Use the force Luke. Those are the words that will be buzzing through your head when it comes to playing Kinect Star Wars on the Xbox 360 with the Kinect sensor when the game comes out this Christmas. But has gaming really come to the point where we can just wave a pretend Lightsaber around in the living room, and will it really let you live the way of the Jedi in the Star Wars universe? We had a go behind closed doors at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles to find out.


Star Wars Kinect

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

Christmas 2011

What other game is it like?

Star Wars: Dark Forces and any other Star Wars game that sees you running around

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?

Yep, it uses the Kinect

The pitch

Kinect Star Wars brings the Star Wars Universe to life like never before. Harnessing the controller-free power of Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinect Star Wars allows fans to physically experience training as a Jedi, using the Force and battling with a Lightsaber. Using full body motions, players can live out the ultimate Star Wars fantasy, no controller required.

The storyline

You’re once again battling the forces of the imperial army by using your Jedi powers to save the day.

Trailers, demoes, and video

Our first impressions

We played Kinect Star Wars on two occasions at E3 2011 in Los Angeles, both behind closed doors.

The first outing involved a custom built demo that saw us dock at a landing bay in a cloud city before fighting off a drone of droids, while the second was a training level to get you up to speed.

At chance would have it, we played the two levels in reverse, starting with the custom built level for E3, and then the training level.

Both had been designed by Microsoft to show us a number of features of the game, although talking to the developers it’s clear that this is just the start of things still to come.

Moves including jumping, using the force, and swiping your lightsaber to either strike down opponents or deflect blaster fire are all possible and while we enjoyed using the force to push and move droids or objects in our way we found the use of the lightsaber disappointing, manly because there was zero feedback and zero sense of actually wielding a lightsaber.

Controls however are incredibly easy. Lightsaber in your right hand, force welding powers in the other (don’t worry we’ve been told you’ll be able to hold the ligthsaber in both the left hand and using both hands in the game).

Moving forward is done automatically as the game is “on rails” that means you are forced along a set route with little room for deviation. Even in our short demo that got frustrating, but it will mean the game zips along.

On rails means that there is no free reign to move around the level as you will. There is no control of your character aside from hacking and slashing your way to the next set of baddies as they come to you. That’s likely to disappoint some gamers.

To get into the action quicker you can perform a lunge that force rushes you to where you want to attack next, and then once you get there swash buckle your way to victory.

Areas of the game that we know are coming, but weren’t able to test are vehicles. Kinect Star Wars will include a number from the Star Wars universe including pod racing, x-wing fighters and speed bikes. We suspect you’ll drive them in a similar way to driving cars in Kinect Joy Ride swaying side to side.

Kinect Star Wars looks fun, especially if you’re under 10, but might struggle to live up to the over exaggerated performance you are expecting in your mind when it comes out later this year.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as, letting us get a glimpse into what is going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review or even a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.