Won’t get your adrenaline pumping

The MotionSports series is Ubisoft’s attempt to give gamers a more realistic alternative to the Kinect Sports offerings while also providing a variety of different sports. Since Kinect Sports took a cue from several of the original MotionSports games and added football and skiing to their gamut of minigames this year, MotionSports decided to go a step further with Adrenaline and focus on extreme sports: mountain-climbing, kite-surfing, wingsuit-gliding, mountain-biking, kayaking, and the return of skiing. Most of the sports revolve around racing to a certain point—or, in a style more in line with Kinect Adventures, collecting various coins as you tumble down a given path.

Unfortunately, much like the original MotionSports, Adrenaline has its share of problems—and most of them lie in the fact that the sensory response just isn’t very accurate. And even more unfortunate is that instead of fixing the motion responses from the first game, Ubisoft toned down the player’s involvement to a series of cheap, basic leaning movements—and they still couldn’t get it right.

I also just have to shake my head at the game’s shameless Degree deodorant sponsorship and their “Adrenaline” line of products. Product placement in games doesn’t bother me when it’s subtle—the Verizon phones or Energizer batteries throughout Alan Wake being a prime example. After all, it’s not like you had Alan saying every five seconds, “When I need to dispose of nasty shadow creatures, I reach for Energizer to power my flashlights.” But when Adrenaline comes off as more of a subliminal commercial than a worthwhile game, that crosses a clear line for me.

One of the game’s few saving graces comes with some of the character customization. Since you can’t use your traditional Xbox 360 Avatar, you choose a base model for a character and then dress him or her up as you see fit. You can also unlock gear that boosts certain abilities as you progress by collecting “Adrenaline points” after each successful minigame run.

But that positive’s a lone buoy in the dark sea of negativity that is Motion Sports: Adrenaline. Since the events are so simplified, you lose out on a lot of potential fun—most just feel like rip-offs of other, superior, Kinect games. To not even come up with a sixth new sport and just port over the skiing experience from the first game just shows the lack of effort that seems to have gone into this title. Wingsuit-gliding and kayaking require a minimal amount of movement on your part, and you feel more like you’re just falling whenever you play—one through the air, the other through cheesy splash effects. Mountain-biking, skiing, and kite-sailing are solid enough, but since they’re on-rails and only require occasional leaning to turn, they, too, make you feel like much of the control’s been removed from the player. The only event that I remotely enjoyed in terms of controls was mountain-climbing, which requires you to actually reach in different directions and pull yourself upward. But even that felt oversimplified, with only a couple of paths laid out for you to choose from.

If it isn’t clear by now, let me say it directly: MotionSports: Adrenaline feels rushed, unfinished, and unpolished. Sure, Kinect might offer a few worthwhile casual-gaming experiences—but this isn’t one of them.

SUMMARY: Kinect offers a few worthwhile casual-gaming experiences—but this isn’t one of them.

  • THE GOOD: Several sports we haven’t seen in any form on any console before
  • THE BAD: Poor motion sensory in many instances
  • THE UGLY: Seemingly sold its soul to Degree deodorant

SCORE: 3.0