Kinect Star Wars
Well here we are, after all the hype and the hopes
of millions of Star Wars fans, looking for that chance to experience Star Wars on
a whole new level. Kinect Star Wars jumps through hyperspace, onto the Xbox 360
Kinect with mixed results. Now it’s not all as bad as some will lead you to
believe, nor is it as stellar as we would have hoped for. With fun moments
leading to disappointed moments, there is enough here to make it a fun one to
have in your collection.
“Let go of your conscious self, and act on
You as the controller does work a bit better than I was expecting, though not by
much. I have no idea what settings or how close or far, or how the lighting was
for other writers who did not like the control setups and the Kinect
response…During the story modes the saber combat is playable, unfortunately its
times when you are in dual mode when the game controls become crap. The worse
thing about this, the dual mode happens from time to time during the story mode.
It is unforgivable that a whole section of the game is so hobbled that it is not
fun at all in that section. That is the duals of fate mode.
It is during the story mode that it is much more fun. (Until there is a section
with Dual) During just moving about in the campaign combat tends to be a bit
more fun, with lightsaber movements having to be much more precise than just
flailing about like someone that just got tasered. So what some are deeming
sluggish, it is perhaps because they are trying to move at ninja speed rather
than precise combat speed. There is no diversity in combat with the saber, the
slashing modes with Saber combat are just that, just slash right or left, no
real downward slash, side to side is it, and no jabbing motions.
It does become extremely repetitive. Many other
games try to hide it when there is a lot of repetitive gameplay involved, not
here, too many times the game takes control just when you are getting the feel
of things and slaps you in the face. As if to say no dummy, you can’t do that
let us do it.
Tactical wise you can use force push, as well as force grab to slam the enemy
about. Another tactical way to get a hit on a particular touch enemy is to leap
over and behind them, slamming your saber down as you land. You may also give
them a kick. You do get to lean forward a bit and do a Force Dash, if you time
it right and slash at the end of the dash the result is more damage to an enemy.
Gamers will know the force dash from games like Star Wars the Force Unleashed
The game mechanics are mapped for simple movements, so blocking attacks high
low, or left and right register well. Slashing left or right or up and down work
well, although your on screen persona does it with much more flamboyance then
you ever could. The figure eight which is also a finesse and precise move to
block incoming blaster fire is a very tight maneuver. Rather than flailing your
arm around in a figure eight, it’s more of a moving and making figure eights
from your wrist.
Combat with the lightsaber is by default mapped to the right hand and the left
hand handled most of the force powers. Players can move the saber to the left
hand and use the right for most of the force powers.
Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising is the game story
mode. During this campaign the player starts out as a young Padawan learner. At
the start you get to choose you’re on screen character which is kind of cool.
Players start out the adventure at a training location on the Wookie home world
of Kashyyyk. While the story that the character and player is in takes place
during the Star Wars Episodes IV to VI, but interestingly enough does in fact
tie all the films together. C3PO and R2D2 give the players a tour of the Jedi
Archives and make reference that “Master Luke...” has assigned him and R2 to
check out the Jedi Archives with you. So this ties things together with ALL of
So what happens is you are actually looking through some old Jedi archives, and
find some information on a Jedi master that had been lost for some time. So
looking through this information is where we engage in the campaign, living the
adventure as one of the Padawan Learners.
Throughout the adventure we get to visit several known locations from the films,
there are plenty of battles with the lightsaber, and using the force, force
grab, force push, as well as kicking and leaping and dodging. Much of the game
is on rails and there are only certain times that the player takes over, but
with so much action going on the cut scenes are welcome additions so the player
can get a rest. The cut scenes are well implemented and move the story along,
one can skip cut scenes, though for the full experience and the big picture on
the adventure I would advise letting things run. I found it to be a much more
fulfilling experience this way.
“They’re coming in too fast!”
Players also will get to experience different vehicles such as speeder bikes and
star fighters, and also use the gun stations on some spacecraft to take on
incoming enemy fighters and blast other gun station on the larger star cruisers.
Dare I say it??? It’s a blast. You aim the target reticle by holding your hands
out in front of you. Then the computer blasts away for you when you have
something targeted. You can also throw out a mine or two by pulling back and
then thrusting both hands forward to fire off a mine, this is good for a large
number of enemy ships clustered together. This section when first introduced to
space battle is cool because the ship that you and the others in your party
escape in looks so much like The Outrider, a spacecraft that was flown by Dash
Rendar from another Star Wars game “Shadows of the Empire.”
Again the game is very much on rails when it comes
to these chapters of the game, but it does well with the action and that feeling
of adventure does hit you. Again that fast moving action hits home in some of
the speeder bike levels as well.
“Remember what you have learned, save you it can.”
Duels of Fate Mode are just simple battles where the player squares off against
enemy from the films. The difficulty ramps up with progression and players have
to defeat each enemy in order to proceed to the next one. In this mode there are
also some speeder bike and land speeder levels, and some space combat and boss
Though again, these is the place the game flounders and turns into a frustrating
mess, and it hurts me to say it since I am admittedly a Star Wars fan. Duel of
Fate Mode has the most glaring issues and it just amazes me that no one said
anything during the testing phase for the game. Either that or someone just did
not listen to the reports. This section could have been more fun that it is with
a bit more control, but you just cannot do as you want for this section at all.
At least in the campaign you have moments of when you can decide to block or
deflect or attack, but in this game section, you have a section where you are
strictly defending, then you can attack, but in extreme limited ways. So it’s
like taking turns… you cannot attack during the defend stage, you have to block
and that’s it, and you cannot use force abilities at all either…. Then comes the
part where you now can attack, but only with slash motions side to side. You
never really feel like you’re in a battle as a Jedi in Duels of Fate mode, you
feel like you are in a battle with the wonky game mechanics for this section of
“Now this is Pod racing!”
Pod racing mode is one of the more fun parts of the game. It does a good job of
making you feel like you are part of these extraordinary races. In campaign mode
for the Pod racing section, we adventure across five planets and six Pod races.
Progressing through the Pod race adventures we get to upgrade our pod as well as
do a little customizing. Moving through the races in two circuits, to with and
unlock the next race you have to come in at least third… with three races each,
and then ending in the legendary race of all, the Boonta Eve.
Holding your arms forward as if gripping the pod racer control bars, the player
leans and moves the arms to take corners at slowing down and can even throw on a
burst of speed by simultaneously thrusting both arms back then forward. When
throwing on this burst of speed the camera zooms forward into a closer look at
the pods and the world does some heavy motion blur, giving that feeling of
extreme speeds. This section reminded me a lot of the Pod racer game, which was
one of my favorites, with the Kinect Pod racing section, designers threw in a
few extra things for racers to worry about. Tuscan Raiders take pot shots at the
racers; some racers use buzz droids to cause damage to the competition, there
are various obstacles from time to time. It is rather exciting. This section of
the game is well worth the price of admission.
“Master Luke you’re standing on…!”
Now this wonderful reviewer introduces our fine readers to Rancor Rampage. In
this section of the game players get to dash about as one of the rancor species
from the films and destroy as much as you can. Locations to run amok in are Mos
Eisley, Naboo, Mos Espa, and Felucia. As noted there are several Rancor types
you can play. The Bull Rancor, Jungle species, Sand and the Tyrant and one
interesting unlockable Rancor species with rather unique abilities.
It is great fun to go rampaging around smashing things as you go. You can jump,
move forward, and kind of do a charge by using your arms to propel yourself
forward as the rancor. The whole idea is to destroy as much as possible for the
time runs out. This is a section that you will be able to take on Storm Troopers
and Imperial hardware such as Armored Transports and Tie Fighters.
“I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a million voices suddenly cried
out in terror, then suddenly silenced.”… Oh wait that was millions of Star Wars
This brings us to the Galactic Dance off Mode for the game. Yes, my friends, you
heard me correct. Dance. Now when I first heard about this I also gave a bit of
a groan. I was thinking the designers have lost their minds. In an attempt to
give a Star Wars experience to such a wide audience their brains have been
exposed to some form of galactic radiation from not enough shielding or
something. Surprisingly enough, it is a bit of fun. The game designers worked it
into the adventure rather well. It is explained that as you’re looking through
the Jedi Archives some files have been corrupted and mixed with historical dance
archives. If nothing else the archives may provide some amusement C3PO offers.
Indeed this section does provide a smile and even a Star Wars GeekGasm as I call
it. I mean really, who would not want to see Princess Lea in her metal bikini
get her curvy sci fi groove on?
This section in particular may raise the hackles of
many hard core Star Wars fans who expected a serious game here. Rather than the
campiness it tends to bombard us with. Like it or love it, Dance off is
grudgingly goofy fun. The songs are all parody songs with Star Wars themes. So
for instance instead of "Hollaback Girl” You get “Hologram Girl.”
Here you dance for Jabba the Hut, going up against many of the films known
personalities (Including Princess Lea as noted). There are fifteen songs with
different difficulty settings. Get through it and score well, there are also
some unlockables in this game mode.
Once again, gamers get to dance around in several environments from the Star
Wars universe. Several of the locations will of course be recognized by fans,
there is Jabba’s Palace on Tattooine, Besbin, Coruscant and even the Death Star.
Some sections of Kinect Star Wars seem so much more polished than others, making
this a game that while a bit hobbled, can still be a fun jaunt. It seems to be
more aimed towards kids, though I enjoyed some sections myself. I am afraid is
loses points for the atrocious Duels of Fate mode, but redeems itself admirably
with several of the other sections of the game, bringing us a fairly good Star
Wars experience for kids. Some older gamers may find it hard to find anything
here, though again…I did.
Have fun, play games…and I just had to say it…
May the Force be with you. Edwin Millheim Impulse Gamer