The second installment of Star Wars: Vader Immortal is here, the narrative-based VR adventure that tosses you back into Darth Vader’s mysterious Imperial fortress situated on the lava planet Mustafar. Like the first episode, which we gave a respectable [8/10] in our review, the second is pretty short but also includes a “Lightsaber Dojo II” where you can use your newly acquired force powers to battle waves of enemies for hours of frenetic fun. This episode is however shorter than the first, although the new Lightsaber Dojo is a welcome addition that puts both your dueling abilities and force powers to good use.
Star Wars: Vader Immortal – Episode II Details:
Available On: Quest, Rift
Reviewed On: Rift
Release Date: September 25th, 2019
Word of advice: Vader Immortal serves up a unique narrative that’s particular to the VR experience, and although Star Wars super fans can probably guess what’s going on, you should really consider playing the first in the series before heading onto this one. Episode one is an awesome experience that’s really worth playing, and you won’t need to be a super fan to enjoy it either.
The same is very much true for the second episode; it’s a visually impressive and well realized experience that shows a mastery of the VR medium, but at only around 30 minutes of story it feels just a hair too thin to be considered a truly worthy followup as far as the narrative mode is concerned.
You’ll certainly be able to find lesser experiences at the $10 mark, but look no further than the first episode for an example of a game that seems to be right on the money in terms of story and dojo-style replayability. Here, it seems ILMxLab is serving up a shorter story, but tries to make up for it with a more diverse training dojo.
In narrative part of the episode, you can basically forget your lightsaber tactics learned from before, as you’re introduced to new force powers, namely the ability to telekinetically grab and push certain items while in combat.
Although using the force to fling rocks and enemy droids felt noticeably less skill-based than the lightsaber duels from the first episode, the novelty alone was enough to keep the new game mechanic feeling fresh at every turn, as you use to force to lob projectiles at a four-armed Rancor, and force-grab and toss various enemies to their demise.
Using the force is easy; you simply point your open palm at an item to select it and pull the grip button to pull it closer to you. Making a throwing motion and releasing the grip sends it flying in your chosen direction. A small haptic buzz and an illuminated aura lets you know you’ve selected something.
Thankfully there’s also a fair bit of auto-aim here, so targeting and then tossing a rock at a baddie feels natural and not at all like a chore. I say ‘thankfully’ because the game gives you precious little time to practice your force powers before the narrative truly takes off and you quickly arrive at the story’s next cliffhanger and end credits, something that comes far too soon for my tastes.
If you’re looking to polish those force skills and pair them with a measure of lightsaber dueling, Lightsaber Dojo II is where all of your moves are combined into an even more hectic battle. The dojo’s 50 levels not only test your ability to prioritize targets (all of which have handy audio and optional visual cues for easier location), but make the spit-second decision between a number of attack styles. You can not only use all of the saber dueling tactics from before, but now you can force-throw your lightsaber like a boomerang, activate strategically placed traps, force-grab enemies and toss them at one another for a double-kill, and mix and match all of these in the way you feel is most effective.
YouTuber ‘JackaldudeVR’ shows off just what sort of skills you’ll need in the final level:
Although the dojo includes only a single area, the enemy types and complexity of progressive levels is more than enough to make up for the lack of scenery change. So while the narrative may come up short, you’ll be able to spend hours on unlocking each level and chasing after cosmetic upgrades for your lightsaber and gloves. It can be difficult too, making you really hone your skills so you can accumulate enough credits so you can unlock later stages.
I found the dojo to be just as interesting as the first, if not more so thanks to the new ability to mix attack styles across a wider variety of land and air-based enemies.
Star Wars: Vader Immortal is optimized to run on Quest, but even still it’s one of the better-looking VR experiences out there, something you can chalk up to a keen understanding of resource management.
In this episode, excellent character animations and lively environments bring it a good measure of immersion that make up for the mostly dark, and at moments pretty drab-looking underground world of Mustafar.
The second episode lacked some of the wow-factor of the first, which included a larger variety of environments, although there’s plenty of action-packed sequences to break up the monotony of what essentially plays out as a pretty predictable fetch quest.
Although you’re relegated to a single narrative path, ILMxLab still manages to make the world feel much larger than it really is, and does a commendable job at driving the user’s need to explore the dank dungeon-like caverns of Mustafar.
Like the first, Episode II has plenty of comfort options, with teleportation and snap-turning set as a default. The same locomotion options apply, including smooth locomotion and smooth turning, and the ability to use instant or smooth teleportation.
Because it’s such a physical game, it’s best played standing up with plenty of room around you so you can make large sweeping movements. If you play seated, make sure there’s plenty of room in front of you so you can freely swing your arms. There is a seated mode toggle in the settings, so provided you have full use of both hands, you should find it extremely playable either standing or sitting.