9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A better exercise game than most exercise games,
This review is from: Kinect Star Wars - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I'll admit, after playing every movie tie-in game from Ghostbusters on the Apple II to Kung Fu Panda on the Kinect, I've grown a bit weary of them. Game publishers seem to know that they can produce a sub-par gaming experience, but as long as it contains characters and loose tie-ins to popular movies, they'll still sell a bundle.So my expectations for Star Wars Kinect were very low. Perhaps that's the best way to approach this game. If you go in expecting precise light saber control, graphics on par with the movies, or even a decent storyline, you'll likely be disappointed. On the other hand, if you want a game where you can build up a really, really good sweat and be moderately entertained in the process, you are going to want to add this one to your collection of Xbox Fitness games.
The game has several playing modes. The main mode is the story mode called "Jedi Destiny". The storyline takes place somewhere between the first and second movie. The story begins with the familiar Star Wars scrolling introduction and music. You're a young padawan being trained to be a Jedi due to the increase in the power of the dark side. You start by flying to the Wookie planet, where you meet Yoda, who leads you through the training. You actually meet a lot of familiar Star Wars characters, from Chewbacca to C3P0 and R2D2 to Mace Windu. Voice acting is passable but not great.
The training, of course, is mostly your getting acclimated to using the Kinect for gameplay. You get to start with controlling your light saber. Being able to foist a "real" light saber is of course one of the most anticipated features of any motion control Star Wars game, but in the case of Kinect Star Wars it's unfortunately one of the most disappointing. You never really feel in control of the light saber-for example, regardless of how you move your hands and arms the light saber will just make a "slashing" motion. Eventually you just learn that you have to flail your arms wildly to use the light saber (whether to deflect lasers shot toward you or to slash opponents in hand-to-hand combat). You do have some rudimentary control over high and low positioning of your light saber strikes and blocks, but precise one-to-one light saber control is probably something best done on the Playstation Move more so than the Kinect.
Happily, the rest of the game is perfectly suited for the Kinect. On the Wookie world, you go through an obstacle course where you learn to run (actually, just taking a step forward), kick, jump, and crouch, skills which you'll need throughout the game. A little icon will appear in the game any time you need to do any of these things.
By far the coolest feature of Kinect is when you use "The Force". You rear back with your left hand and point at an object (or villain) until it glows, and then you push forward to send it flying. This takes getting used to, but once you've mastered it you really feel like you can use the force anywhere (after playing the game I even tried using the force to grab my coffee mug from across the table...it didn't work). The inadequacy of light saber controls is mitigated somewhat by the ability to "force push" your opponents or hurl objects at them while you're striking them with the light saber.
You eventually learn other combinations; jumping while hurling your light saber down, for example, causes an earth-shattering effect that renders your opponents confused, which is especially handy for the tougher opponents. Here's an example of what happens when you put it all together:
Something else you get to do is fly a speeder bike through the forest. This too is a blast. You basically hold your arms out in front of you and steer by tilting your body left and right. You accelerate by leaning forward and brake by pulling back. You shoot enemies just by putting them within your sights (the gun will go off automatically, so there's no buttons to push). Later in the game you'll engage in space combat, where you man a gun turret a la Luke in the original Star Wars. Again, this is just a matter of leaning your body to control the gun scope.
I'll be honest-the storyline is very weak, to the point where by the second mission I lost pretty much any interest in what was going on. Something else that annoyed me was that the action seemed forced and gratuitous at times. For example, you'll spend minutes fighting off hordes of enemies, your droid companion will says something like "well, it looks like we got all of them", and then a whole new batch of enemies will magically appear. After this happens repeatedly, you start getting annoyed, as if you're swatting off swarms of mosquitoes rather than having meaningful battles.
But I have to admit, with the exception of Kung Fu High Impact and "pure exercise games" like The Biggest Loser or Your Shape, I don't think I got as good a workout with any other game. As other reviewers have noted, the physical activity in this game is intense. You're working out your upper body when you use your light saber to slash or to block, when you're controlling a pod racer or a spaceship, and even when you're using your "Force Grip" to hurl objects. You're getting a decent lower body workout every time you step forward to "run", and especially when you jump to leap over objects or to make the earth shatter with your light saber.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by Star Wars Kinect. Unlike most other Kinect games, this one seems to have gotten past the "Hey, isn't the Kinect cool!" type of game play and really uses the Kinect in new and inspired ways. The Kinect is obviously an integral part of the game and with the exception of light sabers seems to add a lot to the game. Granted, it's not a perfect game. The story line is weak and even tedious at times, and there is the noticeable lag that most of us have gotten used to with just about any Kinect game. But if you can get over these annoyances the workout value is excellent.