VR Gaming Makes Sense for Star Wars fans now
It feels like the time is finally right for Star Wars fans to get involved with VR, so I did. After a month of virtual reality Star Wars gaming, I don’t have any buyer’s remorse. I’m actually having fun.
Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy’s Edge has just released, here we can play a quest driven game set on Batuu, a newer unexplored planet from the Star Wars universe. Vader Immortal gives us a solid three-part story about Darth Vader’s quest for immortality. And Star Wars: Squadrons gives us a rad VR flight sim where you can play as X-wings and TIE Fighters. So lightsabres, blasters, and spaceships.
Vader Immortal is the lightsaber game. Tales from Galaxy’s Edge gives us a small quest driven game on Batuu. And Star Wars Squadrons gives us the best Star Wars flight sim game ever. However, only the first two games can be played on an Oculus Quest while the 3rd requires a VR/Oculus Quest headset with a PC connection.
With the Oculus Quest 2 out now, is a really good time to jump into VR. The headset costs $299 for the 64GB model. I have used mine for a few months now and I’ve never filled up the storage space. It is also the only platform where you can play Tales from Galaxy’s Edge right now and you can also play Vader Immortal on the actual headset itself. All three episodes of Vader Immortal will run you $30 or $10 each. Galaxy’s Edge costs $25 and there are a few expansions planned. Squadrons is usually a $40 game. You can basically get into Star Wars VR entirely for $400ish.
I really enjoyed Vader Immortal. But it is very much like watching a movie you participate in. The story is pretty neat. The setting is dark and pretty cool and it was a solid experience. Tales from Galaxy’s Edge is kind of the opposite. It feels a little more Legend of Zelda in that you’re in a green environment doing quests. It has a more lighthearted feel to it. It isn’t as well made but I think the games complement one another well.
I accidentally beat Galaxy’s Edge after 3 hours of gameplay and I never saw the Yoda content (which I can go back to). So I think that’s a sidequest you have to unlock and I accidentally passed over. This is both cool in that I’m happy there’s more to do but also kind of weird it’s buried in the game and not easily accessible upfront.
Speaking of sidequests…
You’re going to want to install SideQuest on your Oculus. The Star Wars are games that are released to perform. However, they’re way conservative with their settings. I’m running my CPU/GPU at level 4 with 3072 texture sizes and the games look way better and they run great. You’re also going to want to use this to set your screen to 90fps instead of the default 60fps.
You just download the program to your Mac or PC. Plug your headset into it, give your headset permission to connect and you can change a lot of settings and install a lot of free games (there’s a few neat Star Wars ripoffs too).
Vintage Star Wars Gaming Unofficial Options
I used SideQuest to sideload Retroarch. This program allows you to chose emulators for platforms like NES, SNES, N64, Playstation, and so on. One can then drop the ROMs into the download folder and play classic Star Wars games like Shadows of the Empire and Super Empire Strikes Back on the equivalent of a 60-inch television. I really enjoyed playing Star Wars: Racer on a screen larger than my Switch.
How to Play Squadrons without a PC and a Quest 2.
Star Wars: Squadrons requires a PC and a VR headset. To play Star Wars: Squadrons, I use Shadow PC with my Oculus Quest 2. At home, I use a Mac and I didn’t want to drop a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a gaming PC. Shadow PC lets you connect to a PC that runs Windows 10 with a fairly good gaming setup on it. I use Virtual Desktop to connect my Shadow PC to the headset wirelessly to play Star Wars: Squadrons. If you use my code for Shadow PC you get a discount: JASEBPV2
Shadow PC has Shadow VR in a very early alpha stage you can use now. It is in a really early stage and I don’t really use it yet but I will once it is more reliable.
I really like this solution for Star Wars: Squadrons. Without Shadow VR, you can use Virtual Desktop which costs about $20. You install the Virtual Desktop streamer program onto your Shadow PC. You can run your Shadow PC from a phone app, iPad app, AppleTV, or your phone. Make sure Shadow PC and the streaming app are on. On your Oculus, you turn on Virtual Desktop and connect to your Shadow PC. From there you load up Steam where you own Star Wars Squadrons and you can play it in VR.
Streaming Squadrons requires a stable internet connection and a 5GHz or better router for your Oculus to connect to. You can also connect your Xbox or PS controller to your Oculus and use it for Squadrons. It works really well for me.
The only thing to note is it can take up to a month for your Shadow PC to become ready for you to use. I made my account and I was activated about 7 days later. If you should order a Quest 2 and want to use Shadow PC as a PC gaming option, take that into account and register before your Oculus ships.
Buying VR games like Vader Immortal on Steam and streaming to your Oculus via Shadow PC will give you better graphics than buying the Oculus version of the game. But you do have to do the extra steps of streaming the game via Steam on your PC or Shadow PC to your headset. I like this option though because you can activate it and deactivate it if you don’t see yourself gaming for a few months after and it’s a much better option than buying a PC if you only want it for VR.
I’m having fun
So far I’m really having a lot of fun with my Oculus Quest 2 playing Star Wars content. There’s a pretty well-rounded list of Star Wars games. With the coming packs for Galaxy’s Edge and new games in general down the road, I feel happy about the idea of Star Wars and VR.
Non-Star Wars games like Population One, Drunken Bar Fights, Swords of Gurrah, and Blade and Sorcery are all really rad. Pinball Effects has a Universal pack that lets you play Back to the Future, Jaws, and E.T. tables I’m really enjoying. My daughter likes Waltz of the Wizard a lot which lets you pretend to be a wizard with a cauldron. Moss is really rad where you solve level puzzles with a little mouse that’s just amazing to play. Hell, even Angry Birds was a bit of fun in VR.
Blade and Sorcery has a lot of fun mods (ever wanted to take out Younglings in Order 66 because you can now). This game has every lightsaber ever in it. There are Force powers and the maps like Naboo are really cool.
Also, in Stream Home you can have your house set to the Mos Eisley cantina and it’s amazing.
Here’s a video of my story play-through of Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.