A winning formula for VR?
Combining hot, established series with virtual reality for new, novel experiences that couldn’t be had before.
Think of it as a mixture of a video game and a movie.
In other words, it could be the future of entertainment.
At least that’s the hope behind Vader Immortal, the first VR-based project from Disney’s Star Wars franchise.
Arriving on Oculus Quest on May 21st for a cool $10, Vader Immortal is about 45 minutes long and is apparently worth the price of admission.
Taking place sometime after the conclusion of the events in Episode III, Vader Immortal puts the player in the shoes of a thief who needs to smuggle some cargo past Imperial eyes. Of course, the complications that arise because of this form the meat of the game’s action and plot.
Ars Technica’s Sam Machkovech describes the game as being akin to the Star Wars VR experience Disney was offering at some of its theme parks.
“Vader Immortal is absolutely on par with Disneyland rides like Star Tours in terms of quality writing, impeccable pacing, dramatically staged vistas, and heightened moments of drama. Unlike Star Tours, though, Vader Immortal takes a plot turn after the events of Episode III and thus offers legitimate series implications (and I wouldn’t dream of spoiling them). I’ll just say that the story taps into a surprisingly hefty vein of Star Wars history. Even if the VR series’ conclusion wraps up with little true impact on the Star Wars timeline, I’m already intrigued to see where this one leads—and what new planet(s) it may unearth for future adventures,” he writes.
As impressive as it is, players should know that, like a theme park ride, the interaction is limited and timed.
Sure, you get to swing a lightsaber around, but it is only a limited segment in the game’s story. Outside of that, the action is actually pretty simple and shouldn’t be a challenge for most players.
That said, the devs have included an arcade mode where you swing the lightsaber around all day long if you so desire (at least they get their fanbase in this regard).
The real promise of Vader Immortal is in future expansions and additions to this core installment.
Priced to move and structured so as to welcome more content in the future, Vader Immortal is as experimental as VR games come in terms of positioning and marketing.
It’s a definite must-play for fans of Star Wars and VR, but the rest of us might be a little turned off by the “on-rails” experience here.
Nonetheless, supporting innovation and new games in whatever form they come out is often the hallmark of the early adopter. For those of us looking for a VR experience to wow our friends (and possibly convert them to it), Vader Immortal is one heck of a ride.
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