In Defense of the Kinect
OK STOP. Stop. Put down the machete. Put down the torches too. We're all friends here. Just hear me out first. Ok. Now continue reading.
What do you immediately think of when you hear "Kinect"? Odds are you think "casual", "gimmick", "Sucks" and various other obscenities. Let me clear this up before going any further, I'm not a fan of the Kinect in its current state. I think the technology is cool and very innovative, but is being wasted on the same old crap. Regardless, I feel like the Kinect is somewhat misunderstood.
I have followed the Kinect since its Project Natal days. When I first heard about it and the sheer amount of time they were putting into it I thought "This is going to be no power glove". I thought it would be huge for gaming if they pulled it off right. When it was finally shown at E3, it seemed to control fairly well (except if you were wearing black). The immediate problem for most gamers was their lineup. Microsoft made the Kinect REEK of casual/mommy games and it collectively pissed us off.
After seeing the Kinect Sports/Adventure etc., I thought to myself, "Well these ARE starting titles and someone has to break the ice with this stuff. Maybe better things will come out."
Fast forward a bit. While there are a few noteworthy titles (Rise of Nightmares a RATED M KINECT GAME with decent controls), there seems to be nothing but Dance Central and on rail stuff, including a Kinect Star Wars that I won't acknowledge exists.
At this point, I was giving up hope for the Kinect. It seemed to be destined to live in infamy among gamers. That was when I saw this video.
This is a mod for Skyrim that some guy did to play it with his Kinect. He holds his arms in a similar way one would hold a sword and shield (like he has in game). Voice commands open the map and inventory and you can start a conversation with someone by saying "Hello". Also, voice commands do Dragon Shouts. Yes. Screaming FUS RO DAH at your TV will work.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT!!! This is what I wanted the Kinect to do! I want to bash Bandits over the head with my axe when I swing my arm accordingly. When I say Fus Ro Dah at the TV I expect to see a Giant flipping end over end after. While there is some lag with some voice commands, I feel like it could be polished if done right in a game studio.
However, that is the problem. Game studios seem to be shying away from the Kinect unless they're doing a safe title like a racer or a Dance game. Even though Skyrim offically has a patch with some Kinect functionality, its only voice commands, and even those seem like they're just there so it has Kinect funtionality. A few games like Mass Effect 3 and the Halo remake use it, but it is minimal. Nobody seems willing to take the risk. There are so many mods done with the Kinect by just random guys that seem like excellent ideas, I'm suprised nobody has hired these guys.
The potential is there, but it hasn't been used by any company to a good extent. Instead, the Kinect is bogged down with so many fitness and on rail games that it just isn't that appealing. If someone could create a fantasy game with hand to hand combat (like Skyrim), keep it open world and build it with the Kinect in mind, I'm willing to bet it would boost the perception of the Kinect by a lot.
Maybe its just me, but I liked the idea of the Kinect. The kinect itself isn't that bad, but the right game for it just hasn't come along for it.