Who doesn't want to be a Jedi Knight and say, "Lightsaber, on" before slicing the air with your arm, um lightsaber, to cut down a few Storm Troopers? With Microsoft's demo of the much anticipated Kinect Star Wars among many others today just ahead of the official opening of E3 on June 7, we have new reasons to want a Kinect (and new 360 games) for Christmas this year.
Building on the success of the Kinect for Xbox 360 and the ability to use you whole body (rather than just hold a Wii-mote) to play Dance Central, Microsoft and partners have obviously been busy porting the voice and body controls that the Kinect enables into both new and franchise titles. But not every game is integrating the new capabilities in quite the same way so read on for four that caught my eye at the press conference today.
The most complete integration of voice and motion commands seems to be Kinect Star Wars (Terminal Reality, LucasArts/Microsoft Studios), which requires that you use full arm movements to direct your lightsaber, as well as channel the Force with hand gestures to move a tank from a distance, as demonstrated on stage in Los Angeles. The updated motion controls and voice commands make the game even more appealing than its teaser last year. Here is a clip of the demo:
Fable: The Journey (Lionhead Studios, Microsoft Studios) also makes innovative use of motion controls in that you travel on horseback through the game (so you gesture as if you are holding onto reins and directing a horse) and cast spells to defeat fantastical creatures with specific hand gestures. See below for the demo:
In Mass Effect 3, you take command once again as Commander Shepard, the only one who can save Earth from total annihilation by the alien race, "Reapers", and can replace your controller with voice commands by reading the options on the screen (like a "Choose your own adventure story") to direct gameplay, rather than just click through lines and lines of dialogue. The demo is below:
In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier(Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft), you play as a member of the U.S. Special Forces' elite unit of Ghosts to track down sophisticated targets around the world. It makes particular use of the Kinect's voice and body tracking abilities in the “Gunsmith” mode, where you can customize your weapons "into more than 20 million variations in a way that simply can’t be done with a controller alone," according to the press release. Judging by the demo, the "Gunsmith" mode mimics the actions to operate a real gun but in done in an extremely slick way (I can just hear Neo from Matrix saying, "guns, lots of guns"). A demo of the "Gunsmith" mode is below:
Other 360 games getting the Kinect treatment (either enhanced with motion tracking, voice commands or both) include: Dance Central 2, Gears of War, Kinect Sports, Forza Motorsport 4, Kinect: Disneyland Adventures, Minecraft, Sesame Street: One Upon a Monster and Ryse. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Halo 4, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Tomb Raider are some of the new releases you can look forward to. In the meantime, Xbox LIVE members can check out the Kinect Fun Labs to test out all the latest innovations on Kinect interactivity for free -- starting today.