Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge was the Quest exclusive we were most looking forward to this season, and is a showcase release for your brand new Quest 2 headset if you picked one up. Here’s what we thought about ILMxLAB’s latest.
For those unfamiliar with ILMxLAB – it’s the studio associated with Lucasfilm that was previously responsible for Vader Immortal, which to this date is the Quest title I boot up when I want to impress VR newbies. It’s perhaps not the most fun or polished title from a gameplay perspective, but it never ceases to impress.
As with Vader Immortal’s three episodes, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is a short experience, making it something you can digest in a single evening rather than a game that needs a 40+ hour time investment – something that becomes overwhelming, especially in this busy season. I fully realize that a lack of content is what people will criticize this one for, but for a great VR showcase with a gentle learning curve, I haven’t seen anything better on the Quest.
Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is a more open and less linear/story-driven experience than Vader Immortal was. But while a tight narrative was a benefit for Vader Immortal, making each episode feel like a short interactive Star Wars movie, a more open structure gives players the idea that there’s more to discover – making the disappointment more palpable when you figure out that’s not actually the game. My initial playthrough was therefore underwhelming, but I soon went back just to marvel at how immersive and detailed the game world has been realized.
Taking place on Batuu, Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is (for the moment) my best shot at visiting Disney’s new “Galaxy’s Edge” experience, which was a prominent new attraction at Disneyland before the pandemic forced them to close their doors. As with Vader Immortal, you’re a relatively unknown character – this time one who works as a mechanic and gets drawn into an adventure where you engage with a local gang through firefights while being helped by some droids.
In between the action, you engage in conversations with extremely well animated and fully voiced characters, and although the main characters aren’t as iconic as Darth Vader was you still get Anthony Daniels voicing C3PO in what is the biggest piece of fan service in the game alongside a brief appearance by Yoda in a short side mission.
In terms of gameplay, Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge offers the illusion of an open world game while restricting you to a very limited set of locations. A multitool similar to the one in Vader Immortal returns to help you tackle puzzles and repair droids, but the real action comes during shootouts with gang members. Weapons can’t be upgraded or even reloaded, so you’ll need to conserve your ammo and pick up a new weapon every time you run out of bullets. It’s functional and fun, but not nearly as refined as the shooting in other VR games we’ve played, including DOOM VFR, Farpoint and Alyx.
Your character also doesn’t upgrade (besides getting a jetpack at some point), which I appreciated as it kept the game moving forward without unnecessary padding. Sure, they could’ve stretched the game’s length with generic quests here and there to gain experience points or money, but it would have been at the expense of the story.
But while exploring Batuu is fun, the firefights are thrilling and the presentation is absolutely great for a Quest title, what you want in a Star Wars title is an engaging narrative. The short side mission featuring Yoda is a highlight in that regard, but it feels like Vader Immortal has the superior story here. There are more “tales” coming in the next few months though, so hopefully we’ll see this one expand into something a bit richer over time. Right now it’s a good follow-up to Vader, but one that’s not as immediately captivating as that one.