Originally slated for a Christmas 2011 release, fresh details on Kinect Star Wars, previously Star Wars Kinect, have been more elusive than the dark side of the force. After an uninspiring preview at E3 2011, gameplay footage has been especially hard to come across - with LucasArts releasing live-action comedy skits in place of an actual look at the game.
However, with a confirmed release date of April 3rd, 2012, alongside the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars console bundle, we're finally getting an (unofficial) sneak peek at the various game modes included in the Xbox 360 exclusive title.
While LucasArts continues to withhold official footage of the game in action, ZoomIn.Games managed to snag five minutes worth of Kinect Star Wars demonstration footage - presenting a first look at several new game modes.
Check out the Kinect Star Wars demo footage below:
The video showcases four different game modes that will be available in the title: a lightsaber adventure ("Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising"), podracing, Godzilla-like destruction challenge featuring Return of the Jedi's Rancor ("Rancor Rampage"), as well as a Dance Central-esque dance game ("Galactic Dance Off"). The featured modes represent four out of five confirmed Kinect Star Wars offerings - with the mode "Duels of Fate" still lingering in the shadows (like many other things related to the title - given a tight-lipped LucasArts).
While the footage offers a good indication of what to expect from the new mini-games, it doesn't exactly inspire a lot confidence in the final product (again - not a surprise given how little official info is available). At E3, LucasArts indicated that precision in the lightsaber mode would be tightened, providing players with an accurate and commanding gameplay experience; however, it's clear that most of the game modes - podracing and lightsaber wielding especially - aren't likely to provide hardcore Star Wars fans with anything more intuitive than sweeping arm motions. Younger gamers will likely enjoy "whooshing" around the environments and flailing their arms to take down battle droids but, as was predicted by PS3 move developers nearly two years back, Kinect may not be capable of a truly accurate "lightsaber" game.
Similarly, it's likely that casual gamers will find entertainment in stomping around Mos Eisley as a Rancor, gobbling up civilians and crashing into buildings, but there doesn't appear to be anything particularly deep or compelling about the gameplay itself - with little replay value beyond the basic gameplay concept.
Surprisingly, the dance game actually could offer a fun twist on the current dance offerings - depending on how well the sensor tracks movements, of course (i.e. hopefully LucasArts took a page from Dance Central 2 - not Michael Jackson: The Experience). That said, a big appeal of dance games is the ability to dance to familiar music, so it'll be interesting to see how quickly the mode wears out its welcome - given the alien dance beats.
At this point, we're admittedly speculating on the quality of the game based simply on second-hand footage and our brief time with the title at industry events; however, with a release less than two months away, it's fair to say that LucasArts hasn't done a very good job of informing potential players about what they can expect from the game. Hopefully, the developer isn't just planning on riding the Star Wars brand to financial success - and is actually busy readying some cool surprises and competent gameplay for the final release.
Kinect Star Wars is slated for a April 3rd, 2012 release date.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.