E3 2011 hands-on: Kinect Star Wars

kinect-star-wars-e3-2011-1

We’re calling this a hands-on, but the defining feature of Kinect Star Wars is that your hands never touch a thing. The game is playable without any controller at all thanks to some creative design work by LucasArts and Microsoft Game Studios. While I was initially quite skeptical how a full 3D action game could be played without any controller, playing has made me more of a believer. Kinect Star Wars has the potential to be the first solid action game without controller-based movement.

The basics

The demo shown at E3 is fairly short and begins with a training session where you learn the basics of being a Jedi.

Force lifting: First, you are taught how to use the Force to lift a small starship. Surprisingly, this isn’t the struggle that Yoda makes it out to be in The Empire Strikes Back. To lift something with the Force, you hold both hands up like you’re casting a spell. After a second, a green halo will surround the object in your line of site. Once it’s under your control, you can move your arms any direction to lift or place it down. Better still, the speed and veracity of your toss is entirely up to you. I found it very satisfying to toss droid troopers into one another and can imagine how much fun it might be to Force control an entire starship and make it crash into another ship.

Force energy blast: Learning how to create an energy beam is also a necessary skill for any Jedi. To do this, you simply hold your left hand up at chest length like that kid from Rookie of the Year. Once a good sized energy ball forms in your hand, a thrust forward will shoot it at your unlucky opponent.

Jumping and dashing: To jump, you put your arms down and…jump; it’s pretty simple, really. To dash forward to reach your next opponent, you put one leg out in front of the other and crouch forward a bit, as if you’re actually about to fly at someone. Both of these moves are fairly straight forward.

kinect-star-wars-e3-2011-3

Lightsaber combat: Once you’ve learned the basics, its time to get to action. To pull out your lightsaber, you hold your right hand (future versions may enable left-handed Jedi) out at a 30-45 degree angle, fingers straight. This causes your lightsaber to float out of its holster and into your hand. To use it, just start swinging. Enemies cut apart at exactly the angles you swing and lasers can be blocked and deflected back toward opposing droids by swinging your sword quickly when a shot is headed your way.

Using your skills

The campaign mode of the game appears to take place during the clone wars, but the demo we played featured Cloud City. Other videos seemed to weave together old and new trilogy themes as well. The E3 demo is fairly short, but had us facing off against standard droids, roly poly droids with shields, a team of battle droids with weapons that block your lightsaber, and finally a team of Sith lords. There’s a trick to defeating each type of enemy and combat feels fluid enough. A familiar Jedi helps you along as well.

More interesting than combat is the automated cutscenes and movement. Though I was never actually moving my character, I never felt out of control of the situation, which is a strange feeling. You can still pick and choose which enemies you fight and rush forward or back; it’s just that where you’d run around endlessly in the past, Kinect Star Wars instead shows you a cut scene and keeps you moving along. One could probably get away with calling it an on-rails action game, but this description is somewhat limiting,  gives players a bit more control than they it

kinect-star-wars-e3-2011-2

It’s difficult to say how well these controls will hold up in space levels and some other types of gameplay, but our first demonstration of Kinect Star Wars was much more positive than we thought it would be, and that’s exciting. We look forward to checking the full game out as it nears release.

Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Looking for a controller to play 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try one of these

The Switch is the most versatile console around, and that means you might need a controller that's different from the norm. In fact, even the standard controller is a best weird. Here's our favorite Switch controllers.
Smart Home

ConnectSense’s next plug iteration makes a home smart without a hub

The newest smart outlet in the ConnectSense line of smart home products not only provides a dual plug but can also operate independently of a smart home home, allowing users to control devices directly through an app.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.
Gaming

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.
Gaming

The third DLC for ‘Spider-Man’ swings onto PlayStation 4 next week

The third part of Spider-Man's episodic DLC, Silver Lining, releases on December 21. The episode focuses on Silver Sable and Hammerhead, and it includes three new suits for Peter Parker.
Gaming

Spawn creator suggests the antihero could appear in ‘Mortal Kombat 11’

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane hinted that the comic book antihero could join the cast of Mortal Kombat 11 during a Reddit AMA. Spawn previously appeared in SoulCalibur II on the original Xbox.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Gaming

Grabbing a Switch for the holidays? Here's what you need to know to play online

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.