Only owning a PlayStation VR for my virtual reality fix means that I miss out on some of the great titles that are only on PCVR headsets. As a huge Star Wars fan, I was very jealous when Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series was released only on Oculus platforms as I figured I’d never get to play it. That’s why I was very surprised when developer ILMxLAB announced earlier this year that they were bringing it over to Sony’s VR headset. Despite my excitement at finally getting to play the game I was also a little worried about how it would work with Sony’s outdated PlayStation Move controllers.
Upon getting the game I immediately found something about it that I didn’t like which isn’t the best way to make a first impression. It wasn’t a problem with the game itself but rather how you access the game. This series was delivered in three parts originally over a period of time. Now you can’t buy these episodes on their own and instead have to buy it on PlayStation VR as a complete package. The thing about it is that it forces you to download each part as its own game. That means that when I finished the first episode, I had to close the game and then boot up the second one and the same for the third one. I really don’t understand why it was done this way as it just forces you to take longer to get into the next part. For a better experience, it should’ve been one game with a main menu that lets you then select each part. With the odd delivery method out of the way let’s talk about the actual Star Wars experience here.
The story in this game has you playing as a smuggler who happens to be a descendant of those who ruled the planet Mustafar. This is the same volcanic planet from Episode III where Obi-Wan and Anakin had their fight. Darth Vader is now seeking something on this planet and because he needs a descendant, he ends up capturing you and your ship. Each episode in this series is around 30 minutes to an hour long so the story content in them doesn’t last long but every bit of it I enjoyed. I really enjoyed how much it focused on Vader and built out his character even more than it already was in the movies. The game also has a nice cast of other characters that fit right into the Star Wars universe.
Now in order to play the game you’ll need two PlayStation Move controllers and this is where the PlayStation VR version falters in comparison to the Oculus version. Because there are no sticks on the Move controllers the developers removed the option for smooth locomotion. This is a big disappointment for me as instead you have to use snap turning and teleportation which always takes me out of the experience. It doesn’t ruin the experience but it very much makes it a lesser one and not the best way to experience this game.
Every episode in this trilogy series kind of focuses on different gameplay elements. The first one has you learning how to wield a lightsaber while the second focuses more on the power of the force. The third episode takes everything you’ve learned up until this point and tests your ability to wield it all. During these episodes you’ll be battling against creatures, droids, and even Vader himself. Despite any grievances with this game that I’ve spoken on so far, the combat alone made this entire game worth it to a Star Wars nerd like myself. This is the closest I’ve ever felt to feeling like I’m actually wielding a lightsaber as every slash I delivered and block I made with it felt satisfying. The powerful force abilities you get are also extremely fun to use on baddies in the game. And when you run into Vader to have your battle against the dark lord the sheer sense of presence that he puts off is astounding.
When you’re not in actual combat which happens a lot you’ll be moving around, interacting with things in the environment and solving puzzles. None of them are complicated and really, I just wanted to get to the next fight so that I could feel like a badass Jedi again. When you finish the story, you can get more mileage out of the game by taking on the Dojos. These are challenge rooms that throw waves and waves of enemies at you to really put your lightsaber and force skills to the test. Each episode has a dojo and each one progressively lets you wield new powers in them. Every time you finish one you are graded on a three-star scale and doing better rewards you with new colors and options for your lightsaber. I really enjoyed these challenges and it helped me get even more time out of this game.
The visuals in the game are great in some areas and not so great in others. As I played I noticed quite a lot of poor texture work but at the same time many of the locations and characters like Darth Vader look great. The audio experience is well done which further helps make you feel like you are actually in the galaxy far, far away and every voice actor delivered a great performance. Those interested in the trophies won’t find a Platinum trophy here sadly. Instead each episode has a small list with them being pretty easy overall to get.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series was a great experience for a Star Wars fan like myself but you should know what you’re getting into beforehand. This isn’t a very long experience so whether the price right now is worth it to you will be up to you to decide. If you have the choice to play it on PlayStation VR or Oculus I’d have to recommend to go with the Oculus due to there being no smooth movement on PlayStation VR. It doesn’t ruin the experience but it doesn’t feel as immersive when you have to teleport around. With all that said, the few hours I spent with this game is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like an actual Jedi and that to me made this whole experience worth it.
*Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series is available now on PlayStation VR and Oculus. Reviewed on a PlayStation VR and PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review. ThisGenGaming is an official partner of vrgamecritic.com where you can find all of our PlayStation VR reviews.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series$29.99
- Wielding a lightsaber and using the force feels very satisfying
- Has some great story moments
- Great sound effects, music, and voice acting
- Visuals look really good for the most part
- The Dojo challenges are a nice extra that further test your skills
- Lack of movement options compared to Oculus version which causes some immersion problems
- Might not be enough game here for some
- How you switch between episodes is inconvenient