Tales from the Galaxy's Edge Review: The best Star Wars VR adventure you can get
April 20, 2023:
- Complete revision of the article
- Added my impressions of the Enhanced Edition for PSVR 2
Tales from the Galaxy's Edge is now available for Playstation VR 2. The so-called Enhanced Edition is the ultimate version of the game.
The original Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge (which I will abbreviate as "TGE" to make things easier to read) was released in late 2020 for Oculus Quest 1 and is the second major Star Wars VR adventure after Vader Immortal. It was developed by Lucasfilm's immersive entertainment studio ILMxLAB.
When it was released, TGE consisted of a mini-campaign and a playable tale, which together offered around three to four hours of gameplay. The base game was expanded in the fall of 2021 with the extensive paid DLC Last Call, which brought two new mini-campaigns as well as two playable tales and more than doubled the game time.
The following review gives my rather mixed impressions of the base game of 2020, which I reviewed on the now outdated Oculus Quest.
In early 2022, I played TGE again. This time on Meta Quest 2 and with Last Call included. You can find my much more positive overall verdict on the complete VR game under my conclusion.
Vader Immortal was considered the best VR experience in the Star Wars universe, along with Star Wars: Squadrons. With Last Call, TGE clearly surpassed he cinematic Vader experience, at least in terms of scope and gameplay.
In April 2023, I reviewed the PSVR 2 version of the game: The technically much improved Enhanced Edition takes the Star Wars adventure to a new level and is by far the best version of Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge.
Tales from the Galaxy's Edge: Review in a nutshell
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge is a must for fans of the Star Wars universe. With a Quest 2 and the paid DLC Last Call, it's also worthwhile for those, who are not into Star Wars.
Playstation VR 2 owners will get the best experience with the Enhanced Edition, which is a significant step-up in terms of graphics, haptics and 3D sound.
Primarily tested on: Meta Quest 2, Playstation VR 2
Tales from the Galaxy's Edge will appeal to you if …
- if you love Star Wars and have always wanted to meet C-3PO, R2-D2 and Yoda,
- if you are looking for a fun VR adventure with lots of shooting and some puzzles, and
- if you like atmospherically dense gaming experiences.
Tales from the Galaxy's Edge will probably not appeal to you …
- if you expect an open world,
- if you hope for a continuous, epic story campaign, and
- if you wish for particularly deep gameplay mechanics.
Meet Seezelslak the bartender
You take on the role of an unassuming droid mechanic working on an old cargo space ship. The action begins when you are attacked near the planet Batuu by space pirates who suspect the ship is carrying valuable cargo.
In the heat of battle, you jettison the cargo towards Batuu and leave the ship with an escape pod. Stranded on the green planet, it's up to you to recover the mysterious cargo before the space pirates and their ruthless leader, Tara Rashin, do.
Before the adventure begins, you'll land in a bar in the heart of the Black Spire outpost, the main settlement on the planet Batuu. The bar is modeled after the cantina on Mos Eisley. If you expect alien species, exotic music and a boisterous atmosphere, you'll be disappointed: the tavern is empty except for its owner, the bartender Seezelslak.
After you have been instructed in the bar by the droid mechanic Mubo, you head into the wilderness of Baatu. You can only see the outpost from a window of the bar: Unfortunately, you can't leave the bar and explore the settlement.
Blasters instead of lightsabers
Over the next two and a half hours, you'll shoot your way through a series of linear levels using a variety of blasters. You'll face a handful of enemy types that don't require much skill to take down.
When surrounded by soldiers, drones, and indigenous creatures, you can call on up to three flying droids for support. They will follow you wherever you go, automatically attacking enemies or marking them for you to target.
The blasters use energy. When they run out, which happens pretty quickly, you'll need to get new weapons. This isn't a problem because you can pick up weapons from dead enemies.
For some variety outside of shooting, you can use your multi-tool, which acts as an electric screwdriver, a cutting torch, or a charger, depending on your needs. You can use it to open equipment crates or repair damaged droids.
You can move through the game world by smooth locomotion and by teleportation. The latter is necessary to cross gaps.
The action-packed storyline is broken up by appearances from familiar Star Wars characters: During the mini-campaign, you'll meet C-3PO and rescue R2-D2 from the clutches of Tara Rashin.
The boss fight against the leader of the Guavian Death Gang, a local gang of thugs, doesn't require much skill or wits and forms the end of the campaign.
When you return to Seezelslak's Bar, you'll give the owner some of the ingredients you collected on your journey through the wilds of Batuu.
As a reward, the bartender will tell you a story from the era of the High Republic. You'll relive the plot and take on the role of Jedi Padawan Ady Sun'Zee, who must stand alongside Yoda against an ancient force of evil. Like in Vader Immortal, you'll be able to fight with a lightsaber and use the Force to defeat demonic creatures.
The playable story is separate from the rest of the game and lasts no more than 20 minutes. It is the first of several titled stories, with more to follow soon.
I reviewed TGE on Oculus Quest 1. The aging mobile chip of the VR headset is under heavy load here. Especially during fights, I rarely enjoyed a stable frame rate.
Still, you can see in many places that the studio went to great lengths to get the most out of the hardware and to create locations and environments that are true to the Star Wars universe.
Due to the Oculus Quest's lack of performance, the result is not always convincing: blurred textures and flat backgrounds are distracting in outdoor areas, for example.
Conclusion: A VR adventure with plenty of Star Wars magic
Vader Immortal emphasized story and great atmosphere with memorable moments. This made it more of a movie than a game.
In TGE, this ratio is reversed: the campaign, which is the heart of the game, is all about action, while the story feels a bit rushed. If TGE was a lot more than a couple of shooting galleries, I wouldn't mind. Unfortunately, this is not the case. That's why I prefer Vader Immortal to this adventure.
Tales of the Galaxy's Edge feels like it could have been a lot more if the budget and schedule had been right. It's possible that a lot of content was cut in order to get TGE out in time for the 2020 holiday season.
This is supported by the relatively short game length of about three hours and the fact that paid DLC will be added next year. Hopefully these will offer more content than the extremely short Yoda episode.
Review Update #1: Playthrough with Meta Quest 2 andthe Last Call DLC
Last Call brings two new mini-campaigns as well as two new playable Seezelslak Tales.
In the first of two new mini-campaigns, you must secure a valuable artifact on behalf of the antiquities dealer Dok-Ondar. Along the way, you'll meet Baron Attsmun, a wealthy industrialist whose machinations hide something dark, and his adversary, treasure hunter Lens Kamo, who is determined to prevent the relics from falling into the wrong hands.
Your adventure will take you back to the wilds of Baatu to explore the ruins of an ancient Jedi temple. Your journey will also take you through Sardeevem Canyon and the Moonsund Caverns, where you will once again fight space pirates and solve puzzles.
In the second mini-campaign, Seezelslak is taken by First Order soldiers to a secret re-education facility on the planet Batuu. Your mission is to free the bartender and destroy the facility.
In the first of two new tales, you return to the role of Ady Sun'Zee. Many years after her battle against a demonic force, Sun'Zee has evolved into a Jedi Knight. In her role, you must teach the Padawan Nooa - and learn a lesson or two yourself.
In the second short story, you play the assassin droid and bounty hunter IG-88 who accepts a suspicious assignment on the moon of Nar Shaddaa. As it turns out, you'll have to storm a fortress to take out gangster boss Boggs Triff.
As you can see, Last Call brings a wealth of new content, characters, and locations, and the new mini-campaigns are particularly appealing.
The Jedi School of Ady Sun'Zee is very different from all the other missions. It's more about atmosphere and thinking about what makes a Jedi than pure action and an exciting plot – a welcome change from the rest of the game.
The assassination mission as IG-88, however, is a disappointment: Here we have a simple rail shooter that could just as easily come from a second-rate game of another brand and does not fit into the Star Wars universe very much.
Playing the game again on Meta Quest 2, I had a great time with both the base game and the new content from Last Call. I couldn't believe that a higher resolution and a more stable frame rate could improve the experience so much. Especially the blaster battles and the use of support droids are a lot of fun with the newer VR headset.
The transition from a cinematic VR experience (Vader Immortal) to a proper game has been successful for ILMxLAB. Now the studio has a foundation on which to expand and deepen existing game mechanics.
TGE is a VR experience that will make Star Wars fans very happy. From the sometimes quite detailed environments and backgrounds, to the great animated characters and witty dialogue, to the bombastic music, this VR game is as Star Wars as it gets and designed with a lot of attention to detail.
What I didn't like very much is that TGE has a lot of different stories to tell and feels a bit fragmented. I would like to see a cohesive world and campaign for ILMxLAB's next Star Wars game. In TGE, you jump from one location to another and even into different roles. It's hard to keep track of what's going on.
The VR game has a playtime of seven to eight hours. A variety of additional challenges and in-game achievements will keep you busy for another three to four hours.
Review Update #2: Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge - Enhanced Edition
With the launch of Playstation VR 2 in February 2023, a technically enhanced version of the VR game was released that takes advantage of the PS5's rendering horsepower.
The Enhanced Edition supports eye-tracking and foveated rendering for extra image clarity, haptic feedback on the headset and controllers, a freshly remastered 3D audio, and greatly improved graphics.
The 3D models and textures look more detailed and the environments much more lifelike than with Meta Quest 2 thanks to dynamic light and shadow effects. Thanks to the power of Playstation 5 and Foveated Rendering, Playstation VR 2 renders the game world in a significantly higher resolution.
The overall difference in immersion can only be appreciated by putting on the different headsets and experiencing it for yourself, the following video doesn't do it justice.
The VR game also benefits from the added Sense Controller haptics: Each blaster feels different, and working with the multi-tool gains additional nuance.
Another benefit of the Enhanced Edition is that the paid DLC Last Call has been fully integrated into the game. This allows you to play Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge from start to finish without having to download additional content.
There's no doubt that the Enhanced Edition is the ultimate TGE experience. If you have both Meta Quest 2 and Playstation VR 2, get the latter version (which, by the way, also exists as a physical edition). It's well worth the extra cost, especially if you're a Star Wars fan. [amazon box=B0BZQSGZ6L]
Here's where you can buy Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge
|Meta Quest 1 & 2, Meta Quest Pro||Meta Quest Store||$24,99, $9,99 Euro (Last Call DLC)|
|Playstation VR 2||Playstation Store, Physical Edition: Amazon.com (among others)||$49,99|