Deca Sports Freedom review

  • Achievements aren't tremendously difficult
  • It looks better than Deca Sports on Wii
  • You might be able to trade it in
  • Games are either near-unplayable or crummy
  • Terrible mechanics copy-pasted from Wii series
  • Miserable menu navigation is final nail in coffin

Immediately upon your first wave, kick, or elaborate dance routine, it's easy to tell if a Kinect game is firing on all cylinders and living up to its potential. Dance Central and parts of Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports are key examples of this, and even if the activity doesn't include one-to-one avatar animations, the harmonious sensation of the body as controller lets you submit yourself wholly to the camera-led revolution, even if only temporarily.

Conversely, when a Kinect game fails to properly capture and translate your motions into worthwhile game mechanics, the feeling is more akin to dissonance, and Deca Sports Freedom is easily the most egregious example to date. Deca Sports has successfully plodded along by marketing simple minigames to less discriminate Wii owners, but carelessly translating the same fundamentals to a camera-based system makes for a truly terrible and haphazard experience.

Deca Sports Freedom's problems emerge steadily and seemingly without end, but the primary issue is that the games offer little to none of that titular freedom. Rather than duplicate your actual movements to swat a volleyball, throw a dodgeball, or slash a kendo stick, your moves simply trigger canned actions and events in the game. It's a seemingly direct and truly lazy adaptation of the Wii aesthetic, but the nature of the crummy mechanics isn't as bad as the execution.

Tennis and volleyball both frequently miss your movements when gunning for the ball (especially backhand swings in the former), and both display extremely awkward animations, with automated player movement often putting you at a disadvantage. Aiming in archery feels painfully convoluted – why are we aiming several feet away from the screen? – and the game missed the firing motion more often than not in our experience. Even kendo doesn't offer one-to-one stick movement, and sometimes triggered attacks that we didn't even attempt to make.

But worst of all is paintball, a truly laughable first-person experience that is ill-explained and even more poorly realized. Using one hand to aim and the other to fire simply doesn't work, and the only way we could make any progress was to charge into a group of enemies and flail our arms wildly. Weak opponent AI is another constant concern, and to add insult to injury, the menu navigation is terribly frustrating and inconsistent. If you can't even get through the menus without cursing the title, what can you expect from the actual game?

We could spend another 500 words detailing Deca Sports Freedom's numerous and significant problems, but let's just say this: many of the included sports are essentially unplayable in any meaningful fashion, and the rest simply aren't fun. If Microsoft had put this out as the shining example of the Kinect's capabilities, we'd had already laughed it off as the biggest flop in gaming. Luckily, it's not: Deca Sports Freedom just happens to be creatively and conceptually bankrupt.

Dec 3, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 18 2010 - Xbox 360 (US)
Nov 26 2010 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Family
Published by: Hudson Entertainment
Developed by: Hudson Soft
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Mild Cartoon Violence
PEGI Rating:

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  • pots555 - December 7, 2010 11 p.m.

    It's broken, it's's will sell tons of copies.
  • darkprince4321 - December 6, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    I hate how people tear the Kinect up because a few of it's launch games are shit. That's like blaming the Starbucks casheir because your coffee that came out of the machine tastes like shit. So because Call of Duty sucked donky anus on the Wii the series and the console automatically blows? Your logic be lackin substance.
  • nomnom52 - December 4, 2010 9:13 a.m.

    @SonicX_89: The same here friend. Kinect looked good at first, but if I ever get the damned waste of plastic, it's for non-gaming purposes.
  • papergoon - December 4, 2010 5:29 a.m.

    kinect really has to step up its game. only dance central is good.
  • ThatGamerDude - December 4, 2010 4:07 a.m.

    I haven't seen a review with a 1 on this sight since who knows how long? Its looking pretty clear that move is doing better than kinect but honestly who gives a shit anymore?
  • TwilightBlaze - December 4, 2010 4 a.m.

    Yes! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1!
  • xXxBLACKHALOxXx - December 4, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    Lol The Best Part Of The Review Was The Little Quote At The Top
  • Yeager1122 - December 3, 2010 11:54 p.m.

    Wow a one for a kinect game ive never seen a one for anything before i guess this says something about kinect and it isnt good.
  • zer0hvk - December 3, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    Wow, a 1, can't say I expected a high-rated game, but, DAYUM!
  • awsomemaster - December 3, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    oh come on gr! just give one of the kinect games a 0 already! everytime i see a kinect game review i hope for a zero, so what if it's not on the scale who cares!
  • flabslapper - December 3, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    So basically Microsoft beat Nintendo to the punch by releasing Wii HD before they could reCaptcha: Lord Dredgei
  • ShaneCedt - December 3, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    "Well, I bought this Kinect for those brats. I guess I need some games. This one looks good." "Dad, this game is broken. I'm waving my arms and nothing's happening." "Whatever." Kinect: Ha Ha, Suckers!
  • QWERTYCommander - December 3, 2010 6:10 p.m.

    db1331, Dance Central got a 9. That's about it though.
  • db1331 - December 3, 2010 6:02 p.m.

    Ok GR, it's time to call a spade a spade. The last FOUR Kinect games you reviewed COMBINED don't even add up to a 10/10. "...we'd had already laughed it off as the biggest flop in gaming" How have you already not? The rest of us are waiting for you in the next room. We have punch and cookies.
  • FauxFurry - December 3, 2010 5:58 p.m.

    If you can trade it in,it has value. Less value than if you had simply kept the money in your wallet,true,but value nonetheless. Somehow,I doubt that declaring that the game is "Worth slightly more than a blank disc!" is a viable sales tactic for Deca Sports Freedom (which sounds as if it wants to be mistaken for Monster Hunter Freedom Unite). Then again,if it keeps getting scores like this,that will be one less plus for an already deficient offering. One can only hope that this Wii-Too cash-in will be used to fund a new Bonk's Adventure/Air Zonk title. 'mallynt approve' but does anyone else,ReCaptcha?
  • QWERTYCommander - December 3, 2010 5:53 p.m.

    "If Microsoft had put this out as the shining example of the Kinect's capabilities, we'd had already laughed it off as the biggest flop in gaming." I think that's about to happen if these companies don't get with it.
  • cj12297 - December 3, 2010 5:47 p.m.

    wow a 1, i guessed that it would be a 3. its fun guessing the score before reading a review
  • SonicX_89 - December 3, 2010 5:38 p.m.

    Holy crap! I've never seen a score that low on this site.