Tagged "Kinect Star Wars"

Nov 15
By Matt Gander In Features 1 Comment

Thinking of buying a Kinect to keep the kids quiet this Christmas? You’ve picked a good time to make a purchase – you should be able to find one for under £80 new, and significantly less second hand, with games starting at literally pocket money prices.

You should feel sorry for our downstairs neighbour – we’ve played most of the games that the Kinect has to offer. We’re now passing our knowledge onto you, so you don’t have to rearrange your furniture and end up playing a game that feels like it has been forged in the bowels of hell.

Presenting our Kinect buyer’s guide.

The good…

Kinect Sports Double Pack
If you own a Kinect and not at least one of the Kinect Sports games then you’re missing out on one (well, two) of the Kinect’s finest. Season One has the better presentation of the two, but Season Two is the better package overall. Season Two does have a ‘money grabbing’ feel to it though, with lots of prompts to purchase extra challenge packs. Basketball is an additional download too. Thankfully a double pack exists so you can get the best of both.

Child of Eden
While this psychedelic shooter can be played with a joypad – a fact that Microsoft and Ubisoft kept rather quiet before launch – it feels a lot more intuitive playing with motion controls, waving your arm around to lock on targets and then pushing it forward to shoot. Fans of Sega’s Rez will feel right at home.

Dance Central 1-3
Take your pick, here. All three of the Dance Central games are thoroughly excellent. The original, which launched alongside the device, can be picked up for less than £10, while Dance Central 2 shouldn’t set you back much more. Ubisoft’s Just Dance series is worth a mention too – Dance Central is more substantial, but the Just Dance games are a little flashier.

Kinect Disneyland Adventures
Frontier Developments are one of the few studios to fully grasp the inner-workings of the Kinect. Their launch game Kinectimals was one of the better titles. In fact, we’d say it was one of the best virtual pet games ever made. They took what they learned there to make Kinect Disneyland Adventures one of the highest rated Kinect games.

Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
This wasn’t originally conceived as a Sesame Street game – the idea for it came first, and then the license was added at a later date. Double Fine wanted this to be a game that parents can play along with their children. Or you could just kill two birds with one stone and use it to keep two children quiet at once. It’s rather lovingly made.

The pretty good…

Fable: The Journey
The Fable games are renowned for their moral choices and freedom but not this one – it’s an on-rails journey across a land that’s being smothered by evil. Voice acting, character development and visuals impress, but the fact that you spend most of the game behind the reigns of a horse instead of carrying out quests makes it an adventure that’s likely to be soon forgotten.

Kinect Star Wars
It’s easy to tell that Kinect Star Wars had a rough development. A handful of studios worked on it, each throwing their ideas into the proverbial pot. The third-person adventure mode is a bit lame but the pod racing and dancing mini-games are nicely done. The rancor city-smashing mini-game should please younger gamers too. The dancing mini-game does take massive liberties with the license though, which upset a few Star Wars die-hards.

Kung Fu High Impact
Not the easiest of games to find – it was released only in the US and some parts of Europe – but it’s worth tracking down as it’s laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly challenging. A lot of the later levels take a fair few attempts to complete, requiring you to use power-ups sparingly. Seeing yourself on your TV screen, leaping through the air and firing magic arrows is rather neat.

Rabbids: Alive & Kicking
Another one that’s amusing to play. It’s as mad as a box of frogs, with a lot of mini-games inspired by arcade classics. One plays like Breakout, only instead of a bat and ball you control a fireman on a fireman’s pole and the ball is a flaming marshmallow. Another mini-game meanwhile plays like Lemmings, the idea being to use your limbs to guide the Rabbids to safety. The achievements too are a lot of fun to get, requiring you to play games different to how they’re supposed to be played.

Puss in Boots
A movie tie-in? Yes. This is one of the better movie tie-ins of recent times. A motion controlled platformer with combat sequences and stealthy bits, all of which are entertaining as the controls work perfectly. Production values are high too – it looks the part and Antonio Banderas himself supplies the vocal talent. The only downfall is the length – it can be beaten in around three hours.

Best of XBLA…

Fruit Ninja Kinect
Up there with Kinect Sports, Fruit Ninja Kinect is one of the Kinect’s finest. Controls are intuitive – simply swipe your hand to slice fruits and build up combos. Each game is randomised with different power-ups appearing, which makes it incredibly addictive. The two-player mode is good fun also. As well as a download it’s also bundled free with The Gunstringer – an above average platformer that can now be found for around £10.

Happy Action Theatre
Another one from Seasame Street: Once Upon a Monster developers Double Fine, Happy Action Theatre stands proud on Metacritic with an 80% average. “My daughter played Happy Action Theater for about three hours when we first downloaded it. We had to drag her away. She shows it off to her friends, who are equally enchanted by it. She now asks to play it after school rather than watch TV,” said Eurogamer in their 9/10 review.

Haunt achieves more than Rise of Nightmares did. We’re using Sega’s disappointing first person adventure game as a comparison there as both share the same perspective and are based around spooking the player. Haunt though has a much more comic vibe – paintings with eyes that move, like something out of Scooby Doo. Double Fine’s Tim Schafer also had a helping hand in this one.

Diabolical Pitch
It’s odd that this one didn’t receive much press attention – it’s by Grasshopper Manufacture, of Killer7 and No More Heroes fame. The hero, a superstar baseball player, finds himself in an afterlife amusement park full of zombies and must use his batting skills to slay waves of the undead. If they get too close they can be given a swift kick to push them away. It’s a pleasingly daft game and one of the few mature Kinect titles.

This castle smashing sim did get a little bit more attention than most XBLA Kinect games, due to being demonstrated during Microsoft’s E3 conference. It’s a 3D Angry Birds of sorts. “While the storyline may be a bit hokey and the voice-acting a bit childish, the fun that can be had with the gameplay and smooth easy motion controls just can’t be denied. It’s the best kind of fun: simple to play, but hard to master. It’s a casual motion controlled game that actually works well, and offers up real satisfaction when that control pays off it high scores and massive destruction,” said Destructioid in their 9/10 review.

And don’t forget…

Kinect Fun Labs
There hasn’t been much going on in the world of Kinect Fun Labs recently, suggesting that Microsoft have given up on their free to download hub full of Kinect gadgets and gizmos. Things like Kinect Bobble Head – which puts your head on a bobble doll – aren’t worth bothering with apart from the easy achievements they contain, but Junk Fu, Battle Stuff and Mars Rover Landing each provide a good hour or so of free entertainment each.

Kinect Playfit
Another free download, but not a game as such. It measures the amount of calories you’ve burnt off playing Kinect games and then tracks your fitness level on a leaderboard. Only certain games are supported though, most of which are first-party, but we’ve managed to get a few achievements out of it despite not owning many of the supported games. Expect more to be added in the future.

What’s next for Kinect?

There’s a notable lack of big-name Kinect games on the horizon, but you’ll at least be able to shout at guards in Splinter Cell: Blacklist and call Cartman a “fat ass” in South Park: Stick of Truth. Now there’s a thing.

Apr 30
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Prototype 2 is the UK’s new number one this week, but it’s not all good news for Activision – it hasn’t sold as well as the last game did during launch week. It has however shifted more copies than the last two number ones – The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and Kinect Star Wars.

The Witcher 2 is down from the top spot to #6 while the rest of top five has only seen a slight shuffle. At #2 there’s FIFA Street which is followed by FIFA 12, Mass Effect 3 and Kinect Star Wars.

Crash Time 4, predictably, fails to chart.

There are a few things of note happening in the single format charts. Activision’s Battleship tie-in has finally appeared during its second week of release at a lowly #39 in the Xbox 360 chart, while the bored housewives’ favourite Bejeweled 3 enters the DS chart at #13.

In the 3DS chart the self-explanatory 50 Classic Games makes its first appearance at #8 while the actually better than you might expect Carnival Games: Wild West 3D jives in at #10.

Cowboys jive, don’t they?

Apr 17
By Matt Gander In Reviews 3 Comments

Has Star Wars been lampooned enough in recent times? If your answer is ‘yes’ then perhaps it would be best to stay away from Kinect Star Wars altogether. If the sight of a small girl telling off her pet Rancor for eating her grandpa doesn’t tip you over the edge for detesting what the Star Wars franchise has become, then surely the dancing mini-game will. Microsoft really weren’t joking when they said that Kinect Star Wars isn’t going to be for the ‘core user’.

Rumour has it that work on Kinect Star Wars started way back in 2009. We wouldn’t be surprised if the third-person Jedi adventure mode was the first thing the developers got started on as it does look rather like a game stuck in the past. There are a few control and camera issues – mostly down the fact that the camera automatically locks onto the nearest enemy – while the visuals are of mixed quality. Yoda looks great with his trademark wrinkly face and wispy hair but most of other NPCs are lacking in detail.

It starts off with a Jedi training exercise – which acts as a tutorial – before moving over to a battle on the Wookie planet of Kashyyyk. It’s a fast paced affair and a dramatic one too thanks to a battle raging in the background. A speeder-bike chase set over both land and water is the highlight with Yoda acting as a co-pilot and occasionally showing off his Jedi skills. The ability to kick enemies off ledges and using the force to throw droids through windows is also pleasing.

After this reasonably impressive opening level though everything slowly goes downhill with the last few levels set inside a nondescript space station. The space battles are incredibly simplistic too due to a rather generous auto lock on feature. The fact that there are instant restarts when being ‘knocked out’ does prevent any potential frustration – there are only a handful of sections when you’re taken back to a checkpoint – but it doesn’t do much in the favour of this mode’s length. Three hours is all it takes to see everything.

The six pod races don’t take long to play through either. The graphics for this mini-game are a huge improvement on those found in the adventure mode and the controls work perfectly with each arm assigned to one of the pod-racer’s twin engines. Two support items out of a choice of six – including a flame thrower – can be assigned at the start of each race. These become upgraded as the story progresses. The problem we had here is that the difficulty level is the reverse of what you’d expect. The first couple of races are tough, even with the driving assistances turned on, but later races are a breeze as by this point your pod-racer will have maxed out stats for both shields and boost. Races are heavily scripted – every track has a favourite who will always come first unless shortcuts and support items are put to good use – but there’s fun to be had here and it remains faithful to the source material.

Rancor Rampage is likewise fun initially with the idea being to stomp, smash and slam everything in your path, but tedium quickly sets in. Controls are clunky – you’re better off charging at a wall and being automatically spun back around in the right direction than trying to turn around by twisting your body – and there are only four levels on offer. Your Rancor gains experience by completing incredibly simple challenges and destroying buildings but to reach experience level 10 requires you to play those same four levels over and over again. Annoyingly, every time a level is restarted you have to watch a CGI intro which can’t be skipped until around half-way through. Your reward for all this? A flying Rancor. This beast does make some of the achievements easier to get, such as the one for destroying five Tie-Fighters, but a lot of time and patience is required beforehand.

The dancing mode fairs better. With such sights as Han Solo strutting his stuff on the dance floor while Lobot DJs in the background, the Galaxy Dance Off mode (to give it it’s full name) could however be seen by some as an abuse of the license. There’s no denying though that it’s well made, with Dance Central blatantly used as inspiration. The motion detection works brilliantly and any mistakes made are highlighted in red to show where you’re going wrong. There’s fair leeway for error – you get a couple of seconds to start pulling off the right moves until your score multiplier drops.

Each track is a parody of a recent chart hit – complete with parodied album art – while the dance moves have been given such names as ‘The Kessle Run’ and ‘Han Shoots First’. It’s hard not to imagine somebody cracking a smile at some of the lyrics – Chris Brown’s ‘I’m Flying Solo’ has been changed to ‘I’m Han Solo’ and references the smuggler being set free from Jabba’s palace. Daft Punk, Deadmau5e, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera provide some of the other tracks. Who could have predicted that the dancing game would be the best thing here? Not us, that’s for sure.

Rounding the package off is a duelling mini-game entitled Duels of Fate. The first few fights are recycled content from the adventure mode while later battles see you duelling against Count Dooku and Darth Vader. Compared to how casual the rest of the game is this mode is actually quite hardcore, for want of a better word. There’s very little room for mistake as each duel is set against a very tight limit. At first the times to beat seem impossible but by learning attack patterns they can be beaten eventually.

The fact that numerous developers worked on Kinect Star Wars clearly shows – everything from how it looks to how well the motion controls work is inconsistent. It’s likely though that children won’t be bothered by its downfalls in the slightest and for young Star Wars fans the chance to pilot a pod-racer and kick alien races in the shins will be a dream come true.

Apr 10
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Mediocre reviews haven’t harmed sales of Kinect Star Wars one bit – it’s the UK’s new number one, making it the first Kinect game to go straight to the top of the chart. It’s also the first Star Wars game to enter at #1 since 2008’s Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

You have to admit that Microsoft’s timing was perfect. A combination of it being Easter and school holidays meant that there were plenty of parents out there looking for ways to entertain their Padawan learners.

As usual, EA rules the rest of the roost. FIFA Street drops to #2 and is followed by Mass Effect 3, FIFA 12 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12.

The next new entry is the decent Devil May Cry HD Collection at #18. Both Silent Hill HD Collection and Silent Hill Downpour have left the top 40 after just one week.

Poor old Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure on 3DS has failed to make the top 40 as well. It can’t have sold too badly though – plenty of people on our Twitter feed picked up a copy over the weekend.

Apr 04
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

We’re running this week’s new release round-up a little earlier than usual because this week’s biggest games are already out.

We can understand why Microsoft wanted to give Kinect Star Wars a simultaneous US and European release seeing as it’s the first big Kinect game since… well, in a very long time. Quite why Capcom thought Devil May Cry HD Collection should be released on a Tuesday though is quite a mystery.

Reviews for Kinect Star Wars haven’t been good but they haven’t been bad either. They’ve been predictably mediocre.

“Kinect Star Wars is an incoherent and clumsy compilation,” said Eurogamer in their 5/10 review while IGN gave it 5.5 and said that kids might enjoy it but it has very little appeal for adults. We aren’t surprised that there’s a lack of consistency – apparently ten different developers were involved including Terminal Reality (Ghostbusters: The Video Game), Frontier Developments (Kinectimals) and rumour has it Spark Unlimited (Legendary, Turning Point).

Devil May Cry HD Collection has fared better than last week’s Silent Hill HD Collection, thankfully. A decent appetiser for Ninja Theory’s reboot, said Eurogamer, who gave it an 8. They noted that the menus and FMV are still in “blur-o-vision” but the rest of the game looks “crisp, colourful, and has no screen-tear or frame drops ruining the view”.

The Official Xbox Magazine pretty much echoed what Eurogamer said, although they felt that Devil May Cry 2 is now even worse with age.

Dancing game Alvin & The Chipmunks – Chipwrecked is also hitting Kinect this week. Even though it was released in the US back in November there are only two reviews of it on Metacritic. Both, surprisingly, are quite positive.

Another musical game? Oh go on then. Sega’s Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure hasn’t had much press coverage, which is a shame as it seems rather good going by the demo on the 3DS eShop. Fans of Space Channel 5 and similar games would do well to at least give it a try.

We’ve had a little wait on our hands for Warriors Orochi 3 – it was first released in Japan back in December. Worth the wait? Kind of. “There are many things to like about Warriors Orochi 3. The over-the-top madness, enormous scale battles, and – bizarrely enough – gibberish storyline all have varying levels of charm. Sadly the overly familiar mechanics and uninspired level design somewhat undermine all of this,” said The Official PlayStation Magazine who gave it a 6.

Destructoid’s Jim Sterling – the guy who gave Kid Icarus a 5/10 – enjoyed it a lot more however, awarding it an 8.5.

Finally, there’s Top Gun: Hard Lock. Is there a new Top Gun film out? No. Is Top Gun being re-released for one reason or another? No. This leads us to conclude that 505 Games only bought the license because it was dirt cheap. The Official Xbox Magazine confirms our suspicions that it’s to be approached with caution by giving it a 4.0. It has easy achievements? Oh, we’d never have guessed.

Next week: Pandora’s Tower (Wii), Little Charlie Bear (DS) and apparently a budget re-release of Bleach: Soul Resurrección on PS3 which we can’t find any online retailer stocking.

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