The second game on our review roundup is Kinect Sports: Season Two. When William came home with Kinect Sports: Season Two from the game store (for roughly $15.00 USD) I was immediately interested and ready to jump in front of the Kinect motion sensor, but once the game loaded I was a bit crestfallen when there were only six total sports to play. ‘Damn‘ I thought to myself, ‘more mini-games‘; however, after exploring the menu for a bit I became more and more excited
Kinect Sports: Season Two is the sequel to the original Kinect Sports video game, and is not actually categorized as a fitness style game. If I had to pin it into any game category it would have to be Sports & Family. The idea of the game is to participate in sports, and through completion of games and scoring points you earn fans and increase your overall sport champion level.
KS: S2 is made up of six individual sports: Football, Baseball, Darts, Skiing, Golf, & Tennis. Each sport has its own single player mode (which consist of three separate levels of difficulty), a multiplayer mode (to play with people in the same room), Xbox live challenge mode, and two separate mini-games associated with it. There is also a scheduled DLC (downloadable content) for each individual sport, although what these expansions are meant to be are vague until their release, with only Achievement titles as a clue to what they may be.
Review of Each individual Sport
If you are willing to tough it out, you can get a decent bum workout while running the ball, driving your knees up as high as they can go until you are tackled by the opposing team. The game keeps you moving while you have control of the ball, but the time between plays makes continual exercise and exertion impossible. As you are required to run in place for this game, there is definitely knee and ankle stress involved, so if you don’t want to overtax these joints, I really wouldn’t recommend playing this particular sport.
Once you become accustomed to playing the game, you will get a good cardio workout from hitting the ball and running to first base over and over again. Lifting your knees higher helps you run faster (much like with football) so if you are willing to put the extra work into it you can also give your bum a semi-decent workout as well. To work out your arms a bit you can throw on some wrist weights or even add some ankle weights if you want to work your legs a bit more.
Needless to say you won’t be getting much of a workout from this sport. But you can potentially get some isometric arm workouts by adding wrist weights to your arms while throwing. The down side is I only see this benefiting one of your arms unless you can play darts ambidextrously. For a leg workout, add a deeper lunge into your throwing stance and hold it for as long as you can.
While I wouldn’t say KS Golf is going to work up a sweat, it will work your side muscles a bit. After playing for 2 hours doing a ‘correct’ golf swing can be hard on the knees though, so I would like to suggest a bit of caution if you experience knee problems. I can’t personally think of any additional things you can do to work your muscles, as there won’t be much benefit from adding weights to your arms or ankles.
While a fun game, but I don’t see much of a workout other than the squat-side lunges. Bell Ringer (a mini-game) could potentially be a good workout for your upper body if you were willing to include wrist-weights while you play, but I don’t think the game is fun enough to continually play until you could glean a halfway decent workout from it.
Out of all 6 available sports tennis was by far my favorite. I’ve spent more time on this sport than any other. Tennis is a fast paced game, and requires that you lunge forward, move backward and side to side, as well as throwing your arms about like a maniac. Like all sports tennis includes two mini-games, one where you whack mascots with tennis balls and another where you hit balls as fast and as hard as you can while dodging bombs.
By simply taking part in the game, you can get a light to moderate cardio workout by playing any of the games if you push yourself. You can also attempt to work your arms out a bit more by strapping on wrist weights. Resistance bands attached to a belt and wrist straps could also be beneficial, but the sudden movement might put unneeded pressure on your joints. In the mini-game rapid returner, try squatting to avoid bombs for a small leg workout.
- Playability: Each sport is easy to learn and fairly fun to play. This is a game that you can stand in front of your sensor and play for extended periods of time and not realize how much time has actually passed, and is an awesome way to get some time in with your family while doing something moderately active.
- Physical Stress: Games such as Darts or Golf aren’t going to get your blood pumping, but if you play games such as Tennis or Baseball and push yourself you can get a little bit of cardio out of it. Do not trust the built in calorie counter to track your exertions!
- Value: If you were to walk into your local game store and pick this title up it would cost you roughly $15 USD; however, each sport’s expansion pack also costs an additional $5 which will lead to an overall total $45 for your previously $15 game. Granted, these expansion packs are optional, but the announcer that starts talking every time you go to the game’s main menu to remind you that these expansions are available might actually cause you to buy all of the expansions so that the he will simply shut the heck up.
- Health Risks: Since sports always come with associated repetitive joint problems, playing each sport for hours and hours on end will of course come with their own individual risks. If you have problems with your knees and ankles, then this is probably not the game for you. If you have elbow and shoulder issues, then I would avoid the Tennis games.
Kinect Sports Season Two is a lot of fun to play, and you can certainly get a bit of a workout if you choose to do so. But like any other exercise routine you are only going to get out what you are willing to put into it. The game is not going to force you to work out, so the player will have to be willing to put forth the extra initiative to burn calories and work up a sweat. If you are looking for a game to get you ‘into the groove’ of being more active, 1 hour a day of this game will help you help prepare you for regular and more strenuous workouts, I would even recommend playing it on workout ‘rest’ days to slip in some movement, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking for some serious exercise.
As far as general exercise goes, the game comes with a Calorie Counter, but Will and I both agreed that there was no way it could possibly be accurate. Without so much as a weight input to judge your average calorie burn how could it possibly be? Further testing proved that after laying 9 holes of golf (me hitting the ball and not much else) the game assumed I had burned over 100 calories in 15 minutes, where playing tennis burned roughly 16-20 calories over the same amount of time.
The game is fun, although a few of the sports and mini-games can be more than a little frustrating. It will get you off the couch and is low impact enough to keep you moving for extended periods of time, but if you are looking for an end-all game to get you into shape, Kinect Sports: Season Two will not give you what you are looking for.