A Disturbance In The Force: Kinect Star Wars Could Use Some Work - Kinect Star Wars - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Kinect Star Wars

A Disturbance In The Force: Kinect Star Wars Could Use Some Work

Kinect Star Wars didn’t exactly blow the audience away during its showing at the Microsoft E3 2011 press conference earlier this week, so I was already a bit wary walking into my hands-on demo. Unfortunately, a lot of my fears seem well-founded.

I only got to check out a single mode of the game, but it’s arguably the mode that will make or break the final product: playing as a Jedi. After some brief training with Yoda, I jumped into a mission against a bunch of battle droids on Cloud City.

Despite the Empire Strikes Back setting, this portion of the game is actually set during Episode 2. Kinect Star Wars as a whole will play out during the time period of the prequels. During the demo my unnamed Jedi character was joined by the tentacle-haired Kit Fisto, a fellow Jedi who can be controlled by a friend for a co-op experience.

The Jedi segments in Kinect Star Wars are on-rails in the sense that your Jedi automatically targets the next enemy. Once he’s aimed in the right direction, I was able to choose how I wanted to take each enemy out. From range, I could lift enemies and flick them away with my left hand or force push by pushing my hand forward quickly. I could close the distance by stepping forward and leaning down to dash, at which point I could dispatch enemies with the lightsaber or a powerful kick.

Outside of combat, Kinect Star Wars features a few simple movement options. Stepping to the left or right caused my on-screen avatar to do a dodge jump in that direction, while simply jumping let him jump over enemies or jump down to new locations in the level. The vast majority of the movement was handled automatically though.

In addition to regular, easy-to-kill battle droids, I fought an armored drone and a more powerful droid that was resistant to force powers. Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot of strategy to this beyond dashing forward and slashing wildly until my robotic opponents fell to pieces.

More frustratingly, I found that several elements of the game didn’t always work as responsively as I wished. A right-hand swipe motion that was supposed to unleash the lightsaber took a good five or six tries before it worked, and the game seemed to have trouble distinguishing whether I wanted to perform a force push or just lift enemies up. Also at one point in the halls of Cloud City, I dashed forward and got stuck against a wall. In order to progress, I had to make my character awkwardly perform his side jump a couple of times to get away from the wall.

Kinect Star Wars still has time before its winter release to get cleaned up. Maybe some of the game’s other modes, such as pod-racing and X-Wing fighting will prove more entertaining than this on-foot combat scenario was. But if LucasArts really wants to win over Star Wars fans, they need to tighten up the lightsaber gameplay as much as possible. Kinect Star Wars isn’t a lost cause by any means, but consider me worried.

Comments
  • Make Battlefront 3 already!!!! Forget this Kinect stuff.....
  • How was the actual lightsaber combat handled, Phil? Did that work responsively? But still even if the lightsaber was good, if nothing else is solid, that isn't to reassuring.
  • Lucasarts has yet to make a single decent game for this generation of consoles---I'm not holding my breath on this poorly conceived, trumped-up collection of mini-games.
  • It looked pretty bad in the video, lord knows how bad it is outside of their optimized setup, sure hope they figure it out. Why can't I carry a small stick that has an analog stick on the top for movement in Kinect games??? We all know that's the major flaw with the Kinect games, no one wants on-rails anything, didn't in 1994, still don't now.
  • Who actually thought this would be good anyway?

  • this game will fell!
  • I thought that stage demo looked terrible.  Seems like it wasn't just the demo

  • If i wanted flail around my living room with an imaginary lightsaber i would just go to parksaber and buy an actual one

  • I was worried when I heard the words "Star Wars Kinect title".

  • making any game on the kinect is a bad idea, mostly these types of games that usually require a controller (not yourself)

  • If only there was a game that would let you use the force properly that was a kinect game?

  • I really wish that Nintendo hadn't introduced movement based controls. Due to this, Sony and Microsoft followed suit and the end result is games that are basically mini-games. Ryse sounds like an awesome story for a game, but the fact that it's going to be motion controls ruins it. It means that there is going to be no movement and a very linear story line where the main player is just fighting person after person and other mini-games. And one couldn't make the argument that the Kinnect is actually improving games when they're augmented into them. For example,the voice controls which were shown at E3 for Mass Effect 3 are terrible. Instead of flicking the analog and pressing a button, you have to audibly say the entire phrase that you want to do. And when it comes to battle strategies, remembering a person's names and the abilities which they can do, mixed with obvious problems for those unable to pronounce them properly due to an accent, during the heat of a battle is completely unrealistic. There really has been no positive effect from Movement-Based controls.
  • I'm just waiting for Lucas Arts to make Battlefront 3. I mean c'mon is that too much to ask?
  • This is sad but expected, I really hope Lucas Arts can get it's act together, there are a lot of games that could be amazing that have fallen flat lately.
  • im i the only one that wants video of dan playing this??? come on anyone? well anyway this game looks like garbage and they should just work and battlefront 3 more

  • this game was made to create new sith leaders by having the anger flow through you during frusterating parts and controls

  • Ugh, why? I'm having  a very hard time getting into Kinect because of crap like this. Maybe one day when I can put glasses on and feel completely in the game while the Kinect registers my movements and puts it right in my face then I will change my mind.

    That was a horrible description of where I would like to see this tech go, but I think you may have the idea. I apologize if you don't.

  • When They showed this live onstage, I thought the speed of the game looked very slow. Not in framerate or anything technical like that, but just the overall speed of the game... there wasn't the battle frenzy that I see in the movies and in other games. Replicating the player's motion onscreen also looked very slow.

  • GI, thank you for finally being honest with an xbox related product.  The demonstration was a catastrophe, and Microsoft is following the Wii's steps with more casual.  All it needs is a STUPID name (like DIS-Kinect isn't bad enough), and they're neck in neck with Nintendo's old product.  Game companies must STOP driving their campaign PRIMARILY with motion controls!

  • It looks....eh.

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