I have to say that I wasn’t sure what to first expect in terms of the gameplay. I knew more or less what the game was about: you’re in training to become a Jedi. Cool. But considering I’m not actively summoning a lightsaber in my hands, how exactly do I go about doing that?
In this review, I’m going to get a little more into the actual experiences that I had with the gameplay itself.
Basically you start off with a tutorial that tells you how to use the lightsaber. The tutorials are effective at helping you strike and block, but these controls are pretty intuitive and don’t really need much practice if you consider yourself pretty well coordinated. The amount of skills that you need progress as the game progresses; while the first boss, Darth Maul, helps you focus on blocking attacks, by the time you get to the fourth boss, Darth Vader, you need to learn how to side step and duck.
Yes, duck. Real Jedi do squats.
Speaking of real Jedi, the first time I played the game I went for a two-hour long session, mostly because I wanted to get through enough of it to write a solid review, and also because I couldn’t get enough of it. It is strangely addicting in a way that’s hard to describe, and it sort of made me feel like the child that keeps demanding one more cookie before bedtime. By the end of my session, my right arm was tired, like if I had been pitching baseball all day. I’m not sure if it’s because I went too heavy on the weights in this morning’s gym session or what, but there is a possibility that you can get a good workout with this game, which I’m always down for.
That being said, if you wear a Fitbit or similar device to count your steps, I highly recommend removing it or switching it to your non-dominant hand unless you want a highly inflated step count for the day. Wearing my Fitbit on my ankle, I managed to track about 1,200 steps for a two hour session, so I wouldn’t really call it an efficient cardio exercise. Sorry!
One of the best features about the game is that it isn’t just swinging a lightsaber around. There are different Force abilities, some are active, like the Force push, and others are more passive, like healing. I’ve yet to unlock all of them, but I can say that I’m already frustrated with the timer on the Force push. It seems far too long, at rough estimate maybe 50-60 seconds, when I would prefer to use it probably every thirty. It lets you know when it’s “ready” and the gauge can be seen by pressing the activation button on your lightsaber to see roughly how much time you have remaining, but it’s not as streamlined as I would like it to be.
So is the game hard? It depends on what you mean. There is a yellow bar that appears in front of your vision that you have to line your lightsaber up against when you’re blocking, and I find myself watching that more than my opponent. Having trained in martial arts for the past 8 years and dueling with a staff for the past 4, I understand the importance of watching your opponent. Unfortunately, this is a video game, and so the yellow streaks across my vision prevent me from doing just that. Considering I’ve only played the game through once, I’m hoping that this will be something that I’ll be able to improve with time. It’s hard to “feel” like a real Jedi and get in the zone with them there.
I would say that the opponents definitely pose a challenge. I read some people say that it took them over an hour to beat Darth Vader, and I believe it. Most of Darth Vader’s attacks require you to dodge to the left or the right, and I find that it doesn’t really record me jumping to the left as much to the right, which results in a blow that takes a lot of damage. It’s not all the time, so I’m still unsure as to whether I’m just moving tooslow or if it’s not picking up my movements as accurately as it could, so I guess time will tell. Like any VR environment, the technology to track your movements isn’t foolproof, so I’m pretty flexible with my complaints in this area.
And for the record, I haven’t beaten Darth Vader yet. I tried twice, came close the second time, but ultimately faced defeat, but I’m okay with that. Darth Vader is a tough cookie.
The two battles that you face before the big boss can be somewhat of a challenge. For me personally, the timed tasks are the hardest to do. Basically Stormtroopers and Scout Troopers come just out of your field of vision, and you have to take them out. Some tasks are timed, some are not. What you do need to do each time, though, is deflect their shots back at them to take them down. If they’re foolish enough to venture into the training circle, you can easily swipe them down with your lightsaber, but otherwise it’s mostly a game of trying to figure out how to reflect their shots back at them.
And as it turns out, I’m probably at Ezra-levels of incompetence in this area. I can’t figure out how to properly deflect the shots back to hit the stormtroopers, but I think that this is yet another thing that I just need more practice with. I haven’t yet heard if anyone is having as much trouble as me, but at least I’m able to deflect them and keep them from hitting me, which makes me feel more like a Jedi, and that’s a plus in my book.
So I think I’ve covered all the basics of game play. I’ll update again after I’ve progressed in the game and played a few more levels. In the meantime, if you can think of something that I haven’t covered or if you have questions, feel free to sound off below!