Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Everything is seemingly coming up Star Wars this spring, with the latest season of Disney+ series The Mandalorian in the midst of its 3rd season, EA?s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor just a couple weeks from release, Star Wars Celebration event kicking off this weekend, and the recent release of Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition as a PlayStation VR2 launch title. So as a Star Wars fan, there?s no shortage of diverse media to consume across multiple platforms.
With the release of Sony?s next generation PS VR2 hardware I?ve been spending a lot of my gaming time with the platform with one of those experiences being a Star Wars one? more specifically Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition. Originally released on the Meta Quest 2 as Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge game and some additional content, the Enhanced Edition version for the PlayStation VR2 is both content complete and pretty significantly enhanced (as implied by the title). The experience is mostly in the form of a first person adventure — with a little bit of everything from the Star Wars universe in one game. Naturally there are Star Wars references and easter eggs everywhere, and some solid action sequences, puzzle solving, exploration and VR traversal to round things out.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition has more than a fair amount of content, and although it can be a little bit uneven, it?s a fun virtual reality dive into the world of Star Wars with a PS VR2 headset strapped to your face and high quality controllers in your hands. This is the best the game has ever looked, and although it wasn?t built ground up for the PS VR2 (as compared to Horizon: Call of the Mountain for instance), it?s still a really nice looking, well-performing VR title. The texturing, resolution and lighting, along with the effects definitely benefit from the upgraded hardware. The developers even used some of the fancier bells and whistles such as eye tracking and foveated rendering techniques, and the haptics in the PS VR2 Sense controller and headset itself. The 3D positional audio, even with the stock headphones, is put to really good use. All in all, this is the most polished and best looking iteration of the game, and the extra effort that ILMxLAB put into the PS5/PS VR2 version was worth it.
Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition puts you into the boots of a nameless Droid Repair Tech who unfortunately crashes lands in the wilds of Batuu, and then gets unwittingly pulled into some events and missions that take he/she from Seezelslak?s Cantina through a First Order facility, and also (via story flashbacks/side stories) to a Jedi Temple with Yoda (complete with some Force and lightsaber action), a Sacred Garden padawan training session and even an off-world bounty hunting job as IG-88. There are cameos, fan favorite characters (C-3PO and R2-D2 also make an appearance) and references from pretty much every Star Wars property imaginable, and there’s plenty of interesting things to see, hear and interact with all throughout the adventure.
Visually Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition does some really nice things with the tech and the rendering and animation quality for some of the main NPCs are really impressive. Looking characters directly in the eyes as they speak to you in VR always provides a bit of an uncanny valley feeling, but in a good way once you get used to it. The audio is unmistakably Star Wars, with familiar fanfares and appropriate music, voices and audio cues as well.
Gameplay for most of the game, as the Droid Repair Tech protagonist, is around 60% shooting and 40% exploration/puzzle solving. You start out the game with a utility belt of sorts with a multi-function tool, a storage pouch, and the ability to holster various blasters and items on your body. Looking down, at your virtual self, shows most of your inventory and you can customize where often used items are placed depending on your gameplay style. Completing side missions, such as tracking down mini droids, or scanning interesting environmental objects, earn credits which can be redeemed for some upgrades and cosmetics. Inventory management is straightforward, as is the organization and breakdown of missions, tasks, journal items, and story progress, which I appreciate. Fiddling endlessly with inventory is annoying enough in flat non-VR games, and if done badly it could be even more of a hassle in VR. Thankfully that?s not the case here though.
As someone who is still finding his ?VR legs? to spite playing quite a lot of Quest 2 and PS VR2 titles over the last few months, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition has more than a few comfort settings for players to configure from free moving and smooth turning, to more stable teleport-style movement scheme and less floaty jet pack motion. Players can even tweak the virtual height of your character and make the utility belt positioning a little more natural. Since there?s a lot of holstering and picking up of items throughout the game, and spending a little time tweaking that feature is worth it. Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge also supports roomscale, standing and seated play, and I spent the entire time with the roomscale option — although there?s never really the need to travel around too much from your initial position.
Speaking of time, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition will take most players around 6 or 7 hours to get through all story-based missions and additional tales, though that depends on the amount of exploration and backtracking being done. Being somewhat of a completionist, I opted to earn a Platinum Trophy which requires a near 100% for pretty much every task and journal entry in the game and took me around 15 hours in total.
If you?ve taken the plunge and picked up a PlayStation VR2 and have any sort of love at all for Star Wars, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition is certainly worth a consideration and a look. (there?s a demo on the PS Store for those who are curious)
Disney Interactive Studios provided us with a Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy?s Edge – Enhanced Edition PS5 code for review purposes.