E3 2011: Star Wars Kinect Preview Impressions

Star Wars Kinect allows you to get off your Sarlacc couch and Force jump into the action.

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LucasArts' Star Wars Kinect aims to bring fans of the sci-fi fantasy franchise straight into the heart of the action. The teaser demo included memorable locations, ranging from the bustling skyways of Coruscant to the dangerous rancor pits favored by the Hutts. The gameplay section brought us to Cloud City with the player in control of a human Jedi, along with a Nautolan partner (or possibly a mentor from his demeanor). Defending the city were marauding confederate droid OOMs and droideka.

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The Jedi's signature lightsaber was drawn with voice commands; a somewhat sensible decision given how often you may be using the weapon. Dealing with the foe had the player swinging arms to both slash and deflect enemy rifle blasts. As with most Kinect titles, there appeared to be no freedom of movement as it seemed to opt for on-rails adventures. However, motions could be made to dash forward, dodge, and leap behind enemies. Occasionally, there were places to jump down from ledges and crafts, as well as places to descend to lower platforms. After the first initial waves, a destroyed vehicle was moved aside via a Kinect Force-push motion.

The Jedi and his shirtless Kit Fisto-ish buddy seemed to be immune from any form of damage, walking straight into enemy staff brandishes and eating blaster fire. Hopefully this was simply for the demo, and the full game will have a degree of challenge. Concluding the battle with the separatist minions, the heroes entered the iconic carbonite chambers and were politely greeted by two jaunty Sith lords. The teaser concluded here, leaving questions about how more-intense Jedi versus Sith battles might be played out. Overall, gameplay seemed remedial, but hopefully LucasArts will be working out early kinks to make the Kinect game enjoyable for fans.

Star Wars Kinect is an Xbox exclusive that will be released in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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