The third and final chapter in ILMxLAB’s Star Wars mini-series has come to a close, perhaps a little too abruptly, but with all the splendour and shine that we’ve come to expect from the talent at ILMxLAB.
Again, Vader Immortal: Episode 3 is split into two distinct game modes. You have the story experience that gives you a 35 to 45-minute experience that puts you in the gloves of a hero, and the Dojo, where you can test your lightsaber skills and more. It’s that latter you’ll spend most of your time as there are 50 stages to clear, each more difficult than the last. There’s also challenges and high scores to go for, too, giving you more reason to wave your arms around wildly for hours.
I started with the story mode. Despite each episode being less than an hour long, there’s a lot of lore to take in and process, and the writers have done a great job in crafting a story that puts you and Darth Vader at the heart of it. I expect that anyone reading this review has already played through the first two episodes, but for those who are new to the series and want to know if it’s worth investing $30 into the entire mini-series, here’s a brief overview of the story.
You play as a nameless smuggler who just so happens to be a descendant of some ancient family that lived long ago on the planet Mustafar. This planet also plays host to Darth Vader and his castle. But there’s more going on than meets the eye. Vader is searching for an ancient stone to power an ancient machine in an attempt to bring Padme back to life. You’re the key to everything. There’s not much leeway with the narrative; you can’t make any decisions and you don’t interact with other characters. You’re a passive observer to the events of the story, but you’re also the vessel driving it on. The beauty of VR, I suppose.
The story mode will run around 35-45 minutes, depending on how you fare in some of the game’s battles. There’s a lot more action in this instalment, but some of it feels like it was added to pad the game’s length. One criticism of the series is that episodes are too short, so I can understand the desire to give people more playtime, but I’d have preferred a little more length on the actual story. The padding is obvious, and once you realise you’ve been deflecting Stormtrooper blaster shots for five minutes, it just feels a little cheap.
Mostly, though, the story is well done, if a little rushed. In the space of just a few in-universe hours, you’ve gone from being a no-name smuggler to a force-wielding lightsaber master who can hold their own against Darth Vader in the game’s climactic end battle. Just think about that for a moment. Vader took down Obi-Wan (er, spoilers…) and half the Jedi in the galaxy, but he couldn’t even give you a slap around. Maybe there’s more to come? There is a hint towards a future come the end of the story, but that could just be an insurance policy. A door left ajar, just in case.
Vader Immortal: Episode 3 is a special game at the moment as it mark the first time we’re reviewing a game using Oculus Quest natively, and then Oculus Quest on PC via Oculus Link. For the story, I played on PC with the graphics cranked up high and headphones blaring into my earholes. It was brilliant, and a real showcase for VR. ILMxLAB has done a great job in creating a Star Wars world that looks and feels the part. Stood above the hangar as hundreds of Stormtroopers battled against my own army, I was in awe. I was in my own Star Wars movie! And then I got shot to hell because I was too busy gawping. But still, I was impressed.
Going back to the Quest natively, thinks are still impressive, and when you consider that it’s running all on a mobile chipset inside the unit, it’s even more impressive. It doesn’t look any worse than the previous instalments, but I do recommend that you link up to your PC just to see what it’s like with…
For the main meat of Vader Immortal: Episode 3, you’re going to want to stay wireless, if you have that option. The Jedi Dojo is ramped up to new extremes this time around. You’ve not only got your lightsaber and the force to help you fend off the waves of enemies, but you’ve also got blasters that stormtroopers drop upon death, and grenades. Oh, and you can dual wield lightsabers once you reach a certain level. Oh, and you can get a DARTH MAUL LIGHTSABER once you get even further. It’s literally every Star Wars fan’s dream, and it delivers. It’s tough as nails and performance can drop on the Quest when there’s a lot going on, but it’s never to the point that it becomes unplayable or unfair. I’ve spent a good three hours in this mode and I’m still struggling to get to the end. One day. One day…
Star Wars Vader Immortal: Episode 3 Oculus Quest/Rift Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Star Wars Vader Immortal: Episode 3 delivers more of the same, but with a little extra spice on top. You finally get to fight Vader, the story comes to a satisfying – if a touch rushed – close, and the Jedi Dojo is menacingly good fun. For a tenner, you could do a lot worse.
- Exciting story with frequent battles
- Jedi Dojo III is insanely fun and definitely catering towards fans
- Story, while being good, is definitely rushed
- Myself and the rest of the VR community would have gladly waited a little longer if it meant just one extra game mode
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using Oculus Quest.
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Also available on:
Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive, Vive Index
November 21st, 2019 (All supported platforms)