Today I played a series of mixed motion control mini-games with a Star Wars theme.
That’s the truth of Star Wars Kinect. Rather than being some epic game where we save the galaxy and feel more like a Jedi than we ever had before, it is a series of mini-games sometimes strung together with weak story lines. Five different modes exist to entertain us, but most fall flat and a few just never really do much either way. It’s probably just easiest to break down the modes.
Jedi Destiny has you playing as a Jedi in training thrust into the Clone Wars when Kashyyk is attacked. In this mode you push forward with your hand to use force push, you reach out and grab an enemy to pick them up and throw them with the force, you swing a lightsaber by swinging your arm, etc. It sounds awesome, but the controls are horribly inaccurate, and there is an obvious lag time that results in you swinging your lightsaber for a moment longer than you actually are, missing that time you jumped and resulting in you dieing because your on screen character didn’t jump. Moving forward is also problematic (you sort of glide forward when you step forward) and the game becomes annoyingly difficult when dealing with large amounts of enemies due to awkward movements and a target lock on system of combat. Story wise the biggest fault with Jedi Destiny is that it does the very old tactic of having a silent protagonist. Personally, I’m sick of playing a character that never says a word the entire game. An hour or so later and the Jedi Destiny mode is done, and it is wildly under whelming. There is a couple of levels that basically turns into a rail shooter with space ships though that is surprisingly fun and totally opens up the doors to a Rogue Squadron Kinect (C’mon! Do it!).
Duels of Fate is up next. I mostly avoided this. The lightsaber duels are some of the worst moments of the Jedi Destiny mode so a mode revolving around it… no thanks. You must attempt to block a few times and then turn the tide and well it just isn’t much fun.
Rancor Rampage is where Star Wars Kinect really takes off. Destroying one of four different locations in two different play modes as a giant Rancor is just plain fun. One mode (challenge) gives you a series of small task to complete for bonus points (such as chomping on three civilians). Fury is about destroying as much of the city as possible. While it is unfortunate that two of the cities available are Mos Eisley and Mos Espa which look very similar as they are both on Tatooine, the four areas have enough little nooks and crannies to them that you’ll still be finding stuff after a couple of play-throughs. Controls in Rancor Rampage are much tighter than the other modes, with only two moves being mildly difficult to successfully pull off. Last winter I demo’d Star Wars Kinect and Rancor Rampage was one of the more or less finished modes and it shows in the final product that it was essentially done first and more time was spent fine tuning it.
Podracing, those who remember the N64 remember that Podracing made for an alright game experience but that very few people were screaming for another go. The mode consist of six races as you attempt to get team Watto back on top after the events of Phantom Menace. The story is pretty much pointless, but the races are kind of fun. The biggest problem is that steering assist contains two levels, none at all or high. None at all has you crashing into everything, high basically plays the game for you. The lack of middle ground makes the game either frustrating or to easy.
Lastly there is the dancing. Yes, not only did they cram a dancing game into Star Wars Kinect, but they even re-write some popular songs to be Star Wars themed (such as “Ridin’ Solo” being turned into “I’m Han Solo.” This mode is actually fairly descent, though completely unrelated to Star Wars. The biggest flaw though is that unlike a game like Dance Central which is all about taking time to teach you dances, Star Wars Kinect’s Galactic Dance Party just kind of throws you in there. It even changes the name of the same dance move sometimes depending on who is doing the dancing.
Ultimately Star Wars Kinect has some fun moments and some great ideas, but also plenty of frustrations and ideas that simply fall flat. The game has barely dropped below $20 in most places, but $10 is about where most people will want to pick this up. Does it have some charm worth experiencing? Absolutely, but horrible controls ruin much of the experience. Biggest evidence that the software fails to use the Kinect well? The game could never recognize me and would show me as “guest”, yet immediately upon opening the Kinect menu the Kinect could and would sign me to the right profile.
Tomorrow I experience decades of men in spandex in WWE All Stars.
Final Rating: 5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 6 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 320/1000
Price Bought at: $10
Current Price: $27.52 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $10 is a good price to experience the game/deal with its flaws.
Why you should buy it: It’s Star Wars, duh.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: The force is not strong with this one.