As one of the first games teased during the Kinect presentation last year, Kinect Star Wars finally became playable at this year's E3 conference. From the trailer, we saw that this will mix up several different gameplay modes into the experience, including pod racing, dogfights and rancor stomping — all with your body as the controller. We were able to check out the game for a short amount of time, and we have to admit that it shows promise.
The demo on the floor only had two sequences, both of which let you become a Jedi during the Clone Wars. The first was a training sequence where you first learn how to move and attack in the environment. Your right hand controls the lightsaber, and while the on-stage demo at Microsoft's E3 presentation had the user activating the lightsaber via voice commands, it can also be done by sticking out your right arm to your side. The game responds very well to slower movements when compared to fast ones, and that'll need to be worked out for those who expect to do the fast swordplay seen in the movies. Despite that, Kinect Star Wars does a good job of letting you block and reflect laser blasts if your timing is right, so it certainly has the spirit of the movie intact.
The left hand is used for Force powers, and only three were present in the demo. You have a Force move that requires you to use two hands to move objects from one area to another; your hand height determines how high or low said object goes. A Force push is done by pulling your left hand back to charge the move and then thrusting it forward to do the push. A Force grab is done in the opposite manner, where you hold your arm forward and then pull it back to get the object closer to you. They all felt like naturally sensible movements you could perform, and they felt good in the context of the game.
The second sequence was the same fight seen on-screen during the presentation, this time with two simultaneous players. It's here where you discover a few new things about the game. First, the combat system isn't exactly on rails. You are shuttled from battle area to battle area, but you aren't placed directly in front of the enemy. Often, you have to either jump toward them or do a Force dash by leaning forward before performing any lightsaber attacks. You can also flip from side to side by stepping left or right, something we accidentally discovered. Second, the call for better lightsaber combat really needs emphasis here, as your slashes don't look very effective. It looks like you're painting a droid instead of trying to harm one, though the end result was always the same.
According to the producers, the main campaign is going to hit around the three- to four-hour mark, with you being able to experience more than just the Jedi battles. It'll also span all six movies, though it remains to be seen how everything will tie together. Admittedly, seeing Kinect Star Wars in action is much different than actually playing it, and while we initially weren't too excited, trying it out has changed our minds. Look for more coverage on the title in the months to come.
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