Does Star Wars Outlaws have what it takes to be the best Star Wars game?

Star Wars fans are in for a treat on August 30.

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Ever since its initial reveal, I have always kept a close eye on Star Wars Outlaws. Being a massive fan of the franchise, it was very interesting to see a AAA title focus on the golden age of the underworld. No narrative focusing on being “the chosen one” or being the one and only jedi savior of the universe. You play as Kay Vess, a scoundrel who’s just trying to survive her way through each day. A much more grounded concept to work with and I was all for it. After having the opportunity to see some gameplay early, it got me thinking, can Star Wars Outlaws be the best Star Wars game ever made or is it just the Han Solo experience we’ve always wanted to have? Either way it goes, I’m extremely excited for this one to come out.

While there is no denying that Respawn Entertainment’s Jedi games are fantastic on their own right, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to play as someone who is but a small cog in the galaxy rather than being burdened with trying to be at the center of it. It’s titles like Andor, Rogue One, and The Mandalorian do best and the reason why they’re considered to be some of the best to come out of Disney’s handling of the IP.

What’s probably one of my favorite things about Outlaws is how small Kay feels in the world and how tangible its dangers and consequences are for her. One of the main components of the game is reputation, which can be affected by regular gameplay or even in the way you respond in conversations. You are brought to some of the deepest and darkest corners of the criminal underworld and the game makes sure you feel it. It’s hard to trust someone and it’s also not exactly night and day when it comes to Kay’s moral compass as well. You always feel like you should always have a blaster ready behind your back, because more often than not, the people you interact with are doing the same. While I can’t definitely say where your reputation can take you in the latter game, I do hope that it has some interesting narrative implications later down the line rather than just another form of a wanted system.

As I’m sure some of you may have noticed from the trailers, Star Wars Outlaws looks incredible. The atmosphere, character models, and iconic locations are so wonderfully realized. Being advertised as the very first open world Star Wars game, you can tell that Massive Entertainment are pulling no stops. The studio has already proven they can make fantastic looking dense environments with The Division games and Outlaws is looking no different.

Gameplay shown mostly focused on stealth, third person shooting, and ship combat. Kay, being true to her scoundrel self, utilizes a bunch of tools to get around unnoticed. My favorite being ordering her cute companion, Nix, to go in front of an enemy and try to act dead as a distraction. What I love about stealth gameplay is how Kay is animated. She’s not an elite trained operative and so she doesn’t move like one. You can tell there’s some hint of nervousness or hesitation in her actions. She also has a smaller build compared to the enemies so when she does a takedown, she uses all of her body’s momentum with every hit. Just small details like these really make her feel much more of a character rather than a generic action star.

Massive Entertainment is no stranger to third shooting. Your main gun has 2 options, red and blue. The former is lethal to human enemies. The regular blaster shots you know and love. The latter is useful against droids, taking down shields, silently electrocuting enemies from a distance, etc. You can also pick up various weapons should you want more firepower in the field. One very minor complaint I have is that I wish there was more visual feedback whenever an enemy was shot. Perhaps some damage in the Stormtrooper armor or at least a flinch from the body. There were some instances where the enemies would only react once their health bar is depleted.

Ship combat looked simple enough to understand with just the right amount of visual spectacle to look enjoyable. However, it would be difficult to compete with the likes of Star Wars Squadron but at the same time, it would be an unfair comparison. However, my favorite thing about space gameplay is how it handles landing in planets. You select a drop point from a diegetic menu, and it plays a cutscene where your ship blasts through the clouds, obscuring your vision, until it finally reveals the location itself. It is a glorified loading screen but it’s definitely more impressive than having to shift through different menus and an actual loading screen itself.

But of course, this is a Star Wars project. From what I’ve heard so far, Outlaws’ sound design is phenomenal. From the blasters to the ship alarms, and the blaring of the music score, the game is shaping up to be a treat for every nerds’ ears.

Is Star Wars Outlaws the best Star Wars game? We don’t know for sure, but from everything I’ve seen and heard, it definitely has all the factors needed for it to be. The franchise has gone through a lot of good and bad videogame adaptations. But at the end of the day, it’s still Star Wars. And that’s all we can ask for. Star Wars Outlaws is one of my most anticipated titles of 2024 and I can’t wait to jump into the galaxy far, far away on August 30.