WRITTEN BY PAUL GALEA
I will start off by saying there are only a few Star Wars games out there that have really made a lasting impression on me. E.g. the 2004 ?Knights Of The Old Republic? on the old XBOX console and the more recent and most successful Star Wars games to date ?The Force Unleashed I & II?, with the possibility of a third instalment on its way.
Now back to a more recent release, Lucas Arts have collaborated with Microsoft Studios to develop a game which is aimed at diehard fans, the new generation and Kinect enthusiasts alike.
What we get is a fairly good all round Kinect game. I?ll start by mentioning the story, which is nicely titled (?Jedi Destiny ? Dark Side Rising?) section of the game that got me hooked into buying it in the first place, in which you are a padawan learner under the teachings of Jedi master ?Mavra Zane?. First you are trained how to deflect laser blasts, defend and attack with your lightsaber. The next part of your training is where master Yoda teaches you to use the force by lifting, deflect and throwing rocks at objects. There is an obstacle course where you have to duck, dodge and jump over swinging logs to reach the end. The good thing about this is that you can use either hand to wield your weapon or use force, which is nice when you are a lefty and are usually restricted to using the right. Also the fluidity and playability is handled very well.
The action kicks off on the Wookie planet (Kashyyyk), with a speeder chase against reptilian people that look a lot like the bounty hunter ?Bosk?. You control the speeder with your arms and upper body, which makes you feel you are in in total control. Finally you arrive to help master ?Mavra Zane? and the other padawans against wave after wave of battle droids, super battle droids and destroyers whom you can test your lightsaber and force skills on. After a while it does get bit repetitive, and at times you feel that you are not being challenged enough. There are a couple of first person sections of the game where you are pitted against many separatist ships. It doesn?t take many attempts to complete them, even though they can immerse you in the action they just feel like time fillers.
The 2 player mode is fun with your family and friends, the only problems are having to wait for the other player to finish what they are doing so you can move on. Also the senor sometimes won?t pick both players up even when you stand where it asks you to.
The dance section ?Galactic Dance Off? is fun to play if you are not too embarrassed to dance in front of others. With established songs rewritten to suit the environment or dancer you have to imitate, it makes for a somewhat entertaining section of the game. The dance moves are amusing if not a little bit repetitive. In the long run I will stick with a sole Kinect dance game for this sort of entertainment.
There is a section called ?Rancor Rampage? where you are in control of a Rancor; you start on the planet ?Tatooine? where you have to destroy as many buildings as possible along with accomplishing some other little tasks to get to the next round. In this one the moves are a bit clunky, not quite going where you are wanting it to move to. I thought it might be the sensor but it was not the case, this could have been thought out a lot more than it actually was.
One of the better sections of the game is the ?Pod Racing?; you have the choice of playing in ?Destiny mode? or ?Quick play?. ?Destiny mode? follows your fame and progression through the races. While ?Quick play? is for you to jump straight into a race. It is very much like the speeder chase is the story section in the sense you feel right in the moment which gives you an incentive to keep playing. You will find it difficult to control, so it is essential you run through the tutorial first. Even after that it?s a challenge, which is what I wanted from in the story section. But that?s the way it is.
?Duels Of Fate? is the section of the game where you are up against different adversaries with different strengths, and you have to defeat them all within different time limits to unlock your next opponent. I do like this because with every enemy you defeat the next is always a bit more difficult than the last. I got stuck fighting a character that has to be beaten within 4 minutes, it?s not easy. Some of the characters you are up against are e.g. ?Count Dooku?, ?Darth Maul? & ?Darth Vader? whom I have not unlocked yet. It?s frustrating at times, but still very enjoyable.
My final thoughts on ?Kinect Star Wars? are a generally solid piece of game playing, ?Jedi Destiny ? Dark side Rising? is good fun on single player mode, two player can be ok but I find it can be confusing due to players 1 and 2 can change places even though you haven?t moved at all. Plus you?re always waiting for each other. The Jedi story part of the game is annoyingly too short, making way for stuff that ultimately didn?t need to put in the game. Like the pointless ?Rancor Rampage?, and the generic ?Galactic Dance Off?. ?The Pod Racing? and ?Duels Of Fate? are a lot of fun to play, and I could happily play these two for quite a while. In the end if ?Lucas Arts? and ?Microsoft Studios? had put more effort into what Star Wars fans wanted instead of trying to cater for a more general game consumer, it would of been a much better gaming experience than it actually turned out to be.
A score of ? 6/10.