Tagged "Kinect"

Mar 25
By Jake In Features No Comments

Games Asylum is 15 years old this weekend, which means we can finally watch Die Hard. Yippee ki-yay indeed, melon farmers.

Much has changed since 2001, so to wish ourselves a very bloody happy birthday, here are eight things that didn’t exist 15 years ago when we started this nonsense.

1. Motion control

The first big banana when it comes to flapping around in front of your TV was Sony’s EyeToy, released for the PlayStation 2 in 2003 – and in Europe first. That did pretty well, and plenty of people who don’t play games were convinced that cleaning virtual suds off their TV screen is a fun thing to do. Elaborate cable-based system Gametrak came shortly after, and did little to advance the cause.

Gametrak: Dark Wind Gametrak: Real World Golf

In 2006, Nintendo changed everything with the Wii. Briefly. It won the heck out of the generational ‘battle’ with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, though a good proportion of 100 million plus owners might now struggle to remember anything beyond Wii Tennis. But you’ll still find it in the odd back room of a pub, a reminder that it really did break new ground.

That ground pretty quickly sealed back up though. The Wii U didn’t exactly pick up where its predecessor left off, PlayStation Move had little impact on PlayStation 3 or 4, and Kinect did little on Xbox 360 or One, despite a good start on the former and being initially bundled with the latter – a decision that was unwelcome, unsuccessful and short-lived.

So has motion control both risen and entirely fallen away again in the 15 years we’ve been going? Maybe it was just a fad, but perhaps virtual reality will see its resurgence: PlayStation VR may breathe new life into those Move controllers, Vive comes with motion controllers, and Oculus will have Touch.

PlayStation VR

But that depends on VR actually taking off. We’ll see.

2. Smartphones

Not that most people would even bother with that term now – they’re so ubiquitous, a smartphone’s just a phone these days. Not so in 2001, however. It was still all about Nokia back then, and not even the utterly ludicrous N-Gage – we were only treated to that in 2003. And forget your fancy iPhone, we didn’t have the first iPod until the autumn of 2001.

Perhaps we can lay some of the blame for the demise of motion control at the sleek feet of the smartphone. The Wii might have made gaming less frightening to a huge glut of population, but those touchable rectangles shovelled gaming straight into their pockets, and on a device they want regardless.

Apple really got it going, half accidentally, with the launch of the App Store in 2008, about a year after the first iPhone. That same year Android got going, and the rest is history – and the competition pretty much irrelevant.

3. Xbox

Microsoft are a Johnny Big Face in the console world now, but not a decade and a half ago. The Dreamcast still had a few games left in it; the PlayStation 2 was just a few months old, and a long way from becoming the best selling console of all time.

Though it didn’t exist, we knew the Xbox was coming. It had been announced a year earlier in 2000, and from that moment the fuss began about the hard drive, and whether it would just be a PC in a different box.

Xbox 2000 GDC

It launched in North America in late 2001, with Europe following in 2002. Probably best not to mention Japan.

And of course, it turned out that it wasn’t just a PC in a different box, and particularly with the launch of Xbox Live later in 2002, Microsoft did a lot to define what a modern console looks like.

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Jan 15
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

It’s questionable if the Kinect is going to play as big a part in the Xbox One’s future as Microsoft once believed. Indeed, by all accounts the original Kinect is dead – Microsoft even chose not to feature the usual ‘Better with Kinect’ branding on the recent Zoo Tycoon.

That didn’t stop us from dusting off our Kinect over the Christmas period though, which just so happened to be a fine way to burn off calories from the copious amount of selection boxes we received.

The fact that several recent(ish) Kinect games were reduced to literally pence over Christmas also played a small part in us getting digging out the Mr. Sheen.

Here’s what we played:

Mini Ninjas Adventures


Big plans were once in mind for Mini Ninjas – a cartoon series, a toy line and more than likely a fully fledged sequel. A lukewarm reception to the 2009 pint-sized platformer seemingly put a stop to that, but it did sell well enough to warrant this Kinect spin-off as well as a neat little side-scroller for mobiles.

Like the protagonist himself, Mini Ninjas Adventures is on the short side. The story mode spans three chapters lasting around an hour each, with the first chapter being little more than a glorified tutorial.

It’s here that our hero Hiro gets to grips with the three weapons that must be used accordingly to take down waves of ninjas. Enemies that get up close and personal have to be taken down with a sword while those on the approach have to be defeated with either arrows or shurikens depending on distance.

Swapping between weapons requires a gesture to be performed, as does performing attacks including sword swipes and firing imaginary arrows from a bow. For most part the Kinect copes well, which is fortunate as at times this can be a game that’s both mentally and physically demanding. See, it’s not long into the second chapter that it reveals itself to be quite a clever little game, forcing you to think fast as you kick the shields out of enemy’s hands, side step to avoid unblockable attacks and use explosive barrels to your advantage. A score multiplier system holds it all together, in addition to the fact that every attack can be avoided or countered if you watch the animations carefully.

We came to this adventure not expecting much, but we left pleasantly surprised and probably a couple of pounds lighter too. All that invisible sword swinging really took its toll.

Freefall Racers


Although there are some similarities here with Mario Kart, calling it an outright clone would be both unfair and lazy. There are no karts, for starters – the squad of colourful flying squirrels instead glide along gusts of wind, occasionally descending into freefall sections. Hence the title.

Developers Smoking Gun Interactive have worked on a fair few Kinect games in the past, which is something more than evident. The motion controls in particular work faultlessly, allowing you to guide your chosen squirrel through the surprisingly open tracks with both ease and grace. Poking your leg out activates a power-up – which vary from tornadoes that send rival squirrels spinning to the ability to coat the track with spider webs – while leaning forward activates an adrenaline boost.

Adrenaline is gained by flying close to the ground, thus adding a neat little risk/reward system. When playing on the harder difficulty setting building up a steady supply of adrenaline is vital to winning, as is using power-ups wisely. Fail to do so and you’ll find yourself at the back of the pack time and time again.

Although there’s a decent of selection of squirrels to unlock – including a decorated war hero and a tribal warrior – the glaze of their cold dead eyes makes them hard to like. We actually found them quite unnerving, to be honest.

Track design is another flaw, suffering heavily from repetition. No matter if you’re gliding through a tropical forest or an icy mountain range, most tracks comprise of a similar assortment of tight bends, wide caverns and the odd vertical drop or two.

Still, there’s comfort to be found in Freefall Racers’ carefree nature and the presence of a two-player mode manages to make this package feel reassuringly complete.

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Jan 22
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

There’s a Hong Kong-based online retailer where, hidden away from the official console bundles and realms of third party peripherals, there’s a peculiar section titled “Other videogame consoles”. Here you’ll find a variety of dubious looking handhelds of all shapes and sizes, pre-loaded with hacks of NES games and more.

We don’t condone piracy here at Games Asylum – hence the lack of a link to the website in question – but the consoles found here are so brilliantly bizarre that we couldn’t resist taking a thorough look. Most of these devices don’t even have proper names, let alone adequate descriptions, so we’ve taken the liberty with some of them.

If curiosity gets the better of you, it shouldn’t be hard to spot the website’s name from the watermarks.

Angry Birds ZH-398


Costing less than £10, we very much doubt that the “Angry Birds ZH-398” has a particularly high build quality. Well known games such as Zumba, Plants vs Zombies, Pac-Man and “Anger Birds” are shown on the main menu. It’s existence is sure to anger Rovio, that’s for sure.

It’s impossible to tell if the 32 games it contains are genuine or bootleg clones, but we assume the latter.

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Sep 18
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

Borderlands 2 has been creating a buzz ever since it was first announced.

Reviews suggest the hype hasn’t been for nothing. UK magazine GamesMaster had the first review, where it bagged a resounding 95%. That was then followed up with a 9.0 from IGN. “Borderlands 2 preserves the best parts of the franchise while also making numerous, much needed improvements to areas like narrative and class skill design. Additional visual customization options would make it better, and the occasional technical issue takes away from the experience, but overall this is an excellent shooter no one even remotely curious should overlook”, they said.

According to 2K’s blurb there are now 87 bazillion different weapons. The Simpson’s Moe Sizlack would approve.

As well as the standard version there’s a collector’s edition that comes with a bobblehead, stickers and an artbook. GAME was also offering the ‘Ultimate Loot Chest Edition’ which comes in a replica loot chest but that’s now sold out.

IGN has an unboxing video, if you’re a fan of those.

If the reviews of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 are to be believed then the series is back on top form. IGN gave it 8.5 claiming that it “feels like a game with a sense of identity and direction”. The Official Xbox Magazine meanwhile gave it an 8.0, pointing out the improved player control and visuals. There’s not one but two demos available to try out. A FIFA 13 demo is also available now for those who want to compare the two.

It’s out on just about every format – even PlayStation 2. TheHut currently has the Wii version for £14.95 and the 3DS version for £19.95.

F1 2012 reviews appeared on Monday too. Eurogamer found it to be good, but not a massive improvement. “It’s another small step forward for the series, but that’s not quite enough to dispel the suspicion that Codemasters’ F1 team doesn’t have the resources to create iterations compelling or different enough to justify the annual churn”. They award it a 7/10. Videogamer.com liked it a bit more, giving it an 8/10. They did agree though there hasn’t been any major changes this year.

Having already been released on the original PSP, in our eyes the PS Vita version of LittleBigPlanet consequently doesn’t quite feel like a system seller. It’s still worth a look though. EDGE’s 9/10 review has vanished off the face of the internet, but they did say that the “5 inch OLED screen is a chance to see Media Molecule’s staggering achievement afresh, and to witness one of this generation’s most intriguing engines of creativity at its most energetic and effective.” It has received plenty of other 9/10s too, such as this one from Polygon. GamesRadar didn’t enjoy using the rear touch-screen very much, but still gave it a glowing review.

Then we have a trio of less than full-price releases – The Testament of Sherlock Holmes on PS3, 360 and PC, Funky Barn on 3DS and the Xbox Live Collection Pack from Ubisoft. That last one contains Beyond Good & Evil HD, From Dust & Outland and can be found for around £14.99 online. All three are very good games, although since the pack was first revealed (way back in January) all three have been on offer at various times on XBLA at vastly cut prices.

Kinect Sesame Street TV and Nat Geo TV also cost less than your standard release. Oddly, the online retailers claim that they’re out today (Tuesday). Nat Geo TV is by Brighton-based Relentless Software, who created the Buzz! series for Sony while Microsoft Soho is responsible for Sesame Street. They’ve got quite a job on their hands to better the surprisingly good Once Upon a Monster.

As for downloads, XBLA owners get Jet Set Radio HD and Fire Pro Wrestling (out Friday) while 2D adventure game LA-MULANA arrives on WiiWare. There’s a trailer of that here. The publisher behind it is also releasing Abyss on DSiWare this week, which looks a bit like an underwater version of Thurst.

We think we would rather have had Fire Pro Wrestling in 2D, like the older versions, but we’ll reserve judgment for now.

Next week: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC), FIFA 13 (Everything), Dead or Alive 5 (PS3, 360), Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse (PS3, 360), Mugen Souls (PS3), Puzzler World 2012 3D (3DS), Rocksmith (PS3, 360, PC) and Thundercats (DS).

Jun 04
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

There have been so many leaks over the past few days that the only new games to be shown during Microsoft’s E3 conference were a handful of Xbox Live Arcade titles along with some Nike fitness software.

Even Ubisoft’s reasonably impressive looking Splinter Cell: Blacklist was ousted a few hours before the show.

Things kicked off with a live action Halo 4 video which involved a USNC ship coming under attack. Master Chief then finds himself on a jungle-like planet, which is where the footage then turned into an in-game demonstration. We saw Master Chief battling a new enemy – a bipedal scarab-like alien before then picking up a new weapon based on Forerunner technology. Halo 4 was shown later during the conference too to demonstrate Microsoft’s new Smart Glass app. This app turns “any” mobile device into a second screen for the Xbox 360, much like Wii U GamePad. We saw Halo multi-player options being selected on a touch screen device and also a list of Madden 13 team formations being played around with.

EA’s sporting titles were shown very early on with a focus on Kinect voice controls for both FIFA 13 and Madden 13, which was demonstrated by American football hall of famer Joe Montana.

You can view that Halo 4 footage here on Kotaku.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist saw Sam Fisher in a desert base and dressed in desert camo, taking out enemies with some slick melee combat. During one section the words ‘execute ready’ appeared on screen. Enemies can also be distracted by shouting into the Kinect mic. We also saw Sam Fisher climbing up a wall in a very Assassin’s Creed-style nature. Mercs vs Spies death-matches were confirmed.

Demos of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 6 – the only Japanese-developed game on show – also impressed. Tomb Raider didn’t feature any tombs to speak of, instead opting for some Uncharted-style adventuring. Lara took down several enemies using a humble bow and arrow, and also plunged down a rapid river behind landing inside the cockpit of a wrecked airplane.

Resident Evil 6 had a very cinematic feel also – we saw Leon running from an inferno caused by an airplane crashing into a tower block. In the background of the conference we spotted a screen mention that all Resident Evil 6 DLC would be free on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 will also be getting Tomb Raider DLC first. Let’s hope it’s not just an avatar outfit, eh?

Forza Horizon – which is being developed by staff members behind Project Gotham and Blur – has a release date of October 23rd. It’s an open world affair, just like Burnout Paradise and Test Drive Unlimited, and set in Colorado. Some of our Twitter followers are excited about the prospect of it being free roaming while others are not. Eurogamer has a very good preview available to read right now.

Fable: The Journey was shown in trailer form, which to much amusement ended with the player performing a Street Fighter-style ‘Hadouken’ move. Another Kinect game shown as Wreckateer which entails firing projectiles at castles. Visually it’s very bright and colourful. We don’t have long to wait for it either – it’s part of the Summer of Arcade line-up.

Those other previously unannounced arcade games? Racer Loco Cycle from Twisted Pixel, which had a very Tron-like look to it, and fantasy brawler Ascend: New Gods from the Toy Soldiers guys. There was also Matter, of which very little was shown. That’s for Kinect too.

Trailers for Loco Cycle and Matter can be found below:

Gears of War Judgement would have been a surprise if US publication Game Informer didn’t tell the world last week that it’s this month’s cover game. It’s set 15 years before the original and stars Cole and Baird. There’s going to be a character class-based multi-player mode much like Team Fortress 2, including mechanics, soldiers and medics. Polish developers People Can Fly are at the helm who worked on Bulletstorm. If you haven’t played that yet, then this news is the ideal reason to.

Eurogamer has the teaser trailer here.

The highlight for us was seeing South Park’s Trey Stone and Matt Parker go on stage to talk about South Park: Stick of Truth. Their speech was an impromptu performance involving some mick-taking at the expense of the only just unveiled Smart Glass app. Stick of Truth is going to have Xbox 360 exclusive DLC and also exclusive pre-order incentives. It’s out 5th March 2013.

Sticking to what they know, Harmonix also showed Dance Central 3 which was demonstrated by Usher. We wish that Harmonix would make a new Frequency or Amped for the likes of 3DS and PS Vita, but we guess there’s still money to be made from dancing games.

The conference ended with Call of Duty: Black Ops II gameplay footage. We have to say the fantasy elements about this one do appeal, even if it the storyline has more than a slight whiff of Terminator 2: Judgment Day about it.

Mar 22
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Capcom seemingly learnt nothing from the forgettable Resident Evil: Outbreak series on PlayStation 2 – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has been getting some terrible reviews, including a 3/10 from gamesTM. GamesMaster also reviewed it this month but didn’t give it a score as they weren’t able to play it online. They did however point out that the single-player mode is not worth buying it for and your AI team mates are so poorly programmed that they walk into laser tripwires and the like. IGN agreed with the AI issues, and gave it a 4.0.

IGN didn’t think much of Ninja Gaiden 3 either, which they dished out a 3.0 for. They seem to be in the minority though – both the Official Xbox 360 Magazine and CVG gave it an 8. It’s a lot easier than the previous Ninja Gaiden games, but the multi-player modes feel a little clunky. It needs an online pass too, although free DLC is due somewhen.

Kid Ikarus: Uprising is one that Nintendo has been working on for a long time. That time has paid off, with review scores including a 9 from Eurogamer, an 8 from EDGE and an 8.5 from IGN. Destuctoid on the other hand gave it a 5/10. “Kid Icarus: Uprising is equal parts tremendous and terrible, with a fine line clearly separating the two distinct territories,” they said. With the Metacritic average standing at 84, Destuctoid’s review would appear to be rather harsh on it.

Then we’ve got mech shooter Armored Core V, which scored at 6 from The Official Xbox Magazine and a 7 from GamesRadar. Designing mechs is good fun, said GamesRadar, but the PlayStation 3 version apparently suffers from frame rate issues.

PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond is another with mixed reviews – The Metro’s GameCentral said it’s far too shallow and similar to the first game and gave it a 3/10. The Official Nintendo Magazine agreed that it’s too alike to the first game but still gave it 70% anyway.

Another casual game? Oh go on then. Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure is one which Microsoft has been curiously quiet about. The first review to appear was a rather nice 78% from German site GamingXP. They suggested that Disneyland Adventures was a better purchase though as that’s a little bit nicer presented.

Next week: Ridge Racer Unbounded (PS3, 360, PC), Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3, 360), Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3, 360), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (PS3, 360), Warriors Orochi 3 (PS3, 360), Capcom Digital Collection (360), Just Dance Best Of (Wii), Nickelodeon Dance (Wii), Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (PS3, 360), Cats & Dogs 3D: Pets at Play (3DS) and Farming Simulator 3D (3DS).

Feb 27
By Matt Gander In Reviews 2 Comments

Our Kinect has been dusted off and the living room furniture has been moved around. This can only mean one thing – a new free game has been added to Kinect Fun Labs.

The catalogue of gadgets on Kinect Fun Labs is quite large now, but most aren’t worth your time other than to unlock the incredibly easy achievements that they contain. This makes Junk Fu the rarest of things – it’s worthy of your time, energy and hard drive space.

Junk objects, including broken CRT monitors and goldfish bowls still with fish bones inside, move down a conveyor belt and it’s your job to chop and kick them before they fall off the end. The amount of calories you’ve burnt off while doing so is shown on the right of the screen. Once a milestone has been hit a bonus round occurs and the conveyor belt becomes filled with supersized junk food, ready to be swiped to bits.

As the game progresses the conveyor turns quicker and the music – which plays on a ten second or so loop – also becomes faster. Now here’s the thing that makes Junk Fu not quite as easy as it sounds – some items have to be chopped diagonally while others horizontally. This not only stops it from being a simple case of waving your arms around aimlessly, but also turns it into a memory test as you only have a few seconds to observe the direction an item needs to be chopped.

Fellow freebie Battle Stuff – which turns household objects into fighting machines, and uses a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ battle system – is a better use of the Kinect technology, and this won’t get you in shape like some of the fitness packages promise to, but we can’t imagine anybody not getting a little bit of fun out of this one.

Dec 28
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

This’ll be the third year running that we’ve rounded up Metacritic’s worst games of the year, so we assume it’s a tradition for us now. This year though we’ve left out downloadable games because otherwise this article would be based mostly on incredibly bad DSiWare and WiiWare games, of which there have been many. For the record though statistically the worst game of the year is 101-in-1 Explosive Mix on WiiWare clocking in with a mere 16%. That’s 0.15% per game! Real classy work, Nordcurrent.

This year’s round-up looks remarkably similar to what last year gave us – a few Kinect games, a handful of movie tie-ins and some other low-budget guff. EA showed themselves up last year – they were responsible for two of the worst games of 2010 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the download-only Dead Space Ignition) but this year there are zero EA games present. Activision has taken a bad turn though – nothing they released made the list last year, but this time round three of their games have sullied shop shelves across the land.

Atlus’s The Cursed Crusade on Xbox 360 and Actvision’s Wipeout: In the Zone on Kinect both gained a 39% average. The Cursed Crusade may have been set during one of history’s more exciting periods but the developers failed to capture the essence of medieval brutality, giving us a dull and clichéd hack and slasher. Wipeout on the other hand has nothing to do with everybody’s favourite futuristic racer (or at least, everybody’s favourite that isn’t called F-Zero) and everything to do with the humiliating TV game show.

The DS and Wii versions of Thor: God of Thunder are apparently not too bad but the Xbox 360 and PS3 version were lacking in every respect and clocked in with a 38% average. Polish? Thor knows not of this mystical thing – some enemies merely wobbled from side to side when hit, as if their feet were attached to the floor with springs. The worrying thing is that it’s not the worst movie tie-in of the year.

Ubisoft has been knocking out CSI games from as far back as the days of PlayStation 2 but NCIS on Xbox 360 was clearly their worst yet with 36%, panned for sloppy visuals, predictable plot and mini-games which Gamespot described as “childish”.

X-Men Destiny was from the creators of Too Human you say? We would never have guessed it. The DS version scored the worst out of the bunch with a 33% average but the Wii version wasn’t far behind with 36%. Nintendo fans weren’t the only ones getting a bum deal though – even the Xbox 360 version only had an average of 48%.

With 32% 505 Games’s Blackwater is the second Kinect game on Metacritic’s (s)hit list. When it was first announced we were mildly excited about the prospect of playing a light-gun-style on-rails shooter with the Kinect, using over arm throws to lob grenades and such. Then the first review appeared online and it wasn’t pretty – a 1/10 from GamesRadar. The Official Xbox Magazine quite liked it though, giving it a 7/10. Their positive review stands out like a sore thumb when compared to other websites’ reviews.

The first Kung Fu Panda game was surprisingly good. The license changed hands from Activision to THQ for Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game and anybody expecting it to be similarly good will have have been disappointed. The Metacritic score stands at just 31% for the PlayStation 3 version with GameReactor claiming its shortness to be a good thing.

And now we’re down to the real dregs – the final three. And lo and behold, it’s a movie tie-in – Activision’s 3DS version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Stealth Force Edition. With a 30% average reviewers universally agreed that it was a bad game but they couldn’t agree on the control system. The Official Nintendo Magazine said that the controls were the best aspect while Nintendo World Report claimed it was the worst thing about it. Then there’s Nintendojo’s bizarre verdict: “Even if you are the most hardcore Transformers fan, this is a game to pass up. If you’re a Stealthforcer fan, then by all means, get this game – I’m sure you’ll love it,” they said before giving it a paltry 25%. What?

Duke Nukem raises his head in second place but it’s not Duke Nukem Forever as you may expect but rather Deep Silver’s Duke Nukem: Critical Mass on DS with 29%. A deal was penned for three handheld Duke Nukem games back in 2009. After a troubled development what stumbled out to very little promotion was an amateurish 2D run and gunner. The PSP version was apparently going be third-person but quietly canned.

So, here we have Metacritic’s worst game of 2011. Or rather the worst retail game of 2011 seeing as we bent the rules slightly. It’s Ubisoft’s Self-Defense Training Camp on Kinect with a mighty 21% average score. Worth Playing sums it up quite nicely: “Just steer clear of this one and always remember to carry some pepper spray – not to ward off muggers, but to spray in the face of anyone who tries to tell you this is a worthwhile title.”

What a kick in the balls!

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