Gran Turismo 5 wasn’t the only racing title release recently with NFS: Hot Pursuit and the slightly less technical, Joyride, also seeing the light of day.
GT5 and NFS: Hot Pursuit both received glowing reviews so how does the cartoony Joyride compare, I stuck the disk in the drive, waved at the TV and took it for a spin.
The first thing I noticed was just how long this game takes to load, it seems to be a Kinect thing but all these titles appear to have longer load times than your standard HD fare which pretty much makes no sense at all.
Once it finally loads you are thrown into a launch screen which is also pretty standard, you get to choose whether you want to drive, or enter options etc. Once drive is chosen you get to choose between a bunch of different options including
- Battle Race
I started off with a standard race and as the screen loads you are told to stick your hands out and grab an imaginary steering wheel and the game will handle acceleration and breaking for you.
The race starts and it is instantly noticeable that the motion tracking is pretty poor on Joyride with my car swerving all over the place and struggling to stick on the road but at the same time I am not falling far behind at all and you get the distinct feeling that the game is playing itself while you hold on for dear life.
To boost you pull your arms back and build up a boost meter and then push forward to release it, the Kinect picks that movement up perfectly and I never had any issues with that.
Throughout the tracks are jumps and during the jump you can lean forwards, backwards, sideways etc to perform awe inspiring moves and rack up the points. This is easily the most enjoyable part of the standard race and you will end up aiming for bonus jumps just to let your artistic side take over for a while.
Once the race ends you earn fans and as you accumulate fans more and more tracks are unlocked for you to progress.
In multiplayer mode the experience is pretty much identical with no increase or decrease in motion capturing ability.
So after that less than stellar performance I embarked on a stunt run where you enter a half pipe and the goal is to jump high enough to collect apples and coins and if you get high enough you can break through some glass panes to rack up the bonus multipliers and score mega points.
If you perform massive tricks while collecting apples the bonus points really start to accumulate.
The mode is pretty much just that but at the same time it’s incredibly addictive and it took many many games before I could drag myself away and to try a different mode.
The next mode I tried was drag which is simply a drag race where you need to avoid obstacles while trying to reach the goal in the fastest time. It is really boring.
Next up was trick where you take off and then jump onto the wing of your car (don’t ask) and are then given certain poses that you need to match in order to keep flying and get extra points.
This mode is incredibly fun and a great laugh for anyone with kids out there. There were 6 of us playing this mode and it truly was just a jump in experience. Actually the entire Joyride experience is great for party play as it doesn’t seem to care if you keep swapping players.
As with all the modes after the round is over you accumulate fans and points and get to see video footage of how idiotic you looked trying to pull of stunts or drift around corners.
There are enough tracks and cars to justify an unlocking system and the game itself wouldn’t be torture if you decided you wanted to unlock absolutely everything but then again it doesn’t really seem to change much after the initial couple of races.
Game play: 7.0
The motion capture ability in the standard racing isn’t fantastic but the stunt and trick modes make up for that.
Joyride is very very cartoony and the maps and surrounds are really nothing special to look at. But at the same time it’s got a certain charm and it’s not unpleasant to look at.
There really isn’t much sound to speak off and it does hurt the game a bit. Adding a bit more ambience to the skidding and smashing of objects would have been appreciated
Value is a tough one to work out since the game is really basic and would possibly be better suited to being a downloadable game but at the same time it’s not expensive with most Kinect titles being around R350 in South Africa.
Overall: 7.5 (not an average)
GT5 or NFS: Hot Pursuit it isn’t, Â yet it does have a certain charm to it and is a game I am likely to go out and buy once our permanent Kinect unit arrives.
I am hoping Microsoft will release a patch in the future to fix the motion capturing of the standard race but in my opinion the trick and stunt sections are worth having, even just to show your kids friends when they come around.