Kinect Star Wars is the new motion-sensing venture for the Xbox 360 developed by Microsoft Game Studios and Lucasarts. The game has been long anticipated, almost since the launch of the Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360. It has various different activities that you can take part in including a story mode in which you can become a Jedi in your own living room. There are single and multiplayer experiences to be had in the game, which is set following the events of The Phantom Menace.
Naturally, the first thing that you are going to want to do when you turn on the game is become the Jedi that you always wanted to be when you were a child; or still do want to be, nobody is going to judge! You can select this mode or any other either by using your hands to select the on-screen options or using the Kinect voice sensors to select them. This is quite easily done either way, and the sensor is very accurate in receiving both motion and sound commands. In the Jedi Destiny story mode you can pick which padawan you wish to play the game as. There are several available of varying gender and species, so everybody should be happy. Then you get into the game. You start off by doing some basic training techniques with a new Jedi knight and with Master Yoda himself. Then you are thrown into action with your new abilities, including lightsaber combat, use of the force to push or manipulate objects and people, speed to move forwards quickly through environments, jumps, dodges and kicks.
The story also involves other skills aside from combat on foot, for example riding a speederbike or operating a turret on a ship in space. Some players may find that too much of this has been included though, so less time is spent on foot as a Jedi as the focus is supposed to be. also, there are a lot of cut scenes within the story, meaning less of it is actually played out by the player and that you spend long periods waiting to actually do anything at all. This is quite a disappointment when you are stood around while watching them. The teaching in the game is very active and allows you to play along throughout, keeping you interested in a tutorial which seems to naturally flow into the story. The storyline itself here is not a bad one, but the obvious focus of the game has been to allow people to be a Jedi, which is what is most important to the majority of people who are likely to buy the game anyway.
A second mode available on the game is called Rancor Rampage. This mode allows you to be a deadly rancor, which for anyone who is unsure is the creature which Jabba the Hut kept below his throne chamber in his palace for when he didn’t particularly like somebody. This involves running round causing mayhem to score as many points as possible for destruction. Objectives are given to you as well which will give you more points for completing them. As a rancor, you can destroy buildings, crush, smash, grab, throw and eat people and droids, and run and leap around wrecking everything in your path. There are several levels to be unlocked for this mode, but you start off in the famous desert town of Mos Eisley. You can also unlock other types of rancor, and some versions of the game can be bought with codes for even more members of the species. To begin with you are only able to use the Sand Rancor, which is the type from Jabba’s Palace. This mode is great for some causal fun, especially if you want to compete with friends over who can destroy the most and get the most points.
Podracing is also incorporated in the game, with a quick play and “destiny” story mode. This is fast paced and exciting as may be expected, and can be good for some competitive fun. There are downsides to this however. It is sometimes very difficult to control you pod, and although the game suggests that comfortable hand movements are made in order to control it often takes a lot more to perform some actions. For example, in order to boost your speed for a short time you must push and hold your arms out forwards. It can often take a lot more force to activate this however, and holding your arms out for the long period of the race can cause some aching if you are not careful. Otherwise control is fairly easy in terms of turning, and vision is not too bad during the races either.
The other main game that can be played on Kinect Star Wars is the galactic dance off mode. Players may choose a dancer and track to dance to, and must then follow the guidance of the on-screen characters’ dance moves to get as high a score as possible. This can be more fun than some players may expect, as during your crazy looking moves you get to watch classic characters such as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Not only is this strangely cool to watch, it is also intensely funny. Of course this game will not be for everyone, but for those who would not usually want to embarrass themselves in their living room this is a good place to start. The reason for this is that it is most likely that your friends will be more focussed on the screen where the characters are carrying out the often crazy dance moves than you performing them.
In terms of graphics, the game is really not too bad. Where some Kinect games move their focus away from this element, this one does not seem to have done so. The graphics are not stunningly realistic by any means; they seem to fall somewhere between the animated series and reality. Other than the odd exceptions however, such as Mace Windu looking about 20 when the game is set just after The Phantom Menace, the people and landscapes are very easy on the eye. The sounds of the game are also very fitting. One clever graphical device used is in-game instruction by a hologram of a Jedi which shows you the movements that you may want to or need to make as you play. This means that you do not spend too much time being confused about what you are meant to be doing. The only downside to this is that some parts of the game have become very straight with few options on how to complete them. The voices used are often not those of the original actors and this is noticeable, but a decent attempt has been made to find similar ones and the job has not been a bad one. The background noise and weapon sounds are fitting and realistic too. Spoken instructions are also easy to understand.
Overall, Kinect Star Wars has brought the main thing that t promised to gamers; the opportunity to be a Jedi. This is however not as active an experience as soon will expect, however the experience is well worth having. The other game modes are a bonus to the game and are all very fun to play. There is a competitive element, and each game mode is multiplayer so that a friend may join you in the action. Both the graphics and sounds are good and fitting to the game. A real effort has clearly been made to give Star Wars fans a great experience, however there are some visible clichés taken from the films themselves and put into the story, with some scenes almost exactly the same only with the situation changed. Some will find this dull and somewhat boring, others may find it exciting to participate in these moments for themselves. Although the main game mode is maybe not as active as many will have liked, it is good fun as are the others. The game will not be one that pleases everyone who plays; anyone who wants perfect, flowing lightsaber and force action will likely find themselves disappointed. Those who just wanted to experience being a Jedi will enjoy it. A great game for fans of the Star Wars universe and for people looking for a family activity, Kinect Star Wars is likely to be seen as a success by most, and is potentially to be one of Kinect’s greatest games yet.
Exciting and fun, but not perfect in sensing movements and can be found quite physically strenuous over longer periods. Plenty of space is good.
Not visually stunning but fitting for the game and by no means disappointing. Some elements are not as good as they might have been.
Good enough for the game; in no way a significant problem.
Very fun and exciting to play, and although not perfect in some of its elements it is a good game for people and families just looking for the fun factor.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.