Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 - Kinect
Release Date: 06/04/12
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Kinect Star Wars Review
I need to start this review with kind of a disclaimer: You may have already spotted the score and thought “ohhh”, maybe even made a little sadface at how disappointed you are that it’s not as high as you wanted it to be. Perhaps you’ve already read another review and was just hoping I’d tell you something different. If that was the case I’m sorry, I’ve nothing for you. Unless that is you have kids… kids that are of that age where you’re just itching to make them love Star Wars in the same way we do, if you do then you should get this game without question.
And now for my actual review…
First announced back when Kinect was shown off for the first time, Kinect Star Wars showed some promise. It wasn’t your typical mini game sports shovelware title with a Star Wars skin and regardless of what we all may have thought about Kinect at the time the prospect of holding out our hand and using the force to toss droids around was one hard to not get excited by.
Then two years after Kinect the game comes out, and just like everything with a Star Wars badge on since Return of The Jedi us Star Wars fans get excited. Sadly though just like everything since Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans are yet again let down.
I’ll cover the Star Wars nerd rage stuff before I move on the actual problems with the gameplay. First thing to get your back up will be the first thing you see: R2D2 and C3PO in a bashed up looking Jedi council building talking about how Master Luke had sent them there to pull some stuff from the Jedi archives. It makes no sense, it makes even less sense when 3PO starts to reference things that happened during the Clone Wars like he remembers them, you know… after having his memory erased. Oh and then there’s this bit on Kashyyyk with a Mace Windu that doesn’t look much like Mace Windu and then the Separatist Droid Army attack in ships that we’ve never seen before let alone look like they belong in the Star Wars universe. Then there’s this bit where…. deep breath… breathe…
So yeah… there you have it, Star Wars Kinect manages to perfectly continue the trend of messing with everything you love about the holy trilogy. Graphically the game struggles to hold up to much either, it’s just a mix match of the various styles we’ve seen Star Wars take on over the years. Master Yoda seems to have been pulled directly (and rather brilliantly) from ILM’s master files with every little wrinkle and imperfection showing in his skin, while all of the other characters have an almost (but not quite) Clone Wars look to them. Both of these art styles in their own right look brilliant, but there’s something not right about seeing them both on screen at the same time.
Audio wise Kinect Star Wars is bang on, swishing a lightsaber around produces the humm we all love to make when waving pretty much anything around in our hands (regardless of whether or not we’re playing Star Wars). The music has that all familiar John Williams-esq sound to it and thankfully all the other blaster noises and engine roars are exactly what you’d expect. The attention to detail with the audio coupled with the brilliant voice acting is actually one of Kinect Star Wars redeeming features.
It does from time to time shine with Kinect’s gesture controls, and while your crazy mad Jedi lightsaber Star Wars Kid skills aren’t transferred to the screen exactly how you want them to, if you can restrain yourself to using the gestures Kinect Star Wars asks you to it will work perfectly nine times out of ten. Controlling the Speeder Bikes and Pod’s during Pod Racing does absolutely destroy your arms to the point where you cant wait for it to end though, which is a shame as its one of the games more fun modes. The drop in drop out co-op can be a little flakey at times too; sometimes it will work fine, while other times it will just screw up the game completely, throwing it into pause and then taking an absolute age to re-register player two.
Everything I’ve covered above, coupled with the fact the action rarely takes place for long enough to get into before a cut scene kicks in, a cutscene that’s not quite long enough to sit down and watch makes Star Wars Kinect feel like you’re just dancing around in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. However like I said at the top, all of those things just fade away when you play it with a kid, none of that stuff matters. They bounce around the room having fun, flailing their arms around, not caring that Chewy is flying his own knock-off Millennium Falcon or that Kinect refuses to pick them up during a duel. They have fun and enjoy it, which is what this is all about really.
Does it really matter what score I give it? For a few hours a father and his son/daughter can play the Xbox together and bond over the exact same thing many of us bonded with our fathers over all those years ago. That’s George Lucas‘ real legacy, and what Star Wars really is.
- Great fun when you share the experience with a youngling.
- Spot on audio
- Worse than Episode 1
- Worse than Episode 2
- Worse than the bit in Episode 3 where Padme gives birth and the robot declares “She’s lost the will to live”
- Not Kinect’s finest hour
Kinect Star Wars Review,