Kinect Star Wars Microsoft Studios and LucasArts

In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris asks if the Force is strong with Kinect Star Wars and discovers some gossip about the Xbox 720 and Robin’s return to Batman: Arkham City…

Kinect Star Wars – Review
While we don’t all record the evidence, few of us can deny having dreamt of being a real-life Jedi. What with all the Force powers and lightsaber twiddling and cool beards and ability to wear a dressing gown in public, who can blame us for wanting to step into the shoes of those Light Side-loving keepers of the intergalactic peace?

Kinect Star Wars aims to make those geek fantasies come true by putting you right in the middle of George Lucas’ epic space saga. You get to swing a lightsaber against various Sith lords, go on a Rancor rampage in a Tatooine outpost, take the wheel of a podracer… In short, you get to live out your childhood dreams in a galaxy far, far away.

Well, that’s the idea. Sadly, the reality is about as on-target as Greedo in a cantina.
 

nullMicrosoft Studios and LucasArts
   
The very definition of a wasted opportunity, this lacklustre affair is a mess of unresponsive controls, shoddy graphics and bizarre game modes. The main game, Jedi Destiny, sees you taking on the mantle of a Padawan-in-training as he or she or it works their way up the pecking order in post-Attack Of The Clones era. You’re faced with various challenges that almost but not quite re-enact scenes from the films; so expect podracing and lightsaber duels, Force pushes, Rancor wrangling and, erm, Just Dance-style booty shaking – yes, you read that last bit right!

For some reason, developer Terminal Reality thought it would be a great idea to include a challenge which would see you dancing for your life in Jabba’s Palace and various other wretched hives of scum and villainy. Proof, if proof were needed, that LucasArts is happy to trample over our childhood memories, it features Princess Leia dancing to a bastardised version of Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl (Hologram Girl!) and Han Solo moving to a rejigged Ridin’ Solo by Jason DeRulo (Harrison Ford would not be happy). Needless to say, it’s utterly horrible…

But that’s by no means the biggest problem with Kinect Star Wars; the main issue is with the accuracy of the motion-control system. It’s all very hit and miss, as strikes and defences, turns and jumps, swipes and dashes are indiscriminately successful or not regardless of what move you make.

The problem is that the game tries to do too much with Kinect’s capabilities, and the end result is a bit of a muddle. Recently, Kinect Rush successfully proved that you can do a lot with the system if you break it all up into mini-games, not so much with a main story that requires too many different moves.

That’s not to say there isn’t some good stuff in here, the Podraces and occasional space battles work nicely, while the dancing game (as much as it pains us to say) responds very well indeed if you can swallow down the bitter taste of sacrilege.

Far from the Star Wars game we’ve been looking for and desperately in need of some lessons in control, Kinect Star Wars is a disappointing folly where it should have been a fantasy-recreating triumph. One for bargain bin if not the sarlacc pit then.

Agree or disagree with this review? Give us your comments below?

Byte-Sized News
•Following on from last week’s conjecture and rumour-based ‘news’ about the PlayStation 4, we have great pleasure is presenting you with another tidbit of tittle-tattle about a next-gen console.

Word has it that the very tentatively titled Xbox 720 will be wholly disc-free and will require an always-on Internet connection to defend against piracy, just as it’s rumoured Sony are wont to do with the PS4. If true, what that means (aside from giving you a larger than usual electricity bill) is that the big guns are aiming to bring an end to dodgy disc dealers while also making it very difficult to trade in second-hand games – which can only be bad news for frugal gamers who can’t afford to splash out a sizable wad on every new game.

Of course, nothing has been confirmed about either new console release and there’s no word about Nintendo possibly following suit with the Wii U when it’s released later this year, but we do fear for the future of our beloved physical games – they do look so lovely on our shelf.

What do you think? Do you welcome the news that game piracy is being tackled so forthrightly or would you lament the passing of games on disc? Give us your verdict in the comments section…

•Just when you thought you were out of Arkham City, they pull you back in!

It turns out that Batman’s mission beyond the sealed-off walls of old Gotham may not quite be over yet, as news reaches us about some new downloadable content that could be on the way. Curiously for a game that’s been out for as long as Arkham City, game developers Rocksteady are possibly seeing fit to release some story-based DLC featuring Joker’s paramour Harley Quinn and the Dark Knight’s sidekick Robin. Having made only a very short appearance in the game proper (although he was available as a pre-order bonus challenges character), it would be cool to see the behooded Tim Drake getting some time to shine.

The content unearthed by a site called PS3 Trophies goes by the name of Harley Quinn’s Revenge and features a variety of butt-kicking and puzzle-solving missions. There’s no word as to when we can expect to get our hands on the DLC yet (or indeed if it’s even forthcoming), but colour us excited about the possibility of donning bird boy’s domino mask.

What do you reckon? Interested in one more trip behind enemy lines or have you moved on from Arkham City? Tells us what you think in the comments section…

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