As a wise one once said, “there is no try, only do”. Try Lucasarts did, do they did not. Although it’s not as bad as everyone else makes it out to be, it’s definitely not a Kinect-shattering masterpiece that revolutionizes the front of motion-controlled gaming, even though it should’ve been. I mean, Dance Central is hunky dory, but what controller free game would most people dream of playing? F*cking Star Wars, with big flashy space battles and lightsabers! Even though we’ve finally gotten the opportunity to play as a jedi, the wait was far from worth it and a little disheartening, but also enlightening as to why Lucasarts bit the dust not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away.
There are five primary modes, which I will be reviewing seperately: Dark Side Rising (campaign), Rancor Rampage, Pod Racing, Galactic Dance Off (May the Lord have mercy on our souls, for we know not what we do) and Duel of the Fates. Disclosure: just so no hopes get too high, the only modes that really function properly are Pod Racing and Rancor Rampage.
Dark Side Rising: It’s a string of some of the best locales from Episode III, tied together by a loose plot that involves Yoda and that’s really all that needs to be said. The little green guy and some vaguely attractive female jedi are just swinging their sabers wildly, occasionally babbling some incoherent plot detail that will be glossed over in favor of getting back to the mindlessly fun job of flailing your arms wildly to blow up droids. So no plot leaves room for just having fun with the lightsaber wielding action and occasional flight simulation, and neither quite live up to the hype. While the combat does work from a technical standpoint, you can’t pull off any fancy saber techniques without the Kinect flipping a shit and completely bailing on you. This means waggling your arm like your holding a Wiimote is as good as it gets for your arms, which is a big disappointment. The rest of your body gets to do cool stuff, however, such as kicking bad guys down and leaping over foes which would’ve culminated in the ultimate experience if the godamn lightsaber combat worked as advertised. The space combat is a fun on rails shooter, although enemy placement can be cheap and there’s the unavoidable truth that you’re not actually doing anything other than manning a turret throughout the whole thing.
Rancor Rampage: You play as a Rancor and work hard to kill as many civilians as possible within an allotted time. If it sounds fun, that’s because it is. The controls work gloriously for the most part, which is odd given the campaign’s failure in that respect. You can do a bevy of different moves, from launching yourself into the air and slamming down instantaneously crushing everything beneath you to literally eating an enemy raw. It provides a morbidly fun experience that is a strange but ultimately fun addition to Kinect Star Wars’ minigame assortment.
Pod Racing: While it’s neither as hands-on (ironic given the system, eh?) or as addictive as the 1999 Star Wars pod racing game, it’s definitely better than some of the other modes in this game. The controls are how I’d imagine piloting a real podracer are, which means not a whole lot of interaction is required. Moving your arms back and forth and left and right is the majority of the experience, with some unnecessary power-up activation movements thrown in for good measure. The courses themselves are well designed and encompass some of the best locales in all of the Star Wars universe, so the sheer nostalgia factor is enough to make the tiring arm thrusting gameplay worth it. There are even auto-pilot options, in case you’re just in the mood to breeze through an awesome race track with a classic character like Sebulba on cruise control.
Galactic Dance Off: While it is frightening and almost traumatic at first, I actually warmed up to the mode after becoming an expert dancer at “I’m Han Solo”. I’m not saying this inclusion was worth the sacrifice of a fully-functioning lightsaber component, far from it. But for the giggles, it’s kind of fun playing as Princess Leia to Daft Punk music. The motion tracking itself isn’t spot on, but who really cares in a Star Wars dancing minigame.
Duel of the Fates: You block a lot of enemy lightsaber attacks, and then flail your arms wildly in an attempt for the Kinect to recognize and move your lightsaber attacks. It’s really stupid, really scripted, and controls piss-poorly. This is not how lightsaber duels are meant to be experienced.
Since all five minigames have been analyzed, it’s time for a classic pros and cons style summary so you can accurately judge whether or not this is the Star Wars game for you.
-Good Rancor controls
-Pod racing is solid
-Solid production values
-Galactic Dance Off is a nice Dance Central spin-off that only slightly tarnishes fond memories
-A reasonable amount of content, takes about fifteen hours to experience everything
-LIGHTSABER COMBAT SUCKS!
-Motion controls in general are sub-par, with the exception of the two aforementioned modes
-Duel of the Fates mode is an entire mode dedicated to the weakest parts of the campaign
-Content loses its luster shortly after trying out each mode a handful of times
Well, there you have it. If you want some current-gen pod racing action, Rancor rampaging or just have a weird desire to see Star Wars characters dancing, this is the game to buy used for you. But for anyone who wants a fufilling lightsaber wielding experience… keep immitating Star Wars kid on Youtube.