugged in from the start for me. It’s pretty goddamned useless otherwise.

        • Daniel Lawson

          I use it consistently… all the time… it’s become an inconvenience to to have it on

    • Jorge Jimenez

      All that tells me is that roughly half the people to played KSR enjoyed and the other half didn’t. If you run into that problem when researching whether or not a game is worth your time, you should make your decisions based off reviewers who are more in line with your way of thinking and go from there.

    • Born2Game4Life

      Wait, you give a crap about Metacritic? So every future game you buy will be based on hundreds of reviews from total strangers, so you don’t have to make up your own mind. But if its a PS4 exclusive, then your brain works…. right!?

      • Delsin Rowe

        no. i’d say if a game score 65 on metatric then it’s really something wrong with it.

        • Born2Game4Life

          IF inFamous Second Son had gotten a 65, would that have stopped you from getting the game?

          • Delsin Rowe

            yes. i swear i didnt buy it !
            but of course i did know what we can get from sucker punch …

  • Bankai

    I hope Zindagi is working on a 3rd game, gladiator duel and table tennis would be orgasmic with the PlayStation Camera. I’d also like to see bowling, baseball, street fighting and paintball in a sequel.

  • Ritsujun
    • Jorge Jimenez

      ew, can we pretend those MOVE or KInect games never happened. I still get Vietnam style flashbacks from that that star wars game.

      • shinitaru

        never going to live that down ;D

      • Edonus

        That because you are a jaded gamer, i loved that Star Wars game. Being able to wield a light saber and the force independently in each hand. That is so full of win it insane.

        They could have left the dancing game off because that got all the attention because of the cynical full off $h!t nature of gaming journalism and fanboys.

        • Jorge Jimenez

          I don’t think its cynicism, Kinect 1.0 just didn’t work all that well in my space at the time. Star Wars just didn’t work the way I wanted it to.

          • Edonus

            Nahhhh it’s cynicism.

            The proof
            You can go on the internet and find 100s-1000s of videos talking about Han Solo dancing but you wont find 1 that shows you how to do/use the 4 different power moves you have or the fact that you can do a double grip on your light saber and do a power cut that does more damage.

  • xultra

    Damn ”this Video is private ”
    Censorship in Germany?

    • shinitaru

      Private here in the US too, probably more of the Youtube content ID nonsense

      • Jorge Jimenez

        fixed it, dunno what happened. should work now, thanks for the heads up

        • shinitaru

          Much better, thank you….Hey look! It’s Knack

  • wondabiz

    This is the absolute honest truth with EVERYONE commenting here, including me in some circumstances, but no one will admit it. The thing is, if there are two of any rival items, be it games systems, cars, sets of friends, etc, if you only have ONE of those items, your almost always are gonna hate on the one you dont have, PERIOD. Its human nature. The folks that dont own a Xbox One are gonna hate, so the folks that own an Xbox shouldnt take offense to that. They re gonna say, “No, Im not hating” and this and that. They are. Same for PS4 owners. I happen to own both and think they both shine in areas and both do not shine in areas. If I just had an Xbox or PS4, I would probably be a hater, too, but im not a broke ass person who can only afford one. Most of you cant afford both. No biggie. Thats just how it is. Some of the updates they are coming out with for the Xbox are phenomenal, really, and Im sure that applies to the PS4, too. I happen to play the Xbox One more at this point, but thats just me. I may favor the PS4 at some point. Bottom line: QUIT HATING and get both system so you wont be so bias. Thank you all.

  • David Rodriguez

    Dust it off? I’d have to plug it in first.

    • Jorge Jimenez

      first you’d need to own one, dave =)

      • Daniel Lawson


  • V For Vincennes

    “Kinect Sport Rivals gave me a renewed faith for the Kinect.”

    You poor bastard.

  • Edonus

    Its so funny how people vary in what they like with Kinect Sports Rivals…. I actually think thats a win because it shows that its not a one size fits all experience meaning its a lot closer to real sports meaning the activities can be mastered and skills improved meaning depth and that games like Kinect sports rivals arent victim of the game industry hive mind.

    The reviewer said Soccer was the most fun, when most people I have seen talk about it including me felt Soccer was the worst of the bunch. Not bad but I would have liked it better if you played as the defender as well not just the Goalie.

    And Climbing was a surprise hit for me. I was expecting not to like it but that game takes lots of skill and is very intense. The funny thing about climbing is that it really isnt that strenuous but you find yourself pulling really hard. I found myself in a Matrix moment when I was getting tired “do you think thats air your breathing” but for me its was “do you really think you are pulling your weight upwards”.

    The target shooting is my personal favorite its all about control and thinking. Like when is the best time to activate your turret or jam you opponents gun. There is a nice level of strategy to it and it is one of the lower stress activities.

    The other sports are good but typical, we have played good tennis and bowling and racing games before using motion controls so i wasnt surprised that those would be fun.

  • John Richardson

    The Kaput has 60ms lag – nuff said….

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