If you ever wondered what it may feel like to travel to a galaxy far, far away the team at ILMxLAB is taking immersive Star Wars experiences to a level beyond, recreating what just might be an essential foray into the universe for Star Wars fans. Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge is the first in a series of stories being told focusing on both new and old characters that pits you in the midst of environments you’ve only dreamt of traveling to.
For a majority of Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, you play as a droid repair technician from Batuu who quickly finds themself in conflict with the Guavian Death Gang and one of their leaders, Tara Rashin. Throughout your quest, you’ll search for droid parts, encounter some old friends, engage in shootouts, and investigate areas around the Black Spire Outpost to help Mubo, Seezelslak, and maybe a droid or two. With what is a small expedition into the wilds of Batuu, all aspects of the storytelling converge to create something both gorgeous to surround yourself in and fun to play. The writing and voice acting feel just like the Star Wars you know, while each area feels alive and detailed even if the spaces aren’t as vastly populated with characters as you may have hoped or expected when stepping into an outpost or cantina. Anytime someone called through on your DataGrip and their hologram popped up on your wrist while you are still investigating your surroundings was satisfying and felt more genuine than suspending your gameplay to watch a cutscene or read a dialogue window.
As someone who enjoys Star Wars but mainly only consumes the movies and video games I think that this deeper dive into the worlds within Star Wars will appeal to all levels of the fanbase. I was still connected enough to the story and world simply because of the level of immersion that swept over me from throwing darts in Seezelslak’s cantina, to the various set pieces scattered around Batuu where I would find myself searching for hidden droids or blasting away at the Guavian Death Gang.
Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge encapsulates an immersive storytelling experience that rivals other mediums– not quite just a video game, not just a vehicle for story and lore building, but something wholly unique that can only exist in VR since traveling to Batuu isn’t actually possible. It feels like part of a theme park attraction while also fulfilling elements more associated with video games that can’t be translated the same way a slice of Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland or World would. If this was just a console experience it wouldn’t be as impactful and might potentially be a skippable jaunt, but that added element of immersion that is unique to VR propels Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge to an almost unmissable adventure. That’s not to say that just it being a VR experience is what makes it what it is, because I have played some not so great VR games and Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is not one of those.
The gameplay and combat in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge does have a repetitive cycle but doesn’t overstay its welcome or become tedious. Using your All-Kit to fuse together wires to open doors, or melt the seals around weapon crates to get stocked up for the next enemy encounter was never something that felt too recycled. The nature of combat revolves around using cover to your advantage while using an array of blasters, thermal detonators, and remote droids to survive the onslaughts. The combat scenarios actually provided more of a challenge than I was expecting, and not just something you could wildly blast your way through. I would often find myself dual-wielding two different types of blasters to give myself an edge, something powerful with a spread for close range and something single shot for enemies at range. The inclusion of a jetpack adds some veritcality for exploration, but ultimately doesn’t open up the gameplay much more other than moving to higher or lower areas.
The main game is on the shorter side, only a few hours in total– longer of course if you are looking for all of the hidden collectibles– but the experience that is there is noteworthy. There’s of course the bonus Tale given from Seezelslak, which I would recommend seeking out as it provides new gameplay elements and characters. The current plans for Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is to expand with more Tales being brought into the game at a later date, and if the Temple of Darkness quest that is included is a taste of what’s to come– Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge’s canvas is going to only become a more enticing painting splattered with more reasons for Star Wars fans to gawk at it.
As this base experience stands, I don’t think it’s too barebones, or lacking in content, nor is it anything that is necessarily groundbreaking within the VR space, but I do think that it is an overall polished and enjoyable experience that is in the higher tier of virtual reality games. The main characters like Seezelslak, Mubo, and Tara Rashin are amiable and worthy of spending time with within the Star Wars universe. There’s enough variety in weapons and enemies to keep the encounters fresh, the different locales within Batuu that you visit offer different landscapes to get lost in without being too open or too linear, and the visual presentation– especially being exclusive to the Oculus Quest– is one of the most gorgeous VR games I have played. If you’re a Star Wars fan with access to a Quest, this is something that you should absolutely not miss, while for non-Star Wars fans looking for a new VR experience can breathe in a sigh of relief knowing that the core game doesn’t rely too heavily on knowing anything about Star Wars to get enjoyment out of the experience. I am excited to see Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge suite of stories continue to grow because I think the team at ILMxLAB utilizes the hardware fully to provide a wholly unique dive into the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is available now on the Oculus store. We reviewed Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge on an Oculus Quest 2 with a code provided by the developer.
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