Kinect represents Microsoft Xbox's largest and most expensive missed opportunity. Just as Sony Playstation never really did anything with Eye Toy so Microsoft has followed suit with this fairly underwhelming peripheral. Many of the games have been lackluster at best (a recent Star Wars game, for example, which should have been amazing got delayed and was eventually released to damning reviews) and whilst a few are fun this does not make up for the poor way in which Microsoft have utilised what should have been their crowning glory on the Xbox 360.
Disney, much like the aforementioned Star Wars game, should have been amazing and, visually, it is. But as far as game-play goes, the game loses much; not least with its poor compatibility with Kinect.
Before I go on to talk about the game, let me share with you my issues. Firstly, just like all Kinect games, Disneyland asks you to sign in with Kinect. This requires you to stand in front of the camera so that it can use facial recognition software to identify you and upload your profile. This is all standard stuff and can take a few minutes if you are not standing in the correct position but you kind of get used to stnding there doing nothing when you play any Kinect game.
My issue comes when you accidentally or purposely walk out of camera shot during play. With most games, this merely pauses the game. With Disneyland, this loads in a guest profile and a different character to the one you have saved when you realise your mistake and walk back into the picture a few seconds later. PLAYER NOT FOUND...IDENTIFYING becomes an all too familiar message that keeps cropping up and if you are playing with a small child (who presumably this game is aimed at) every time you step in to help them the camera recognises you are someone else and attempts to load in either another character or guest profile to which any achievements will not be saved. You can load in two profiles and play alongside each other but, in my experience, this can get confusing and still problematic!
The game is essentially a fairly faithful representation of the Disneyland resort in Florida. I cannot say how life-like it is but, having been to Euro Disney earlier this year, I recognised the layout slightly as both parks are very much alike. Hence then, you can find yourself walking down Main Street and heading off down one the paths that split off soon leads you to one of the other aeas such as Fantasyland or Discoveryland.
Many of the actual rides are featured but you can only access some of them after playing in the game. Space Mountain is here, for example, as is the Dumbo elephant ride and you can ride on them just as you would at the real park though the experience is obviously, it goes without saying, a bit less thrilling and exciting!
Many of the rides and attractions are interactive so you get a Peter Pan experience where you gain stars and achievements for flying across London's rooftops and a Buzz experience where you must help him defeat Emperor Zurg. Some of these are quite tricky and hard so if you are looking for quick Gamer points, you may have to give your child a hand with some of these games!
Other things you can do is interact/ take photos/ get autographs of many of the Disney characters including some of the more obscure ones! This is a neat touch and many of them will give you tasks that you need to complete to open up more rides etc. You can find coins scattered everywhere and you can use these to buy different costumes or various autograph books that you will need to collect all the signatures. Your character too, is highly individual and can be tailored to suit your desires with different hair colours or skin types. In this respect, a lot of thought has been put into this. Another thing that is inspired is the way waving a magical wand as you go around allows you to make normally inanimate objects come alive. This leads to bonuses and more coins you can collect.
Like I say, visually this is breath-taking and amazing. It is just some of the game-play that kind of sucks! And also the Kinect compatibility which isn't quite as compatible as it might have liked!
In some respects, a lot of thought has been put into designing and creating this and if this wasn't a Kinect game, I would probably score this higher. Unfortunately, it is the Kinect aspect that lets it down!
I would like to score this higher but unfortunately I was left disappointed by this game and at just how much missed opportunity there was for this to be so much better! Even more disappointing, I paid £35 for this new. Now you can buy it for £5 from most retailers with the forthcoming Xbox One due out very soon!
Buy it now if you want to experience the magic but don't spend more than a fiver on it!