Today’s Immersive VR Buzz: ‘Star Wars Vader Immortal: Episode 3’ Review – All’s Well That Ends Well

This was a very interesting BUZZ that I found today and wanted to share with you.

Originally posted on: www.roadtovr.com

ILMxLAB has finally released the concluding episode of Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. 

While I’m sad to see the series go, which has exemplified high-quality VR production, I can’t help but feel a tad let down at what could have been a much grander, more adrenaline-filled climax.

Gameplay

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m assuming you’ve already played both Episodes I and Episode II of the story, but if not, suffice it to say that Lucas Films’ immersive media skunkworks ILMxLAB has put forth a highly polished cinematic experience that’s neither the pure game nor pure film.

It’s somewhere in between, feeling more like an immersive theme park ride than a game or experience proper.

Ok. So what you’re about to read is a bit negative, but most of the positives from the previous episodes are present here too, like its incredible visuals, awesome voice acting, and immersive atmosphere that truly feels like stepping into the Star Wars universe.

But the third episode does compound some things that make it less effective than I would have hoped.

I felt like there was a lot more pause for dialogue and scripted action in the third episode, something that stymied the flow of the adventure in a way it hadn’t encroached upon in episodes prior.

That, and a few other gripes shouldn’t put you off playing the third installment, or even starting from the ground up by purchasing the full trilogy, but I will say I was a bit disappointed that the climax didn’t have more weight than it did.

To me, this ‘choppiness’ is really a byproduct of the story’s default movement scheme. All three episodes lack a sense of personal agency which essentially keeps you waiting for dialogue cues so you can then continue on with the story.

You’re led by a number of characters through tight, one-way paths that allow for little improvised exploration, taking momentary pauses for highly scripted action. While this is the case throughout all three episodes, in the first two you’re still so far from your true objective that you really only focus on the task at hand, be it fighting rancor or learning a bit about the Dark Side from Mr. Vaderman.

You let the story unfold before you because you’re not sure where it’s headed. You need someone to tell you where to go because you’re essentially the new kid on the block.

But as I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was obstinately reminded that I would always be a captive until I reached the next teleportation node, which only unlocks when the NPC fulfills their part of the exposition or action. /

I desperately wanted to run ahead into the fray, but instead, I found myself constantly waiting for that node to appear. Instead of actually dashing through a fierce blaster battle with stormtroopers and fighting my way through, I was basically a sitting duck in a few different flavors of shooting galleries until an NPC magically allowed me to continue.

Here, the third episode would have really benefited from some modicum of user choice when it came to locomotion and possibly even a slightly different pathway through the story, but I suppose that didn’t fit in the budget.

The third episode, which is about the same length as the other two, has a few new tricks up its sleeve, this time including conventional weapons such as grenades and blasters, the latter of which is interesting but a bit flawed in execution. Considering these weapons are this episode’s big addition, I really expected more.

Blasters are single-use items, which is fine, but you can’t really aim them effectively; there aren’t any iron sights, nor is the blaster’s scope actually functional, so you’ll just have to shoot by intuition alone (insert stormtrooper accuracy joke here).

Adding insult to injury, you can’t actively teleport if both hands are occupied either, and your holsters can’t hold anything besides the single lightsaber in your possession, making your disposable blaster even less appealing as a tool.

Although the third episode compounds a few inherent flaws to the series, and possibly even robbed a bit of the fun from its most important battle, it still serves up a nice slice of action with a side order of free-form fun thanks to its ‘Lightsaber Dojo III’, which this time gives you the full range of abilities you learned throughout the series, which includes force grabbing, lightsaber dueling, blaster shooting, and even the chance to toss grenades.

All three dojos offer up multiple hours of frenetic action on their own, which somewhat makes up for a less than stellar third episode.

I can’t say I’m the type to play wave-based games for long, no matter how frenetic and engaging the scenarios maybe, but I still got plenty of mileage out of the third dojo, as it mashes in bits from the previous two, making it more of a well-rounded combat game.

If I had to play only one dojo, this would be it, as it gives you the most freedom to take out a wide variety of air and land-based baddies. If anything, it makes the other two feel redundant, which isn’t actually a great thing.

Had there been three different types of free-play sections apart from the actual story portion, it may have offered much-needed variety outside of the same song and dance with a different set of bad guys and weapons to use.

Immersion

Despite feeling a bit let down by the pacing, the world of Vader Immortal feels truly alive, which is a hard feat to accomplish when you’re given practically zero chance to explore on your own. I won’t harp on it too much, but the player agency is a significant piece of feeling immersed in a game or experience. Giving the player a choice, which could be as simple as how to solve a problem or when to interact, can go a long way in feeling more grounded in the world.

Not to mention NPC interactions, which when done right can elevate an NPC from talking puppet to something worth protecting. There was really only one instance of this at the end, and it was pretty clumsy to say the least.

That said, graphics are again realized to awesome effect, bringing a level of visual fidelity and intention to the experience that feels more like a prescient peek into the ‘AAA’ VR games of tomorrow. It’s awesome.

Comfort

Without sounding like a broken record from the previous two episodes, teleportation is one of the most comfortable artificial locomotion methods out there, so newcomers and experienced VR users alike shouldn’t find an issue with all three episodes. Smooth locomotion via thumbstick input is also available, which can be slightly less comfortable, however more immersive.

You do however end up on moving vehicles at points, and provided you haven’t toggled it off in the settings, can be subject to camera shake and one more type of artificial locomotion that I won’t mention to preserve the storyline, which could be uncomfortable if it were more lengthy in duration.

Like the prior two, the third episode is also entirely playable whilst seated; both seated and standing modes can be toggled on and off in the settings.

Order the Insta360 One X here and get a FREE Selfie Stick!
Order the Insta360 One X here and get a FREE Selfie Stick!

What is 360 VR Video?

360 video is a video that is recorded in all directions at the same time with multiple cameras. The videos are stitched together either internally in the camera or externally using special software.

It then forms one spherical video that is controlled by the viewer, enabling them to look up, down, right or left at their discretion.

Is 360 Video Virtual Reality?

I want you to be the judge.

Recommended MicroSD Card for use with the Fusion 360 camera

Recommended MicroSD Card for use with the Fusion 360 camera 

How are you watching your 360 VR Video?

Are you watching on your PC?

Is it Facebook? YouTube? Veer.TV ?

Or better still, are you using your Samsung Galaxy Smartphone with your Samsung Gear VR Headset?

GoPro-Fusion-Tripod-Mount-1_4-20-screw-thread for GoPro Fusion

Or are you using another smartphone with a Google Cardboard? Google Daydream?

Leave a comment below. Let us know what you like or don’t like. If you have seen a 360 VR video that you think is awesome, tell us, and we will feature it.

What type of VR Headset do you own? Or do you watch with your computer? Smartphone?

Do you have a VR camera? Ricoh Theta S? Ion360?  Samsung 360 gear? Insta360?

And if you are looking for 360 Video Production Services, contact Al Caudullo exploretv@gmail.com

With 37 years of Media experience, we can Deliver More for You in 360 Video. Click here to see what our customers say about our work

Utilizing state of the art technology, Al Caudullo, and his team has been delivering award-winning compelling productions spanning the globe. Exotic destinations blended with unique cultural experiences give viewers an experience like no other.

From vibrant American cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas to the isolated mountains of Mongolia. From ancient civilizations of Cambodia and Myanmar to the lush resorts of Southeast Asia and beyond. All from the comfort of your living room.



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