Kinect Star Wars: Duels, Destruction, and Dance-Offs

We unleash our inner beast, duel with Darth Vader, and even dance the night away in the latest build of a game made in a galaxy far, far away.

The last time we had a hands-on with LucasArts and Terminal Reality's Kinect Star Wars for the Xbox 360 was way back at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Back then, we used the Force to push away droids and slice up foes with a lightsaber on Bespin. Xbox Singapore recently held a Star Wars-themed event where the main focus was a recent build of the game showing off a few more minigames, ranging from dueling and podracing to Rancor-steering and dancing. We are not making the last one up, by the way.

Before we get to all of that, we had a playthrough of the main draw of the game called Jedi Destiny mode. Here, we could pick any one of the Padawans (Jedi apprentices) and go through the game's story set around the events of the prequels. We played through a section set on the planet Kashyyyk 5, where we had to cut our way through tons of battle droids and trandoshan mercenaries, lift up a tree using Jedi powers to help a fellow Imperial comrade, and deflect oncoming laser shots by spinning our lightsaber around.

Players will get to keep the peace as light side Jedis on Kashyyyk and Naboo.

The controls were self-explanatory: Move forward to advance, make swinging sword motions to kill what is in front, and jump on the spot to leap forward to any enemies and attack them from behind. Some enemies could block our slashes, so we had to move left or right to flank them. If you get confused as to what to do next in a segment, a bottom-left blue hologram shows you what gesture you need to perform.

While it was mildly entertaining to swat down enemies, the Kinect couldn't register our gestures for Force powers segments properly when we were trying to push away missile shots from an oncoming tradoshan-driven cruiser. We took a lot of explosions in the face, but that didn't stop us from proceeding through the rest of the hack-and-slash moments.

The segment at Kashyyyk 5 was capped off with a space battle as we got out of the planet. We were greeted by Galactic Republic ships, which were more than happy to shoot us to smithereens. Piloting our getaway ship required us to put our hands up like we were holding a steering wheel and move the onscreen cursor to paint our targets. The laser shots from our ship came out automatically when a ship was within our sights. While the segment got really hairy, and we died a couple of times just getting through wave after wave of ships, it did bring back memories of Star Wars Arcade.

You probably remember the podracing parts in the film prequels, so Kinect Star Wars has turned them into a racing minigame. Imagine Kinect Joyride with Star Wars painted all over it, and you get a clear picture of how to play. You hold both your hands to steer the vehicle left or right as you automatically accelerate through the course. You pull your arms back and then push them out to do a speed boost. Rinse and repeat until you reach first place.

Yes, Darth Vader will be a lightsaber equivalent of a punching bag in this minigame.

The Duels of Fate game is where things get slightly interesting. You face off against any members of the Sith order mano-a-mano in a duel to the death. In this instance, we went up against everybody's favorite lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Each fight takes place within three rounds, and each round has three phases: defend, clash, and attack. You first defend against Darth Vader's attacks by blocking each lightsaber strike from four sides (left, right, up, and down), evading by moving back on the spot, or jumping. Each successful attempt at blocking and dodging earns you more attack time and stacks up an attack multiplier, which we'll get to in a bit.

After dodging enough strikes, you clash with your opponent; here, you have to do a kicking motion with your feet when the lightsabers shine the brightest to knock your opponent off balance. The timing of the shine varies, and we could tell when it was the best time to kick by how bright the ball of light became as it moved up and down.

After that, comes the attack phase; here, you get to wail and slash at Darth Vader as long as you like depending on how much attack time you managed to gather during the defend phase. How much damage you deal also depends on the attack multipliers you accumulate. Once Darth Vader was down to his last breath, the game prompted us to finish him using a multitude of lightsaber slashes complete with satisfying slash marks on our foe for a job well done. Controls during this part were fine, but blocking saber attacks and doing the kick motions during clashes were responsive at best.

A sight to behold for anyone rooting for the Rancor in Episode VI.

By far, the most fun we had with the game was with Rancor Rampage mode. Essentially, you control a rancor that is rampaging, and your objective is to cause as much property damage to Mos Eisley as humanly possible. Players can run in place to move the Rancor forward, swing their arms to either demolish parts of a structure, or just pick up innocent bystanders and fling them as far as possible to earn points. Jumping makes the beast do a ground stomp that demolishes anything at the end of its trajectory.

Terrorizing the countryside with a giant sci-fi monster using motion controls was satisfying, if only for a brief moment. We were told that we could control four different types of rancors and act as forces of abnormal nature onto Mos Espa, Felucia, and Naboo in the final game. Yes, it does sound like it could be palette swaps of the same beast, but we admit that it acted as a good stress reliever at the very least.

We capped off our play session by playing and checking out bystanders strutting their stuff in Galactic Dance Off mode. It's basically Dance Central with Star Wars characters, the Star Wars theme, and the eclectic musical talents of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes (that band from the Mos Eisley cantina). We should also mention that this is the only time you'll see digital versions of Lando Calrissian busting a move and Princess Leia in her famous slave bikini outfit gyrating sensuously onscreen.

Who loves a bit of Dance Central in a galaxy far, far away? Kinect Star Wars has got you covered.

It's obvious that Kinect Star Wars is a bunch of minigames strung up to make use of Microsoft's motion-sensing vertical plastic bar, but we can't help shake the feeling that this was what the Star Wars: Rebel Assault series could have been if it were taken over by the Star Wars marketing machine focused on selling wares to crowds tuning in to the recent Clone Wars TV series.

In any case, the Duels of Fate and Rancor Rampage modes stood out to us as the more fun and interesting parts of this package. The Jedi Destiny mode was also promising, so hopefully, the development team has enough time to tweak a few of the motion-control issues we had before it is released on April 3 this year.

Written By

Want the latest news about Kinect Star Wars?

Kinect Star Wars

Kinect Star Wars

Follow

Discussion

14 comments
Lostinthebliss
Lostinthebliss

This looks like my son would like it. he's six years old. that should be the only age group that should be allowed to play this, because that's apparently the age of the developers and the mental regression of George Lucas.

majin_lebeau
majin_lebeau

why play this with the move when i can just go out to toys r us and buy lightsaber. Now that is a star wars experience

megakick
megakick

Yet another star wars game.... Can't be any less fun then star wars: the old republic.

thenerd64
thenerd64

They should create a kinect numchuck so you can move your character without jogin in place

FuryX-4
FuryX-4

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

The only one that looks fun is the Pod-racing mini-game

claykenobi
claykenobi

This appears to be both tedious and generic even with Lucas Arts rights..Though I'm not a big fan of either gimmic, Sony's 'Move' hypethetically would seem to be much more fitting for a game like this but again I'd much rather just see The Old Republic on consoles..

ccgod
ccgod

that's because its crytek they're amazing and its also for the next gen xbox

ronnet
ronnet

Kinect's 3D camera has its benefits to motion capturing but you can't expect your stationary body to perform non-stationary movements such as walking. This why I never expected Kinect to succeed for core gaming. This starwars game is a nice game for kids but it is was never going to be a morechallenging lightsaber game than SW: Jedi Knights or The Force Unleashed. I hope Microsoft realizes Kinect technology is good but not good enough for core gaming. Hopefully they will look towards Wii. Imagine being able to take your controller and split it into two hand pieces, allowing you to have in each hand atleast one thumb stick and one trigger. Combined with Kinect a game like Ryse could really live up to its promise.

the1Jugg
the1Jugg

I was worried this would be an "on rails" motion sensing "shooter"... this is even worse.

ChewieOnIce
ChewieOnIce

I was holding out hope that this could be good or at least ok (dance section aside). But this rather pessimistic preview doesn't make me feel good about it. Basically it's just a handful of poorly constructed mini games where the highlight is running around smashing things willy-nilly. And even that I'm sure gets tedious and repetative after....what, 5 minutes....tops.

Spike1988
Spike1988

They could have done something so much better with the Star Wars franchise using the Kinect. Instead we have this half-assed collection of crappy minigames. So disappointing =/

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

I'd be a damn lot more interested if Kinect had one important feature: an analog stick, similar to the Wii's Nunchak, but it would be stand-alone. As it is now, the Kinect feels like a gamble for me to buy. One or two games have very well implemented Kinect controls so far, and it's been out for a handful of months. Why should I buy something that might or might not work? An analog stick would solve a lot of problems. Take this Star Wars game as an example. Who wouldn't want to move around freely and cut down foes? On-rails games in 2012? Sure, they have to exist, but not base a whole piece of, not-so-cheap, hardware around it. Most, if not all, Kinect games would benefit from this simple addition. If motion detection was perfect, that would be another thing; but at present, it's far from it.