After impressing virtual reality gamers a great deal on the Oculus Quest, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series has now brought its breath-taking lightsaber-fuelled adventure over to PlayStation VR in one neat package. However, whilst the game still manages to offer an escapade that’ll have any Star Wars fan smiling with glee, the move to PlayStation VR has seen some limitations introduced due to the more restrictive setup of the hardware.
Vader Immortal puts you in the role of a smuggler who has the misfortune of ending up within the tractor beam of the evil Galactic Empire – something which wouldn’t typically end well for most space travellers. Fortunately, it turns out that the iconic Sith Lord Darth Vader actually needs you alive, for reasons that you’ll soon understand when you find yourself roaming the perilous lava-filled grounds of the planet Mustafar. From there, you’ll find yourself learning the force, wielding a lightsaber, and fighting for your survival, both against the droids and beasts that are roaming around and eventually against the big baddie himself…
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot of Vader Immortal as it’s a very story-driven experience. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t go in expecting any big surprises that’ll completely re-shape the Star Wars universe, but it certainly portrays Darth Vader as more than just a vicious villain and one that has personally-driven motives to become unstoppable… ok, sure, that might sound pretty vicious and villainous, but there’s a lot more to it in the story. Add to that a colourful cast of characters that wouldn’t feel out of place in any of the Star Wars films, and you’ll quickly find that Vader Immortal’s tale will be entertaining to both Star Wars fans and those who haven’t experienced the movies in any shape or form (if those people actually exist).
From a gameplay perspective, you’ll get to do a lot of different things in Vader Immortal. Some of these are simple virtual reality procedures… you know, things like exploring immersive environments, interacting with different mechanisms, or solving puzzles. It does all of the basics really well, whilst the implementation of the gameplay in a world that’ll feel familiar to so many gamers just makes it all the more enjoyable.
Of course, the most exciting aspect of Vader Immortal comes with its combat, with players able to wield both a lightsaber and force powers as they look to defeat their enemies. Making swipes and slashes with your lightsaber to destroy foes feels MIGHTY satisfying, whilst blocking incoming strikes to counter-attack, deflecting lasers back at enemies, or using force powers to overwhelm your foes is always awesome. Basically, it re-creates what it would feel like to be a Jedi (or Sith) and presents it in an immersive and fun virtual reality experience.
It’s worth noting that Vader Immortal isn’t a bona fide action experience though, with cinematic presentation at the forefront throughout. You’ll really FEEL like you’re in the world of Star Wars, whether that’s when in confrontation with Stormtroopers or being face to face with Darth Vader himself, with plenty of sequences in place to simply move the story forward – you won’t necessarily be spending all your time in battle (and even when you do it’s very straightforward in design). This isn’t a bad thing and the puzzle sequences and interactions you have within the world do make it feel interesting, but those hoping for an all-out action-orientated battler full of lightsaber showdowns may be a little bit underwhelmed.
With everything that Vader Immortal offers, it’s hard to feel disappointed. Sure, the story can be beaten in less than three hours, but there’s enough variety across it that you’ll definitely want to complete multiple playthroughs. Not interested in re-visiting the story? Well, try out the Dojo instead, which brings with it an array of action-packed challenges that’ll really test your skills. You’ll get graded with stars in these challenges too, so there’s something to work for that brings a satisfying sense of progress to the mode.
So there’s no denying that Vader Immortal is a mighty fun game that offers plenty for the player to do, but how well has it made the transition to PlayStation VR? Well, this is where the game has some shortcomings.
For one, the control scheme is teleportation-based only, with the free movement from the Oculus Quest version of the game not available here. Now I’ve played plenty of virtual reality titles that only offer this form of movement in the past so it’s not a big problem, but the fact that I’ve played the game previously on a different platform and been able to move freely does make its omission here a little disappointing. But hey, at least you’ll still be able to see everything that you could in the Oculus Quest version of the game… it’ll just feel less immersive exploring the world.
Then there’s the fact that PlayStation VR has a more restricted 180-degree movement range, with the player not able to turn around 360-degrees freely like they can with other virtual reality headsets. Again, this isn’t really a big problem in-game, but after experiencing a lot more freedom on other platforms it’s hard not to feel a little restricted when using your lightsaber or force powers here. Rather than turning your body around, you’ll have to use a snap-turn with a button press on your Move controller that just feels a bit naff when compared to the Oculus Quest’s freedom.
In fairness, there are no sequences in the game that’ll really be affected by these issues greatly and it’s more of a personal complaint than a genuine issue. You’re definitely not getting a massively inferior version of Vader immortal on PlayStation VR – in fact, if you’re experiencing Vader Immortal for the first time on Sony’s headset, you’ll have a brilliant time and not even notice these issues. It might not offer the same freedom and immersion offered by other platforms, but it still looks impressive and feels fun to play.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series is essential for Star Wars-loving PlayStation VR owners, even if it might not necessarily be as good as the Oculus Quest version of the game. You’ll genuinely feel like you’re a part of the Star Wars universe, with the fantastically designed story sequences and epic lightsaber battling making for a gripping experience throughout.
It’s worth noting that some of the restrictions of the PlayStation VR headset do see the game losing some of the immersion offered by the Oculus Quest version of the game, especially when it comes to the freedom of movement. Fortunately, it doesn’t deter from the overall experience at all, with Vader Immortal standing out as another unmissable PlayStation VR title.
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift