Kinect Star Wars Adds A Sense Of Misplaced Gravitas To Jedi Fights

Kinect Star Wars Adds A Sense Of Misplaced Gravitas To Jedi Fights

I didn’t give Brooks Brown, Lucast Arts community manager, much time to dig into the Kinect-enabled Star Wars game before I began peppering him with questions.

“Is this the entire game?” I asked.

Turns out what we saw on stage, two guys controlling (or trying to control) jedi as they work their way through a factory’s worth of bots, isn’t all Kinect Star Wars has in it. It is what Brown called the “Jedi Mode” a mode that has “hours of gameplay in it.”

That particular mode will also support the ability to play through with a friend, who can join you at any time by literally joining you at any time. They just need to stand next to you in front of the Kinect camera.

That mode will also have plenty of other playable characters and other options, but it’s not the entire game, just what they are showing of it at E3 this year.

It sounds like it isn’t even the chief mode. This is when things got a bit squirrely. Brown couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell me how many other modes there were, just that the game is an “assortment of modes.” He did lead me to believe that Jedi Mode wasn’t the majority of the game, but he also said that the game wasn’t really an assortment of mini games either.

After getting that sorted out I stood alongside Brown and tried playing the game. It didn’t seem to completely track what I was doing. At some moments I started to doubt which of the characters on the screen I was meant to be controlling.

Brown told me that Jedi, and the players that control them, are meant to move with a sort of gravitas, an air of seriousness that translates into slow, methodical movements. Coincidentally, that would also, I suspect, make it easier for Kinect to see what you’re doing and turn it into something resembling a light saber slash or force grab.

So, following orders, I slowed my movements down. Instead of whipping my arm across my body, I traced it across my body, as if drawing a line on a chalkboard rather than slicing through metal with a fantasy light blade. That worked, at least on some level.

The light saber movements in battle, and the force grabs actually weren’t that bad. They may have skipped some of the things I did or wanted to do with my light saber, but they got the idea across that by swinging my arms around I was killing stuff.

What didn’t work, though, were the movements. In particular the ability to essentially direct your camera. The game, Brown told me, “directs your attention” to specific enemies in a battle. That’s a fancy way of saying it essentially locks you on a target. You should be able to turn your shoulders and hips to get the camera to move to a different target, say the one over to your left, off camera. But I couldn’t seem to get that to work. The game held my lock-on so firmly that it began to feel like the worst in an on-the-rails shooter.

Moving forward, something you can only do by jumping or bounding, seemed to work, but it just moved me closer to that target already selected.

Kinect doesn’t seem able, or maybe it’s the game, to track me the way I want to be tracked to play a game like this. I don’t want Kinect Star Wars to teach me the proper way to swing a light saber, I want it to make me feel like I’ve already mastered one.


  • Sounds like fail. You can only move forward by ‘bounding’…?

    I think TFU1 on the Wii is as close as we’ll ever get to moving like a bad-ass Jedi.

    • Unfortunately it sounds like you might be right. And it seems the fighting genre is the area we all wanted to see work and yet the hardest to implement. Fighters uncaged and now this. Hopefully somewhere down the track we get our V2 games that get it right.

  • It’s farcical that they try and cover up the technical weaknesses by inventing a false reason for players to move slowly.

    Gravitas, my foot.

  • Why they didn’t make this game for playstation Move, I will never know. It would have worked so much better

  • Yeah, by the description of how it works, it sounds rubbish. By the how it looks to play at present, it looks rubbish….and it does sound like a collection of mini-games – regardless of what that guy said to the contrary.

    I know Kinect is great at tracking full body movement and stuff – a brilliant innovation, and way above what the Wii or Sony’s Move can do – but why do they insist on forcing you to use that and that alone to control Kinect games?

    Why not impliment a system where you can you use the motion sensing in conjunction with more conventional control methods in order to get around the game world. How about a dual nunchuk type of thing with an analog stick on each with buttons too. This would enable the Kinect’s advanced gesture control for combat and other actions while using the in-hand sticks to move, look around and the buttons to perform other context sensitive in-game actions. This would do away with all the on-the-rails rubbish that makes Kinect games so…well…rubbish.

    Kinect would be so much better, useful and a compelling control method if it didn’t force you to use the Kinect for all aspects of the game’s controls. It should be used as an extra tool for game control, not a replcement to the tried and tested controller.

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