Well, I have been struggling with this review for a few days now. Firstly, it’s Star Wars and all things Star Wars get an instant thumbs up from me but it’s Kinect, and Kinect hasn’t exactly spun my wheels yet. But if all the hype, along with the delay to rework the game, is to believed then Kinect Star Wars could well be the ‘Killer App’ we have all been wanting, waiting for, hoping for on Kinect. So is it the saviour Kinect so desperately needs? As the mighty Yoda would say, “ See, you will….”.
With five different gameplay options there is plenty of variety to check out but the insanely slow menu system hosted by C3-PO and R2-D2 will stop you from chopping and changing too much. Even in game, death can lead to a wait while the last checkpoint is loaded, annoying at the best of times, even worse when the checkpoint is badly placed causing death within 30 seconds if you don’t get a jump right! If you manage to persevere there is definitely some fun to be had, although for non Star Wars fans this could become short lived. There is even one mode that may scare away the biggest of fans, but more on that later…
The five modes consist of Jedi Destiny, a short campaign; Rancor Rampage, a reimagining of the classic Rampage game; Podracing, racing… in pods; Duels of Fate, one on one Lightsaber battles; and of course the now infamous Galactic Dance Off, strut your stuff to reworded songs like Princess in a Battle (Genie in a Bottle), scary stuff indeed! As you would expect, Jedi Destiny carries the most variety with you running, jumping, and dodging your way between fights where you can use the Force as well as kick and swing your Lightsaber. To mix it up a bit you will also find yourself manning gun turrets and riding speeder bikes. All movements come off quite well with the exception of Force Throw. I had major problems when required to throw bombs at certain targets, got there in the end but not before some major frustration!
The other four modes are really only well fleshed out mini games but with plenty of unlocks there is enough to keep you coming back for more. Podracing is probably the strongest of the bunch with some good drive mechanics and varying courses. As for Galactic Dance Off, I’m not going to bag it completely because with dance skills like I have it is hard to rate how accurately the game maps you and considering I felt like a prize wanker playing it alone at home I’m not sure when it will be played again…. Maybe it was felt the game needed more feminine appeal after the young boy appeal of Rancor Rampage? What ever the reason, it is a strange and quirky mode made even more odd by the new lyrics to the songs. It just felt wrong so I quickly returned to smashing buildings in Rancor Rampage.
Although the short campaign in Jedi Destiny mode won’t take long for anyone to complete, there is more than enough in the other modes to have you coming back, especially with friends around and maybe a couple of beers. It’s a no brainer for Star Wars fans and families looking for one of the better Kinect titles, and like Disney/Pixar Rush it shows that using existing and popular IP will always make average titles sell better.
Overall Kinect Star Wars just oozes Star Wars with accurate visuals and spot on sound effects, although I’m pretty sure Jabba the Hutt would have been more of a Country & Western fan rather that the Pop he has you and Princess Leia dancing to in Galactic Dance Off. Like all other Kinect titles there is a massive family appeal here, just be ready to help out the younger ones at times with some of the more tricky parts. Not sure I can whole heartedly recommend this to all gamers but I guess 95% of us fall into the Star Wars fan or family category anyway, so if you see it at a good price, grab it. There is also an option to tag scan with the Kinect camera, so far there is only one US based tag for an extra podracer, so here it is. Just print it out and hold close to the Kinect camera.