Star Wars Outlaws: Hands-Off Preview

Star Wars Outlaws: Hands-Off Preview

There is no doubt that Star Wars Outlaws is one of the most anticipated titles of the year. The first crack at a Star Wars game from Ubisoft, its focus on the underworld of the Galaxy makes for a refreshing change to the Jedi-based shenanigans we usually see. Well thanks to Ubisoft Australia, I got to see about half an hour of in-game footage that focused on three different mission types and I am here to tell you all about it. 


The first thing I got to see was the general combat gameplay and some of the skills on offer. Kay Vess, the lead, is a smuggler and as such carries a versatile blaster for combat situations. The blaster has three modes, the standard laser, an Ion mode that is perfect for taking out droids and shields and a stun mode (that is on a cooldown) for silent takedowns. Kay has a furry little buddy she brings along called Nix who can help out in tough situations. Nix is used to survey the surroundings, distract enemies and locate weapons for Kay. 


After this little combat intro, we got to see footage from three missions. The first mission, False Flag, Kay is sneaking onto an Imperial space station to pinch some data and get the hell out of dodge. It showcases a nice amount of stealth gameplay in which Kay sneaks around the station, using Nix as a distraction, taking down troopers from behind. As the mission progresses, the inevitable happens and combat breaks out. Combat seems to flow quite well and the use of cover and the environment seems to be super important. Kay also has a slowdown move where she can tag enemies and shoot them in quick succession. The real surprise of this mission however was it finishes with players flying into space and engaging in some good old Star Wars dogfighting. The ship seems to move well and while it is hardly as deep as the classic Xwing/Tie Fighter games, there is still a lot to like here. 


The second mission on show was called The Wreck. This showed off more of the movement side of things as Kay was tasked with pillaging an ancient High Republic cruiser for an old Nav point. This whole section feels very similar to games like Tomb Raider or even Jedi Survivor in the way Kay clambers around the spaceship. It also features some light puzzle-solving and a few tricky platforming sections. It is all the sort of thing we have seen in video games before, only with a Star Wars coat of paint, but to me that isn’t a bad thing. There is a reason that many games feature similar exploration and movement mechanics, because they are fun. The mission finished off with a nice little combat section where Kay was out gunned and had to use a range of goodies and environmental hazards to come out on top. 

The final mission I got to see was called False Flag and it is set among the shady dealings of the underground syndicate Crimson Dawn. It goes into how Kay’s actions can affect her reputation with the various factions in the galaxy and how choice can impact gameplay. We also get to see the lockpicking and hacking mini-games that look different to what we usually see in games, but time will tell on that score. This is a stunning level set in a snow region with some older-style architecture, something you don’t see often in Star Wars. 


In all, I have to say that Star Wars Outlaws isn’t exactly setting a new standard for gameplay. Everything I saw, I have seen in other games. Now that isn’t a negative. As this is the first game of this type set in the Star Wars universe, it actually makes sense to me that the Developers have used tried and true mechanics. What will be important is how the game holds up over the length of the title, how it feels with a controller in hand and just how engaging the story is. If the devs can nail these three things, this will be a winner, no matter how many times we have seen the mechanics before. We don’t have long to wait to find out either. Star Wars Outlaws is coming to PC, Xbox Series and PS5 on the 30th of August, a little over 2 months away. 

Time Until Launch (August 30, 2024)

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