Game Rant's Jeff Schille reviews the Kinect Sports: Season Two Basketball Challenge Pack
Since its release in October 2011, Kinect Sports: Season 2 has been the beneficiary of several content updates. New modes have been added to the game's six sports (Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Football, Skiing and Darts) via two free Challenge Packs, the most recent of which became available just a month ago. Premium add-on content -- the Maple Lakes Golf Pack and the Midnight Mountain Pack -- has also been released, adding more depth to the on-disc offerings.
For the first time, an entirely new sport is being added to the Kinect Sports: Season Two roster. The Basketball Challenge Pack is available now for 400 MS Points. Is it a worthy addition to one of Kinect's best games? Read our review.
The Basketball Challenge Pack includes three events: 3-Point Hero, Shot Party, and Alley-Oop Dreams. All three events are playable on their own, in Challenge Play, or as part of Kinect Sports: Season 2's excellent Quick Play mode. Graphically, the Basketball Challenge Pack fits right in with the rest of Kinect Sports: Season Two. The arena is huge, shiny, high-energy and packed with fans -- no corners were cut where presentation is concerned, right down to the cheerleaders who dance along with players at the end of each event.
Take a look at the Kinect Sports: Season Two Basketball Challenge Pack trailer below to see the modes in action.
The first mode, 3-Point Hero, is the best of the bunch. As the name implies, players move around the court and try to sink one 3-point shot after another. Control feels natural and responsive -- simply jump and shoot -- though tall players and gamers in rooms with low ceilings will need to exercise a measure of caution. 3-Point Hero is extremely forgiving and lacks the detailed input of Kinect Sports Golf, but makes for a great, quick round of virtual hoops. The chase-cam that follows the ball on particularly cool shots is a nice touch.
Shot Party falls prey to Kinect Sports: Season Two's wackier inclinations, and is only tangentially related to basketball. A rotating wheel of CDs and LPs sits in front of the basket, and players must use a passing motion to destroy the shiny silver discs while avoiding the records (which, incongruously, are all the same size). Really, this mode has more in common with Kinect Sports Darts than real-world basketball, and attempting to line-up targets only emphasizes Kinect's inherent lag. Shot Party isn't going to be anyone's favorite Basketball Challenge Pack event, but it works just fine as a Quick Play event.
The final mode, Alley-Oop Dreams, has players passing the ball to computer-controlled teammates who are headed to the hoop, and taking care not to accidentally set-up a member of the opposing team. Occasionally, teammates (especially those in mascot suits) will perform massive slam dunks, which are a lot of fun to watch -- and that's the problem. Why is the player relegated to passing the ball while computer-controlled characters have all the fun? There are probably Kinect limitations at work here that the designers couldn't overcome, but setting-up the computer for a big flashy dunk is no substitute for taking that shot yourself. Again, though, as a brief Quick Play event, Alley-Oop Dreams offers a passably good time.
In fact, the same could easily be said about the Basketball Challenge Pack as a whole. While 3-Point Hero really is a lot of fun, and will likely inspire some heated Challenge Play matches, the other two events just don't offer enough to stand on their own. Then again, they don't have to. As an expansion to Kinect Sports: Season Two's party-focused Quick Play mode, the Basketball Challenge Pack easily justifies its meager $5.00 price tag and earns a recommendation. However, players who were hoping that Kinect Sports Basketball would offer the same depth as Kinect Sports Golf, or even the pick-up-and-play thrill of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, will be disappointed.
The Basketball Challenge Pack for Kinect Sports: Season Two is available now from the Xbox 360 Marketplace for 400 MS Points.
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