(Xbox 360)

Game Review

MotionSports Adrenaline Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Adrenaline junk

Last year's MotionSports was deeply average, but then it was never going to compare favourably to Rare's Kinect Sports. Ubisoft hasn't surrendered the sporting crown easily though, returning with MotionSports Adrenaline's all-new range of extreme sports.

Far from the familiar motion-gaming sports that made up most of last year's entry, Adrenaline shoots for excitement with its six choices: mountain biking, kite surfing, kayaking, skiing, climbing and wingsuiting, if that's a word. Some of these activities have never been attempted on Kinect before, and some have been done better elsewhere — the classic mixed bag.

Mountain biking is probably the best example of MotionSports Adrenaline's high spots and downfalls. You hold out your hands as if grasping handlebars and thankfully don't have to pedal, simply steering left and right to navigate the downhill course. You'll dodge obstacles, turn tight corners and perform tricks by pulling the right gesture when prompted; it's speedy and straightforward to grasp, with only a handful of movements to remember and generally good recognition.

The problem is that you're not really biking: the course is subtly divided into three lanes, and most of your input is jerking your bike between lanes to collect coins or avoid trees. It's a digital control method for an extremely analogue sport, and feels more like you're handling a slot car racer than rattling down a mountain on a bike.

That disconnect blights some of the other sports, too: kite surfing handles almost identically, though with more freedom over left-to-right movement. It's a slightly stronger activity for it, but it's still not quite smooth enough as there's no real point of reference for how far to tilt the bar. You'll tug it left and right to get the best reaction, which might be realistic, but without any physical feedback feels more like you're fighting the sensor than the elements.

Those two are probably the strongest sports, though. Rock climbing's gestures feel more like grabbing items from a supermarket shelf than gripping handholds, and kayaking doesn't fare much better, with an ironic lack of fluidity dragging it down. Skiing isn't too bad, handling just like the kite surfing or mountain biking except with your hands at your side instead of out front. With no props required, the wingsuit works best control-wise: hold your arms at your side and lean to steer, or reach up or down to move in those directions. But again, as with the other activities, it boils down to sailing through a handful of courses to grab coins for unlocks.

The lack of personality in each sport is the game's biggest obstacle: skiing and mountain biking should be poles apart, but they feel more like reskins. No sport really gets the adrenaline going, and they're not quite active enough to be recommended as workout tools.

If you stick with the activities there's a fair amount to unlock, from an extra course or two for each sport and costumes that slightly improve your abilities. Unlocks are mostly score-based, providing a neat initiative to go back and improve your best effort, though why you have to watch the gauge fill with points after each event is pretty baffling.

As far as modes, you've got quick play — pick a sport, course and go — or the misnamed Adrenaline Party mode that makes choices for you and lets up to four players take turns as pairs. There's co-op in most sports too, in case you don't feel like kicking your friend off a virtual bike.

Most of your playtime will come in the challenge mode that lets you issue specific objectives to your friends. Set a high score and lay down the gauntlet; if you're still top after a week, you get bonus unlocks and Achievements. It sounds great, but it requires Ubisoft's proprietary — albeit free — Uplay account. Want to send a challenge to your Live friends? Unless they too sign up for Uplay, no dice. It's not a huge issue — EA has had its own online accounts for years — but without a Uplay account you're limited to offline interactions.

MotionSports Adrenaline isn't the most offensive minigame compilation on Kinect, but like its predecessor it never quite achieves what it sets out for: these sports have no spark and feel too similar to each other to provide the variety games like this thrive on. It could be worth a look when it hits the bargain bins, but until then keep your money firmly in your pocket.

Conclusion

MotionSports Adrenaline isn't the most offensive minigame compilation on Kinect, but like its predecessor it never quite achieves what it sets out for: these sports have no spark and feel too similar to each other to provide the variety games like this thrive on. It could be worth a look when it hits the bargain bins, but until then keep your money firmly in your pocket.

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Game Trailer

Get a second helping of MotionSports in a newly extreme setting, coming to Kinect in late 2011.

User Comments (3)

teamdoa

#1

teamdoa said:

I was looking forward to the mountain biking in this, being a keen rider. I think I will pick it up when it is very cheap :P

SigourneyBeaver

#3

SigourneyBeaver said:

Gamespot gave this a really bad review, saying the controls don't work. But I bought the game today (without reading any reviews,) and they work really well. And my Kinect setup isn't great either, with limited space. The only sport I had a control problem with was kyacking, but that's because I was doing it wrong. When I got the hang of it I liked it. At least a 6.5/10 from me.

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