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Star Wars Kinect preview: Force flail


Automatic doors are a wonderful opportunity to pretend, aren't they? As children, I imagine my parents approached them while saying something like "Open Sesame." Personally, I like to use the opportunity to practice my Jedi training. A simple wave of the hand and the doors bend to my will, granting me a private thrill and entrance into the local drug store.

Star Wars Kinect is filled with automatic doors.

Gallery: Star Wars Kinect (6/6/11) | 5 Photos

I'm speaking metaphorically, of course -- although I don't remember any manual doors, come to think of it. Star Wars Kinect, at least the portion involving lightsabers and Jedi, employs some nifty tricks that should appeal to anyone with dreams of embracing the Force.

Players have no control over the camera, and movement is largely restricted to a predetermined path, but there is a degree of freedom in dispatching enemies. Dropping onto the sky-bound platforms of Cloud City, I found myself surrounded by hostile droids. My Jedi avatar automatically chose his targets, but it was up to me to decide how to dispatch it.

Placing one foot forward, I used the Force to dash to the nearest droid. A swing of my right arm brought my lightsaber searing through its mechanical guts. Doing this, honestly, feels a little awkward. My saber swings always came out broad and slow, so players hoping to recreate the feather-light, balletic movements of the most recent films may be out of luck. Also, for what it's worth, stabbing motions didn't seem to be recognized.

Force powers, on the other hand are much more fun. The left hand can be used for Force pulls, pushes and throws, all of which have their own delightful results. Lifting a hand toward an enemy envelopes it with a blue sphere. Once targeted, the enemy will fly in whatever direct you like. A quick push will send it flying backward, or you could fling it to one side or the other, perhaps over one of Cloud City's perilous drops. Let me tell you, yanking my left hand toward my own body and watching a droid fly toward the screen was intensely satisfying.

Dashing feels similarly powerful, especially when combined with jumping. Physically jumping off the ground caused my avatar to flip behind an enemy, leaving it open for whatever punishment I chose to dole out. Combining everything together, it's easy to dash, leap over an enemy's head and then send it sailing with a Force push.

All the mechanics are entertaining enough, though I'm not sure how satisfying Star Wars Kinect will be as an actual game, especially without seeing the other available game modes. As a quick and dirty Force simulator, however, it's hard to top. At the very least, it beats the pants off of sending a ball up a tube.

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