Aside from casual time-wasters such as Fruit Ninja and dancing around in Dance Central and Just Dance, there isn't much on Kinect that's fun to play. On a platform that's catering mostly to kids, the titles targeting the "core gamers" we've heard so much about this E3 tend to fall flat. Exhibit A: Kinect Star Wars.
Lucky for us all, I found The Avengers: Battle For Earth at E3, a game I believe could be the Kinect game to own this year.
With the recent release of The Avengers, you might think that Ubisoft's Battle For Earth for Kinect (and Wii U) is a quick and easy video game designed to cash-in on all the excitement, but it's not. After all, that's what I initially thought. Maybe it's cynical to say, but it was a surprise. Movie tie-in games are rarely great.
And because it's a Kinect game, you might think, like I did, that Battle For Earth is going to be a shallow experience geared toward the kiddies, but we found it responsive, a good use of Kinect and very fun to play, which is exactly what Kinect needs more of — games that actually work with body gestures and controls.
Battle For Earth is essentially a third-person brawler that's mostly on-rails. You're probably thinking "nuh-uh" right about now, but hear me out. You play as one of 20 heroes from the Marvel and Secret Invasion comic universe (meaing favorites such as Wolverine and Spiderman are in the game) and you're essentially tasked with giving your opponents a heavy beatdown with a variety of arm and leg gestures.
For instance, as Thor, I raised my right hand up and then struck it down to bring his lightning hammer to crush a foe. As the Hulk, I clapped my arms together and then downwards to perform a Hulk smash. Kinect could even recognize two-armed punches, tracking how many blows I delivered to an opponent. Then there were the kicks. Oh lord, kicks flung enemies into the air, giving you a moment to perepare to KO them with combo punches.
Ultimately there's not a whole lot of depth to the control, but each of the 20 characters is going to have their own individual moves, which should give Battle For Earth high replay value.
To make things more interesting, you can also switch players mid-game by swinging your arm in an upwards motion. It feels very Marvel vs. Capcom-ish. Battle For Earth supports two-person co-op and you can fight against your friends over Xbox Live. How's that for features?
Needless to say, I'm super stoked for Battle For Earth. For a Kinect game to make us giddy, well, that just doesn't happen very often. I didn't expect to find any Kinect gems at E3, but I did. Battle For Earth gives us hope that Kinect can still live up to its "revolutionary" Project Natal beginnings, where ditching — and becoming — the controller is actually fun.
Posted on location at E3 in Los Angeles, California. Video shot and edited by Raymond Wong for DVICE.