I’ve been steadily impressed with the second wave of Kinect titles, however Kinect Star Wars has always been a game that I’ve been slightly dreading ever since that first awkward looking footage was shown. Time has moved on, after all its been well over a year since the first reveal, but has the game moved on, and has Terminal Reality pulled off what many thought would be the next to impossible task of creating a good Star Wars game for Kinect.
Kinect Star Wars has more to it than meets the eye; split into five sections, the game takes all of the best bits of Star Wars and tries to place them in your living room for the ultimate Kinect experience. Whether you want to play through an adventure, try your hand at pod racing or even go on a rampage with a Rancor, Kinect Star Wars tries to cater for you. It also throws in a bit of dancing, although we will get to that later.
The kids love it and to be fair, a part of me does too.
Obviously the main part of the game that Star Wars fans will be interested in is the main campaign. I’ll say now that if you where coming here looking for the first full on adventure game aimed at Kinect then you might as well move on because this isn’t it. Kinect Star Wars is linear with a fairly average story. It also involving you jumping around and swinging your arms like crazy, so in summary, it’s just like most other Kinect games. What it doesn’t provide though is what gamers have been crying out for from Kinect; a truly immersive experience that’ll blow your mind. But the kids love it and to be fair, a part of me does too.
So back to the main campaign, which is split up into three planets, all of which have their own continuous story as you guide your young Padawan through all manner of scenarios. The game starts off on the planet of Kashyyyk where you’ll find yourself having lightsaber training with your Jedi Master before going on a trip to see Yoda to learn the ways of the Force. Once these pleasantries are out of the way the true adventure will begin, seeing you combine your newly learned skills to take on the Empire. During your travels you’ll fight, use speeder bikes and landspeeders and battle in space in X-Wing inspired space battles; even more impressive is that all of this takes place on the first planet alone. As you move on, things get more manic, with the planets of Providence and Felucia bringing even more combat, duals and speederbike battles, your way.
The adventure itself must last around about five to six hours, although as mentioned, there are a few other areas to explore once you have completed this.
So what of the action? Just how well does it work, is Kinect’s ability to replicate lightsaber battles and force wielding powers worthy of the Star Wars name? Well for the most part, yes. In general, Kinect Star Wars works just like any other Kinect game, therefore you’ll find yourself jumping from side to side as you try to dodge obstacles, while in the driving and flying (shooting) missions you’ll find yourself controlling direction with your hands, while also jumping back to perform other actions, such as boost or firing missiles. When it comes to combat, the lightsaber is controlled by whichever hand you favour, allowing you to swing around and smash seven shades of daylight out of whichever enemy is standing in your way. There is a little bit more depth in that you can jump to dodge incoming fire and you can also use the Force with your other hand, allowing you to throw enemies into the air or catch grenades, etc and throw them back. The Force also comes into play at certain points within the game as you are tasked with using it to move or destroy things which are crucial to the story.
If your kids loved previous Kinect games such as Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Rush, then this title and specifically its main campaign will no doubt appeal to them.
Moving on from the campaign, Kinect Star Wars also has a few other areas of interest. First up is the Podracing, which has you compete in six races across five planets in order to become the best there is. There are various pilots and podracers to unlock here, although to be honest it’s not great. I personally found the Kinect very non-responsive here, resulting in my racer crashing into all manner of obstacles or even driving straight out of bounds, even though I was trying to follow the track around the corner. Things get slightly better when you use boost, as the Podracer zooms into the screen for a limited time and things suddenly become more responsive, however this doesn’t last long.
Another mode which is included and fairs slightly better is Rancor Rampage. Here, you take control of a Rancor and smash your way through Naboo, MosEspa, MosEisley and Felucia. You get to smash buildings, throw enemies into all manner of objects and knock over civilians. It’s certainly decent fun, although after a few plays you’ll probably find yourself never going back to it again, due to the throwaway nature of the gameplay.
Perhaps the most controversial mode as far as Star Wars fans are concerned is the Galactic Dance Off. Taking place in four different locations, from Jabba’s Palace to The Death Star, here you’ll find yourself dancing to 15 songs using many of the hit franchises iconic characters. Seeing a half-naked Princess Leia dancing around is probably enough to satisfy any Star Wars Fanboy out there, while there is also something for the ladies thanks to the comedic dancing of Han Solo and his accompanying music. There is more than a bit of resemblance to Dance Central in this mode and while its inclusion may have Star Wars fans hiding their eyes in shame, it can’t be denied that there’s plenty of comedic value here. Galactic Dance Off is fun, no doubt. The kids love to dance along with their favourite characters; in fact why isn’t this a game on its own?
The Force may not be strong in this one, but there is definitely something there.
The final mode is Duels of Fate, allowing you to duel against the big boys. Whether you want to take on Count Dooku or Darth Vadar himself, this mode is for the Star Wars geek in all of us. The controls may not be perfect, but I can quite clearly envisage everyone who loves Star Wars heading to play this mode. There is nothing quite like the feeling of defeating Darth Vadar to stir the memories of the first time you watched the movies.
So there we have it, Kinect Star Wars. The Force may not be strong in this one, but there is definitely something there. The game won’t appeal to everyone, but if you have kids and want to teach them the way of the Jedi, then what better way than to put a copy of Kinect Star Wars in the console, sit back and enjoy.
You can pre-order this bundle from ShopTo here for £339.85, you can also pre-order the game from here.
Rating: GoodReview Policy(version tested: Xbox 360)