With the holiday season fast approaching, getting your hands on Microsoft's motion-sensing peripheral isn't going to be easy. According to sales reports, they're selling like hot cakes, and considering how absolutely crazy American mothers get when it's time to go Christmas shopping, fully expect it only to get harder to find a store that still has the Xbox 360 Kinect on stock. We're not even in December yet and GameStop is claiming that rabid customers are stalking their UPS trucks in the hopes of beating the competition. Not even Tickle Me Elmo had such devout fans. Sure there were a couple brawls in shopping stores, muggings and a stabbing or two, but for most Americans that's hardly out of the ordinary.
Is it worth all the fuss? Sort of. It's a neat piece of hardware, but honestly, once the novelty of gyrating like Lady Gaga in “Dance Central” wears off, its launch software leaves much to be desired. So, assuming you're not dead set on getting a Kinect, here are ten motion-based alternatives on the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii that will (at the very least) help you survive the holidays.
GoldenEye 007 (Eurocom)
Platform: Nintendo Wii
I'll freely admit that I initially thought remaking Rare's 1997 classic was about as baffling and offensive as remaking the Mona Lisa, but Eurocom's take on “GoldenEye 007” isn't just a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the source material, but it's also a competent first-person shooter that fans (both new and old) will be able to enjoy. You can use the classic and Wii remote to control Bond as you destroy half of Russia while trying to stop the devious plot of a renegade 00 agent, but Eurocom's commitment to making “GoldenEye 007” a true Nintendo Wii title really shows with its silky smooth, highly customizable motion-based controls.
An honor once reserved for Sega's “The Conduit”, “GoldenEye 007” embodies what every first-person shooter that uses motion controls should strive for. It's easy to move, take cover, aim down the sights and snipe guards from a distance, and all of this is accomplished without the benefit of the Wii Motion Plus. Moving the Wii remote in order to spray lead at your enemies might not replicate the sensation of actually being in the game, but its considerably more enjoyable and far less static than twiddling your thumbs with a classic controller.
Kirbys Epic Yarn (HAL Laboratory)
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Though Kirby's latest adventure hardly takes full advantage of the Wii's motion sensing capabilities, HAL Laboratory still does a terrific job of making “Kirby's Epic Yarn” a little more interactive than a traditional, 2D side scrolling experience. Besides, even if you do end up playing “Kirby's Epic Yarn” without having to move the Wii remote most of the time, there's absolutely no denying that it's one of the most gorgeous and innovative games to be released this year. It's premise is as creative as they come, and the fact that it's actually integrated as a part of the visuals is nothing short of a stroke of artistic brilliance.
“Kirby's Epic Yarn” is definitely a little on the easy side, but it's still a game worth playing, if only to appreciate its breathtaking originality and sweet, nostalgic charm.
The Fight: Lights Out (Coldwood Interactive)
Platform: PlayStation 3
Critics have been pretty hard on Coldwood Interactive's fistic fight simulator, but I'm still inclined to recommend it to boxing fans who are looking to shed some unwanted calories. This is partially because I'm subconscious afraid that the game's front man –intimidating actor Danny Trejo –might leap out through the screen and decapitate me with a machete. Also I enjoy using the word fistic whenever I can.
The truth is that “The Fight: Lights Out” is an incredibly frustrating game that requires your patience and understanding in order to appreciate its full potential. Yes, the camera and control calibration is a humongous pain in the ass, and yes, your first experience with “The Fight: Lights Out” might leave a bad taste in your mouth. But once you figure out the ideal conditions to play in (preferably ones that actually support head movement) and master all the moves and abilities you can unlock, “The Fight: Lights Out” does a pretty solid job of making you actually feel like you're participating in a brawl.
So did critics completely miss the mark on “The Fight: Lights Out”? Yes and no. Most of the complaints made about the game are accurate for the most part, but if you're willing to invest the time calibrating your camera and building up your character, “The Fight: Lights Out” will give you a great workout while making you feel like a totally badass street fighter.
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