Use the force … of motion controls.
I was not enthusiastic about Star Wars Kinect after I saw it featured in Microsoft’s press conference on Monday. In fact, I believe my exact words were, “That looks like crap.” It looked far too slow to properly evoke the feeling of being a light saber-wielding JedI, and the force powers came off as awkward, not cool. I actually got a chance to play it this afternoon, and was surprised to discover that playing it and seeing it are two very different experiences.
I got to try a co-op level that takes place on Bespin – the very same level featured in the press conference. My right hand controlled the light saber and my left handled the Force powers. The game is on rails, which is still a bit disappointing, but it does leave you free to concentrate on slicing droids to bits. Leaning forward lets you dash from point to point around the current area, which gets you within striking distance of your enemies. You can also combine the dash with a jump to get behind shielded droids. Using the light saber was as easy as flailing my arm around. I didn’t feel all that masterful, but it was fun to see on screen. Using the Force, on the other hand (literally), was a bit tougher to get a feel for. I tried to extend my hand and lift, which should’ve grabbed a droid, but it didn’t seem to work quite right. Similarly, when it came time for my partner and me to team up to Force lift a whopping great ship out of our way, we couldn’t quite coordinate our movements in a smooth way. We got the job done, but the other Jedis were laughing at how clunky we were.
The demo was only a few minutes long, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Would the flailing and jumping stand up for an entire game? That I’m definitely not sure about. I was told that the finished game, which is due out this holiday season, will feature many different kinds of scenarios and that what you wield will depend on where you are in the game. Hopefully there will be enough variety to keep things interesting. The demo was also far easier than the real game will be, because we weren’t taking any damage.
I’m not going to swear by Star Wars Kinect, or anything, but I’m not writing it off, either. We’ll check back in with it and see how the real game fares later on this year.