A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an unlikely hero found himself on an adventure. Not a moisture farmer or a smuggler this time, but a droid repair technician. Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is this man’s story.
This is the latest in a number of virtual reality games that ILMxLAB has created using the Star Wars universe. Previous games have launched to mixed ratings but have some ardent fans, so I was curious to try this one out myself on the Oculus Quest.
Intergalactic Delivery Boy
Starting on a cargo ship, you are boarded by pirates. Unknown to yourself, your boss has taken payment to help transport some important packages and had them mixed in with everything else. You have to stop them from getting it and then fight your way to the escape pod before you go down with the ship.
Managing to land somewhat safely, you end up on a quest to retrieve the packages that eventually turns into more. You encounter well-known characters such as C3P0, as well as new ones like Seezelslak, the chatty bartender, Mubo who runs a store selling droid parts, and Tara from the Guavian Death Gang.
By completing a side quest, you can also unlock a short story where you play as a Jedi Padawan facing the trouble caused by a dark artifact.
I have mixed feelings about the story. The plot isn’t anything too special, but I feel like they’ve done a good job of building the world. The new characters introduced feel like they fit in well and they fit well into the Star Wars universe. It helps that they’ve absolutely nailed the aesthetic when building the levels too. Hanging around the bar while the bartender chats away does feel like it could’ve fit into one of the movies. The motion-capture animation really helped to bring those characters to life too.
The short story where you play as a Jedi Padawan actually felt like a more interesting story to me than the main one. It probably helped that it was a lot more focused with the story proceeding quickly, but it was genuinely good.
Blasters and Repairs
You spend most of your time going area to area, searching for your goal, and using your blaster on pirates that get in your way. There’s some exploration along the way – you’re on a defined path, but you can venture off it a bit sometimes to get extra weapons, items, and such. That’s always appreciated.
Unlike quite a few similar games that I’ve played in VR, there is more than just move on and shoot anything that moves. Not that shooting everything until it stops moving isn’t fun. One of those things is items.
There is a good selection of items in the game, but one of my favorites is the droids. You can find and later buy a few types of flying droids which will float alongside you and attack. You can also repair these as they get damaged. I do enjoy seeing them follow me around and blast away.
As you go through the levels you will come across some simple puzzles too. Nothing too complex, but it has you use your multi-tool which pulls in the repair technician story. It’s either used to proceed or more often to find some extra items. I liked it as it was something to break up the fighting.
As a nice bonus, there were some small challenges to complete too. A darts minigame, little tasks like clearing out a bird’s nest or collecting ingredients for a drink. Just extra objectives to give you something else to do.
Sadly not everything is good about the gameplay. There’s actually quite a lot wrong with it.
Starting with the movement, it gives you a good amount of choice. Fully teleport or free locomotion with occasional teleports, options around snap turning, as well as options for seated or standing gameplay. There’s a jetpack too that can raise you in place a little.
The problem with the free locomotion is that I kept getting caught on non-existent blockages and suddenly being unable to move that way. There’s nothing worse in a firefight than to suddenly stop moving. There was also what I could and couldn’t walk over was inconsistent. The same with teleporting. Sometimes I had to teleport over minor gaps that I should’ve been able to walk over. Sometimes I had to use a jetpack to get high enough to teleport over something I should have just been able to teleport to.
As you kill enemies, they’ll drop weapons and other items. These are supposed to fall to the floor, but instead, they often fall into the floor. You can find weapons completely or half embedded into the ground. Picking them up is also quite difficult at times, where many other items will just come to your hand when you grip nearby. These two problems are paired with the fact that there’s often a need to change weapons as they run out quickly, so you need to salvage them from the dead pirates to continue.
There were issues with the combat too. Enemies getting stuck in place occasionally, the little droids blasting dead enemies and the lightsaber combat did not feel like swinging a cutting tool at all. For example, poking at an enemy with a lightsaber would make it act as if it were cut and vines would melt away from all sides instead of being sliced through.
It just feels like the gameplay side of things needed some more work to provide a good experience. These were just the most evident issues too, with several further issues occasionally popping up. It does break that immersive experience.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is only a few hours long, but for a Star Wars fan it could be worth it to experience that galaxy, far, far away. It does a lot right in that aspect. That said, considering the price for such a short game and the issues with the gameplay, I would be more cautious if I were a more casual fan or just enjoyed these types of games. It immerses you in that universe, but it doesn’t keep you in it.
WAIT FOR SALE ON STAR WARS: TALES FROM THE GALAXY’S EDGE
Many thanks go to ILMxLAB/Oculus for an Oculus Quest review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.