Have you ever wanted to go toe-to-toe with Darth Vader? What about deflect blaster shots into a stormtrooper? What about using the force to throw ancient droids around? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Vader Immortal might be the game for you. Set in-between the events of Episode III and IV, Vader Immortal gives you a deeper dive on Darth Vader’s life outside of what we know from the movies.
The game is broken into three individual sections, but I’ll combine them all for the purpose of this review. It all starts off when your character is captured by the empire and is brought to the fiery planet of Mustafar. While in captivity, you get to see the almighty Vader for the first time. I’m not sure what the size of the character you control is, but it’s nothing compared to the big bad man himself. Vader runs a quick test on you and wants to see if you are compatible to help him out on his mission.
After he leaves, you try to find a way to escape the room and planet. With the help of a Mustafarian you find a way to escape the cell. However, you don’t leave the planet just yet. Instead, you travel to an old temple that predates the Empire. This is where the meat of the story begins. Without going into any more details, your journey in this game reveals why Vader needs you and what Mustafar use to be like. I found the story to be absolutely fascinating. I didn’t necessarily feel a connection to my character per se, but I did love getting to know more about Vader’s mission and the history of the planet.
While the story is one of my favorites in any VR game I’ve played, the gameplay did show its age. With the story only lasting 3 hours or less, there isn’t much room for the action to take place. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. For instance, there is a scene where you and Vader “team up” to destroy these old guardian machines that hunt you down. While I was fighting, I didn’t necessarily have the time of my life wielding my lightsaber. What made the scene awesome was looking past my enemies to see Vader wreak havoc on everyone he encountered. It felt just like the last scene in Rogue One. It would have been even better if I didn’t have to fight for my life and miss half the moves he was pulling out.
When it comes to combat, Vader Immortal babies you with the lightsaber. At no point in the main game, did I really love slashing enemies down. The guardians have strikes that take so long it feel like ages before you have to worry about blocking them. The only time you’ll struggle in combat is in the dojo, which I’ll get to a little bit later.
Force powers don’t come until Episode 2, and it’s a hit or miss for me. I loved being able to grab an enemy and throw them around like they were nothing, but it doesn’t do a great job of keeping it fresh. Probably my favorite thing to do was to grab a gun from a stormtrooper and kill him with it. That’s when I felt more like a force wielding badass. However, those moments didn’t really happen until the last episode. A good chunk of your time will go to maneuvering up cliffs and ladders. Unfortunately, my stomach doesn’t like doing those kinds of things in VR.
After the campaign is over, there isn’t much to do besides the dojo. The dojo is just a series of waves of enemies, each one more challenging than the last. Each episode has its own dojo, and they go up to 40 waves. The dojo for the third episode is much better than the one in the first, because you can only use the lightsaber in the first dojo. Not only is it pretty boring, but there’s times where I didn’t quite understand why my lightsaber didn’t block an enemy. The third episode dojo you can throw the lightsaber, use force powers, and even use lightning at times. It’s where everything finally comes together. I’m still not fully on board with the gameplay, but I finally saw the potential in all of it.
Let’s get to the sounds and graphics. Most of the objects you see look great in VR. There are some areas that fall flat, but they packed enough detail into the game to feel fully immersed. The sound is also a shining spot in the game. You’ll hear all the traditional sounds in the Star Wars universe, and there isn’t much like holding a lightsaber in your hand and hearing and seeing it turn on. You’ll also be pleased to know the voice actors did a terrific job with their respective characters and it really felt like you were there with them.
The trophies in Vader Immortal are severely lacking. You get one trophy for each story episode and then the rest go to the dojo. There’s nothing combat or collectible related for trophies. There’s no platinum in the game either, and it made me not care as much about getting 100% of the trophies. I don’t think I like the dojo enough to complete it all, and I definitely don’t care enough about it to get the highest rank on all of the waves. It’s a terrible trophy list, and I wouldn’t advise any trophy hunter to go for them all in this game.
Overall, Vader Immortal is a fine experience with more emphasis on the lore than the actual gameplay. You’ll find plenty of little easter eggs that will bring a little smile to your face. Even though the story content isn’t very long, I would say it was stronger than most of the movies that have come out after the first 3 movies. At the end, I was begging for more story content. Unfortunately, the combat didn’t satisfy me as much as I thought it would. Granted, this game is an older VR game and the gameplay itself feels more like a tech demo. If you already can’t get enough of Star Wars, you’ll want to pick this up. If you are just wanting to be a lightsaber wielding badass, well, you may want to wait for the next Star Wars VR game.