E3 2011: Kinect Star Wars Hands-On Preview

We get our first chance to wield a lightsaber and Force push the heck out of some battle droids in Kinect Star Wars.

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At Microsoft's E3 showcase event, we got a chance to see if we had the midichlorians one needs to be a Jedi with a playable demo for Kinect Star Wars. Our hands-on experience started with a quick training mode. The instructions were delivered by none other than Yoda, though we couldn't hear him over the din of the event itself. Thankfully, onscreen prompts made the moves he requested very clear. We learned that taking a step forward made our Jedi dash forward at great speed and that holding out our right arm made him activate his lightsaber. At one point, a number of battle droids fired at us, and by quickly swinging the lightsaber back and forth, we were able to reflect their laser blasts right back at them, reducing the fragile robots to smithereens. We also used our Force powers to lift and move a small spacecraft. Perhaps most satisfyingly of all, we learned that when close to a droid, we could deliver a swift kick to send it flying.

Once our training came to a close, we played through the same battle on Bespin that was played at Microsoft's press conference. While we weren't able to get any specific plot details out of the representative we spoke to, he did tell us that the story will span from roughly the end of Star Wars: Episode I to the beginning of Episode III. He also stressed that there would be nods to the later films in the game, and the setting of The Empire Strikes Back's Bespin for the demo level seemed to back up that statement. The action started as we leapt out of a transport and down into the fray on a platform below. We immediately had to deal with a number of battle droids. There was a bit of a delay between our swinging gestures and the Jedi swinging his lightsaber, but his motions seemed to clearly match our own. We noticed that we had a good deal of freedom to decide what techniques we wanted to use, and it was fun to kick some droids, slash others, reflect blasts back at others, and use the Force to pick up and throw others still.

After clearing the platform of battle droids, we extended both arms to levitate and cast the flaming husk of a vehicle off of a walkway so that we could advance. Leaping to a platform below, we made short work of a few more battle droids before being confronted by a pair of droidekas. By leaping over them and attacking them from behind, we were able to penetrate their defenses and destroy them. The action then cut to an interior on Cloud City where two droids with batons that emanated crackling electricity from both ends tried to stop us. Some leaps and slashes finished them off. We advanced into an adjoining hallway and faced another group of battle droids. Though we'd faced many of them by this point, it was still satisfying to use a variety of powers to deal with the group, and kicking one droid into another was especially enjoyable. A cutscene then played that showed our Jedi and another friendly Jedi entering Bespin's carbonite chamber, where two cloaked figures confronted them, each menacingly wielding two red lightsabers. On that foreboding note, the demo ended.

The representative talked about how the game is designed to let players get comfortable with the Force powers and lightsaber attacks in the early stages before putting them in situations later on that require skillful use of those abilities to survive and advance. He also mentioned that there's much more to Kinect Star Wars than the sort of action we experienced, and if the footage displayed before the demo during the press conference is any indication, those other aspects may include podracing, speeder bike riding, and piloting a starfighter. We also learned that the game lets a second player drop in or out at any time and saw this split-screen mode in action when two players tackled the demo simultaneously. It's a bit soon to tell whether or not the Force is strong with this one, but it's clear that it's attempting to offer a varied, engaging, and authentic Star Wars experience. We'll have more information on Kinect Star Wars in the coming weeks and months.

Discussion

38 comments
southernzombie
southernzombie

I love how everybody rips on the Kinect. I have a Kinect and yes I will agree as of right now it is INCREDIBLY disappointing. I'm hoping that they'll finally come out with something like all the lil fake kinect games they used to show to tease us about the Kinect like the karate game (fighters uncaged was gay gay or the racing game where you could be your own pit crew too or the skating game where you could scan your own images onto your board things like that

calum1984
calum1984

@allan_delacruz i actually agree with you there, BUT kinect AND move together would be amazing. Move for the lightsabre swinging and kinect to detect your forcepower gestures :)

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

Not to burst any bubbles, but this game will only work well with Move Controllers. Kinect is only for jumping & ducking kids.

Lirsumis
Lirsumis

You know what might make for better Kinect games? Some kind of directional floor-mat or the like, so you could include true movement without weird contortions. Still, a peripheral for a peripheral? Don't see it happening.

megamaster32
megamaster32

Ever hear a sentence called not giving this game a chance i mean the game is going to be release in december gosh

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

I see the words "starwars" but didn't see the word BATTLEFRONT anywhere? The fans are screaming for it and you give us this watered down tripe? Kinect? Kinect my foot to your......blah blah blah

JStroud88
JStroud88

You know, the lightsaber stuff looks pretty bad to me but I'm actually pretty excited about the pod racing aspect of it. If it handles well and is fully featured/fleshed out and not just tacked on then I may pick this up.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Sounds totally awesome.But it's on rails.M$,make Kinect seem practical to me by making it a replacement for a controller in every circumstance in which one is needed.If all I can play are sports games,dance games,and on-rails action games,I'm out.The ability to tell my Xbox to search the web is "neato",but I can just as easily press "A".

cemal277
cemal277

I, wil Buy ThiS Here heres best game seller!

cemal277
cemal277

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

BigRaff87
BigRaff87

Just give a firm date already, you can quit adding and tighten up the gameplay and visuals. If the game is a bomb, then you don't have to waste anymore precious time and start up something new. I would have preferred a KOTOR3 over this, but seriously, hurry up.

pycho22solid
pycho22solid

No enemy AI, looks clunky, bad graphics, boring, dumb concept, and it's on rails. Yup this game is going to suck

m4a5
m4a5

It's either too unrefined (in which case shouldn't have been shown) or it will be mediocre. I'm hoping the first cause there is no way that they would let a lackluster game with Star Wars IP through... right?

Gray_Raven
Gray_Raven

I'm not sure what to think of it. It doesn't seem like the Force is strong with this one, but I'd like to try it although that involves buying xbox and all the other junk :/

jsnowbordr47
jsnowbordr47

Hopefully it'll be better than the last 2 non-Lego SW outings.

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

You notice any comment the compliments this game has dislikes, and any comment that insults it gets tons of likes. Odd.

hakkafixi
hakkafixi

Looks clumsy, clunky and visually plain.

kevorksalloum
kevorksalloum

I wouldn't say no to another star wars game :D

IceJester45
IceJester45

Looked better than I expected. The Fable Kinect game looked awesome, though.

Peyne
Peyne

Prediction: Epic Fail...

FaYt2021
FaYt2021

Minor use of Kinect in a core came like what they did with Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 is okay. But making a Kinect a main asset to a game like this and that new crappy Fable is just a horrible idea and I hope they learn their leason the hard way.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

On rails, that's what Kinect is only able to do if it's not a casual game. Disappointing.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@GreG975 Some games react much quicker, Greg, relax. It may just be early hiccups. They already demonstrated Ghost Recon. @bigbadonion I suppose. Or then you might as well try force unleashed. At least this game is trying to be different in some way. It deserves a chance.

abbasreza
abbasreza

@TheDreamSeeker Yea most probably did. But KoTOR I and II were awsome

GreG975
GreG975

"There was a bit of a delay between our swinging gestures and the Jedi swinging his lightsaber, but his motions seemed to clearly match our own." Hurray!... Wtf?! So a droid will always manage to shoot you because you can't react as quickly as needed? Or they'll cheat and make the doids' reactions super slow? At least the Kinect is accurate... Come on! and they want to put it into a Ghost Recon game?! How do you play with a game having such delay between your gesture and what's happening in the game??

TheDreamSeeker
TheDreamSeeker

@aermeus I hate to break it to you, but about 100 games before this one ruined the franchise dating back to the Nes.

bdiccus
bdiccus

@sirbargearse Save your money and go buy a toy lightsaber. I'm afraid you'll probably have more fun.

Rikudo-Pein
Rikudo-Pein

It looks alright.. But somehow the controls will be messed up, and stupid like "Punch air to use the force" lool

bigbadonion
bigbadonion

like most kinect games it would be better if you could use a controller and it wasnt on rails

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

This could be fun, but the demos I've seen haven't convinced me. It looks to be too "on rails" at the moment. Will wait til we see a full game before any judgment is cast.

vherostar
vherostar

Shame really as this would have been so much better with a wii-mote or MOVE and a light saber attachment.

aermeus
aermeus

gah...why do they have to ruin the star wars franchise with this motion BS

sirbargearse
sirbargearse

Pre-ordering now just to use a light-saber! LOL