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CVG
63 Reviews

Xbox Kinect

Marks and sensors

God, I ache.

My left hip feels as brittle as an old codger's elbow. My sardine-sized triceps throb like pre-teen adrenal glands enjoying an audience with Justin Bieber. My Trapezius is stiff enough to suggest someone's furtively injected super-glue under my shoulder bone.

I'm also suffering from other, less physical inconveniences: The aftermath of the incessant banging on my ceiling from the sleep-deprived curmudgeon in the upstairs flat, for instance; the spilled Robinson's stain besmirching my living room carpet; the fact I've had to look up 'Trapezius' online to work out which muscle is causing me jip.

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This is how the morning after your first night in with Kinect feels like. At least how it should feel like. If it doesn't - to borrow a phrase this writer's far more used to being on the receiving end of - you're just not doing it right.

And yet for all this pain, for all the explanations and the apologies which befall me after this first comprehensive session, I'm completely charmed by Microsoft's oblong oddity.

Two days later - with plenty more embarrassing, strenuous prancing chalked up - I'm still hurting. But much like the jovial Calibration Creature that helped get me into this mess, I can't stop smiling.

First things first, though. There's been enough talk of smoke and mirrors and misinformation around Kinect already. It's time to come clean: Some of you may as well stop reading here.

Let's do the 'no trainers' checklist:

* Kinect is not for you if... you intend to play it your bedroom. Unless you're Prince Harry, you almost certainly won't have the space. (If you're reading, your Highness, Just Say No.)

* Kinect is not for you if... physical exertion is an issue. As already described, it's likely to exhaust you - especially in those eager first few hours.

* Kinect is not for you if... you're the sort of illogical, sticky-pad crank who refuses to entertain technology also enjoyed by housewives. (If so, may I recommend you consider chucking out your microwave. Warning: You may have to warm your Rustler's burgers on a radiator as a result.)

For the rest of you, Kinect is an absolute pleasure to have in the home. Much more importantly, it's a reliable one.

Within an hour of messing about with the Kinect Dashboard, any nagging question marks over lag and unresponsiveness are snuffed out. Your on-screen hand icon matches your real-life movements near-perfectly, whilst the voice commands (ranging from "Xbox, Kinect" to "Xbox, Zune Highlights") are an absolute revelation.

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Likewise, worries that the device won't be able to recognise you sitting down soon fizzle to nothing; I successfully reclined to 'arse off the cotton' levels, whilst still managing to flick between menus, movies and music as if I were swatting away flies.

It looks good on your TV stand, too. A glossy black technology Toblerone - complete with crowd-pleasing nods and whirs every time you boot up your 360 - it has something of the Short Circuit about it; every bit as impressive as it is adorable. (Until you put the launch software in your disc tray, that is - but more on the games later.)

We've previously noted that Kinect will need hardcore gamers to be interested if it's going to be a success; because they're the ones who will best evangelise it to mums, daughters and the like.

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