The Oculus Quest doesn’t yet have a library of games and apps to match the Rift’s PC VR offerings. Yes, these days you can use the Quest as a Rift thanks to Oculus Link, but you can’t play that anywhere you like and need to be tethered to a computer.
Vader Immortal, in its three separate episodes, is actually a cross-buy title. When I bought the three episodes on the Quest, it also showed up as a free download in my Oculus Windows app. If I choose to play it there, hooked up via a lengthy USB-C cable, you will get a better graphical experience. However, as it turns out, Vader Immortal is a much better game without a tether. Enough to render the GPU horsepower advantage of the PC irrelevant.
What’s It All About?
Vader Immortal is set on the planet Mustafar, which Star Wars fans will know is the home of Darth Vader. You play as the captain of a small ship, accompanied by your sassy droid. As the game opens, you’re intercepted by imperial forces who capture you and take you to Mustafar and the castle of Darth Vader.
Here Vader reveals that he has a use for you, which means you need to receive some form of training from the iconic villain himself. There are various twists and turns and, by the end of it all the rather short story has tied itself up neatly. That’s all that can be said, since the Vader Immortal experience does depend a lot on its narrative.
Gameplay and the VR Experience
While the description of the game specified that this can be played seated, standing or at room scale there is no way we can recommend playing anything other than room scale. You don’t want to be swinging a lightsaber around from a chair or standing still. Having a dedicated room space makes a huge difference to the experience. For example, being able to freely walk around your ship interior at the start of the game or other relatively small feels incredibly immersive. The teleportation mechanic works well enough and the world is pretty interactive.
Your character has two hands, and you’ll need them. Whether pulling levers, pressing buttons, climbing ladders or swinging a saber, it all feels great. Right from the start, when you push the lever to engage hyperspace, you feel like you’re a part of the Star Wars universe.
Combat ranges from pretty cool to just OK. In reality, no Jedi is going to be as immobile as you are while fighting waves of enemies, but the experience manages to feel authentic. If not exactly realistic. Overall the production values are worth the franchise and standing in Vader’s presence is almost worth the price of entry by itself.
Not Really A Game
Vader Immortal’s biggest problem is that it isn’t really a game at all. It’s better to think of it as a sort of interactive theme park ride. The sort of thing you’d see at Universal Studios or DisneyLand. There’s not much in the way of replayability here and, though you can die, waggling your saber around and being mildly strategic with blaster blocking will get you through.
Although each episode is only $10, you’re looking at $30 for a pretty short experience that you’re unlikely to play through more than once or twice.
If you take it as a VR showcase or a title you can have friends and family try to see what VR is all about, it has plenty of merit. Just about every sort of VR activity you can imagine has a turn here. Whether it’s flying in a ship, batting blaster bolts back at Stormtroopers or climbing around the dark tunnels of Vader’s castle, there’s a decent variety of things to do, just don’t expect a video game in the traditional sense.
Only Essential for the Fans
Playing all three episodes of Vader Immortal was a fun experience, but it’s hard to recommend paying full price for what’s essentially a once-off, on-rails experience. If you REALLY love Star Wars, then it’s absolutely worth the price. If you’re only a casual fan, it’s better to simply wait until these titles go on sale.