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Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy's Edge Full Review: Bringing Balance To The Force

Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy's Edge Full Review: Bringing Balance To The Force

With the launch of the Last Call DLC, balance is almost fully restored to Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge. Read on for our Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge full Review.

At the risk of enraging seemingly all of the internet, let me recall a moment in The Last Jedi. Searching the Force for the first time, Rey mentions the presence of both light and dark, to which Luke replies: “It’s so much bigger.”

Playing Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge in its complete form — both the first part and premium Last Call DLC — brought this moment to mind as I reflected on how two halves of a game, each enjoyable in their own right, made for a more complete whole. I’m fairly sure Luke was actually talking about how the universe is a much more complicated reality than black and white and that this anecdote doesn’t really work that well, but I’m sticking with it.

Note: The is our full review for Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge based on both the first part and the Last Call DLC. For individual reviews on the two halves, you can read:

The first part of Galaxy’s Edge isn’t long enough to truly shine on its own but the second is and, together, they make for a satisfying Star Wars caper more akin to one of the recent side-story TV series than a galaxy-sweeping epic seen on the big screen. And, though the gaming elements of Galaxy’s Edge are somewhat simplified, developer ILMxLAB remains unmatched when it comes to world-building and immersion.

There are two elements to Galaxy’s Edge. First and foremost is the main campaign, which sees players crash land on the planet of Batuu (the very same featured at Disneyland) and head off on missions that pit them against a gang of space bandits. Then there’s the universe-spanning stories from world-weary barkeep, Seezelslak, which let you embody other characters on entirely unrelated adventures. Two cast you as a Jedi in Disney’s newly-minted High Republic era (let the brand synergy flow through you), and the other features fan-favorite bounty hunter, IG-88.

It’s a strange concoction, especially as it’s the ‘Tales’ of Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge that take a back seat. The campaign itself is no doubt a direct response to those that wanted more ‘game’ out of ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal trilogy, with upgrade systems, collectibles and a slow and steady introduction of new weapon and enemy types. It’s a shame, then, that it has to contend with Seezelslak’s stories, which provide a path for the developer to experiment with more narrative-driven ideas that are undeniably more exciting and really explore the potential of VR.

In an ideal world these two focuses would be two separate projects, with each given the appropriate room to breathe. That’s especially true of the Tales segment, which only leaves you wanting more after its three short experiences are up. But, even if they’re wrestling for your attention, these elements do make up a compelling and varied Star Wars experience.

The campaign itself is a likable shooter propped up by fantastic presentation and ILMxLAB’s penchant for engaging micro-interactions. The grassy planes of Batuu are a fitting stage for rocky shootouts, with smartly designed encounters that allow users to take cover behind boulders and stacked crates without bending down behind too much waist-height cover (which is also provided if you prefer). A lot of attention has been paid to the firearms, which let you play pretend as Han Solo with powerful single-shot pistols, or to shoot like a Stormtrooper with rickety rifles.

Ultimately, though, the game sticks closely to the rules of corridor shooters, coming off as familiar to anyone experienced in flatscreen FPS games. It ends up being the little things that really stick: using a multitool to blowtorch locks or loosen screws, throwing training drones into the air to aid the fight, or grabbing health off of the bottom of your wrist. ILMxLAB has had time to really refine its UI and interaction work across several Star Wars VR titles now, and it really shows here.

Perhaps more impressive is just how much the developer gets out of the Quest hardware. Beyond the lush environments, gun models are authentically detailed and sets are littered with lived-in props and nods to the series. Best of all are the character performances, the likes of which we really get to enjoy inside a headset. Seezelslak is a loveable oath, impossible to read between his six eyes but impeccably animated, with a sharp script to match that believability. Just as meeting Vader in VR was an iconic moment, the best parts of Galaxy’s Edge are coming into contact with iconic characters for the first time.

Some of the campaign’s expanded features are really only there to pad the experience out, though. Side missions involve returning to linear levels to mindlessly farm resources, and there’s a shop system with a whole host of very expensive upgrades. By the time you’ve earned enough money to get all the best gear, you’ll have played through pretty much all of the content anyway.

Still, if you’re looking for that more gamified Star Wars experience (and have already warn through the excellent Star Wars: Squadrons), Galaxy’s Edge’s main campaign certainly ticks the box. For my money, though, it’s the Tales that really stand out here.

ILMxLAB seems to be onto something with this format, using Batuu as a hub world from which to travel anywhere in the galaxy for concentrated doses of VR fan service. It’s fortunate that the studio was able to trace its work with the lightsaber dojo in Vader Immortal, providing one story that really delivers on the Jedi dream, while another gives you a unique perspective on the dynamic between a Knight and their Padawan.

I just wish there was much, much more of this. I could spend hours exploring different corners of the galaxy in this way, and Seezelslak’s bar is the perfect framing to build on that front. While there’s certainly enough content in Galaxy’s Edge’s now 5+ hours, it’d be a shame not to see ILMxLAB return here to come up with more inventive uses of VR to tell Star Wars stories in new ways.

Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge Full Review – Final Impressions

With both parts joined together, Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge really rounds out as an overall game. There’s no longer a strangely short campaign with half-baked ideas but an experience that actually utilizes the progression mechanics and side-objectives the first half introduced. The campaign and Tales elements end up wrestling for your attention and I wish there was more of the latter and less of the former, but no one’s managed to match this level of presentation and immersion since Quest 2’s launch a year ago. With the Last Call DLC attach, Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge finally feels in balance with the Force.

For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge full review? Let us know in the comments below!

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