Dec. 20, 2011 -- At first thought, a Michael Phelps-headlined swimming game seems like a no brainer. Swimming has always been something we've dreaded to do with our video game controllers; it requires too much angling and is always a slow, tedious process.
With Kinect, you can finally trade pressing a button for the most natural of movements, actually pushing water away with your arms. So where would this fascinating technology take us in our first swimming game, Michael Phelps: Push the Limit?
How about to one side of the pool and back?
No, Michael Phelps is not leading us on an underwater adventure or even headlining an Olympic Games title. Instead, America's favorite goof-ball gold medalist is sticking to his events, the 200 and 400 meters, which unfortunately no amount of Xbox graphics can make interesting.
Not that the game's makers, 505 Games, didn't try. They've included roof deck pools set above city skylines, indoor pools with huge windows that display massive thunderstorms raging in the background and a system of pumping up the crowd by pumping your first in the air before the race begins.
Then the race begins and you're stuck attempting to swim in a very strict rhythm for 400 short meters. Go too fast and your stamina will deplete, then get ready to receive sixth place in a swimming video game.
The entire game consists of variations of strokes and course lengths. It feels like the title would have been better as cheap downloadable content or packaged in a larger Olympic sports world. At least keep with the swimming theme and give us diving as an option.
We may never see a game in which Michael Phelps stars as the Aquaman-style superhero that we all know he is, and it's a shame. That is the sort of Phelps title I'd love to play.