Another sports title makes it to the Kinect, but in case you didn’t know anything about either MotionSports, it seems it could be a franchise that Ubisoft is attempting to build. This is the second iteration, unfortunately the first MotionSports: Play For Real was a flop due to really poor controls but all in all, it was a good idea at the time. The second one states:

Chase the ultimate adrenaline rush right at home as MotionSports goes extreme! Push the action envelope and become a superstar in seven activities that are billed as sports but happen to be the perfect way to laugh in the face of danger. Experience some of the world’s most dangerous thrills: kiteboarding, whitewater kayaking, jungle free-running, and more. Travel to the world’s most extreme locations, spots like the Amazon and Himalayas. The crazier your stunts, the bigger your fan base gets. Unlock more challenges and places to pull them off, grab new gear, and score big-money sponsorship deals. Challenge your friends to top your achievements and steal your superstar status.

Overview

This one brings 6 new extreme sports that, more than likely you’ll never experience in your life, but if you are fortunate and able to do these extreme sports in real-life, the game will probably fall short of your expectations. The 6 sports include Kite Surfing, Mountain Biking, Wingsuit Diving, Rock Climbing, Skiing, and Kayaking. It seems Ubisoft took a step backwards with it, which may have been for the better. Most of the sports are fairly simple to control, so if you are looking for a real adrenaline rush, this one won’t give it to you. The good thing is the controls work for the most part this time around, the sports themselves, not so much.

The Menu

Ubisoft went with a Dance Central style menu again, it works for the most part, it can be clunky at times, I figured they would have worked out the bugs by now, but you will probably have minor issues with it. The menu itself consists of Quickplay, Adrenaline Party, You Against The World, Adrenaline Lab and View News. I’ll break each section down as always.

Quick Play

This mode takes you right into the events. When you first start, additional tracks are locked, so you have to work your way up and level up. There are a total of 46 levels you can upgrade to. Each level typically unlocks either tracks or gear for you to play and use. There are different modes for each event, which include Trick Style, Speed Freak and Coin Grab. Not all modes are for every event so you have to look what you can choose. Trick Style has your objective basically to score as many points as possible doing tricks. Tricks are completed by typically jumping and then matching a pose. Once you match the pose, your character does some random trick and scores points. Speed Freak is just a beat the clock race mode, fairly straight up. Coin Grab has you trying to grab as many coins as possible. Coins are scattered throughout all the tracks, collecting coins in all modes will build up your adrenaline meter as well as doing tricks. When your adrenaline meter is full, you can boost for a few seconds. The coin grab mode reminded me of Kinect Adventures! though.

Match the pose to execute your trick!

The modes all offer 2 player as well which is a bonus if you have someone to play with. They even added relay mode where you take turns in between and switch on and off, I do like the relay idea as it gives you both a break in between. That’s basically all the modes you can pick from, but it’s not a huge variety like I’m making it sound, for example, Kite Surfing only has the Trick Style mode, but I’ll detail each sport below.

Kite Surfing

If you are unsure of what this is, basically you are on a surfboard and have a parachute attached to a handle that you hold onto and let the wind pull you to “kite surf”. The Kinect version is pretty decent for what it is, I honestly don’t know how you can make it more realistic or better for that matter. It offers only the Trick Style mode, so you want to get the highest score possible, but does offer the Trick Style relay for 2 players. It does have 3 different courses that you can race on. The controls are basic, jump, steer with your hands like you are holding onto a handle, push hands forward to boost, match the poses. It works though, but the stuff you do is not too realistic, which gives the whole game an arcade feel to it, you do get to grind as well in this one. It’s decent, it will probably be one of the more favored events.

Mountain Biking

This one has you do some crazy mountain biking with trees collapsing around you making for a very dangerous environment, but it’s cool because we all like danger 🙂 Anyhow, it has the same exact controls as Kite Surfing and has 3 tracks as well. There is a little speed boost thing you have to time when going around turns, a yellow bar and green bar light up when going around a turn, you want to turn when its green and it will boost you through the corner. That’s pretty much the only difference. This one does offer you Trick Style mode as well as Speed Freak mode in addition to a Trick Style relay for 2 players. The only kind of mountain biking game I have played that is a very dumbed down version, but I found the controls more intuitive, is EA Sports Active 2.0. It has a mini-game where you have to run in place to climb up hills, would have made this one more of an active event. This one will probably be a more favored event as well.

Wingsuit Diving

This one is kind of strange to me. You jump out of a helicopter with a wingsuit on and dive down a mountain with more crazy rocks tumbling and flying through caves and what not. It’s strange to me because you are going down the side of a mountain, I think, yet the view looks like you are floating above horizontal land instead of vertical. The controls are kind of funky as well, as you hold out your arms to move up (which opens your wing suit), hold your arms down to accelerate, crouch to move down, I think that’s what was messing me up is the whole crouching thing. I’m not sure how you would control this one with Kinect, or if it was up to me, if I’d even put it in…maybe regular skydiving with a PilotWings to do list would be a better experience, but that’s just my 2 cents. Boost is activated by jumping and you have to do poses in mid-flight as well to do tricks. This one will probably be up to people if they like it or not. The speed freak mode I found more enjoyable as you just want to go as fast as possible, but it’s quite difficult to avoid the obstacles without steering. This one offers Coin Grab mode and Speed Freak and offers 3 courses as well.

I'm just not sure about this one...

Rock Climbing

I’d have to say, this one is probably the worst out of them, it’s either the controls or the concept, or both. I’d be surprised if people like this event. It wants you to raise an arm and then bring it back down to climb in that direction. It works when you are climbing on an angle, but you will come to spots it wants you to move horizontally, so your character will sit there as you are trying to figure out why they aren’t moving. I’m still not sure what makes it work, I tried moving left and right in my playspace and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. You may also have to jump up to the next rock that you can grab, so its more of a puzzle than anything. Figure out what the path is and you can probably ace it, as long as the controls work. This one doesn’t have boost though, so you can’t climb fast, if you go too fast, it stops registering. Your boost in this one though is a shield that’s activated by clapping your hands. The shield protects you from falling rocks. You are given a clue when something bad is going to happen by the whole mountain rumbling. Rock Climbing has Speed Freak for 1 or 2 players and only Coin Grab in a 2 player co-op mode, which is a little better as you have help collecting the coins, but you usually don’t go where you want to. This one offers 3 courses as well.

It looks cool at least!

Skiing

This event is probably the best, there seems to be something fun about skiing, let’s hope Winter Stars doesn’t let us down. Anyhow, skiing is normal, lean side to side, do a pole thrust motion to speed up. This one has you raise your hands to use your boost. Tricks are done with the posing again and to gain a small boost you have to crouch when you land, made sense to me. Skiing offers only Trick Style play and a relay for 2 players, but only 2 tracks. Since this was round 2 for skiing I was expecting it to offer more, not less, somewhat disappointing.

Kayaking

This one is an oddball one as well. You do a paddle motion to paddle, so it works most of the time. To steer you have to dig your paddle deep in water on one side, which is fine, it somewhat works but to control the boat is somewhat challenging. You can sort of get it to where you want to go. This one throws in a crouch mode to flip your kayak upside down so you can go under walls and falling obstacles. Honestly, I just don’t think was a good sport choice or the control choice. Everything is fast and it’s somewhat of a challenge to steer that fast because the boat wants to turn sharply and I didn’t see any adjustment option with the angle at which you put the paddle in the water, throw in the arcade options and it turns into a little mess. This one offered Coin Grab mode and Speed Freak with a 2 player relay Coin Grab mode as well. We’ll see how Cabela’s Adventure Camp stacks up to this one as it has a Kayak event as well.

Below is a montage of the events that I put into one video, I just took a minute from each event I played. Hopefully it will give you enough to get an idea of how the game works, anyway check it out below:

Adrenaline Party

This mode is a party mode for 1-4 players. You spin the world and random events are chosen for you. Kind of fun, but I don’t think the party mode is going be similar to a Kinect Sports caliber if that’s what you are looking for. There are 10 random events chosen and you either compete against yourself or other players.

You Against The World

This mode I didn’t experiment with, solely because it’s locked and can only be unlocked by spending 20 Uplay points, in which I really didn’t want to spend points on it to be honest. From what I gathered it’s just a ladder mode that is online against Xbox Live players in the world. The good thing about it, it does provide some longevity to the game. It seems the way they built the online features, it’s meant to be really competitive, so if you are compete freak, you may want this game just for the competition, it’s about equal to the competition level in Kinect Sports where someone can be ahead of you by just 1 point.

Adrenaline Lab

The Adrenaline Lab, which is sponsored by Men’s Degree as is most of the game, lets you do a few things such as Customize your Character, access the “Action Tracker”, which is just their fancy word for statistics, Challenge Hub which is actually pretty cool, I’ll talk about it in a minute, and your options. If you are unaware, MotionSports goes with realistic and life-like characters instead of your avatars, which in my opinion, is better than our cartoon kid-like avatars, I would just be amazed to play more games using normal characters. Anyhow, in here the only thing you can do is pick a character. There are 6 total, each with one of the events being their “favorite sport” and each from a different country, 3 females and 3 males to keep everything even. I did test out all 6 and noticed a slight improvement when using them for their sport, although it could have been because I played it a few times and each time I got a little better. You can also choose gear for your characters, some gear just changes the outfit/colors while others give you enhancements such as adrenaline boost to start with. Each has 1 Uplay outfit as well, but I’m not sure what the bonus is. Each character has 5 gear choices per sport, so that’s 30 different outfits. All are locked in the beginning as well except for your starter gear.

The challenge hub is a cool feature. When you first play, you will notice all these random challenges and you’ll even see other players playing with you. I don’t think its real-time, although it could be, but I believe it’s a ghost image of an opponent. I think challenges are random and if you are challenged, you have to beat them in a certain section of track. Owning a challenge makes you the challenge owner and the game was automatically posting challenges for me. You can turn this off in the options if you don’t want to do it, but it is cool. In the challenge hub, you can view all of the challenges and which ones and your friends have completed. I had a total of 15 challenges I could try to conquer. I don’t know if the challenges are the same for everyone, but it could be different which means that’s another level of game playing if you want to try to tackle everyone’s challenges, 15 x how many people have the game could stack up.

When a challenge is triggered, you race against them or their ghost!

The remaining options allow you to adjust the music and sound fx and view the credits. They did put the instruction manual in the game, showing you what gestures to do, but each game does this as well, so it is quite informative at least. The last main menu option is just to view news. Not sure what this is about yet, it’s all new, but Ubisoft does have a ticker going in it, so its possible they may build from this game, time will tell.

UPlay

Lastly, as with all Ubisoft titles, there is the UPlay rewards. In this one there are 4. These include:

  • Theme
  • You Against The World (The Ladder challenges across Xbox Live)
  • Ubisoft Outfits (Gives advantages in every race)
  • Headstart (Start every race with 25% adrenaline)

Graphics and Sound

As with the previous title, the graphics are beautiful. They’ve also upped the sound standard so to speak, it has a couple licensed tracks that play during the menu and sounds good as well as the effects. I do prefer the realistic characters over our avatars and I think the more you play, the more you appreciate it and it doesn’t feel like a kiddie game even with basic controls.

Controls

Speaking of the controls, I think Ubisoft learned from their mistake this time around and used minimal interaction as possible. The controls are very basic, but the important thing, especially to this series, is that they work in this one. As I mentioned in each event what they are, they are fairly basic and not engaging, but I think this time is more about the game and it working, not how intuitive the controls are.

Conclusion

Adding extreme sports to a Kinect title is a new idea, and it’s decently executed. I am thankful that it works to be honest. Only thing is, it only works for about an hour or so, even if you go through all the tracks and events. It’ll probably keep you busy for a little bit, but that’s pretty much all there is to it. The challenges and online play may keep you interested for a little longer but that solely depends on the player. Therefore, if you can ignore the fact that this game does not have a lot of longevity, then you may need to add 1 or 2 points to my score as it’s fun and looks pretty enough. Additionally, as with these games, there’s really not a sense of realism with the events probably due to the arcade atmosphere put in, so if you were thinking MotionSports Adrenaline is realistic (because of the realistic avatars for instance), I can tell you it’s not.

Also, in terms of longevity, I’m not sure if Ubisoft is able to add sports to this title or not, but it seems they are really investing into the online portion, so if they do go that route, it would be really cool – especially if they are able to just plug-in regular sports/events to build it up. If you are a sports nut that likes the extreme sporting events, it’s probably not a bad title for you to check out, but I would recommend renting first just to be sure you really want it as the whole arcade atmosphere might give you a different opinion. If you are unable to rent, I am hoping this review helps you out in the meantime as I tried to detail as much as possible.

As for future plans or news for this title, we’ll be sure to let you know!


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of MotionSports Adrenaline
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?