After a worryingly dated hands-on with Star Wars Outlaws, Ubisoft’s galactic open world feels less exciting than expected

Last year, Ubisoft’s unveiling of Star Wars Outlaws was one of my highlights of the not-E3 period. In a lengthy hands-off demo, we saw protagonist Kay Vess and her little helper Nix sneak through an enemy base, blast her way out into the open world, rip across it on a speeder and scrape her way through conversations with a crime lord.

It was about as close as we’ve been to a proper Han Solo video game, but it was also about the promise that comes with Ubisoft Massive, the team best known for The Division, applying the Ubisoft touch to a world that’s always seemed a perfect fit for it. Yes, the “Ubi formula” for open worlds and their icon-littered maps has become tired to the point of parody, but there’s a lovable simplicity to them too, the old cliché of certain games being “fast food” returning again – sometimes I want a burger, and if you stamp a little Republic logo on it my simple-minded inner child is still just about alive enough to crack a smile. A bit more simply: I’m not proud of it, but I do quite fancy the idea of a big, busywork-filled map of Star Wars activities, which is probably why EA’s Star Wars Jedi games were, if not hugely inventive, at least very good fun.

Having played Star Wars Outlaws for a good hour or so ahead of the Ubisoft Forward show, however, I’ve come away with a renewed appreciation for Jedi Fallen Order and Jedi Survivor. In fact no, a bit more than that – in comparison to Outlaws’ admittedly early, work-in-progress demo, they stand as singular pieces of revolutionary high art. Outlaws’ early gameplay feels positively ancient – not only mechanically but in execution, in its near total lack of character, flair, invention, detail, or style. In trying to describe it, the closest comparison I can draw is with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which launched in 2011 on the PS VIta.

Read more

About Author