Tech News on G4
The Force is not with 'Kinect: Star Wars'
Apr 17, 2012
By John Powell - G4 Canada
It used to be waving an imaginary lightsaber around your living room and showing off your best Jedi moves could result in you becoming a reluctant YouTube star. With the invention of the Xbox Kinect, Star Wars geeks (such as myself) have a license to wail and thrash about like the dweebs we are without fear of reprisal.
'Kinect: Star Wars' lets you adventure in a "galaxy far, far away" without any cumbersome controllers. Using only gestures and movements, you can wield a lightsaber, use the Force against the environment or baddies, fly a speeder bike, aim and fire a laser turret at incoming enemy ships, leap and dodge your way through deadly obstacles.
With C3PO and R2D2 as your reliable guides, you select five game modes located at the Jedi Library but the campaign is where you will be spending the majority of your time. In 'Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising', you are a young padawan still honing your Jedi skills under the supervision of your master. When you and your fellow students are summoned by Yoda and Mace Windu, you know the cosmic dust has hit the fan.
Your exploits begin by warding off a battle droid invasion of the Wookie jungle home planet Kashyyyk. Strange thing is the Trandoshans (bounty hunter Bossk's race of aliens) are also part of the raiding force which raises more questions than answers about why they are aiding the Dark Side.
In the air, you will fly speeder bikes, man starship turrets and engage Separatist ships in your Republic cruiser by moving your body and your hands.
On the ground, you will swing your lightsaber and deflect laser blasts with one hand, use your Force pull powers with your other hand to throw objects or enemies, jump, duck and dodge obstacles or foes.
There are so many things to do in 'Kinect: Star Wars' but regrettably not all of them work the way they are supposed to. Though the air combat comes off without a hitch, the ground maneuvers are erratic at best. Jump, ducking aren't always timed properly. The targeting of the Force pull powers is wonky especially when there are several things in the same area. You won't always levitate the right object or person which can be frustrating in the middle of a battle. If you die, you just respawn at the precise moment you went to briefly visit Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon so there aren't any serious consequences to you or the game messing up though.
The severest shortcoming is the inability to run in the game. Instead, you Force dash from place to place and opponent to opponent by lunging forward. That is if the gesture works to begin with. Often it doesn't causing you to take unnecessary damage. It is enough to make even the Emperor shed a tear or two.
The other three modes are mini-games of varying quality and interest. Duels of Fates is a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader as the final boss. Podracing and Galactic Dance-off are self-explanatory. Why a muddled dance game though is included as part of this package is as big a mystery as what exactly is under a Jawa's cloak.
Rancor Rampage is a riot, never getting old no matter how many times you play. As a Rancor you tear through settlements destroying buildings and eating citizens. Good clean fun, unless you happen to be one of those denizens running for your measly life.
'Kinect: Star Wars' is the 'Episode 3' of Star Wars games. It doesn't measure up. Even the most casual player will whip through 'Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising' in about a week and besides Rancor Rampage, the other modes are not special in any way. If the $49.99 price tag was halved, maybe the sting to the pocketbook and a gamer's sensibilities wouldn't be so bad. As it stands though, it is too much to ask for so little, especially when there are crucial issues with the controls. As Obi-Wan would say, young padawans, "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them."
Kinect: Star Wars
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.