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When Vader Immortal was announced, as a Star Wars fan, I felt a disturbance in the force, and other places. Finally I would be able to jump in the robes of a Jedi and take on the baddest of the bad, Darth Vader. At least that’s the way I pictured it in my head. Then I saw it was exclusive to the Oculus, which I don’t own. To my surprise, seemingly out of nowhere, it was announced that it was coming to the PSVR! Everything was proceeding as I had foreseen. When I finally got my hands on it, it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m trying to squeeze in as many Star Wars references as possible. Ewoks. Chewbacca. AT-AT. Ahhhh, so satisfying.
It might take you longer to read this review than it would for you to finish the game. I’m not exaggerating. In fact, I just finished it again while you were reading the first sentence. Whereas the game was released episodically for the Oculus, you are treated to all three episodes right off the bat on PlayStation. I actually couldn’t imagine playing it any other way. I finished the first episode in 30 minutes and the following two weren’t much longer. You play as a nameless smuggler accompanied by ZO-E3 (voiced by Maya Rudolph) who just so happens to get captured by the Empire and forced to land on Mustafar. Is this chance, The Force, or a convenient way to jump start the story? It’s a mystery (it’s The Force). Regardless, from there your story begins to unfold.
This is far less a game than it is an experience. ILMxLAB, a branch of LucasArts that also brought the Smuggler’s Run attraction at Disneyland to life, is at the helm and they do a great job putting you in the shoes of a new character. The problem I had was that it was mostly an interactive story rather than an all out, lightsaber swinging good time. The first episode introduces you to your trusty weapon. The second gives you your Force push/pull. Finally, the third let’s you put everything together and has the most action by a long shot. When you do get to let loose, it definitely feels like you are a Jedi. That is considering that you’ve had absolutely no training whatsoever. I’m not the most coordinated guy around so I felt more like a 45 year old fat guy who’s never picked up any kind of weapon in his life (which is 90% accurate unless you consider younger me smashing my brother in the face with a plastic toy as a form of training). The controls were pretty spot on though but be aware, Move Controllers are a requirement as there is no DualShock 4 support. Watching my son slice through enemies like he was the second coming of Luke Skywalker really hammered home the fact that I was just flat out terrible. And out of shape.
In terms of performance, the graphics are fantastic and the game runs like butter. The first time you run into Vader will be a moment not soon forgotten for a fan of Star Wars. I’m a big guy but he feels larger than life which is amazing. I also played it with the Astro A50s to try and get the most immersive experience possible. It was adequate. That’s the best I’ve got. The sound of swinging your saber and shots from blasters were straight out of the films, I just didn’t get much out of it as a whole. There are also a ton of accessibility options, as you would expect in a VR game. All fighting is done from a fixed position so there’s no running around the area swinging your weapon around like a fool. In that vein, there was only a single time I got a bit of motion sickness. Climbing pipes and ladders got to me a bit, but I was pretty comfortable for the most part. The overall VR experience was about what I was expecting.
Each episode offers a Jedi Dojo as well. It’s basically a series of challenges that increase in difficulty as you progress. I’m not going to lie, I not only put more time into this mode, I also enjoyed it way more than the story. Each episode, like I said earlier, adds a different ability to your Jedi arsenal. Same is true with the dojo. There are unique enemies to each episode as well. As you progress, you also get access to different colors of lightsaber crystals, different gloves and different models of your weapon. You can dual wield, have a dual sided weapon like Darth Maul and even throw your sabers at enemies. This mode kept me interested in the game and allowed me to hone my Jedi skills. Kind of. Again, there’s only so much I can do given my current station and physique, but you’ll undoubtedly do better. It’s my favorite part of the game and it’s not particularly close.
If you’re a fan of the films and have an extra $30 sitting around, you might take a flyer on this game. I can solidly recommend it at $20 for the Jedi Dojo alone. While I was disappointed in the amount of story content, it was still a good time. I do question some of the story choices farther into the game, some of which make absolutely no sense to me, but I won’t spoil anything. There really isn’t another Star Wars game like it and this is as close as you’ll probably get to realizing your dreams of becoming a Jedi. Or you can play Beat Saber and pretend the blocks are Stormtroopers while listening to soothing sounds of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Whatever floats your X-Wing. May the Force be with you, always (one more for the road).