A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the idea of using Kinect to become a Jedi probably didn’t sound like too bad an idea. But as the money hats at Microsoft and LucasArts became involved and Kinect’s capabilities gradually became stripped down between announcement and release (the removal of the unit’s additional microprocessor appearing to significantly alter the tech’s capabilities), the unabashedly cool prospect of swinging lightsabers throughout the galaxy gradually deteriorated into a mindless mess of mediocre minigames and inaccurate arm-flailing.
You’ve all heard about Kinect Star Wars’ dancing Stormtroopers before, so we won’t waste much of your time describing their amusingly diabolical presence here. Needless to say, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the mechanics and its deliberate ridiculousness can entertain – heck, it’s Dance Central on the Death Star – but its gratuitously exploitative implementation will be enough to make most Star Wars fans’ skin crawl.
There are also Rancor Rampages, short, destruction-fuelled sequences that put you in control of a giant monster hell-bent on destroying villages on Tatooine and Felucia; one-on-one Lightsabre Duels, which are made unnecessarily difficult thanks to some poorly considered unlock requirements; and Podracing, a fun little Kinect-controlled update to N64 favourite Episode 1: Racer, but one that hurts, too. Keeping your arms held out at full stretch for any reasonable length of time can be more painful than you might think.
It’s the actual lightsaber swinging that’s the highlight, then – a short, few-hour adventure that pits freshly trained Jedis within various battles across the Star Wars universe. It starts off surprisingly impressive; its presentation is distinctly Lucas, and hey, you are a mother-flipping Jedi, but Kinect’s usual array of technical shortcomings can soon begin to grate.
The controls are frustratingly inconsistent: occasionally accurate, but more often erratic, and the usual jumping and ducking gesture-based gameplay means Kinect Star Wars soon becomes an ill-conceived exercise in motion-sensing clichés.
Ultimately, the clumsiness of Kinect means you’ll often feel far more like a drunken, arm-swinging street brawler than a lightsabre-swinging Jedi Knight. And as the realities of what was once promised and what was ultimately delivered finally start to kick in, you’ll soon start to feel like this has been a game developed purely to exploit the cash of uninformed mums over the Easter break, rather than the Star Wars game you’ve always dreamed of. A New Hope? No hope, more like.
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