Kinect Star Wars
Let’s be honest. Each time a new trailer or some info was released for Kinect Star Wars, our expectations went down. In the meantime you probably also gathered that this collection of mini-games won’t fulfill your child dreams of wielding a lightsabre yourself. On the contrary, the fantasy of an 11 year old is no doubt tons more fun that the commercial mediocrity of this release.
And that’s unfortunately also largely due to the Kinect controls. Kinect on X360 has never managed to make due on its promises and after this game it looks as if Microsoft will need to count on the next Xbox to make things right. But let’s start at the beginning.
The main part of the game is called Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising and is some sort of third person action game in which you’re a Jedi in training. I’ve already forgotten the story but it’s all about some set pieces that give some variation to the best moments from the original trilogy. But with a bit of different paint and other characters of course. At first sight things look pretty decent. The graphics are beautiful enough even though they rather remind of the recent animation series rather than the movies, and also the wielding of the light sabre feels like fun (thanks also to the sounds with which we allg grew up).
A bit later, however, that 1on1 control appears to be a fable and you can wield as fast or slow as you want and in all directions possible. Enemies nicely stand still, react slowly and are all but a challenge. The makers had little choice to be honest, as the controls are just not accurate enough to add a real difficulty level. The action is also very repetitive: step forward, wield a bit, make a sidestep, and repeat. There are also some sort of bosses with whom you need to fight a duel but also they are so slow and easy that even Jabba The Hut wouldn’t break a sweat to defeat them.
There are of course also Force possibilities – controlled with your left hand – but also these are not capable of giving you the feeling of becoming a powerful Jedi. With a bit of luck you can “pick up” and throw an opponent away or smash a part of the decor onto him. Again, it’s all but precise, even if it may be fun for kids. The same goes for the variation in vehicles: vague controls but enjoyable thanks to the setting and the occasional spectacle.
Once the all in all short campaign has been finished there’s more to be done in this Kinect Star Wars. And that’s where you find the best as well as the most retarded part of the game: the dance mode! Qua gameplay – think Dance Central with Star Wars characters – things are quite good. Not as good as Dance Central, but well enough. However, it’s the entire idea of swinging with Han Solo that feels far-fetched and dishonors the memories of this hero (and others).
The worst about this mode is the songs which are covers of well-known hits, but with new lines that refer to the Star Wars universe. And those lines aren’t only incredibly bad, the writers had zero respect for the fans while writing. The idea already… you need to see it to believe it and only kids who are too young to have feelings for the legendary movies will play this without having their hearts crushed. Check Youtube and shiver!
Other mini-games to check out are Rancor Rampage and the pod racing. Why not make a full game of the latter as a great WipeOut variation? What we get now is a snack with little precision and frustrating controls. The depth is lacking and the challenge is in keeping your arms up as you need to stretch them in front of you to steer. With the Rancor the youngest amongst us may have some fun though: you need to kick ass with the monster, throw away some humans and smash stuff.
You hear it already. Kinect Star Wars is probably not something for you. All in all it’s created decently but the basic gameplay is so limited and repetitive, and the controls so vague that only the biggest fans may enjoy it. We still believe in the Star Wars universe but those looking for a good game would do best to stay away from this one. If you’re looking for something new for Kinect and you’ve got kids running around who have a love for the adventures of Luke Skywalker and co, then you may want to check this one out.