Star Wars Kinect
Star Wars is such a huge franchise and there have been many video games released set in the Star Wars world. When news of a Kinect controlled Star Wars game was announced there were many fans eager with anticipation at the thought of finally getting to wield a lightsaber in a Star Wars environment - even if it was just a game.
Let's not fool ourselves. Kinect Star Wars will be judged by how cool the lightsaber duels are. How much the game leads us to believe that we really are a Jedi and that we too can master complex Jedi skills, taking down battle droids, Siths and maybe one day Darth Vader himself.
Kinect should provide us with that opportunity. After all we are the controller! However, the moment you set off on the story mode Jedi Destiny, it becomes all too apparent that the Kinect just isn't up for the job.
It just can't cope with the fast motion that lightsaber duels demand. Instead you are forced to make slow deliberate movements in order for your actions to register. This reduces the battles to mundane affairs with little or no fun factor.
To make matters worse the game doesn't really flow very well. The battles themselves, despite the slow responsiveness, are just too boring. Parry a blow here, step aside there, strike now, repeat. It's all too scripted to be any fun.
Immediately when you arrive on the Wookie home planet of Kashyyyk, it is obvious that regardless of what you do or how you do it, your motions are portrayed in the same manner. There seems to be little or no skill involved bar the ability to move your arms around and step sideways.
The hand that doesn't control the lightsaber can be used to control the Force to pick up items or enemies and throw around. A great concept but fundamentally flawed.
Firstly the item detection is too cumbersome to get right as you fumble to pick up the desired object. You can't move while you are using the Force so time spent trying to get it right is used by enemies to attack you. In the end you'll end up not using it at all.
Other elements of the game involve Podracing. Again another aspect of the movies that people love and you would think a great opportunity for the Kinect to shine. Although the basic controls are easy to pick up and surprisingly responsive, everything is ruined by over complexity.
You control the Pod by reaching out and pulling back to steer, moving each hand towards you to go left or right. Brilliantly easy and fun. Apparently too simple as they have thrown multiple additional actions into the mix to clutter it all up.
Firstly you need to wave your hands in front of you to de-mist your visor. Push one hand in the air to lob weapons at other racers and the other hand to repair damage. You need to move both hands left to right to ram other Pods and then throw things at droids that board your Pod. All of this while you are expected to manoeuvre you own Pod. It's just manic.
However, there are some redeeming aspects to the game, although they come from the most unlikely of sources. The Rancor Rampage mode is a lot of fun as you stomp around smashing buildings and throwing people hundreds of metres for bonus points. And then there's the Dance Mode.
The Dance mode is akin to something like Dance Central but this time you get to dance around as your favourite Star Wars character, even Darth Vader gets in on the act. The dance element is very well done and hugely entertaining.
Kinect Star Wars tries to bring the world of Star Wars right to your fingertips but the technology really doesn't lend itself to the quick motions that lightsaber duelling and podracing expect. The other mini-games that are more sedate rescue the game somewhat but on the whole it's a disappointing experience from something that promised so much.