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39 Reviews

Kinect Star Wars review: Forget the dancing videos - this is Kinect's best game since launch

Controller, you are

You cautiously stretch out a hand. On screen a lightsaber flies your way. Impressive. Ok, Mr. Lucas, let's see what you can do. You swing a limb left. Your lightsaber swings left. You swing right. It swings right. You cheekily try a double-handed grip and - ta da! - your avatar does the same. Amazing.


They've finally done it - a Star Wars game that makes you feel like a midi-chlorian-filled Jedi badass. The sparky thwoom of lightsabre combat is just enough to redeem sometimes spotty Kinect tracking, a short story, and only four minigames of filler fun.

Firstly though, a note to 30-something's: Star Wars is no longer yours. Like with WWE and CBBC (better in your day, of course), it's a hard truth to swallow. 30-something with kids, however? This will blow their minds. In the story you'll pick a padawan, any padawan, and travel with your tween troop of Jedi's-in-training through a brilliantly schizophrenic story that catapults you from scenario to action-packed scenario lodged between the earlier episodes.

With flat dialogue, chronically unfunny droids and no-names filling in for main characters it hardly escapes the taint of a franchise that's had a bad stink since The Phantom Menance, but if you've finally stopped bitching about Jar Jar or of the age with whom that name doesn't ring a 'faintly racist stereotype' bell, you'll have as much fun as an Ewok at a forrest booze-up. It looks fantastic, with a soft-edged not-quite-The-Clone-Wars art style that's hyper bold and colourful, pushes and expands mo-co technology, and crucially makes controls easy and intuitive, large room and ample light provided.

Grand Moff Tarkinect
First, the story. Star Wars Kinect does a wonderful job of making you feel like the most important being in the galaxy, constantly throwing easily dispatched enemies your way and offering the reliable form of Obi-Wan in the bottom corner who'll helpfully repeat gestures should you get stuck. Yoda even takes time out to school you in the ways of ship levitation.


There's not a moment that isn't keenly orchestrated, keenly guided. A speeder chase through Kashyyyk under siege gives you freedom to swerve from side to side, or even lean forward into a first-person view, but shooting is done for you. So is moving on foot, with a plunge of your torso all the cue that's needed to force-sprint your character between pockets of battle. You're a Jedi from the waist up, restricted sure, but never bored.

The story takes you on a three-planet journey of ship-piloting and droid-carving (you can scar sapient beings but not chop them up). After five hours, give or take, it's all over, but there are four similarly fun, similarly short side attractions. The weakest is Duels of Fate. It should be the centrepiece, the killer showcase fans have begged for since the Wii Remote was unveiled six years ago - it's not. Lightsaber combat is fantastic in the story, where patchy controls are hidden behind a flailing of arms and a thick suspension of disbelief, but in a one-on-one with a magnaguard on Utapau, or against big daddy Vadar, precision slicing and the timing of parrys is scuppered by a half-second delay.

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