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Star Wars Outlaws Preview: Uncharted (In) Space

Star Wars Outlaws Preview: Uncharted (In) Space

Not unlike how Disney has opted to branch out the Star Wars universe with new movies and TV shows spanning several genres, the same can be said for the handful of games we’ve seen in the past few years. Jedi: Fallen Order and Survivor offer up lightsaber action with some rogue-like elements sprinkled in, Squadrons is firmly set in the world of space combat, and Hunters dives headfirst into the world of free-to-play PvP. And then there’s Star Wars Outlaws.

As Ubisoft and developer Massive Entertainment’s first foray into the world of Star Wars, there are still a lot of unanswered questions leading up to the game’s August release. I recently had a chance to go hands-on with Outlaws, and while I haven’t walked away with a clear picture of how all of its pieces fit together, I do have a much better idea of what Massive is hoping to accomplish.

While it’s admittedly a bit reductive to compare an upcoming game with established franchises, it certainly helps convey what sort of experience players can expect. And with that disclaimer out of the way…

Star Wars Outlaws Release Date Window

For those of you who have looked at Star Wars Outlaws and saw glimpses of Tomb Raider and Uncharted, you’re not entirely off the mark. While it’s certainly not a one-to-one comparison, there are plenty of similarities between Nathan Drake, Lara Croft, and Kay Vess. These three treasure hunters do have a penchant for getting into some rather sticky situations, often relying on their athletic prowess and marksmanship skills to find their way out. Our hands-on time with Outlaws wasn’t long enough to get a good read on what kind of person Kay is, but it’s clear she’s an expert at climbing walls and performing acrobatic leaps, and she’s just as handy with a grappling hook as she is a blaster.

To put it bluntly, there are a lot of comparisons to be made between Outlaws and the franchises it borrows inspiration from, but Massive Entertainment has thrown enough wrinkles into the mix to keep things fresh. Kay has a few other tools in her belt; her data spike and splicing kit lets her hack into doors and computer systems, each of which has their own associated mini-game (I hope you’re a fan of rhythm mini-games and Mastermind). She’s also adept at piloting a speeder bike, and I even got to play through a brief section where you pilot a ship in space and shoot down a few TIE fighters.

Her other ace in the hole is her adorable, axolotl-esque companion named Nix. Aside from, you know, looking adorable, Nix can be used to trigger out-of-reach switches, and he can also perform some light recon work. During stealth sections, you can also use Nix to steal equipment from nearby enemies or distract them by pouncing on their face. One of my favorite tricks, which is, admittedly, the grimmest, is to dispatch Nix to detonate an enemy’s grenade, and there’s something hilariously macabre about getting your loyal companion to scare the living daylights out of a Stormtrooper, sending them into a frenzied panic shortly before they are blown to smithereens.

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Having played through a handful of missions, I certainly have a better idea of what type of game Massive Entertainment is trying to build, but I still have a few unanswered questions. I briefly got to explore a hub area and play a few rounds of Sabacc (Star Wars’ take on blackjack). We’re curious to see how “open” the game’s open world will end up being and what sort of adventures Kay and Nix will get up to. Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait too long to find out for themselves; Star Wars Outlaws is set to release later this year on August 30.

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