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‘Star Wars’ For Kinect Game Review

Microsoft/Lucasfilm

We’re not sure whether the developers of ‘Kinect Star Wars’ actively hate George Lucas’s brainchild and sought to mock it mercilessly, or just don’t understand the appeal of lightsabers and Jedi knights and just threw something together in a crude attempt at sympathizing with the franchise’s fanatics. Whatever the case, ‘Kinect Star Wars’ is the most laughable addition to the family since the 1978 ‘Star Wars Holiday Special.’

We felt as dumbfounded and awkward as Jar Jar Binks as we fumbled through the various motion-controlled minigames on offering. We dorkily held our arms out in front of us as we steered podracers and terrorized pets and toddlers in our household by pretending to swing lightsabers and destroy scenery as rancors. And most embarrassingly, in the cruelly unnecessary ‘Dance Central’-like dance mode, we shaked our booties to the rhythm of Princess Leia’s ‘Hologram Girl’ (a parody of Gwen Stefani’s ‘Holla Back Girl’) and Han Solo’s infinitely humiliating ‘I’m Han Solo’ (a wholesale murder of Jason Derulo’s Ridin’ Solo).

No need to check the calendar. April Fool’s was last weekend. This actually exists, and its presence is as baffling as Ryan Seacrest’s celebrity. Because of its poor, textureless graphics, ‘Kinect Star Wars’ seems like it was a Wii game reworked for Microsoft’s motion and voice sensor. Those who don’t own the creepy little peripheral are spared having to play this mess.

You’d have to be a 5-year-old to accept any of this with an open mind. Thankfully, we had one of those around, and playing along with him allowed us to appreciate the “wow” factor of seeing your motions correspond to that of a Padawan learner onscreen. Granted, the child spends much of his time wrecking our living room, pretending to wield a lightsaber anyway, so the game just had him do what he usually does, only scolding him for stepping out of Kinect’s vision cone rather than breaking lamps.

The game is set up as a sort of Jedi archive in which R2-D2 and C-3PO coax you to relive past silliness. We can only muse that Darth Vader missed the archive during his murderous Order 66 rampage because the Jedi must have guiltily covered it up, stuffed as it was with uncomfortable memories. Had Vader managed to find it, he could have simply blackmailed his enemies into hiding, saving him the trouble of having to hunt them all down.

You wave your hands, ‘Minority Report’ style, to select the method in which you’d like to violate the good name of ‘Star Wars.’ The most playable is a story mode in which you play a Padawan who ventures off on training missions. A highlight found us cuddling up with Yoda on a landspeeder as we veered around trees and focused an auto-firing reticule on enemy ships. The pointy-eared, poorly-voice acted Jedi master whispered sweet and sour nothings of praise and reprimand as we scooted through those levels with hands held aloft, no longer wondering why women don’t find us attractive.

Kinect games are notorious for misreading your gestures, but ‘Kinect Star Wars’ is more accurate and lag-free than most. It did fail to respond to us flipping it the bird for violating our childhoods by turning Han Solo into a line-dancing doofus, but we can’t blame it for that. We can blame it, though, for rendering us shivering and nauseated, almost questioning our undying love for Star Wars, and left us bitter that the game didn’t attack Twilight instead.

Rating: 4/10

‘Kinect Star Wars’ ($50), available on the Xbox 360 Kinect, was developed by Terminal Reality and published by Microsoft Studios. Rated T. The publisher provided a copy of the game for review. For this review, we suffered five hours in the game’s various modes.

Read Phil Villarreal’s blog at becauseitoldyouso.com and follow him on Twitter: @philvillarreal

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