Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode 3 Review
As I wrapped up my playthrough of Vader Immortal’s third and final episode, my reaction was “Huh. So that’s it?” The novelty of a VR Star Wars experience had worn off a while ago, and Vader Immortal’s threadbare mechanics had long since run out of steam, leaving only its mediocre plot. Maybe it’s partially because I’m fresh off the far superior storytelling of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but to put it mildly, this finale was underwhelming.
Virtually nothing new is introduced during Episode 3’s 45 short minutes as Vader Immortal’s weirdly mystical, MacGuffin-based adventure resolves. If you’re played Episodes 1 and 2, it goes pretty much exactly the way you probably expect. There was never anything even approaching a surprising development outside of its trite deus ex machina ending. And while Vader is as large and imposing a presence as ever, I couldn’t help but think about how similar the climactic lightsaber battle it had all been building toward was to sparring with droids in the first episode.
The most satisfying moment of using the Force is, once again, a very brief and simple puzzle in which you slot power crystals into sockets. It feels like the objects you’re moving are partially guided toward the slot, but in a way that feels intuitive and smooth. It’s a shame Vader Immortal didn’t lean into this telekinesis further with some more interesting puzzles, because it’s disappointingly limited to that single scene.
And so, Episode 3 has precious little going for it. Where Episode 2 has the exciting Goro-rancor encounter to spice things up, Episode 3 goes back to the basic, repetitive combat that slowed Episode 1 to a crawl. After a quick moment where you direct droids to fire at targets by pointing your lightsaber (the payoff of Episode 2’s ending), you almost immediately relinquish control of them and go back to battling wave after tedious wave of Storm Troopers. First they chase your moving skiff on small flying platforms to fire slow-moving blaster bolts at you, then it’s pretty much the same thing except they run out onto catwalks to take their potshots.
Time and time again, you deflect their shots back or simply grab the poor saps with the Force and throw or drop them. You can Force-pull their blasters away and use them to shoot others, but the shooting is weirdly sloppy and imprecise (not to mention uncivilized). You get to throw the odd thermal detonator, but that’s about it in terms of combat variety. It doesn’t help that almost every time you do, Maya Rudolph’s ZOE3 recites a repetitive line about how you got “those bucketheads.” Once again, she’s not given much to do. There’s also a single, simplistic miniboss battle that you beat with the same deflecting of blaster fire you use to defeat basic Storm Troopers. The only enemy who ever gets close enough to you to hit with your lightsaber is Vader himself.
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Beyond that, we get another iteration of the same lightsaber dojo survival challenge, which this time takes place in an outdoor area and integrates some Storm Troopers into the mix of enemy waves. There are a few new weapons and Force powers to use, and it does get fairly intense when enemies are all around you. It’s definitely good that the dojo is here to give more life to Episode 3 than the story does, but at the same time it’s not terribly different from the previous episodes and is very much “more of the same” as a result.