A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kinect Sports: Season Two is a family-friendly sports compilation game that requires Microsoft’s Kinect sensor. It’s barren of profanity, sexuality, and, aside from a few hard-hitting football tackle animations, violence. The movements required to play can be mastered by even young gamers, and avatars and computer controlled characters seem to be good sports. The game promotes physical activity (it even counts calories burned) and social gaming for up to four players in the same room.
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What's it about?
A follow-up to one of the most popular Kinect launch titles, KINECT SPORTS: SEASON TWO offers six new sports for fans of motion controlled games to take part in, including football, golf, baseball, skiing, tennis, and darts. There are plenty of ways to experience these sports, ranging from semi-simulations to fun little mini-games. Up to four players can play together in QuickPlay mode, which runs teams of players through a series of random activities. You can also go up against your friends online by posting a score in a particular game and challenging them to beat it. Other new features in this year’s edition include the ability to use voice commands to initiate activities and control certain aspects of some games (you can say “hike!” to start a play in football), and a calorie counter that estimates the energy you’ve burned in specific activities as well as the entire play session.
Is it any good?
Kinect Sports: Season Two doesn’t shine as an example of innovation, but Microsoft’s latest sports compilation is polished, well made, and, most importantly, fun. Swinging for the bleachers and then running in place to get to first base in baseball is both satisfying and tiring, and the sense of speed as we crouch and lean left and right to fly through slalom gates in skiing is intense. Games that require more subtle movements can be a little frustrating sometimes -- the targeting reticule in darts sometimes jumps around, and it’s too easy to put too much power into a swing in golf -- but patience and a willingness to experiment with subtle changes in stance and physical movements usually pays off.
Perhaps most importantly, Kinect Sports: Season Two is just as much of a workout as the original. Play for two hours and you’ll burn off a couple hundred calories and wake up with stiff muscles in the morning. It should act as a fun and healthy way for families to spend active days indoors when the weather isn't cooperating.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing games as a family. How do you deal with competition between family members?
Families can talk about social gaming. Do you prefer to play games alone or with friends? Do you enjoy the pressure to perform well when playing with friends, or do you find it intimidating?
Families can also discuss maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. What sort of physical activities do you take part in outside of movement-based games? Have motion-controlled games led you to become interested in any of the real-world sports they depict?
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