Kinect Star Wars – Review

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Long has been the wait for a Star Wars experience which fully incorporates those two most coveted of Jedi activities: using the force and swooshing a lightsaber. Alas, the wait goes on.

 

Long has been the wait for a Star Wars experience which fully incorporates those two most coveted of Jedi activities: using the force and swooshing a lightsaber. Before we begin then, I have to state that, alas, this isn’t the game that puts a 100% gesture accurate lightsaber in your hands (or even not in your hands, this being a Kinect game and all).

You will do a huge amount of arm swinging – in mimicry of the world’s most famous fictional blade – yes, but never will that swinging be represented on screen in anything but the most arbitrary way. It’s a disappointment that Kinect Star Wars never really recovers from, not least because it demands precision from the player but then fails to feedback such accuracy in gameplay terms.

At times it feels as if a more precise control method was thrown out at the last minute of its development time, only for the standard (and let’s be honest, disappointing) Kinect gestures to take its place, so subtle are some of the encounters you’ll take part in.

Take an action sequence mid-way through the game’s ‘Jedi Destiny’ campaign. Your vanilla padawan has infiltrated a Star Destroyer – if that’s not the technical term for the largest of starships in the Attack of the Clones period of the Star Wars timeline then please forgive my ignorance – in a bid to breakout numerous captured Jedi.

After fighting wave after wave of identikit droids and reptilian bounty hunters you’ll eventually come to a sequence onboard an elevator where, quelle surprise, yet another wave of droids appears – though this one containing more of those capable of engaging in duels than seen so far.

This is the first time where the absence of any precision in control of your lightsaber is felt, and, as ten or more foes engage you in turn, progress becomes more down to pure luck than the light side of the force. That most enemies can deflect your attacks by purely standing still and holding out their weapon doesn’t help, nor does the fact my kicks and jumps are often missed by the Kinect sensor – or at least not tracked dependably enough for such moves to be relied upon.

Instead of the expected glorious whirlwind of Jedi powers and saber swooshes I’m left with an aching arm, a heightened sense of exasperation and the overwhelming feeling that Star Wars fans have been left short-changed by what might well have been not just a celebration of an ailing franchise, but the introduction of a killer app into Kinect’s software library.

Outside of the lightsaber there’s the opportunity to dodge, leap, duck and even throw weaker enemies around like rag dolls through use of the force push attack linked to the player’s non-saber arm. Kinect has trouble tracking almost all of these moves however (at least in my living room) while throwing enemies feels random due to the lack of any aiming reticule. Worse still is the force dash triggered by leaning forward with arms stretched behind you, to say that successful use of this is random would be putting it mildly.

It’s not that Kinect Star Wars is a complete mess, indeed the figure-of-eight saber move which deflects laser bolts is fun to use, while the classic score, colourful visuals and huge battles depicted provide a spectacle that’s sure to pull fans in – at least until the next control glitch shatters the illusion.

Inclusion of a two-player split screen option for the main campaign is a welcome feature, as is the variation of play which sees the player taking aim at fighters from the gun turret of a ship, racing through the forests of the wookie home world on a speedster and engaging fellow force users in duels – which nicely channels the age-old Star Wars arcade cabinet of yesteryear.

In what some might take as an admittance on the part of LucasArts and Microsoft that what they’ve delivered falls short of what fans expected, various additional modes of play are available beyond the short campaign. Pod racing seems a natural fit but falls, once again, to the vagaries of Kinect’s clumsy ‘no hands’ controls which rarely respond in a fashion subtle enough to justify the tracks’ tight and unforgiving corners.

Another mode which channels the old city-destroying classic Rampage, sees the player bashing through various iconic Star Wars locations as a fearsome Rancor monster. While diverting enough at first, the mode soon wears thin after you’ve cared to swing your arms left and right for yet another contrived reason. Finally, a dance mode with more than a passing resemblance to Dance Central, is on hand to entertain those in mood for a boogie, complete with Cantina-style takes on real life numbers.

As a whole however Kinect Star Wars presents an experience which feels diminished, certainly falling short of the experience we were promised via the hype created for both game and even the Kinect itself. With George Lucas himself seemingly at pains to hold the franchise back in his stubborn belief that it’s chief audience is for kids, perhaps the final product here should come as no surprise.

Your kids will no doubt love it, the thing is, Star Wars has two lots of kids wanting to play it, and those on the bigger side would be in their rights to demand more from a full price title which also requires an expensive peripheral to play. It seems all eyes now turn to Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor in the wait for the first great core Kinect game.

Score: 3/5

Format: Xbox 360 Kinect
Price: £39.99
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: Microsoft

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015