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Kinect Star Wars 360 Review - -
Kinect Star Wars
Reviewed by
Edwin Millheim
Kinect Star Wars 360 Review. 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.

Gameplay 5.0
Graphics 6.5
Sound 5.5
Value 6.0
Developer: LucasArts
: Microsoft Studios
Review Date:
April 2012
Edwin Millheim


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 instinct.”

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 series.

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 the films.

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 levels.

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 the game.

“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 fans.

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



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