IGN Review of MotionSports Adrenaline
The common thread that ties all extreme sports together is the fragility of life. People die wingsuit diving, rock climbing, and skiing all the time -- but that's part of the appeal. Taking part in these activities is shaking hands with the Grim Reaper and acknowledging this could be the last ride. So when Ubisoft took these activities and packaged them into a harmless Kinect game, the appeal doesn't follow suit. MotionSports Adrenaline takes some bad ass activities and manages to remove the tension, fear, and excitement that make them worthwhile.
MotionSports Adrenaline features six of "the world's most dangerous sports!" These include Wingsuit Diving, Kitesurfing, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, and Skiing. Each activity puts players behind the controls of various death-devices where they collect tokens, dodge obstacles, and perform tricks for additional points. When I say obstacles, I don't mean the certain death that would come with really hitting obstacles during these activities, I just mean minor inconveniences that vaguely change finish times, like careening into a mountain peak while wingsuit diving; you know, harmless little trifles.
This lack of effective danger completely undermines what extreme sports are all about. You can hit a tree skiing, smash into a seaside cliff while kitesurfing, or completely lose your grip while mountain climbing to the tune of a few lost seconds. Shouldn't a terrible collision cause some form of restarting the race or jumping back to a checkpoint? MotionSports Adrenaline is all about death-denying feats of non-bravery. Where's the adrenaline in that?
But of course it's a game; you are the controller and there's no lasting danger. Thus it's not entirely the lack of consequence that ends up pushing MotionSports Adrenaline off the quality cliff, it's the poor gesture recognition. Most of the activities involve some form of tilting handlebars, paddles, or poles side to side, ducking to boost, and holding poses to do tricks. But regardless of how dramatically one swings into the pose, Motionsports Adrenaline delays reading it and often misses what you're doing entirely.
Forget about slight adjustments to the direction you're racing in, it's all or nothing in most events. Mountain Biking takes place on a three-lane dirt road. By moving your hands as though they're on handlebars, you can cut from lane to lane. But when trying to nab a few tokens in the middle lane, I had trouble getting Kinect to read my slight adjustments, and always slipped into the far lane rather than the desired lane. Precision was an ongoing problem across all events.
MotionSports Adrenaline really fizzles out when it comes to multiplayer. Where the potential for great competition lives inside the premise, the execution completely falls apart. While playing Adrenaline Party with multiple friends, some events require a relay-style hand-off of the controls. To accomplish this, two players must hold the required pose and if successful the race continues on seamlessly. But MotionSports Adrenaline often switches which player is which, so the required poses switch sides of the screen without notice – if they're recognized at all. This element is frustrating to say the least.
And "racing" a friend while Rock Climbing simply lacks any fun whatsoever. There's almost no way to get around each other, if the mode can even recognize that you're trying to climb.
The coolest feature in the whole extreme package is challenges. When going through the various levels, a note pops up that shows off how many points a random online player earned through a certain section. Depending on your score, you either beat the challenge, or the stranger defends it. It's a quick way to earn some bonus points along the road to extreme-ness and a nice way to add a bit of challenge.
If its other misgivings aren't already a sign that something went wrong, MotionSports Adrenaline is branded all over with Degree Adrenaline deodorant (for men, sorry ladies). After ponying up the retail price of $49.99, MotionSports Adrenaline still constantly suggests what product you should apply to your pits while undertaking its challenges.
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