We’ve been hearing about the Kinect for the Xbox 360 for what seems like years, but now it’s arrived and Jedi News were one of the very first sites in the world to play it! Mark Newbold and Jonathan Hicks put aside an afternoon, lovingly unboxed this treasure gift from Microsoft and set about reviewing what is sure to be a mega smash hit game. Ladies, gentlemen and assorted alien species from across the galaxy, we bring you our exclusive Xbox 360 Kinect Star Wars Review.
JONATHAN: It’s a great little machine, packed really well and I’m loving the R2-D2 console and all the bleeps and whistles of the little droid himself as you press buttons and open disc trays. Marvellous. We’re trying to write as we play so there’ll be plenty of strange tangents here.
Right now Mark is playing Jedi Destiny and doing some training against remotes, his movements control the character on-screen with a third-person over-the-shoulder view. You can properly wield a lightsabre and it looks great.
Now he’s duelling against another padawan and the combat is pretty good, with John Williams music blaring out. It looks amazing. And he wins and unlocked Duels of Fate! I have no idea what that means but it sounds proper exciting!
Sometimes the character onscreen bends out of shape in a strange way as it tries to copy your movements, but you don’t really see that as you’re taking more notice of what you’re fighting against.
Training on Kashyyyk means lots of running, jumping and crouching. Literally. It’s a great training montage that gets you used to the moves you’ll need to get through it. You can also use the force by simply moving your hands to lift and Force push. I can’t wait to try it as it looks great, and right now Mark is waving his hands about like a Jedi. Looks awesome!
MARK: Ok, I got through the trees taking out a bunch of Trandoshans with Yoda aboard and blasted through onto the water surrounding the main village. Awesome graphics, and very responsive. Jon took over at this point, and as a more experienced gamer he soon found his rhythm. He maneuvered between the rocks into the lagoon and a Trandoshan attack vehicle. Kashyyyk is on fire. WHOA, huge Separatist spider droid, and Kashyyyk is truly aflame.
Now we’re back on terra firma (or should that be Wookiee Firma?) It’s worth mentioning that the loading times are fairly long, but not enough to unbalance the game. We kick back into action with Yoda guiding us as Battle Droids attack! Using your sabre and the force you quickly slice through them, putting your left foot forward to move into the fight. Now Battle Droids with Magna Guard force pikes. “For crying out loud!” Jon’s down but uses the force push to disarm, then attack. Lesson learnt.
Next level, down with the wookiees and SUPER Battle droids. They are tough, and it’s tiring to keep fighting them. If nothing else, this game will get you fit!
TRANDOSHANS! Armed with blasters, they attack but you’re a match for them, though they come in large numbers. Now Jon’s learning some combinations, a jump into a roll brings you behind your enemy, where they can be quickly dispatched. DROIDEKAS! Tough to beat, you need to get behind them, as we work our way towards the beach and the Trandoshan invasion.
More armour attacks from the lagoon, we take out the guns and then tackle their missiles, which you catch with the force and deflect. So many Trandoshans on the beach, all there to be taken out. The missiles come, but Jon is down. He’s back, up onto the ship and lacing into Trandos. He’s deflecting a flurry of bolts, and jumps onto the enemy ship and the droids. Crazy action! Using the force again to catch missiles and deflect them he jumps onto the next ship. Now the master and the two padawans have to hold the ship so the master can destroy it. Insane action, you use all your skills learned since the start of the game to take out huge numbers of the enemy.
Bad news, BIIIG Trandoshans come, with bigger knives. These guys are tough and can take a battering, the only way to takew them is to get behind them and attack from the rear and BOOM, the big ship is gone! It appears Jon has defended Kashyyyk successfully.
The level is far from over but we want to give you a feel of the four levels, so we move on to Pod Racing.
JONATHAN: Pod Racing looks cool – Mark’s just choosing a track and he’s gone for the classic Boonta Eve. Great opening scene over Tatooine – was that the Outrider? Wow! Mark takes off in an Anakin-style pod and the race is on!
Leaning left and right steers (but it appears to be more arm action than full body interaction) and thrusting your arms forward and back gives a boost and brakes. You can give your opponents a hefty ram to make things interesting! It’s noisy, fast and really puts you right in the middle of the action. I can recommend a high-def large-screen TV for this game. NO!!!! Ben Quadrinaros won and Mark came in second! It’s a double nightmare!
By the looks of things you can unlock Sebulba in quick play by completing Pod Racer Destiny. That’s something to work for.
Every time you select a new world to race on there’s an opening sequence of starships approaching the planet – it’s gorgeous. Now Mark is blasting across Felucia and it’s a wonderful place of wild colours. It looks wonderful and Mark’s in the lead! Hold on to that position! Mark wins!! What a great race!The combination of the music, visuals and sound effects make for quite an experience and it seems that it’s a lot less stressful than fighting as a Jedi.
Now it’s time for Galactic Dance Off. This is most definitely not my forte and I’m quite willing to let Mark take the blaster bolt for the team. The dance contest takes place (of course) at Jabba’s palace and the music and dancing is kind of modern, I guess you’d call it, with the sort of pop music you’d expect to hear in today’s charts. The dance moves are funky – Princess Leia in her slave outfit is going for it! – and the aim is to copy the character’s on the screen.
It’s pretty good fun and against his better judgement Mark is going to play the next scene. I think his aching limbs will protest at that. This is a definite party game that would keep you and your Star Wars mates happy, and even if they don’t do Star Wars they’ll love the game.
I’ll just let Mark catch his breath and we’ve move on to Rancor Rampage.
MARK: Good, because I’m not as young as I used to be! I’ll take the reviewing reins for a while, this game is absolutely exhausting. Okay, Jon is about to play Rancor Rampage on Mos Eisley as a Sand Rancor. Big angry and nasty (and not above flattening RockWorts either). Jon does his best Godzilla as he hurls helpless citizens, trashes buildings and causes massive mayhem. Smash Attack! There goes a building, he’s jumping and taking out numerous people and droids and sounding, frankly, knackered. This is Hulk Smash at it’s best! Whoa, charge attack makes him run so fast, but here come speeder bikes. “This isn’t happening!”
He just ate someone and was asked if he’d considered anger management! VICTORY! That is tiring but brilliant stuff, such fun. Next level…
Okay, he’s playing a Felician Rancor on Felucia as we get a cut scene showing the rancor being freed by its young owner, angrily trashing, well, everything. Here he goes, pickng up people and throwing them metres. “It’sd like a bad dream!” Oops, he just ate someone by mistake. This is a big, armoured rancor and it jumps really high. He charges, throws 2 people who both shout “Score!”
You follow the instructions on the screen to gain points, so when it says destroy building, that’s what you do. Logical, and it goves a point to what’s basically a crazy section of the game. He just did a clap attack, but I can’t help but laugh at the hilarious commentary coming from the various characters being attacked. Level over, and Jon is zonked.
JONATHAN: Mark is having a blast as a Sand Rancor on Mos Eisley and as the opening cut scene shows the Rancor escaping from Jabba’s palace straight away someone shouts something about a restraining order. This is great tongue-in-cheek stuff and Mark is simply walking through the buildings to get to his victims! And that’s one unfortunate dude gobbled up. Just watching Mark playing makes me realise what the term ‘muppet flail’ was invented for. He’s flapping about like he’s fighting off a wasp. And it’s Victory! Mark forces the Rancor into some strange postures to celebrate.
JONATHAN: My thoughts? It’s a great game and a great little bundle. The R2-D2 design of the console and the golden C-3PO controller are simply gorgeous and a great choice for a special edition package. It’s easy to set up and plug in, and for best results I highly recommend a HD television as it looks great and sounds amazing. There’s great Jedi and pod racing action for the serious gamer and fun dance competitions and rampage games for the casual gamer looking for some fun. In short, there’s something for everyone. I’d have liked to have seen some blaster action, trading blaster bolts with stormtroopers or federation battle droids, but what you get is more than enough. I can imagine players half my age spending more time on the game – we’ve been playing for a couple of hours and I’m out of breath – and it’ll most definitely keep you fit. It should have been called ‘The Star Wars Workout’. It’s an impressive game and XBox gamers as well as Star Wars fans will get a lot of fun out of it. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.
MARK: Having had a blast at the Kinect Launch a couple of weeks back I had a fairly good idea how responsive and fun this game was, but having had an extended run through the various levels I’ve got to say – this rocks! I’m not an avid gamer like Jon, but I know what I like, and this game will be getting a LOT of play in my cantina. And luckily the bundle comes with Kinect Adventures, which the rest of the family can play. Just watching Jon play the Coruscant Pod Race level as I write, I can see this is going to give me hours and hours of fun, plus at 41 it might just be the thing I need to shift that spare type that seems to have settled around my waist!
Not only essential for Star Wars fans, this is a must have for Xbox gamers as well. Great job Microsoft, and thank you so much for our review copy of the game.