The Arcade Kinect Star Wars
PLATFORM: XBOX 360
To some extent, it works. Kinect Star Wars’ campaign is actually not half-had, which was a pleasant surprise. You begin as a young Padawan, being trained by a Jedi Master. As we understand it, the story takes place during the Clone Wars — so around Episode Two and Three in the timeline. Much of it feels like it fits well into the Star Wars universe, although I must admit I only saw those prequels to the 1970s trilogy once.
When you’re in the campaign, you use a handful of movements to fight your way through environments that are largely ‘on rails’ — meaning the game moves you along the right path. You thrust your left hand forward to use the force to push back enemies, and can fight either one- or two-handed with your light saber. If you etch out a figure eight with your saber, you can deflect laser bullets hack at the enemy. Take a step forward, and you’ll zoom forward toward your target. At any time, a friend can jump in and start playing with you.
All of that is cool in theory, but in practice the controls can he fiddly and a hit difficult to master. The trailers for Kinect Star Wars seem to suggest that Kinect is pinpoint-accurate, hut in reality your figure eight motions will often be interpreted by either the game or the device as mild seizures and, in fact, the most useful thing to do while in combat is to Hail wildly and hope to hit something.
Overall, however, we thought the story- based campaign was the best mode available, and using the force does make you feel like a Jedi. The gameplav is mixed up just enough to keep it from becoming boring and it’s a rather good workout with all the jumping around and swinging your arms. It took us less than half an hour to work up a decent sweat and it’s a lot more entertaining than playing an exercise game like EA Sports Active.
When you’re on the menu screen, you’11 he guided around by your two favourite robots, C3PO and R2D2, who have been sent to sort through the Jedi Archives. Each game mode available is a file iii the archive. Having C3PO and R2D2 there really does improve the experience, as their light-hearted banter makes the game really feel like Star Wars,
Most of the other modes are pulled out of the story-based campaign, so garners can play them casually. For example, if you want to
have a lightsaber duel — either with a friend or with AT — you can pick the Duel mode. There’s also the kind-of-fun Rancor Rampage, which allows you to run around as a giant Rancor, picking people up — including civilians — and tossing them across the map. You smash buildings, crush Stormtroopers under your giant fists, and generally cause havoc. The reason this is only ‘kind of fun is that again, the controls are a little wonky.
Pod racing will he a big draw for some, as it’s actually pretty fun to play with a friend. You don’t control your pod like the steering wheel of a car, as you do with other Kinect games, hut instead you play as if you’re in the Star Wars universe. him right by pulling your right arm hack, not by shifting both arms. I found the pod racing surprisingly rough against the Al — in most races I would trail at the back until the last section, then speed into second or third.
All of that said, it’s really hard to get past the game’s dance mode. Called Galactic Dance-Off and explained away as a corrupted file, the mode has characters within the Star Wars universe dancing to modern songs. Potentially, this could be genuinely funny
— who wouldn’t be amused by a group of Stormtroopers dancing to the YMCA? Unfortunately, in an attempt to fit every mode into the sd-fl world of the movies, the lyrics have been messed with in a terribly uninspired, lazy way. For example. where the lyrics to Britney Spears’ Stronger are “Hush, just stop/there’s nothing you can do or say, baby, in-game they change o Hutt, just stop! There’s nothing you can do or say, Jabba. Aside from the terrible lyrics, the mode is basically copied directly from a better dance game for Kinect, Dance central. Frankly, it’s painful, and the biggest kick in the crotch to Star Wars fans since JarJar Binks. It may even be the biggest ever.
But like Jar Jar, I suspect that Kinect Star wars isn’t aimed at adults — not really, anyway. Much of it has been watered down for a PG rating —you can’t cut off someone’s hand with your lightsaber, that’s for sure. for young kids, it’ll probably be a lot of fun for them to casually play. Perhaps they’ll even enjoy gulp — dancing to hologram Girl instead of ho//aback Girl. But despite developer Terminal Reality’s insistence that the game will appeal to ‘hardcore’ garners, we’re not so sure. It seems the Star Wars universe has been tainted by mediocrity once again.