It seems like the word “Kinect,” or in general “motion control,” has become a dirty word amongst the “hardcore” gaming community. I personally do not want motion control shoehorned into every game in the future, although that’s something Microsoft has stated may happen with all its first-party titles.
However, I also won’t deny that there were some games at E3 that used the Kinect device effectively and that I enjoyed thoroughly. Just the same, there were also some games that dropped the virtual ball.
Star Wars Kinect
Let’s start with the Kinect title that had a horrible presentation at the Microsoft press conference. To begin, I’d like to point out that you do not have to say “lightsaber, ON!” for your lightsaber to appear. The guy demoing the game at the MS conference was just toying with the audience to be more annoying.
I can say with certainty that this game does have some lag issues. While I was playing the demo, for a while I felt like I was struggling with the character to swing where I wanted it to swing. After a few more minutes I realized I was moving too much, but even after composing myself there were times it gave me a few problems.
When I lunged forward to reach enemies ahead, my character went where he wanted to go without my “lunge angle” influencing him much. Most of the progression was predetermined (on-rails anyone?). The enemies seem to just stand in place until you head towards them, unless they have lasers they can shoot you with from afar. That was a bit disappointing; it makes the combat a little stale.
You use your right hand to swing your lightsaber and your left hand to use the Force. Swinging your right arm feels underwhelming and more like you’re clubbing someone with a bat. You can use the Force to toss certain enemies around, and if you use both hands, you can move heavy objects that are blocking your path. The game still needs some polish because I was not able to use the Force correctly to throw my enemies aside… but that may just be me not listening to my inner Obi Wan.
There are some enemies you will not be able to strike directly, so you will need to jump to have your character flip over the enemy and slice them from behind. All these animations look good on the screen, but what you’re actually doing in person isn’t as impressive. Also, I dislike the graphics the game uses now compared to the first demo we saw last year.
Despite all that, the game was actually fun. It still needs some touchups, but for the few minutes that I played it, I didn’t hate it like I thought I was going to. Do I see myself playing this for longer than 20 minutes? No, but maybe they can still surprise us once the final product comes out?
Child of Eden (with Kinect)
In Child of Eden, you learn of the existence of “Project Lumi,” a computer program that is on the verge of completion. Project Lumi will birth a human personality within Eden, and your goal in the (1-2 hour) game is to save Project Lumi from virus attacks. There are 5 levels that take about 10-15 minutes to complete.
The game has a beautiful soundtrack which you contribute to by shooting objects on the screen. Certain purple orbs can hurt you so you must dispose of those every time they appear. The game was a mixture of lights, flower petals, gems and colors. You used your left hand for the tracer lasers and you used your right hand to lock on to multiple targets (up to 8).
With Child of Eden, you do get lost in the experience, as it is very mesmerizing. However, my immersion into the Eden universe came to a halt when my arm started to hurt a bit from holding it up for so long.
A boss made of crystals (and LSD) eventually appears, and the goal is to shoot the center orb to destroy it. After defeating that creature, I then had to shoot the inside of a crystal flower. The boss soon reappears and I’m instructed to lift both my hands into the air and quickly bring them down. This created a wave of energy that officially got rid of the enemy. The flower blossoms and a raven-haired girl in a white dress escapes from within the flower.
While the game was very fascinating, I can’t see myself playing it with Kinect again. This is a game that is fun and beautiful to play, but it’s also one that reminds me of how much I love my controllers.
You know you’re curious to see how the other Kinect games measured up, so click on over to page two to keep on reading!
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