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Kinect: A look at the next 12 months of games

Camera obscura finally goes for the hardcore...

Nice hardware, shame about the games. That's the story of Kinect so far, but we knew it surely couldn't always be that way.

MS used E3 as their vehicle to drive the next generation of motion-enabled gaming and there was something for everyone - from gory historic scrapping to more familyfriendly fare like sports and... um, bumping 'n' grinding. Kids got their fix too, with mega licenses secured to keep the small people happy.

Perhaps the most surprising story involved Kinect integration into established third-party franchises, from FIFA though to Mass Effect 3. It's a neat, if arguably scattergun, strategy... while enhanced dash integration brings us ever closer to realising that Minority Report wet dream. Let's get excited...

Ryse

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Free Rome-ing beat-'em-up
Iffy name aside, Ryse was arguably the standout Kinect title at E3. Our only reservation being that - even though we've seen the trailer described as 'gory' and 'bloody' - it still paled next to the visceral nature of Rome or Spartacus.

Powered by CryEngine 3's mental-ovisuals, the only teaser of gameplay involved a startling mano-a-mano scrap where some in-shape chap standing in his living room raised his (shield) arm to block an incoming sword strike, before laying the hammer down with a selection of vicious looking headbutts and kicks to the chest then ramming his blade through his beaten enemy's broken mug.

Knockout visuals were accentuated through pervasive wounds and an incredibly realistic, visceral feel to the combat. Just like Kinect launch 'gem' Fighters Uncaged, then? Nah.

There's definitely cause for optimism here. While we're obviously unable to judge just how responsive the motion controls are, the second generation of Kinect releases do seem markedly more tactile - while there's more than a sniff of AAA to Ryse's stunning aesthetics.

The opening cinematic - all destroyed beauty, bloodied corpses and sad-looking doggies - was incredibly evocative (like an uncanny valley God of War), with an exhilarating sudden descent into the maelstrom of mass carnage. Lob in an expansive moveset, a slew of weapons, some more breathtaking vistas and multi-enemy combat and this could be a cracker. Oh, and more gore please.

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Dance Central 2

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Boogie Sprites...
Okay, hands up who's a more confident, snappier dancer after a session or ten on Dance Central? Us too! Girls still shun us in 'da club', just for a slightly different reason. Not to take anything away from Dance Central; it was a stylish, intuitive, fun introduction to the charms of MS' motion-sensing kit. Shame dance battles weren't simultaneous affairs.

Luckily, DC2's two-player even supports drop-in, drop-out play - though bear in mind you're gonna need a pretty epic living room to pull off the busier moves without accidentally stoving your girlfriend's face in.

After shaking our booty to Usher's 'DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love', we checked out the refined campaign which - in lieu of simple categorising songs by difficulty - tells a cheesy rags-to-riches story as you work your way up from unknown backstreet dance crew to, er... supporting Justin Bieber. Best of all, you can seamlessly import all your favourite tunes from the first game into this sequel. Dig it. Etc.

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Kinect Sports Season 2

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Where's cricket?
Kinect Sports punched Wii Sports right in the fanny. Okay, so it might have ripped Ninty off, but it also refined and improved on a four year-old product. Effortlessly the most popular Kinect launch title, a follow-up was inevitable, so here it is. Packing six sports: darts, tennis, American football, skiing, golf and baseball, it all seems a bit too Americanised for us. (Shame we couldn't swap gridiron out for better footy and baseball for cricket).

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