Star Wars: Kinect A Disturbance in the Force
- Kevin Reitz TheFish.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 9 Sep
Star Wars. Those two words are enough to excite even the mildest geek, and I am no exception. Growing up with Star Wars, I have been sucked into my fair share of Star Wars related games over the years dating back to the 90s and their "Tie Fighter" and "X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter" offerings. Recently, their games have been extremely hit and miss for me, with more miss than hit. When the opportunity to review Star Wars: Kinect presented itself I was excited about the opportunity.
First, to get a good feel of what is possible with Kinect in general I picked up a used copy of Dance Central. I had heard good things about the tracking capabilities, and their implementation in the game, so I thought this would be a good barometer for what Kinect is actually capable of. Frankly I was blown away by the motion tracking and the accuracy, and I felt that if Star Wars: Kinect could track me as well, I was in for a treat.
Upon launching Star Wars: Kinect, I was greeted by the two most famous droids in the universe. C3PO does the introductions accompanied by R2's familiar beeps and boops. One of the most shocking things that I observed was the abysmal quality of the graphics; this just does not look like a current generation console title. It looks more like something that you would expect out of a Wii game.
That considered I do have to say it felt pretty good to see them again and I was soon presented with a menu of different options. Star Wars: Kinect is really a collection of various mini-games that take place throughout the Star Wars Universe and I chose "Jedi Academy". With the promise of battling foes with a lightsaber and force related powers I felt excitement well up as the introduction cut-scene ran.
After the very long cut scene finally finished (more on this later) I was finally in a Jedi training room with an instructor and other padawans. I was instructed to follow some basic moves to defend myself and attack my training partner. I can honestly say, without hesitation, that this was by far the most frustrated a video game has made me in a very, very long time. Star Wars: Kinect's on screen "instructions" as it's teaching you are vague, at best, and even when you think you're doing what it says to do the game dose not respond as you would expect. After flailing away helplessly for about 15 minutes, I quickly lost interest and moved on to something else.
That "something else" was "Rancor Rampage". This game takes place in the familiar surroundings of Tatooine (the home of Luke Skywalker). Essentially you take on the role of a Rancor, rampaging through Tattoine destroying buildings and objects along the way. You can stomp, roar and swing your arms to interact with the environment, including your assailants who are attempting to reign you in. Occasionally, you'll have a goal like "Throw an enemy 77 feet" or something and you can score points and achievements. Again, this is a frustrating exercise (both physically and mentally) that grew tiresome after only a few short minutes.
Finally, I decided to give the pod racing a try. Granted, its theme is based on one of the worst aspects, of the worst movie in the franchise, I figured it would only be fair to try a third game. After another long introductory scene (the longest I experienced by far) I was finally at the controls of a pod racer. Amazingly, this is by far the most fun game of the three and the controls were actually somewhat smooth, once I got a hang of it. Pretty soon I was zipping around the track, bumping my competitors off the road and I was honestly having a great time. However, my arms did grow tired (imagine suspending your arms in front of you and pulling them in and pushing them back out routinely) and eventually decided to move on. While the controls here are the best, the lack of any resistance or tactile feedback makes it more challenging than you would think, but it's not hard to get a hang of.
One final word on the cut scenes mentioned above. They are simply far too long. Honestly, they may not be any longer than other games' but because you are standing they seem like they go for an eternity. My feet got tired, I got bored and was ready to quit before I even got to play the games. Skipping them may be an option, but even they can be skipped, the whole point of Kinect is to immerse yourself in the gaming experience… skipping the cut scenes just felt like a cheap way out.
Overall, Star Wars: Kinect is the worst game I have played this year. Serious Star Wars fans will feel nostalgic for a few minutes but will soon grow frustrated by the controls and long cut scenes. Younger gamers will enjoy interacting with the droids at the beginning of the game, but I can only imagine that their frustration level will have them ready to do something different even faster than I was.
If you're after the "Star Wars Edition" xBox 360 (which is what I have, and it's really cool), you will get a copy of Star Wars: Kinect bundled inside with your R2D2 themed xBox (complete with sounds!) and C3P0 colored controller. I have to encourage anybody else to look elsewhere for some Kinect controlled fun (Kinect Adventures is a great place to start, Kinect Disneyland Adventures is a lot of fun, and Kinect Sports is always a fun bet).
Sexuality: Same types of issues as the movies
Violence: Same as the movies
*This Review First Published 9/25/2012