PSX 2016 – Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission Preview – Trust Your Instincts
Anyone who grew up watching Star Wars films likely imagined what it’d be like to fly the Rebel Alliance’s iconic X-wing Starfighter. Now, thanks to the efforts of Criterion (Need for Speed, Burnout Paradise), everyone can live out that fantasy in the Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-wing VR Mission, which is due out about the time that you’re reading this article. We went head-on with this mission while at Sony’s PlayStation Experience 2016 in Anaheim, California, and have a preview ready for you below.
Familiar Lack of Surroundings
The mission starts out in a white, endless void. It’s reminiscent of the diorama that fans of the game will be familiar with. An X-wing sits front and center in your view, with an R2 unit speeding around near the cockpit. You can have a look around from several different camera angles, selected by looking at an Alliance icon and pressing X.
Once you climb into your cockpit, you are prompted to press a particular button in the cockpit. To do so, you have to look in the area of the X-wing’s instrument panel that contains the actual button, and then press X. I was told after the fact that there are other buttons and switches to play with inside the cockpit, which should help to extend this mission’s replayability.
Pressing the launch button immediately warps you into the mission proper. You play as a rookie X-wing pilot, and have arrived at your destination a bit confused. After conversing with your R2 unit, the rest of your squadron finally catches up to you. There is some light banter, and you are introduced to the flight mechanics. There is mention of a VIP that you are escorting, who may or may not be in the upcoming movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – and thus, we have our movie tie-in which, this mission’s title implies. It’s pretty barebones stuff at this point, as you are given a few minutes to get used to your surroundings, and controlling the nimble X-wing. Though, since this is Star Wars, barebones is still awesome.
Point Five Past Lightspeed (or So)
After a warp with your squad, you are suddenly ambushed by the iconic TIE Fighters. The battle starts with just a few, with pop-up instructions on how to fire, lock on, and engage shields. In very short order, you’re performing flips and taking out enemy after enemy, protecting your VIP as best as you can. Even though the battle and action is intense, I am happy to report that this mission appears to be nausea-free, as I felt no ill effects throughout the experience.
Everything culminates in a fantastic, over-the-top surprise that will have nearly every gamer wide-eyed in disbelief at what they are seeing (try to resist looking on YouTube for a run through so you don’t spoil the surprise!). Just as you start to feel overwhelmed with enemies, sadly, the experience ends. I would’ve honestly been pleased with a slightly longer mission, but of course these things don’t write themselves.
So where will Criterion go from here? Speaking with a few members from the team, they are hoping to steer towards more cinematic experiences such as what they have delivered here. This VR mission, in fact, features something of branching dialog, to try and entice players to run through it again and discover all the Easter eggs. It appears the talented developer is ready for something big, and if this VR mission serves as a small taste of what’s to come, then we should all be excited. Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: VR Mission releases December 6 as a free download to all gamers who have a copy of Star Wars Battlefront on the PlayStation 4.