Vader Immortal seems like a fantasy.
I used to be a hardcore Star Wars fan. Back before Disney bought the franchise, Star Wars had a rich EU (Expanded Universe) that games, books and comics created to continue the adventures of Luke and the gang after Return of the Jedi.
Then Disney came and wiped it all away.
In a sense, Disney’s reboot of the EU was a mercy killing. At the very least, now, all Star Wars material has to tie in to the movies or TV series. Everything is now canon…which couldn’t be said of the original EU.
That’s why Vader Immortal is such a fascinating game. Not only does it canonically expand on Vader’s quest to enter the afterlife (as seen in the comics), it’s also an official part of the lore.
Is it a worthy addition though?
Read on and find out what I think!
What is Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series?
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR series is a VR action game from ILMxLAB that original saw release on the Oculus platform, where it was split into three distinct episodes.
For the port to the Playstation VR, all the episodes are sold under a single SKU, though they remain individual downloads instead of a singular game.
On the PS VR, you’re going to need two Playstation Move controllers to play as they’re needed to simulate the player’s hands. One is usually reserved for your lightsaber (oh yes!) and the other for Force powers.
The game is noteworthy in that it features prominent Hollywood talent David Goyer (writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy) as the main writer for the story.
The plot deals with Vader’s fascination with the afterlife and his quest to breach it and return Padme Amidala to life.
He enlists the help of a reluctant smuggler (your character), due to the smuggler being the descendant of Lady Corvax, a Force sensitive female who caused Mustafar’s change from a verdant world to the one we all know now. At the center of it all is the Bright Star, an artifact of immense power that Vader thinks will make him invincible.
As a VR title, Vader Immortal is heads and shoulders above most. This is a Star Wars games and the production values in it are tremendous. The game’s broken into three different episodes, but as the PS VR version bundles them all together, you can play them all together.
It’s weird then that the episodes weren’t just stitched together to form one continuous narrative. As it is, you need to load one episode, finish it then load another. It’s frankly jarring.
That’s an easily overlooked issue though because Vader Immortal is incredible. There have been games which have given you Force powers (the recent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order springs to mind) but none have give you Force powers.
It’s a world of a difference between pushing a button to do a Force power and actually enacting the motion in the real world to do it in-game. Grabbing enemies and then slowly hauling them towards your waiting lightsaber blade is freaking delicious.
Even better is when enemies fire at you with blasters. Then you get to deflect and redirect the bolts back just like you see Jedi (or Sith) do in the movies! It’s a lot more satisfying (and harder) with the PS Move controller, since you actually need to deflect the bolts at the correct angle.
There are also melee combatants (including the Dark Lord of the Sith himself) that you can engage in melee combat. Here’s where you feel the most badass! Parrying and blocking with the lightsaber is damn satisfying and feels like the real deal.
I just wish the melee combat was faster if anything. Enemies tend to telegraph their moves, which makes melee fighting a bit too easy.
Once you’re done with the story mode (and you’ll get through it pretty fast…about two or three hours at most), the meat and potatoes of the game lies in the Dojo, which throws enemies at you and lets you truly unleash your skills.
Nearly all the enemies you faced in the story levels are in the Dojo mode (though you’ll need to play different episodes for different enemies) and it’s here that the game truly shines. As a Jedi/Sith simulator, there is nothing like it.
The Dojo challenges are intense, requiring you to really be at the top of your game. Even better, there’s a progression system present. You unlock new stuff as you progress, including the ability to customize saber color.
With all this action, you’d expect there to be a ton of motion right?
You do move around by teleporting in the story mode, but the Dojo mode has you stationary while enemies swarm you, which helps immensely for those who are prone to motion sickness.
Don’t worry if can’t stand VR games, there are a ton of accessibility settings to tweak to make your experience better. I personally didn’t have any issues at all playing the game for an hour or two straight…though I’m not really that prone to motion sickness from VR.
The framerate is pretty fluid too, at least on the PS VR. I didn’t notice any major drops or inconsistent framerates (which usually results in me getting nausea). Everything’s smooth as Baby Yoda’s butt.
I love that Vader Immortal lets you choose whether you want to play sitting down or standing. It had no issue detecting my headset or PS Move controllers no matter which option I picked, though I of course preferred to play sitting down.
The Bottom Line.
If you have a PS VR, there’s no reason you shouldn’t buy Vader Immortal. It is one of the best VR experiences on any platform.
Fighting with a lightsaber with the Force as your ally is an incredible experience. You really feel like you’re a damn Jedi.
I just wish there was more to the game. The story mode’s way too short. It’s great, which is one of the reasons why I hate that it ends so soon. The Dojo should scratch your combat itch, though I do wish it allowed you to customize enemies you face.
Minor gripes aside, Vader Immortal is an incredible game and a great showcase for VR (and for Star Wars fans).
Ever wanted to be a Jedi? Buy the game.
- Awesome story.
- Great gameplay.
- Smooth framerate.
- Dojo Mode.
- Too short.
- Dojo not customizable.