IT’S A TRAP!!
We can tell you the serial number on the trash compactor Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie fall into on the first Death Star. We can give you weapon specs comparison between an A-Wing and an X-Wing. We know Han shot first. We are the diehard fans of Star Wars and many of us have been waiting for the ultimate gaming experience that will give us the level of immersion we desire into our favorite sci-fi universe. Unfortunately, this is not the Kinect game we are looking for.
Kinect Star Wars is best described as a series of party atmosphere mini-games with a Star Wars theme. The main Jedi Destiny campaign does offer a bit more length and a deeper story than the other modes at least, where you play as a Jedi Padawan to a long forgotten about Jedi Master between Episodes I and II. You can wield force powers, handle a lightsaber, ride speeder bikes, and serve as a gunner in space battles.
The idea of all these things are phenomenal, and had a full game been developed around them I could see this actually being a memorable Star Wars game. Instead, you succumb to a bevy of gimmicks that make you feel less like a Jedi and more like Bantha Poodoo. Slow, deliberate movements are required to use your lightsaber, instead of the fast frantic action we’re used to seeing, and there is almost no need to use the force aside for a handful of moments that feel like button prompt events except you’re waving your arms. The story for the main campaign was solid, but aside for the first-person on-rails space missions that might give you flashbacks to games like X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, you could never really get into a rhythm with the motion controls.
The other modes in Kinect Star Wars don’t fare much better though for the most part. The Podracing campaign only has six races in it, and although it features many familiar faces that Episode I fans will immediately recognize, the motion controls are overly sensitive. I understand that Podracing is supposed to be difficult, but you try holding your arms straight out for a 12-minute race on Coruscant or for ten minutes in Cloud City and then see how well you can steer.
The Duel of the Fates mode is even more bare bones than the Podracing though. The entire mode is only five battles with only two of which actually being worth mentioning where you can face off against Count Dooku and Darth Vader himself in Cloud City. And this may be the most gimmicky of all as the entire time all you’re doing is blocking easily telegraphed moves and waiting for an opening to strike yourself. Flailing around has never felt so crummy.
There were a couple of fun modes that I’m sure could liven up a party if given the chance and should everyone love Star Wars. The Rancor Rampage mode is basically like playing old-school Rampage in full 3D and as a Rancor. You can bulrush buildings, eat Stormtroopers, throw droids across the map, and more. This mode was also relatively responsive due to the simple movements necessary really to wreak havoc across the four maps and two modes you could play this in.
The final game mode that seemed to work was Galactic Dance-Off. Yes, now you too can be a slave girl in Jabba’s palace or see who would win the epic dance-off in the Carbonite Freezing Chamber between Lando and Han to such classics as “I’m a Princess in a Battle” (set to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie in a Bottle’) or “I’m Han Solo” (set to Jason Derulo’s ‘Ridin’ Solo’). It’s really just Dance Central set to a dozen or so Star Wars song spoofs, but it actually worked well and had me and my friends laughing hysterically as we proceeded to make complete nerfherders of ourselves.
At the end of the day though, this is not what Star Wars fans want. It may appeal to small children on some level with the couple of modes that work, but there is really no depth or long-lasting appeal to anyone over the age of ten. Some of the modes can be entertaining and the main Jedi Destiny campaign story has some potential, but gimmicks and poor game play hold this back. Not to mention, I think a lot of us are sick of stories that are told during or before the prequels. For many of us, the original expanded universe took place after Return of the Jedi. Grand Admiral Thrawn anyone? At the end of the day, I think we’d all be better off just retreating to Dagobah than devoting any serious time to this game.
SUMMARY: This is not the Kinect game you’ve been looking for. A cute array of mini-games and a decent length main campaign could make this a fun party game with a Star Wars theme, but if you were looking to finally feel like a Jedi, you might want to stick to the bathrobe and flashlight a little while longer.
- THE GOOD: Some modes provide a party game atmosphere with a Star Wars theme
- THE BAD: Not the hardcore experience most Star Wars fans really wanted
- THE UGLY: The very existence of spoofed pop songs with a Star Wars skew
Kinect Star Wars is a Xbox 360 exclusive.