Mass Effect 3 IS better with Kinect

By on February 21, 2012

For starters, it doesn’t make you look THAT stupid.

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What if I tell you that there is a ‘hardcore’ game for Kinect, it’s called Mass Effect 3, and contrary to popular belief, is actually “Better with Kinect”? I think I just uttered Internet blasphemy.

BioWare’s implementation of Kinect is at its basic level. It doesn’t require you to stand up, flail your arms and look stupid. (Almost.) It uses Kinect’s advanced voice recognition software and makes many of the game’s commands – I think all of them in fact – possible to perform by just using your voice.

Seems legit.

Shout “Singularity” and your Shepard will pop out of cover and create a miniature black hole out of thin air. Shout “Ashley move” and she will obey your command and move to where you last pointed. Tell your Kinect to perform a “Shockwave” and Shepard will throw a devastating mass of energy right at the enemies. You do this without clicking a single button, with pausing and picking out abilities to perform, and more importantly, you do this without breaking the flow of the action.

It keeps battles more organic. It develops a sense of urgency and intensity, and a heightened connection with the movements of your character, his action, and as a commander controlling a highly skilled elite squad. It created a sense of immersion that sadly the demo failed to when I played it on the PC.

Of course, the voice recognition is far from perfect. There is a noticeable lag between saying, processing, and executing (~2 seconds). Environment interactivity is wonky and useless. The dialogue recognition is cool for 15 seconds before you find out you are actually worse than Mark Meer. The deal breaker, however, is that Kinect is completely oblivious to you if have your speakers cranked up.

But it’s a start. Mass Effect 3 is the ‘ideal’ game to showcase how Kinect can be subtly, smartly and smoothly implemented into, ahem, ‘core’ titles without actually burdening gamers to do anything out of the ordinary (like getting them up from their chair).

Originally, I planned to purchase the game on the PC. But as much as I would like the better visuals, high frame rates and mouse precision, I am contemplating purchasing it on the Xbox 360. It presents me a unique way of playing a game, without possibly degrading the quality of the experience. In fact, only improving it (I am hoping for better Kinect coding on the retail disc).

Mass Effect 3 does not warrant a Kinect purchase, far from it. That would be ridiculous. But those who already own it, Mass Effect 3 is certainly a worthwhile shot on the Xbox.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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