“You’re in the suit. Now what?”
Vader Immortal: Episode I is the first game to be released on Oculus Quest for non-VR players, with the developers, ILMxLAB looking to pioneer this new direction for VR gaming. The price tag comes in at a hefty £24.99/$29.99, but people are still excited about it due to it being an experience they can see themselves playing when they aren’t simulating reality in VR headsets. The last time my heart rate went up playing a video game was when I played God of War III in 2010 – and that was because of how outrageously good that game looks even today! Vader Immortal has made me feel like that again, but not for the same reason.
The game is set shortly after episode 3 of Star Wars, with the player being Vader’s ‘Chosen One’ to take part in this story-driven adventure. You are trained by Darth Vader himself before he faces Obi-Wan Kenobi, so you understand what your role is for the rest of the story – not just a spectator but an apprehender. The atmosphere that can be felt from being in Vader’s presence during his training sessions makes it feel as though you’ve really been given an honour few have had or will ever have.
However, once you’re out of your early training stages, that feeling begins to diminish. There are some secrets that I won’t spoil here because they should be experienced first hand; however, a first-person platformer is not the best suited to VR. While there are moments that take your breath away, whether it be from a striking view or a sense of scale as you levitate above the clouds around Mustafar, the majority of the time you’ll be walking incredibly slowly around places as Vader explains what’s going on. Fans of puzzles will find some enjoyment from this title, but those expecting boss fights won’t find anything here – which could prove disappointing for some considering its price tag. The graphics also leave quite a lot to be desired – ‘last gen’ has been used a lot lately to describe games and people have begun becoming more sensitive over their choice of words when talking about art forms such as video games; however,this is a beautiful looking last gen game.
The quick travel system will also feel dissatisfying to those that have been used to teleporting from anywhere they’d like to go since it takes you out of the experience just as much as if you turned your head away or even closed your eyes; however, it’s not without its place in the story and is implemented well enough that I didn’t mind using it for what felt like 5 minutes at times. For these reasons, however, I don’t think this game would be suited to new VR players – but saying that, neither are most other experiences on Oculus Quest since it’s an entirely different platform. This means that people who purchase this for their kids may feel some regret over getting them something they won’t get a kick out of after 10 minutes. I’ll be keeping my copy though, just in case one day they feel like giving it another go – perhaps on a full-fledged desktop VR system.
One final point I’d like to touch on before wrapping this review up is the length of this game. Some may find that £25 isn’t worth what you’re getting here since that’s roughly how much an average AAA game costs to buy; however, bear in mind that this puts itself in the same category as games such as Batman: Arkham VR, which was about an hour long and cost £15+ when it first released. Batman was also regarded as being short for its price tag by many people because it was so good, so this is definitely one to watch.
I’d recommend Vader Immortal: Episode 1 if you’re looking for something to show off the capabilities of your headset, but probably not if you’re just after a game that will keep you entertained for hours on end without even leaving your own home.
Pros: – Incredible atmosphere during story segments – Leaves almost as many questions as it answers Cons: – You’ll spend more time watching than playing – Not suited to new
VR players Rating: 7/10
Artistic Achievement 9 /10
Entertaining 8 /-
Technical 5 /-
Total 6.8 / 10