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Sonic Free Riders Review for the Kinect

With a new technology we all expect a few bugs and issues and Kinect is no different. With my Kinect hardware review coming soon to show you guys if this is worth the purchase for gamers rather than just casual players, I suppose I will address a few of the issues that the system has.

 Sonic Free Riders

Out of all of the launch titles I have had the privileged to play, Sonic Free Riders seems to be the worst by far. Now before I get into the bad I really want to speak about the good that is actually in this game, surprising as it may be.

The game looks fantastic, all of the tracks are colourful and have multiple routes throughout the course. The tracks also have a lot going on in the scenery, from dolphins jumping across the track to having temples collapse around you.

Sonic Free Riders

Also, the design of the game seems to come from the same idea as Mario Kart with plenty of power ups to use to help you or to give you the edge on your competitors. Most of these power ups are scattered throughout the level and are activated by doing hand motions, from shaking a can to pressing a button to even bowling a bowling ball, all are great and make the game more interactive.

You can also customise your board allowing you to utilise two power ups. These allow you to have certain boosts, from the ability to grind rails to having super speed. Once again these take some experimenting to get the best balance for your style of play.

There is also a great line up from the Sonic universe, having a good mix of friends and enemies. While the story mode gets narrated by static images and voice-overs from the main characters, it's worth a note that the voices, from a completely new cast, seem perfect to take the roles of the characters that they portray.

Sonic Free Riders

However with all of this there is one big issue that seems to destroy this game and that's the control system. I started to wonder how this game was going to work when it took me ages to start navigating through the menus. For the menus you have a blue dot which is to represent your hand. You use this to navigate through the circle menus. To move items left and right you must push the item left or right to move the menu across to the next. However as simple as it sounds the menu system is just rubbish -- the only saving grace of the menu system is that you can navigate using your voice by saying what you want. This is all well and good once you have had a look through the menus a few times but hand on heart I couldn't tell you all the tracks names even if i tried.

Once I finally got over to the tutorial section I found that the cracks started appearing from move one. I didn't seem to understand what some of the tutorials were asking from me. It got to the point where I gave up caring and just wanted to quit the tutorials half way through just because they were so bloody annoying, I didn't know what else to do.

The next major gripe is that before every race you get a chance to configure your stance and how the system controls for you. However nine times out of ten this doesn't work, either you try and lean back and forth to turn and the game simply doesn't respond or is so laggy that you simply over react and end up way up off the screen, but no matter as this calibration seems to be the games way of looking at what you have done and not taking any notice. As soon as you jump into the game the controls are still rubbish and don't work at all. Sometimes I was literally leaning so much that I almost fell over and I still couldn't do anything more than hug the barrier as I scraped around the corner.

Sonic Free Riders

When in a race as well, the game just seems to be a huge mess with the controls not working or even lagging, the game becomes frustrating to the point of me literally wanting to just walk away from the Kinect and take a break. However the game must have sensed that I was going to do this and lost me on the Kinect system anyways.

It is such a shame that this game held so much promise and as one of the games that seemed to hold something special, being a game that wasn't a casual in-and-out experience and seemed to be really taking the bull by the horns and making not only one of the first racing games for the Kinect, but one that is using a full motion capture system on the Kinect. However it fails to deliver even the simplest of controls, the menu system and actual board control really disappoints in-game. If Sega could fix these issues then I think this would be a serious game with a lot of depth, however for now it's just game with some potential that fails to deliver on from square one.

5.00/10 5

Sonic Free Riders (Reviewed on Xbox 360)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

With a new technology we all expect a few bugs and issues and Kinect is no different. With my Kinect hardware review coming soon to show you guys if this is worth the purchase for gamers rather than just casual players, I suppose I will address a few of the issues that the system has.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Steve 'Rasher' Greenfield

Steve 'Rasher' Greenfield

Editor-in-chief

Steve tends to do more work in the background these days than on the website. Keeps him out of trouble.

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