The new Kinect sensor for Xbox makes you all powerful in the world of gaming.
It is not always that a tech review leaves me panting for breath and reaching for the towel to wipe my brow. But reviewing the new Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 helped me burn more calories than my daily hour-long walks.
For those of us who thought the Nintendo Wii had broken new ground with its motion sensing hand units,Kinect games will come as a blow in the dark. With this new technology,Microsoft makes you the controller,virtually immersing the user in the game. All your actions,as far as the game goes,are captured by the Kinect sensor which tracks your bodys movements in 3D and responds to your directions.
The new sensor combines an RGB camera,depth sensor,multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software in a single device to bring to you a gaming experience unlike anything you have seen so far. And all this immersive action means that you also have to work hard to progress in the game. Just what the doctor ordered for couch potatoes like me.
Much of how you will experience the device depends on the placement of the sensor ideally two to six feet off the floor and by positioning yourself in front of it. The sensor takes a few moments to calibrate the position of the player. But once it locks your body,the sensors can detect if you are moving out of the playing area and will alert you about it.
Once the sensor has got you in its sight,you can get rid of the regular Xbox controls and put yourself in its place. Selections are made by moving your hand to the field required. Keep your hand on one field for a few seconds and it gets selected.
All games come with tutorials that instruct you about which movements are required to play and ultimately how to get the better of the computer or your opponent. For instance,the Fighters Uncaged game,which I tried out first,had a training session that helps you improve your fighting technique by destroying your trainer before you are unleashed on the street to fend for yourself. However,compared to simpler games like bowling,table tennis and football,this one has a wider range of movements and hence will take some time to master.
Motion Sports seemed the ideal Kinect game for beginners,as it ensures all the thrills of motion gaming while not being too demanding on your skills. As you improve on the penalty kicks and backhands,you can move to the tougher levels.
I preferred sticking to the initial levels,for its not every day that I get to break my own long jump and 100-metre sprint records. Since the sensor captures all movements,even once the actual game is over,I made full use of my moment atop the podium by waving to the crowds who were cheering me with a standing ovation. Oh,how I love the life of a champion.
Since the Kinect has an inbuilt camera,it can replay your shots,or your leaps over the hurdles. But trust me,it looks much better in the game; you dont want to be seen jumping about with no hurdle or trying to do a Pete Sampras without a racket in your hand.
Microsoft has released 11 games which are compatible with Kinect sensor and many more could be in the offing soon. Im sure these games will be enough to keep you engaged till the new ones come along. The all-in-one Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect sensor and Kinect Adventures game DVD,is available at an estimated retail price of Rs 22,990. For those who already own an Xbox 360,the stand-alone Kinect sensor and Kinect Adventures for Xbox 360 is available for Rs 9,990.
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