Kinect Star Wars [Review]

  • Platform: Xbox 360/Kinect (Required)
  • Published by: Microsoft
  • Developed by: Terminal Reality
  • Genre: Action
  • ESRB Rating: T For Teen
  • Number of Players: 1 or 2 cooperatively
  • Release Date: April 3rd, 2012

It’s usually never a good sign when a company doesn’t send out review copies of their game. Kinect Star Wars history dates back a couple of years to the Kinect reveal at E3. We all saw the acted out preview on the stage, where the actors did some pre-taught moves in sync with the game, the game itself at that point was probably mostly CGI as well. Since that point and time Kinect Star Wars has gotten nothing but negative press, I think the average gamer or person was really looking forward to the game, while the people who frequent forums and game sites seemed to be hoping for the worst. I’ve never in my life wished for a game to fail or get negative reviews. Even though there were no review copies for the game, I did manage to get my copy a couple of days in advance, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on the game.

I did something I don’t normally do for my reviews, I checked out some of the other reviews that were up. Of course I did this after I had decided what to score the game and after I roughly sketched out what I wanted to say about the game. I truly think the majority of reviewers out there went into this with a negative outlook and I’ve always found that when you go into something with a negative attitude, you’ll surely get negative results. I will also state that I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but I wasn’t a huge fan until the new trilogy. I know some purists will balk at that statement, but I just found the older movies to be a bit boring, although Episode V The Empire Strikes Back is amazing, I just felt that overall the old trilogy wasn’t as good in tone or structure. People have a tendency to remember things better than they actually ever were, or they think that nothing competes with things in that point and time of their lives. In other words, nothing new can top the old.

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I have also noticed that a lot of reviewers have a problem reviewing Kinect games for what they are, I’d never go into a Kinect game and put it on par with Skyrim or Uncharted. There has got to be some kind of curve and once reviewers start to use that curve, I’d expect slightly better scores for Kinect games. Sometimes you go to a summer movie and just sit back with your popcorn and you can just be happy with being entertained, Kinect Star Wars is a bit like that, it’ll never win Game Of The Year honors, but it can be entertaining and fun.

Lets face it, most of us have wanted to be a Jedi at one time or another, maybe you’ve wanted to pilot a star fighter or pod racer? Kinect Star Wars does a pretty good job at immersing you into this world without any kind of controller needed. The graphics of Kinect Star Wars are pretty good, especially when you’ve seen some of the other Kinect titles on the market. The character models are pretty good and you’ll see a lot of familiar faces from the Star Wars universe. Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu just to name a few.

I’m sure people will want to know about the controls for the game, well I found that not every mode was totally on rails as some people suspected originally. In the main story mode, Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising, you play as a Padawan Learner in between Episode 1 and Episode 3, you’ll learn how to use the force with your left hand, while you use your right hand as your lightsaber. You can actually use whatever you want in your right hand to help immerse you into the role a bit more. I actually used the PlayStation Move controller as a hilt, it was quite effective and I’ve even heard of some people using their prop lightsabers or toy lightsabers with the game. The movement tracking isn’t 1.1, so there isn’t going to be perfect tracking, but I felt that the game worked well enough, this was one of the times that I needed all of the space in my living room to play a Kinect game.

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Rail games to me is something that is always moving and forcing you to go, the Jedi Destiny mode lets you decide which enemies you want to face and you actually have to jump and dodge others. So it’s not fully on rails in the traditional sense, I do wish that they would have used a control scheme like the XBLA title “Haunt” or “Kinect Rush”, both of which offer you the ability to move when and wherever you want to, in Haunt you walk in place to move forward and in Kinect Rush you move your arms like you would if you were jogging to move. I think they could have achieved some pretty decent controls had they done this instead. Overall though, the Jedi Destiny mode did offer some fun, but it got tiring and can get repetitive if you try to go through the whole campaign in a single sitting.

Duels Of Fate is a mode where you strictly fight in light saber battles, hoping to eventually make your way up to face off against Darth Vader, which is a cool thing to do, but Vader was never known for his skills with a light saber, by the time he was in the suit he was literally half the man he was when he was Anakin Skywalker and that includes his swordsmanship. It’s still an interesting mode and offers a lot of fun for those that truly like saber on saber combat. Once again the controls aren’t 1.1, but they do pretty well in this mode and the important thing to understand is that if the game didn’t register a certain move that you did, don’t just start flailing wildly, it’ll pick up the majority of your movements, no need to be a “Star Wars Kid” with a mop.

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Podracing is something I’ve really liked since I saw Episode 1 back in 1999, its fast and furious and dangerous all rolled into one. I remember sinking hours and hours into the Dreamcast version of Podracing back when it was out all those years ago. The game plays a lot like that, but this is the game mode that really kicked my butt in the physicality department. You have to keep your arms out the whole time you race, steering and doing speed boosts in the courses. Holding your arms out after a few racing will definitely leave them sore the next day. Now this mode is pretty much on rails, except you have the right to avoid certain obstacles and other racers on the track. It’s probably one of the better game modes in the whole game, I personally keep going back to it, I love the co-op with this particular mode as well.

Rancor Rampage is an interesting side game mode as well, you take control of an angry Rancor and you must destroy everything in your path in order to fill your rage meter. The more you destroy, the fuller the meter becomes and the higher your scores gets. This mode is one that is fun to play from time to time, but it’s definitely not the best mode in the game, I would have liked it if they would have thrown in a Wampa mode as well, for some reason I’ve always wanted to play as a Wampa and “wamp” on people.

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No game mode has garnered more hate than the Galactic Dance Off mode, which is set up a lot like Dance Central. You see your favorite characters dance to Star Wars themed songs. I must admit that this wasn’t my favorite mode, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with it, but that was mostly because I’m not much of a dancer and I usually suck at dancing games, but they can be fun to goof around with while your friends are around. If you were dismissing Kinect Star Wars based solely on this game mode, than I think you’ll be making a mistake. The Galactic Dance Off mode is just a small, insignificant mode when compared to the rest of the game as a whole. I found the dance mode to not be as annoying as C-3PO in the movies, but it was a close call. This mode tracks movements incredibly well though and its at least good for a laugh.

It’s hard to say if this is a game you’ll want to buy, if you’re a staunch Kinect user and you love Star Wars than it’s definitely worth picking up, but if your undecided than I’d suggest waiting for the price to drop or perhaps renting the game to see if you like it. Each of the game modes has a story arc to it, I think they did the individual stories so that people would take breaks in between, each story takes around 3 to 4 hours, so there is actually quite a bit of content to be found in the game itself.

At the end of the day, Kinect Star Wars comes up short of being great, but it is indeed the closest you can actually come to being a Jedi without being born with a high Midi-chlorian count. You’ll probably hear people complain that it isn’t a true hardcore Star Wars game, but I think if your looking for that type of game you can find it, I mean KOTOR, Jedi Academy and Republic Commando are pretty deep games. I think this is a game intended for Star Wars fans or gamer’s who don’t take themselves too seriously. Its easy to get caught up in expectations, I mean in 2005 when we saw some fake CGI trailer for Killzone 2, I don’t remember the kind of outrage we are seeing for this game. The bottom line is that this is a nice game, its fun and offers a lot of nostalgia for Star Wars fans, but its also flawed and far from perfect. If you go into playing this game with an open mind, you can definitely have some fun, but if you go into it expecting it to be terrible, you’ll probably find some of that as well.

Final Score: 7.5/10

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3 Responses to “Kinect Star Wars [Review]”

  1. Excellent review. I would agree with everything you said but the more I play it the better it gets. Right now I think it deserves a 8. There are sections that I look back on and am really impressed like the speederbike sequence on the wookie planet. That was just an intense videogame moment. Again its good to see some thorough professionals reviewing games than uninspiring uninspired jaded game journalists.

    • Thank you very much, I did my best as a Star Wars fan and as a gamer for the last 20+ years to go into the game with an open mind and I had fun. I was originally split between a 7 and 8 score, so I split the difference. There is a lot of fun to be had with the game. Thanks for checking out the review. 

  2. seriously this is the crappyiest star wars game ever made seriously they put clone trooper ships
    but no clone troopers  i mean like they had a 2nd invisible hand and they named it providence theyre are mor of the invisible hands belive me get empire at war get the fall  of the republic mod and see for yourself and had pictures of new levels not seen in the story what the beep and whats the scanmdroids thing noone does it i hate youlucas arts though i am a big star wars fan i have basicly all the starw ars clone wars tv series though i missing wolfe phase2 and rex phase2 i might get rex tommorow or later got it on ebay i have republic comando i definetly kiks butt i want them to find sev!!!!!! no ones knows what happened to him i have tfu and tfu2 tfu2 sucks but good looking costumes and lightsaber colors and goood graphics i like cutting the stormtroopers head off and i have strh republic heroes lego st 3 is kicking butt

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