A long time ago, in a gaming generation far, far away, before the arrival of the joycons, the Oculus Rift or the Playstation VR, there was a gadget called the Kinect, which for a while, was considered the most revolutionary piece of gaming hardware ever conceived. In theory, the Kinect’s motion and tracking capabilities would allow us to experience gaming using our own bodies as the controller. In reality, all the Kinect turned out to be was an expensive webcam that would sometimes notice the fact you were wildly flailing your arms around in order to open a menu.
If there was one Kinect game people were actually hyped for, however, it was Star Wars Kinect. Pretend you’ve never heard of that game before. Now imagine the following: someone tells you there’s a new Star Wars game out there, one that uses motion controls. You don’t even need to finish the sentence, that person will already scream “OH MY GOD I CAN PRETEND TO BE A JEDI” before you do. That was the game’s main selling point. We bought the game hoping for some insane motion-based Jedi action. We ended up getting the cheesiest, dumbest and most nonsensically enjoyable-for-the-wrong reasons Star Wars game ever conceived.
First things first: the campaign mode. Eleven out of ten people chose that mode as the first thing to do once the game got installed. Twelve out of ten people left the mode unimpressed with what they saw.
The campaign mode lets you control a bunch of random Padawans (whose names sound like random gibberish created from a random name generator) fighting against some droids and some ships and… well, to be honest, I’ve never beaten it. I couldn’t be bothered and I honestly doubt anyone else did.
While the lightsaber controls start off promising, as the Kinect does a herculean job at actually reading your arms’ movements to a respectable degree of fidelity, you’ll quickly find out there’s absolutely no depth nor strategy involved when it comes to the game’s combat mechanics.
All you need to do is flail your arms around like an electrified monkey with Parkinson’s and you’ll win the game. This might be the easiest game I have ever played in my life. Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care and you’ll end up slashing every single droid in front of you. If that doesn’t happen, the game will instead make you swing your saber around in a defensive stance, deflecting every single laser beam being shot at you, allowing you to beat everyone in front of you as well. Riveting.
There’s also a hero fight mode in which you’re actually able to control some famous characters like Luke and Vader, and do one-on-one lightsaber fights. It’s not exactly fun, and the lack of weirdly-named characters or droids to destroy like a bunch of Dynasty Warriors soldiers make the mode even less enjoyable than it should.
Moving on to the next mode: Rancor Rampage. You’re a Rancor, and your objective is to destroy Mos Eisley. Sounds great in theory and abysmal canonically-wise (eh, who cares). The mode is slightly enjoyable for the sheer ridiculousness it provides, but the controls are extremely imprecise. The game tells you to perform a bunch of non-complex movements with your arms in order to make your Rancor do some special attacks, but they never work. The Kinect can’t detect these movements even if its shelf life depended on it.
Kinect Star Wars also features a podracing mode, and sadly, it’s not good. This is far from a new Episode I Racer we’ve been hoping for ever since that disappointing sequel got released for the Playstation 2. All you can do here is move your arms in order to accelerate and brake, as the game does the turning for you.
And then we come to the last mode in the game, and by far the best thing a Kinect game has ever given birth to: the dancing mode. When I first saw Han Solo dancing to a poorly produced version of a Jason Derulo song, I was stunned. Speechless. My mind wasn’t able to process Han and Lando pulling some dance moves such as “Han Shot First” and “The Trash Compactor” right at the same carbonite chamber in which our buddy Calrissian went full Judas on everyone’s favorite scruffy nerfherder.
This mode is terrible. It’s the cheesiest thing ever conceived by mankind, followed closely by Boy George and the music video to The Safety Dance. But I’m not here to lie, though: this mode might be terrible, but I love it. This is one of those moments you need to shut your brain down and just appreciate the downright stupidity that is shown in front of you. To add insult to injury, this is a mode in which the Kinect is actually responsive to your moves, so if you actually want to play a mode in which you won’t have any gameplay issues, you better be ready to see slave Leia shake her moneymaker to the sound of Christina Aguilera.
In conclusion, I know Kinect Star Wars is bad (better yet, terrible), but something about it just makes me love it in a completely guilty way. Maybe it’s the fact I could pretend I was a Jedi slicing tons of droids with the worst controls I could dream of. Maybe it was the fact this was, weirdly enough, the closest new podracing game we’ve ever got since the PS2 days.
You know what? I know the real reason why I like this shiny piece of excrement. The game gave me the opportunity to witness Darth Vader and the Emperor dancing to Deadmau5’s “Ghosts n’ Stuff” like a couple of teenage ravers on ecstasy. That’s the best thing I never thought I’d ever see in my life. This game is terrible, but it’s the best kind of terrible I could have ever asked for.
Oh, and May the 4th be with you, or something like that…