The Star Wars brand has found a welcome home on the Oculus Quest platform. The first episode of the Vader Immortal trilogy helped to kick off the launch of Quest 1, and now, with Quest 2 hot out of the oven, Oculus is hoping that its latest collaboration with Disney will prove a tasty dish for consumers, encouraging lots of Christmas holiday sales.
The Vader Immortal games certainly set a high bar for graphics, audio, and scripted set-piece action, but coming in at under ten dollars each, they were more short, interactive experiences than actual games. I enjoyed the first one, but it was all over in less than an hour, and without any replay value to the main story. Although I bought both of the following episodes, I never actually got around to playing them.
Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, promises a bit more meat on the bone. It’s a nearly full-priced game and weighs in at a hefty 5.69 GB install size. That makes it the second-largest file size on Quest yet, behind only the incredible PCVR to Quest port of Saints and Sinners.
It’s an Oculus Quest exclusive, and Facebook will undoubtedly hope that this is the kind of title that will entice people into VR and the Quest platform specifically. For it to have a crossover appeal, however, it needs to be a complete game, not just a glorified proof of concept tech demo.
Thankfully ILMxLAB has done a great job here. Playing this on an Oculus Quest 2 is truly a mind-blowing experience. The visuals are outstanding for a mobile game, the action fast and frenetic, and the combat and gameplay have some real depth.
I’d almost go as far as to say that this is the best Oculus Quest game I’ve played. Once inside my headset, I could easily be convinced I was playing this on my PC. Unfortunately, my Quest 1 is currently being RMA’d so I couldn’t test how the game performs on that, but holy smokes for a $299 headset, I can’t believe what the Quest 2 can do. In its own way, this is ‘almost’ a benchmark game for the Quest. Unfortunately, it’s still a little short, a couple of hours for the main quest, with another couple more for the side missions, but I had a hell of a good time whilst it lasted.
Let’s take a closer look at this excellent game.
Welcome to Batuu
The game takes place on the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost, located on the planet Batuu, in a remote part of the galaxy known as the Outer Rim, a popular hideout for resistance rebels. This is actually a real-world location, recreated at Disneyland Resort in California, and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, with the game’s locations and characters forming part of the official Star Wars canon.
You play a humble droid repair technician whose ship is downed during an attack by Guavian Death Gang pirates, led by a Predator faced bad girl Tara Rashin.
Crashlanding on Batuu, you must defeat Rashin’s evil band of rogues and restore planetary order. Along the way, you’ll meet a few famous faces, and explore the hazardous Batuu wilds.
The Cantina bar belonging to Seezelsak, a hulking talkative landlord who loves to tell tall tales serves as your primary base, to which you’ll return after completing missions.
There is a main Questline that involves defeating the Guavians and rescuing a couple of well-loved robots from the films along the way, as well as some fetch quest side missions, that have you collecting ingredients or locating droid parts. There’s also a short story encounter where you roleplay a young Padawan from the days of the High Republic.
You can revisit locations you’ve previously unlocked as well as optionally fast travel between them. In all, there are a half dozen different locations.
Gameplay Mechanics – Gunplay, droids, and a clever multi-tool
For a standalone game, the mechanics and gameplay are exceptionally well done here. Even when held up to the lofty standards of Triple-A PCVR titles like Half-Life Alyx and Stormland, Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge holds it own, with solid gunplay, a variety of weapons, an excellent multi-functional tool to open crates and weapon caches, and a superb inventory and in-game menu system.
As a droid technician, you are able to make use of small round attack droids that you can activate by throwing them into the air, and that will then fight alongside you. With up to three able to operate at any one time, it makes the combat more fun as you blaze into an enemy encampment with your droid squad and do battle together.
Guns can overheat and have to be recharged, and you can elect to hold shotguns with two hands if you wish. All the weapons are pretty expendable and won’t last for more than a couple of engagements but you simply throw them away and pick up more. If you happen to find yourself unarmed then you can simply punch the enemies in the face. You must be a heavy hitter, as enemies go down as fast from your right hook as from a shotgun to the face.
Grenades and mines can also be grabbed from weapon caches, along with the aforementioned droids. The droids are a real highlight of the gunplay for me. I love pulling them out of my chest pouch and tossing them up ahead of me, then watching them switch on, and encircle me as we get ready to go to war. If they are damaged you can repair them with your All-Kit tool.
The All-Kit tool is a great addition and you’ll be using it often as a torque wrench, to fusion cut, or as a zapper to spark electricity. With it, you can break into caches and crates, which will then require some simple puzzle solving to unlock. It’s reminiscent of how Half-Life Alyx handles caches, and although not difficult, still pretty satisfying to carry out.
The in-game menu is also well done. You have a journal which gives you information on characters, creatures, objects, and weapons you’ve found, and a device on your wrist which allows you to scan items in the world, locate your objectives, and communicate with Mubo, your employer, whose ship it was that the Guavians destroyed.
If you ever get stuck on what to do you can scroll through your mission objectives to remind yourself, or even just teleport back to Seezelsak’s bar. The game is fairly straightforward though. The levels are pretty linear, and you just fight your way through them, collecting spare parts, coins, and ingredients as you go.
One unique mission has you living out one of Seezelsak’s tales, exchanging your guns for a lightsaber and force powers. It’s a welcome change of pace and a nice bonus adjunct to the main quest. You can see a clip below.
Overall, I found the combat solid, and even thrilling in parts, the AI although not always terribly bright, will at least hide behind cover and run away if hurt.
In terms of the game’s playability, there’s a lot to love here. It’s just a shame it’s all over quite quickly as in all other respects I feel this a true standout game on the Oculus Quest, possibly the best I’ve played on the platform so far.
Comfort Settings, Difficulty, Customisation
This game is way ahead of the pack when it comes to allowing the player to tailor their game experience to how they want it.
You can choose between teleport movement or smooth locomotion. Adjust your run speed, change the snap turn increment, and enable or disable screen shake effects. I didn’t experience any nausea playing on the Quest 2, but I’m not sure how smooth it is on the Quest 1 as I didn’t get to test.
Other comfort settings include the ability to alter your height, select sticky guns, or let you grip to hold them, and even raise or lower your inventory pouch height in case it’s getting in the way.
There are three difficulty levels, and you can adjust in-game. Easy level gives you loads of health, whilst hard is beyond my current skill level. Unlike the Vader Immortal games, I’d rate this game as pretty replayable. Now I’ve completed the game I can certainly see myself going through it again and trying to beat it on hard.
Unlike the Immortal games, there is no dojo equivalent, although you can repeat the lightsaber mini-game quest as often as you want.
Active fitness potential
(Ordinarily, when reviewing a fitness-focused game we use a specific template and playtest with a heart rate monitor. For fully-fledged games that might involve story development, puzzle-solving, exploration, and character conversations such an approach isn’t possible. So instead when reviewing mainstream game releases that have active components a more descriptive and generalized overview is appropriate.)
Overall Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is what we would call a LISS (low-intensity steady-state) game. There are lots of cutscenes, character interactions, and menu reading where you won’t be doing much more than standing and pointing, but when the combat gets going, it can become pretty hectic.
Here are some tips to get the most of the game physically;
Duck and cover! The game features a multitude of rocks, crates, and objects to duck underneath and hide from enemy fire. Use these opportunities to squat duck and work your quad muscles.
Beat up your rivals! Get close enough and you can dispatch baddies by punching them in the face. Throw with force, but keep your guardian turned on so you don’t smash objects outside your playspace!
Play on hard! The harder the difficulty the less damage you can take, meaning you’re forced to play defensively and keep out of the way of bullets and lasers. This will require you to squat down out of the way of enemy fire more often.
Wear a backpack! As part of your job is to collect droid parts, broken equipment, and world ingredients, wearing a weighted vest or backpack full of books can help you roleplay and increase the resistance on those squats!
Slaughter Demlins! Demlins are ugly ferocious cave-dwelling creatures, that form your major adversary during the short story section where you inhabit the character of Padawan Jedi trainee Ady Sun’Zee. Wield your lightsaber with fury and slice up as many of them as you can. Kill over 75 and win a game achievement.
Game Rating 8.5/10 – Physical Activity rating – 6.5/10
Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge is a fantastic beginning to a new Star Wars series on Quest. The visuals are fantastic for a mobile headset, and the combat and game mechanics outdo many PCVR titles I’ve played.
It’s not the most physically active game out there, although the duck and cover style combat, with a bit of lightsaber slaughter thrown in means it has the potential to get your heart rate up. It’s also fun enough that I played it until my battery died.
It’s a little shorter than I would have liked, but a longer, and more substantial offering than any of the Vadar Immortal game series.
If you’re a Star Wars fan and own a Quest 2 then you’ll love this. It really does look and run like a PC VR game. You can tell a lot of effort went into the title, ably demonstrated by the fact that Anthony Daniels and Frank Oz, reprised roles from the films to voice C-3PO and Yoda respectively. If you’re lucky enough to ever visit the real-life theme park you’ll be able to visit Black Spire Outpost for real and have a greater appreciation for it and its inhabitants.
Fantastic visuals really showcase the Quest 2.
Gunplay, All-Kit tool, and droid use are superbly implemented.
Yoda, in the game he is, meet him you shall.
Like a bright, blue star the game burns brightly, but its fuel is spent too soon, and the game left me craving for more.
I only had the chance to test on Quest 2, so can’t speak for Quest 1 performance.
PCVR elitists might look down on the Quest, but they will be nonetheless disappointed that this is an Oculus Quest exclusive.
Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge is out now exclusively for the Oculus Quest priced $24.99 or £18.99.