News Article

First Impressions: Kinect Star Wars

Posted by Ian Higton

No Jedi mind tricks here

Last week, guest writer Ian Higton of Platform32 attended Xbox's Christmas showcase in the UK. After taking a good look at Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Kinect Sports: Season Two, the final Kinect game on the agenda was the big one: Kinect Star Wars. Does it live up to the hype? Over to you, Ian.

Kinect Star Wars is the kind of game you could imagine that Kinect was invented for, one that would suit the peripheral down to the ground. A full-body interactive experience that could truly put us in the boots of Luke Skywalker and his fellow Jedi. But does it? Well, first impressions were not good.

The on-rails action instantly removes any Jedi feeling from the proceedings and as your space ship comes to a halt above a landing dock full of battle droids an on-screen icon asks you to jump on the spot. This makes a poorly animated Anakin jump down to attack his metallic foes face to metal face. The staff member on demonstrating duties skilfully took them all down with some deft strokes of his lightsaber, showing off a one-handed force grab and throw on an unlucky droid before lifting a huge armoured assault tank by raising both hands, throwing it off the platform and handing the game over to me.

Now, the first thing I wanted to do was just swing my lightsaber wildly at the droids like an insane Jedi tough guy, but the game simply could not keep up and Anakin's actions became random and jerky instead of mimicking my moves. I had to reign myself back in and do much slower swipes of my arm for the Kinect motion tracking to be effective but then I didn't feel like a badass Jedi — I felt like a conductor in an orchestra. It didn't feel like I was cutting into the bots at all and at times I couldn't tell if I was actually hitting them with my saber at all as using Kinect removes all feeling of impact, something which rumble packs in joypads are ideal for.

I tried a force grab, but it didn't really work and the droid stayed stuck in the air while I waved my arm around like a loon trying to throw him, so the demonstrator suggested I try a force dash instead. This move sends Anakin skidding towards distant targets and is initiated by lunging towards the screen with your whole body, it worked well compared to the rest of the motion controls but it seemed a very weird, unnatural way to navigate the battlefield. Lightsaber lag, clumsy motion controls, below par graphics and the limitations of scripted on-rails levels were a sad indication that Kinect Star Wars isn't really working yet. It felt awkward to use, but most importantly it didn't make me feel like a Jedi.

I was promised that what I had played was an early development build and that everything would be improved by the time the title actually hits the stores. I was also told that pod-racing segments and other as-yet secret additions will be included to mix up the action and make it a truly great experience for Star Wars fans. Sadly though, my first impressions of Kinect: Star Wars are swinging towards the dark side at the moment — it may end up being an OK game, but will it be the killer app that enables us to live out our childhood Jedi fantasies? Probably not, no.

With the majority of upcoming Kinect games being of quite a high standard it's pretty safe to say that Microsoft's mega peripheral is definitely on the up, however there needs to be a steady stream of these titles coming out to keep consumer interest in the system high. At the moment Kinect games are still being released in irregular bursts, but perhaps this Christmas the new titles incoming will reignite Kinect and its game changing possibilities. Well, either that or we face another year of fitness, sports and dance games while developers of hardcore games work out what the hell they can do to implement Kinect into their titles.

Thanks to Ian Higton of Platform32 for his in-depth and honest first impressions!

More Stories

Game Screenshots

User Comments (11)

BIGBUTTER

#1

BIGBUTTER said:

From what I saw at E3 I was so dissapointed. I am a Star Wars Junkie and was blown away at the videos of the game but when I saw it in action I thought "Wow, They are so going to drop the ball on this one". I honestly don't have high hopes on release day thats for sure. This game will get a resounding 6.0/10 average when it is released.....and thats the fan in me.

Gertmint

#2

Gertmint said:

Yep I totally agree It looked like a fail from the start. A Move controller with augmented lightsaber, would be the best way to play stars wars a game I'm afraid. Though surely the Kinect could do this? leaving your left hand free for your fancy Jedi stuff...

userwords

#3

userwords said:

Lol how nice and weird is to find honest reviewers. I read an star wars kinect article in a web called 123kinect and was like the got paid to tell commercial lies everywhere.

Yes i would like kinect star wars to be a really great title. But it is just a play on rails titles with really poor motion playability.

I doubt they fix it. What they were telling is that they will add some races to confuse ppl, and sell it to make money on star wars name.

James

#4

James said:

@userwords We call it like we see it here at KINECTaku. Yes this game is early and could well improve, but this first showing was not impressive. Kinect owners deserve the truth!

PlaysWithWolves

#5

PlaysWithWolves said:

If they can't make the motion spot-on, they probably should cancel the game. We want to be Jedi masters; not Jedi Octodads.

I'm afraid we'll be stuck with on-rails games until someone figures out a simple means to move in an open world.

James

#6

James said:

@PlaysWithWolves Peter Molyneux has repeatedly said that Fable: The Journey isn't on-rails so there must be some way to move. Perhaps a Nunchuk-like controller could work? I know it would defeat the point of Kinect somewhat but it's an option at least!

mastodona

#7

mastodona said:

Kinect will suffer these problems forever. Microsoft removing kinects hardware for cheaper software processing will surely haunt them forever...except us poor suckers went and bought one anyway so I doubt they care!

linkster55

#8

linkster55 said:

Well that's a little disappointing, I was really looking forward to this, but anyways thanks for the honest impression on the game I appreciate it! Guess I'll just have to see what reviews it gets before I go out and buy it then.

wiggadun

#9

wiggadun said:

I dnt know how long it will take before Microsoft realize in order to make games like this to work efficiently they would need to have some kind of controller for free movement. Yes! it defeats the purpose of having a full motion control peripheral ( kinect )BUT Microsoft has already establish that they can make full motion tracking games, so why on earth are they forcing motion controls in games like this?????

wiggadun

#10

wiggadun said:

The only games that are goin to do well with Kinect without a peripheral are sports and dancing games.

d20Dark

#11

d20Dark said:

I'm REALLY glad to see previews like these. Developers should be told "Hey- this game you're working on... needs more work." I don't like fluff pieces where previewers pat developers on the head for crap games and then let the developer get slugged in the face with a bad review they didn't see coming. With other games you're previewing doing pretty well- this game being a Flagship game for the Kinect needs to put them to shame- not the other way around.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...