If you’d have asked me last year, I would’ve never guessed that Zumba Fitness: World Party would kill two career mini-milestones at once for me: the first time I got to physically pick up and hold a real Xbox One, and the first time I got to see a Kinect 2.0 motion-controlled game in action.*
And yet there I was in the IGN demo room last week with publisher Majesco, staring at the “liquid black” new console on the ground and the next-gen Kinect sensor sitting in front of the TV.
So now, finally given the chance, I picked each of them up and was surprised by how solid and well-built the Xbox One feels compared to the first-generation Xbox 360. And believe the hype: the new Xbox is almost inaudibly quiet when running. Meanwhile, the new Kinect has plenty of heft; it feels like a serious piece of machinery, but it too feels iron-tough (unlike its flimsy predecessor), so that if it happened to take a tumble off your TV, odds are it would brush off the fall and get right back to work.
And work it does. The response time on Kinect 2.0 is very obviously much faster than the first Kinect, which Majesco made obvious by switching back and forth on-the-fly between Xbox 360 and Xbox One builds of the game (because certain sections they wanted to show me didn’t work properly on the One yet).Seeing the two Kinects work at the same time in the exact same space was telling. Input lag is no longer noticeable – that’s not to say it isn’t there because, well, of course it is – but it no longer feels like you’re fighting the Kinect to get it to read what you’re doing.
Kinect 2.0’s 1080p also makes a huge difference. As I sat on the couch behind the Majesco demo guide who was playing the game, Kinect 1 didn’t know I existed. But to Kinect 2.0, I was a fully recognizable person, sitting with one leg crossed over the other on the couch in the background. It’s very impressive. Quite frankly, Kinect 2.0 seems to be what the original Kinect should’ve been.
As for Zumba Fitness itself, you may know the story. The Latin-born, DVD-based workout craze brings a simple philosophy to its “exercise in disguise”: you do the same simple moves with the song’s chorus, and another set of actions during the verses. The idea is simply to move rather than be doing specific choreographed dances a la Dance Central, and you know what? It seems fun. Everything from Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (seemingly required in any dance/fitness game) to Hawaiian luau music is here, resulting in varied workouts that end up working different muscles.
Should you get hooked on the Zumba craze, the game will even go so far as to tell you where the nearest real-life Zumba classes are available in your area.
Kinect 2.0’s first real hands-on test is expected to take place at Gamescom, where I’ll be playing Kinect Sports Rivals. More on Zumba Fitness and Kinect 2.0 very soon.
Sounds like Kinect Sports Rivals will be what MS will unveil at Gamescom. Can't wait to see it. Been waiting since E3 for actual gameplay. The jet skiing has me interested. Hopefully Rare impresses with their water tech.