The Kinect relies on a crystal clear camera view in order to best pick up players and scan the environment so when the camera is left unattended and untouched for, say, a few weeks time, it’s bound to gather dirt, dust, and other impurities that could impede its performance. And with hazards such as dropping the peripheral or the potential for scratches and other damage, you’re privy to a unit that could be rendered effectively useless should you fail to take the proper precautions.
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Konami’s string of dance party antics since their switch to more Kinect-friendly booty-shaking continues with Rhythm Party, an Xbox Live Arcade title that feels very much like a simpler version of Dance Masters, but without all that made Dance Masters great. In fact, one might even go so far as to say Rhythm Party is a spiritual sequel to the ParaPara-lite we were treated to with the NAOKI-fueled Dance Masters, but with a lot less directions.
Dance games have been a dime a dozen ever since the big Kinect boom, and for good reason. The motion tracking technology the peripheral allows for has revolutionized the genre. It’s come a long way from Dance Dance Revolution. Earlier this year we danced the night away with Dance Central, the killer app that launched plentiful Kinect units to otherwise skeptical gamers. Dance Central 2, the hotly-anticipated sequel has finally hit store shelves, and it’s just as explosive as the first time around. Harmonix smartly assessed the flaws that arose in the first game without giving the new release the unnecessary overhaul many developers toss out with their second game. The result is an even more polished rendition of one of the greatest dancing games to hit a home console.
Dance games have become a dime a dozen these days. And for good reason. They’re great diversions for parties or get-togethers, and it’s simple to jump in and get your groove on. With the rise of motion control, however, games such as Just Dance have risen astronomically in popularity – despite the precision and training available in the impeccably great Dance Central, the “budget” pricing and feel of Ubisoft’s franchise has simply seen more success. Now the sensation has made a home on the Xbox 360 with Kinect (and to a lesser extent, the PS3 with Move support) with Just Dance 3, bringing what felt like little more than a dance simulator (loose movement judging, lazy “gameplay”, etc) into the future with more rigid scoring and a broader range of top 40 hits.
While the Kinect library has been sorely lacking in core-oriented titles, it’s never had a shortage of shovelware-worthy casual games. Despite Sega’s valiant attempt to open the door to hardcore gamers and those of us looking for something a little more frightening for use with the pricey peripheral, I have to say there’s still a shortage. But that’s not a bad thing. I knew going into this motion control business that its incorporation into the core titles I love would be a risky maneuver at best. However, games like Rise of Nightmares don’t exactly further the cause. Still, I have to admit it was quite the gutsy move on Sega’s part.