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Vader Immortal - A Review of the Game and the Device

I will admit it: I spent $400 on the Oculus Quest simply because I wanted to play Vader Immortal. I already own a PS4 VR system that I rarely play with and I was too impatient for the title to port to my setup. That said, I am not at all disappointed.

Welcome to Mustafar!

I feel like I need to start with the device itself, because that is part of the reason why the game plays and feels the way it does. The Oculus Quest is amazing. Plain and simple. The set up and tutorial are actually fun and the way a polygonal world spawns around you is truly awe inspiring. Building your boundaries of play with one controller followed by the creation and visualization of a virtual world in physical space you've literally outlined is almost life changing. Experience in VR is everything and the Quest has made each part of it nearly perfect. If you've ever wanted to go into the Holodeck on Star Trek, your dreams have come true.

The wire-free system makes a much bigger difference than I even imagined. I knew it would make everything easier to use, but I had no concept of how much of an impact it would have. You are thrown into VR with literally the flick of a switch. No set up. No connections. Nothing to trip over or avoid other than the real stuff in the room you are playing in.

Onto the game. Of course the first thing I did was download Vader Immortal. For only $10 it is the best Star Wars experience you can get in your home. And, at the price, it cannot be touched. (OK, I'm not counting the $400 for the Oculus ... I probably should.) This review will not have spoilers and that's important because a) it is more of a movie than a game and b) it's only 45 minutes long so any part of it ruined would be a shame.

Everything about the game captures the feel of Star Wars. The new alien creature you meet early on feels perfectly Star Wars. Your droid companion (a must for Star Wars) looks like Star Wars, but I must admit, I wish I didn't read ahead of time who the voice actor was, because, unfortunately, the robot sounds too much like them and it was one of the only things that pulled me out of the experience.

What this game gets the most right is scale and presence. Sometimes VR games tend to feel like you are watching something happening around you, but in this game will literally give you a new appreciation of the universe you watch in the movies. Your first encounter with a Stormtrooper changes your impression forever. They are no longer jsut cannon fodder to me, they are formidable, hefty soldiers. Their aim still sucks, but they more imposing in VR - especially when they walk right up to you.

The best part of the game is the titular character. He is imposing. He is big. He is frightening. I wouldn't say Darth Vader had become cartoony in the films, but he has almost become more accessible, like a superhero. When you come face to face with Vader in this experience you are struck by how large he is and how powerful his presence is. Leia is even braver than I thought on the Tantive IV in A New Hope. I wanted to spend more time with him and I imagine we will in future installments.

As with all VR games, some of it is a little clunky. It takes a little getting used to climbing ladders or pulling and pushing objects, but once you do it is amazing how immersed you become. Lightsaber fighting feels a little wonky at first, but you get used to it. I think it's because of the inability to add any weight to the saber handle.

As I stated at the top, this is more experience than game, though. I didn't die once during the game (not sure if you can or not). I would liken it to a 45 minute Disney ride. You come around corners to see new things that open up whole environments. You will ride across deep chasms and overlook molten landscapes and truly believe you are there. There are a handful of jump scares but no sense of imminent doom. You never worry for your safety, but you are enjoying every bit of the ride.

Overall, if you are a Star Wars fan, this is an experience you must try. It was a brilliant move on Oculus' part to offer Vader Immortal available at launch as I am certain I am not the only one to jump on it immediately because of this title.

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