“Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Last Call” brings the adventures on Batuu to an end with an update to the virtual reality experience that began last year. Picking up after the first installment of the VR video game, the next chapter puts you at the center of a new quest, this time brought on by one of the familiar faces from Black Spire Outpost in Disney’s theme park world of Galaxy’s Edge. Dok-Ondar takes a break from running his Den of Antiquities to hire your droid repair technician character to track down a lost artifact for him, but that’s just the beginning of the new VR adventures that await in this satisfying, immersive journey back into a galaxy far, far away.
First of all, “Last Call” has improved on some fundamental basics to make the experience feel a little more smooth. When teleport jumping or rotating incrementally within any given environment, you no longer have a quick “blink” that briefly fades to black. There’s now smooth turning and less jarring shift-teleporting. Also adding to the improved mobility is a hoverpack upgrade that not only allows you to fly even higher in levels, but it also gives you the ability to move forward, backward and side-to-side while in the air. This all makes player movement infinitely less clunky and allows for more efficient exploration and interaction with environments.
There’s still no jumping for the character (that’s what the hoverpack is for), and movement with the tool known as the All-Kit Tool can be a little frustrating when using it in your left hand (which also controls your body’s going forward/backward and left/right), but the aforementioned updates are welcome improvements for basic functionality, and they’ll make the replayability of the first part of the game that much more fun.
New Weapons And Gear
Before you embark on a new quest, you’ll want to stop by Mubo’s Workshop to pick up the latest weapons and gear with in-game credits (which doesn’t require any real money to be spent). Everything from the first round of “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” is still there, but there are some new weapons that you’ll want to add to your arsenal too, such as the Blade Remote and the Elite Remote. The Blade Training Remote attacks with sharp blades while the Elite Training Remote not only features blades, but also shoots enemies and shields itself from blasts.
Then there are two new holsters to help beef up the arsenal that you can carry with you. Shoulder holsters allow you to double up on the weapons you carry, which will be helpful when you encounter new enemies with a much different array of weapons to pick up. There’s also a holster that will charge your weapons so you don’t have to keep picking up new ones from fallen enemies. Plus, shooting enemies gets a little easier with the new targeting visor.
Then there’s a new collection of tactical gloves, each offering their own special features. For example, the Medic Gloves will automatically inject bacta cartridges into your system when you’re low on health, saving you from scrambling for them in the middle of battle (though you will have to restock the cartridges on your wrists). There are also gloves that help with the recoil of weapons, add armor, and allow for more blasting before overheating.
Mubo’s Workshop is also where you’ll also want to grab the modestly priced hoverpack upgrade, the aforementioned update that allows you to jetpack a bit higher in each level and move around freely in the air.
Fun tip: When you’re walking around Seezelslak’s cantina, you might want to pick up any spare sporks you see lying around. Inspired by the real metal sporks that fans started swiping from the real Galaxy’s Edge in Disney theme parks, these sporks will earn you the most amount of credits out of anything that you can sell at Mubo’s Workshop. Plus, if you’re a little low on health after an adventure, pick up a nice Ronto Wrap, inspired by the real menu item at Galaxy’s Edge, and bring it towards your face to have a quick meal and give yourself a health boost.
The Next Adventure
All right, let’s get into the story. Dok-Ondar’s quest is broken up into three parts, with the hunt for a Jedi artifact eventually leading you right into an encounter with the First Order. But we’ll get to that. The adventure delivers more of the same excitement from the first installment, which was a VR shooter with some mini-puzzles and exploring involved. However, this time around it feels like there’s a lot more blasting action with fewer and more simple puzzles.
The first part of the adventure feels like a way to easily get reacquainted with the gameplay. You’re having shootouts with the same Guavian Death Gang members and flying droids and using the same old blasters. Thankfully, a bit of variety and more of a challenge is just around the corner after you finish the first leg in this quest.
Before we move on, it should be known that the best improvement in “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” overall is how quickly and easily you can engage in the two new tales (more specifics on those later) that are available alongside the primary quest. In the first chapter released last year, the only way you could access the tale involving Jedi apprentice Ady Sun’Zee from the High Republic era was by collecting assorted ingredients in the wild in order to have Seezelslak make you a special drink and tell the story. This time, you can access the next part of Ady Sun’Zee’s tale immediately after Dok-Ondar sends you on this new job. You don’t even have to complete the first part of the hunt before you can jump into the tale, though you will have to take note of a certain item sitting inconspicuously around the bar in order to experience it. Meanwhile, the second tale involving bounty hunter IG-88 becomes easily available after the first section of Dok-Ondar’s job, and you’ll know how when you see another specific item in the cantina.
Back on the main adventure, the second installment is where things really heat up. As you make your way through Jedi Temple ruins, deadly droids are your latest adversaries, and they come equipped with much more lethal weapons. That’s both bad news and good news because it makes the shootouts more challenging, but it also gives you several new weapons to play with, ranging from a pulse blaster that you can charge for a more lethal blow to a bolt launcher that fires a projectile explosive that sticks to surfaces and enemies. Both of these weapons are just as plentiful as the first assembly of blasters from the original game, because your enemies are always dropping them after they’ve been blasted to bits (and don’t forget to pick up the spare parts they leave behind so you can cash them in at Mubo’s Workshop).
Changing up the formula a bit, the third part of the adventure brings an “Indiana Jones” vibe. You’re forced to work with Lens Kamo (voiced by Karla Crome), who has penchant for hunting down treasures and keeping them out of the hands of destructive collectors. She’s not too keen on working with a partner, so it’s a reluctant collaboration that takes you through a maze of a Jedi Temple, complete with security systems that you need to deactivate or carefully avoid, not to mention more challenging waves of varied security droids. Thankfully, you’re also given trip mines as a new weapon, which can be a lot of fun to take into other parts of the game once the adventure is over.
The Jedi Tale Continues
The first tale outside the primary quest puts us back in the Jedi boots of Ady Sun’Zee, but it’s been several years since her deadly encounter with the dark side of the Force, which we experienced first hand as the introductory tale in the first part of “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.” She’s a Jedi Knight now, which means you’re only imparting wisdom to a young Padawan named Nooa (Meredith Bull), who is described as spunky and unafraid to ask the tough questions, thanks to a sense of curiosity about the universe.
In this tale, you show your apprentice how to master skills with a lightsaber and the Force. Though it feels like a tutorial, you’re meant to show your expertise to your apprentice (some clever dialogue covers up your mistakes so your apprentice doesn’t second guess your skills as a Jedi). First up, you’ll find yourself slicing patterns of remote training droids to illustrate precision with the slice of a lightsaber, and swinging this elegant weapon in VR is still one of the most satisfying parts of the game.
Another lesson has players using the Force to stack various stones in different formations. This was easily the most challenging part of the entire game, requiring plenty of patience and careful movement. This lesson really makes you feel like a Jedi Knight trying to hone your skills and teach your apprentice at the same time.
Finally, the third lesson also requires use of the Force and even more careful precision as you try to feed large, fragile seeds to help plants blossom. But some of them are situated behind elegant iron window grates, requiring a slow and steady hand.
All of this leads to the completion of a character arc that helps Ady Sun’Zee come to terms with losing Jedi Master Sylwin, making for a touching tale that brings peace to a troubled Jedi mind.
The second tale takes you back to laser-blasting territory, but in a super-charged fashion. That’s because you’ll be playing as notorious bounty hunter IG-88, voiced impeccably by Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Conchords”). In this tale, you’ll be tasked with taking down Boggs Triff (Darin DePaul), a gangster who has risen to the top rung of power by being ruthless, paranoid, and smart enough to turn his base of operations into an impregnable fortress.
The heads-up display for this deadly droid makes you feel like a Terminator, and even the score sounds like it calls back to James Cameron’s classic sci-fi action movie. Armed with two blasters, each with their own targeting system, you’ll find yourself taking on waves of henchman much more efficiently than in the primary adventures, simply because IG-88 is such an efficient killing machine. He’s also got deadpan dialogue delivery when it comes to confronting enemies and obstacles, making him surprisingly funny, especially when Boba Fett is mentioned. He’s also staggeringly strong, allowing you to smash down metal doors by charging up your robot arms.
The story feels like you’re in a scenario like “The Raid” or “Dredd,” making your way up the floors of a skyscraper as Boggs Triff tries to keep you from tracking him down. This tale is non-stop action with a character that borders on being over-powered, and it makes for one of the most entertaining elements of the entirety of “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.” Plus, the ending will bring a smile to the face of every “Star Wars” fan.
Fighting The First Order
After you’ve completed Dok-Ondar’s primary quest, the story takes a surprising turn. We won’t spoil the plot of this part of the game, because it’s a lot more satisfying to experience yourself. But it’s not a spoiler to say that the final adventure of the game requires you to infiltrate a First Order facility, taking on Stormtroopers and trying to make it out alive.
Don’t get your hopes up for an encounter with Kylo Ren. But you will encounter Stormtroopers with three new weapons for you to wield. In addition to a standard Stormtrooper blaster rifle, there’s also a blaster with a built-in shield (requiring two hands to wield), and a projectile launcher that’s not unlike a rocket launcher. Regardless of what the movies have led you to believe, these Stormtroopers are pretty good with a blaster, though they’re not as hard to take down as some of the other enemies you’ve encountered before. The only curveball is the sudden appearance of Stormtroopers with jetpacks, blasting from the air.
Though blasting through a First Order facility is a lot of fun, troop leader Lieutenant Gauge (Daman Mills) doesn’t really turn out to be a formidable threat, though there are a couple instances where you end up being totally caught off guard by his troops. Honestly, I was more satisfied with the sound of a mouse droid echoing in the hallways than with the final confrontation of the game. It’s one of two boss confrontations in the game that feel like they totally fizzle out rather than delivering a challenging and satisfying finale. I’m not sure if it’s because of the limitations of VR or what. But at least the rest of the primary gameplay is satisfying enough to make up for it.
The Tales Are Over, But Hopefully There’s More To Come
“Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” overall is an entertaining and exciting VR journey into the “Star Wars” universe. Though it mostly offers rudimentary gameplay, the immersive nature of virtual reality does offer something that traditional video games can’t. Part of me wishes there was a little more evolution from chapter-to-chapter rather than only a slight variation in weapons and enemies, but since the medium is still growing and becoming more advanced, having limited capabilities is understandable.
Though “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” offers some originality as far as stories and characters are concerned, I couldn’t help but wish that we could dig more into familiar territory rather than lingering on the outskirts of it. Clearly there’s appeal in doing something original and adding to the “Star Wars” canon, but for fans, there’s also so much satisfaction that can come from experiencing familiar “Star Wars” characters and environments in a new medium. In the future, I hope ILMxLAB can simultaneously do something with original ideas combined with established “Star Wars” mythology. But for now, “Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” is a good place to start.
“Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge” and the “Last Call” update are available for Oculus devices now.
/Film – ‘Slash Film: Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge — Last Call Review: New Adventures And Gear Make For An Enjoyable Follow-Up’
Author: Ethan Anderton
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September 15, 2021