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Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360
We bought our Xbox 360 and the kinect sensor as a bundle package about 6 months ago and I really like the sensor as it makes the games even more interactive and in my opinion it makes the Nintendo Wii look a bit outdated. The kinect sensor can be bought as part of a bundle package or separately but I think it is more cost effective to buy it as part of a bundle (if you do not have an xbox 360 already).
- Description and specifications
3D depth sensors
RGB (red blue green) camera
Depth sensor range: 1.2m - 3.5m
Skeletal tracking system - tracks 20 joints per active player
Facial and voice recognition
The sensor looks quite sleek and expensive in my opinion and as the sensor is black it blends really well with our TV which is also a glossy black colour, so the sensor does not stand out. The sensor does have some lights on it but they only light up when the sensor is in use. The sensor itself is quite big (but fairly lightweight) but again it blends in with the colour of the TV behind it, so it is not massively noticeable.
- Setting up
Setting up the sensor with the TV/surroundings/Xbox was not very difficult and the instruction booklet is really easy to follow and it contains tips on how to position the sensor and about the optimum sensor location. Firstly you need to place the sensor on a stable surface, our kinect sensor is placed in the middle of the TV stand in front of the TV. You can buy a mounting stand which can be placed on the top of your TV monitor to hold the sensor but in my opinion it would look a bit strange as the sensor is large and if it was placed on top of the monitor it would be very noticeable but the sensor may be more responsive of your movements (this mounting stand is independent of the kinect package, you have to buy it separately). Secondly you need to connect your sensor to the Xbox console via the cable you get with the kinect. Thirdly, you need to move the furniture/objects out of the line of view of the sensor. Then you can insert the game disk and when you first use the kinect you will go through
the step by step set up process to calibrate your kinect sensor - this is an on-screen guided process in which only one person can be in the view of the sensor. Once this quick on screen step up is complete you can then play a kinect game.
- Games for the Xbox 360 and kinect sensor
Once the kinect sensor is set up you can then play a kinect game of which there are a few available including: kinect adventures, fighter uncaged, fantastic pets, Michael Jackson: the experience, kinect sports, Disneyland adventures, Dance central, Grease dance, Zumba fitness (which we had and we found it very disappointing) and many more. The kinect games we have are as follows: Zumba fitness, Kinect adventures (previously reviewed), Kinect sports and lastly, Your shape fitness evolved (which is a fantastic game in my opinion).
- Using the sensor with the: ‘Your shape fitness evolved’ game
In in my opinion this game is the best game I have tried in which is really demonstrates the use, capabilities and interactive nature of the kinect sensor. All of the kinect games are fully controlled by your body movements but with this game you use all of your body to play the games and to navigate the game menus too. Navigating around this games menus is fairly easy using the kinect sensor. Although with this game there are quite a few menus, so in my opinion it would be a bit quicker and easier to navigate the menus with an actual physical controller - as the sensor can be a bit sensitive. For example, if you want to ‘click’ on an opinion you have to hold your hand out to the sensor so that the cursor on screen hovers over the option but the sensor can detect very slight movements and make your hand move off the object on the screen easily. Apart from the sensitivity of the sensor when navigating the game menus, the sensor is fantastic with this game as it can track your whole body movements easily and to a really life time. There is no delay with your own movements and the on screen characters movements (provided you have calibrated the sensor correctly). This game allows the full capabilities of the sensor to be used as on the main menu screen for this game you can either choose your character to be displayed as an ‘avatar/human analog’ character which has your exact body shape, even down to the shape of the clothing you are wearing - or you can chose the skins mode where it is actually you on the screen! This mode is my favorite as it actually shows you on the screen, it shows your clothing, your hair, your face and it shows your movements in a real life, real time way! This game has mini games on it including: yoga, cardio boxing, dancing, personalized workout regimes and gym games - all of which utilize the sensors ability to track movements accurately which makes the game very interactive and immersive in my opinion. Overall, this game is fantastic for utilizing the kinect sensors abilities and capabilities and the sensor makes this game a fantastic interactive, immersive work out!
- Using the sensor with other games
Another game which is great to use with the kinect sensor is: Kinect sports. Kinect sports is a game that can be bought separately or as part of some Xbox/Kinect bundles. This game contains various sports such as boxing, track and field, bowling, table tennis, volleyball and football. The sensor makes this game very much like real life - expect for the screen in front of you! This game is able to support up to four players, so it would be a good game to play with friends/family - especially as the sensor makes the game very interactive and the sensor and its capabilities gains looks of wonder as people play the various kinect games. The sensor makes playing sports a lot more realistic when compared to playing games using a controller. For example, the sensor makes boxing, tennis and bowling a lot more interactive and realistic when compared to the Wii versions of this game (such as Wii sports).
Zumba fitness is another game that is good with the sensor as it accurately tracks your movements and makes your characters dance the way you do, although myself and my sister found this game to be very disappointing and difficult as well. Overall, there are a lot of different games specifically for the kinect and it makes game play a lot more interactive, enjoyable, immersive and it also makes playing games with friends/family more of a social experience. The exercise games for kinect are also really good, such as the ‘Your shape fitness’ as it actually gets you up and
Pictures of Microsoft Kinect - motion sensor - wired
Two out of the four Kinect games we have
moving more, especially when compared to the Wii exercise games.
- Other features
The kinect also has a built in camera, so when you are playing certain games the camera will take photographs of the players. This feature is used in the ‘Kinect adventures’ games (previously reviewed) where during the game the camera will take pictures of the players and at the end of each mini game the photographs will be shown, this is a great feature in my opinion especially if friends and family are present. The embarrassing and humorous images can be deleted or stored - it is safe to say that all of the images taken on our kinect sensor were deleted by me! The sensor also has a built in microphone so if you have xbox live you will be able to speak/interact with others during an online game - the sensor also has voice recognition software.
- My overall opinion of the kinect sensor and games
Overall, I like the kinect sensor, it makes various games really interactive and more immersive. The sensor is very accurate and it recognizes players by their body shape/height. The sensor makes your characters movements the same as yours. Although when navigating through a games option menus it may be easier to use a physical controller but other than this and the fact that the sensor can be a little bit too sensitive some times, it is a fantastic product - I would definitely recommend this product to others.
- Price and availability
The kinect sensor we have was bought as part of a xbox 360 bundle in which we received the sensor and the kinect sports game. You can buy these bundle/packs from play.com, Next, Tesco, Pc world/Currys and John lewis with prices ranging from £299.95 to £274.95 for the whole bundle. Also the mounting stand for the sensor can be bought from play.com for £5 (price as of 26/11/11).
Appearance - sleek, expensive looking design
Ease to set up and use
Makes game play so much more interactive and is great for co-op gaming - and it also makes game play with friends and family a more social experience
The exercise games for the xbox and kinect are great, such as the ‘Your shape fitness evolved’
The sensor can be a little bit too sensitive or not sensitive enough on different games
Can be a little bit slow in reacting to your movements during some games
Thank you for reading my review, this review will also be posted on dooyoo under my username tigger1992