Can Kinect do traditional games? Harry Potter demo seems to say 'no'

Thedemo was given by the films' Weasley twins (actors James and Oliver Phelps) to a packed Gamescom auditorium during EA's conference on Tuesday. The twins stood still while their on-screen characters raced through woodland, then,in sub-Virtua Cop simplicity, enemies appeared in front of the twinsand stood still, waiting to be hit by a blast from their wands. Sure, there were some counter attacks, but due to what appeared to be massive input lag, the AI appeared to be as aggressive as a cornered tortoise to allow Kinect time to do its thing. Check it out:

Movement concerns aside, the combat itself looks worryingly haphazard. It appears to consist of two stances. One with both hands outstretched to form a magic shield, the other as a waving motion to simulate casting a spell with a wand. Repeat ad nauseum. What's worse, neither appeared to fit the actors' movements 'one to one', insteadbringing 2006 era pre-programmed Wii animations to mind, triggered by approximate movements.

Above: The Phelps twins demonstrate Kinect control. Is this really a step forward for gaming?

Microsoft is clearly intending Kinect to be a casual gaming device to capture Wii's massive audience. But surely even massive Harry Potter fans will tire of this after a few minutes' play, regardless of their status as a gamer. Annoyingly, the series had been getting better with each instalment, so to take awaythe traditional adventure we've come to expectand replace it withwhat appears to be a very basic,gesture-based Kinect offering seems illogical. Especially when there's so much the technology could have been used for if combined with a joypad.

Why not use Kinect's microphone to shout 'expelliarmus'? Why not at least map character speed to leg movement? Sure, we're looking at a couple of minutes of demo time, but Sony managed to makePlayStation Move'sSorcery look next-gen in comparison. I sincerely hope my concerns are allayed when we get our own hands on the game and Kinect itself.

Am Ibeing too harsh? Or does this truly bode extremely badly for traditional action games on Kinect? Have your say in the comments.

17 Aug, 2010

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.