4th Nov 2010 | 04:02
In the real world, when you throw a javelin 31 metres at an international athletics event - dodgy shoulder or no dodgy shoulder - you are rewarded with ridicule and derision. It's the way it's always been. You, sir, can consider yourself a washout.
Not in Kinect Sports. In Kinect Sports, your paltry efforts are recompensed with that-Kasabian-one-dad-likes pumped out across the arena. In Kinect Sports, you're roundly applauded across the terraces.
In Kinect Sports, you're all winners.
Only you're not. Rare may fail to realise it - then again, they're smart types, so maybe they do - but this mollycoddling of your mishaps only serves to build frustration over your own ineptitude.
In two-player - with a friend giggling at your impotent attempts - on-screen celebration is even worse than the sound of disparagement; it's the sound of over-compensation.
Kinect Sports does not begin as a title that engenders blood-boiling competitive challenge. It's laughable, in truth. The rules and mechanics of real-world sport are bent so far, it makes it very hard to take seriously.
The way a goal kick is awarded after you've scored in football. The way there's no spinning or legwork involved in the discus whatsoever. The way you can smash the 100m 'World Record' by tickling 11 seconds.
None of it indicates this is a title that either deserves to truly elate you - or get your goat. For those emotive reactions, you need sporting challenge; and this, you'll tell yourself, this is just too easy.
But it creeps up on you. Eventually, you start caring about cracking 13 metres in the Long Jump, or pulverising your opponent at Table Tennis.
Because beyond its hideous TV ads (wall to wall with brilliant white teeth, remember); beyond its Prozac-powered incidental music and gurning, United Colours Of Benetton teams; and beyond its pluralistic celebration of winners and losers... Kinect Sports is just a really good game.
Sure, it's hardly a cauldron of fierce competition - and it's about as original as an Elvis impersonator's squirrel burger. But it looks the part, with vibrant HD graphics that are a smart halfway house between cartoonish and realistic. Most importantly, it will keep you coming back - whether you're a Granny at Xmas or a hardened FIFA nut.
Appropriately, Football is a good place to start - it's one of Kinect Sports' real triumphs. As you can safely predict, 'Soccer' (sorry) doesn't involve any running about by your good self. The CPU takes care of all that.
You simply have to punt the ball (with your feet!) in one of three directions before you get tackled or - wait for it - the ref punishes you for 'time wasting'.
I know, I know. Rare would have been better to have taken the ridicule on the chin and called it 'laser kick' for all its real life similarities.
But in a way, this sort of nonsense is why 'Soccer' (sorry) is such a master-stroke - especially as it's almost certainly the first thing you'll play in Main Event (the closest thing Kinect Sports has to a Career Mode).
Soccer (sorry) is so ridiculous, so unlike the beautiful game, it kills dead the expectation that Kinect Sports will be related to the rules and regulations of its real life inspiration. In turn, that frees Rare up to provide you with... pretty much whatever it likes, really. And that's where Kinect Sports succeeds so well.
So, in addition to all the faux pas already mentioned, Soccer (sorry) contains no option to tinker with tactics or formation. All it has is passes, blocks, shots, headers and corners... also known as all the exciting bits of football (hooray!) without the tactical expertise.
It sounds bizarre, but by your fourth or fifth trial of Soccer (sorry), you'll start to wonder why no other developer in video games history has taken such a simplistic approach to the pastime we hold so dear. It helps that it's executed so well - with latency having no real noticeable impact on proceedings, and your choice of direction being replicated cleanly every time.
Nailing a header into the corner of the net from a sweeping corner kick is the best feeling I've had yet on Kinect. Side-by-side two player is fun enough, but can become clumsy in confined space. Still, it's an experience crying out for Xbox Live - and the option to go online is there if you wish.
Other standouts include Sprinting (running on the spot and ducking over the line), Long Jump (likewise, with a jump at the end) and Bowling (a carbon copy of the Wii Sports favourite).
Table Tennis and Boxing come in for extra special praise - if only for improving dramatically on what Nintendo pioneered three years ago.
The former - although too quick-fire to control at times - is often the game Wii Sports Tennis always wanted to be.
Not only does it replicate the power and venom you put into certain shots, but it responds to direction. If you step right and sweep a shot into the opposite corner, the ball will travel into the opposite corner. There is a perceptible depth of field at play. It's a far fairer system then Wii Sports 'early hit equals wide shot; late hit equals narrow shot' model.
Boxing, meanwhile, is a genuine game of wits - and provides one of the best two-player gaming battles you could wish for. Not only is it impressively responsive, it's tactical: If you restrain yourself and block as your opponent swats away (by holding your gloves in front of your vulnerable areas), your next punch will benefit from extra power.
Once again, Rare removes the complications from the sport to leave a simple game of block, punch and power. With those ingredients, your bout can be as elementary or as complex as you and your opponent can muster.
Sadly, there are let-downs. The Javelin - part of a bumper Track & Field section - is too focused on the throw and ignorant of your run up. Meanwhile, the Discus - with its entire disposal of the spin-to-gather-speed bit - takes the 'unrealistic fun' angle too far.
Similarly, Hurdles has you sprinting like mad, only to 'jump' in your living room way before your avatar reaches the obstacles. The game indicates when you should leap via a green flash - but it feels too much like Rare has played it safe, compensating for what may have been more significant lag on earlier builds of the game.
Whilst we're pointing out pitfalls, it's also worth mentioning that the commentary is truly horrible - an Englishmen spouting overly upbeat Americanisms - and most sports are far too easy to beat on nearly all difficulty levels.
However, once you throw into the mix Beach Volleyball and a host of mini-games, Kinect Sports works out at a surprisingly bulky package for a party game.
The fact it comprehensively knackered me out for three days running is testament to just how fun and replayable an experience it provides - and there are plenty of nice touches for newbies, like badges as XP and avatar extras to unlock.
By not only pinching Miyamoto-san's idea, but exploring his maxim of stripping out the unnecessary, Rare has created the impossible: A 'casual' Kinect launch game that keeps you coming back for more.
You can't help but look forward to what this Great British studio is going to come up with next.