Battlefront’s X-Wing VR Mission is the most enchanting thing I have experienced in gaming this year. At no point in my 17 minute play session did I stop smiling.
If I haven’t established this before, I’m a massive Star Wars fan. I know that everyone is a fan of Star Wars but seriously, it’s different with me. I spend – not even kidding about this – a few hours a week discussing, theorizing, and analyzing the Star Wars films, games, TV shows, and novels with one of my best friends from home. We will try to figure out who Snoke is, argue about whether Rey is a Skywalker or a Kenobi, and talk about how dumb we think a Han Solo spinoff movie is despite the incredible cast. So with all of that in mind, yeah, this experience was more than surreal for me.
When you begin the standalone mission you are immediately greeted by a colossal AT-AT that is walking in front of you. I started to laugh uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Climbing into cockpit of the X-Wing before the mission began was familiar. I’m well aware of what the inside of an X-Wing looks like at this point in my life and here I am, sitting in one. I turn around and see my astromech droid behind me. I notice the targeting computer that Luke so famously turned off during his Death Star trench run. I look down and see myself wearing and orange jumpsuit. This is all actually happening.
I begin the mission and now I am flying the Rebellion fighter. I continue looking all around, examining the inside of my ship and its console more, and also looking outside of my windows to see my S-foils. The opening of this VR mission has a good pace and it gives you a minute or two to take in your surroundings. As I connect with my squad, we begin to check in with our callsigns. “Red 4, standing by,” my character says. I begin to laugh more.
As we begin to form up, we get to one of my favorite parts of the mission: launching into hyperspace. This is one of the most famous moments in the Star Wars films and feeling like I was doing it myself was more satisfying that I had expected.
The demo continues on and I reach the point where I begin dogfighting with TIE fighters. I lock my S-foils into attack position and begin destroying Imperial ships left and right. As I continue to harness my inner Wedge Antilles the coolest part of the entire mission happens: an Imperial-class Star Destroyer flies directly over my head. This moment of the mission is very similar to the opening scene of A New Hope and you can tell that it was done this way on purpose. It’s always been apparent that Star Destroyer’s are massive, hulking ships, but seeing one in virtual reality left my jaw on the floor.
The next 5 or so minutes of the mission I continue dogfighting with enemy TIEs, but this time I am weaving in and out between the sections of the Star Destroyer. I’m starting to become one with my X-Wing and I’m killing TIE fighters at a faster rate than Poe Dameron on Takodana. I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.
Finally, I complete my mission and fly back to the rallying point with my squad. They congratulate me on a job well done. I turn around to check on my astromech droid and he’s still hanging in there with me too. As the music builds to a crescendo I launch into hyperspace one last time, still with a large grin on my face.
This VR experience was probably ten times more satisfying to me compared to the normal person simply because I’m such a big Star Wars fan. The core experience is extremely fun, even though it was pretty straightforward. What this experience did for me more than anything, though, was it proved that an X-Wing game can work in VR. This small add-0n mission is a proof of concept for what could be an even larger, more fleshed out Star Wars game in the future. Imagine if DICE or another company were able to bring back Rogue Squadron from the dead and optimize the experience from the ground up for VR. I for one have my fingers crossed and hope that we get something similar to that down the road.
What’s nice about this X-Wing VR mission is that it is completely and totally free if you own Battlefront. At this point, if you don’t own it then you can probably find it in a bargain bin or at your local game store for around $10-$20. Seriously, experiencing this mission is worth that price tag alone. Plus, I think Battlefront is an excellent game and if you haven’t played it for yourself yet then change that.
If you are a Star Wars fan in any way and you also own a PSVR headset, then please experience this VR mission for yourself. It’s short, sweet, and gives you a great idea of what VR games could become in the future. This small piece of DLC may have only lasted me 17 minutes, but it is probably my favorite experience in PSVR thus far. If you don’t play it for yourself then you’re dumber than Jar Jar.