Star Wars Outlaws gameplay previews the galaxy’s underbelly

During Summer Games Fest, Ubisoft gave us a chance to play a demo for its upcoming signle-player action adventure game: Star Wars Outlaws. The story takes place during the original trilogy — between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The galaxy is in the middle of a rebellion and players will get the chance to embrace their inner scoundrel as protagonist, Kay Vess.

Joined by her merquaal (think axolotl mixed with a dog or cat) Nix and a cast of other rogue companions, Kay is planning the heist of a century. The demo previewed three scenarios players will tackle frequently.

Ubisoft makes the galaxy feel lived-in, taking advantage of Star Wars worldbuilding.

Previewing Star War Outlaws gameplay

In the first, Kay must sneak through an empire ship to steal valuable cargo. The slice highlighted the game’s gun-based combat. Kay’s weapons can shoot three kinds of shots: standard bullets, an electrical shot for droids, shields and puzzles and a powerful shot to take out tough enemies with a long cool down.

Kay and crew take flight in the Trailblazer.

Additionally, the section featured a spaceship escape once the cargo was secure. I’m not the biggest fan of aerial combat personally, but the controls seem reasonable with a bit more practice. I actually happened to soft lock the Star Wars Outlaws demo getting caught in the cruisers’ airlock. There will be a crafting system to customize your ship (and build relationships with powerful allies), which could help players even more.

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It's grappling time in Star Wars Outlaws
It’s grappling time!

In the second section, Kay explored the ruins of a decaying cruiser. The platforming in Star Wars Outlaws was fine, though it suffers from yellow paint syndrome. Additionally, the rhythmic door locks will drive some fans insane, though I liked the locks that Kay’s stun gun can activate. Kay using her hair piece to unlock doors is a nice touch.

Finally, we controlled Kay as she stole from an undercity boss, infiltrating his hideout and using the goods to curry favor with a rival faction. The stealth is fairly standard for Ubisoft, but the environmental storytelling was quite nice.

Scoundrels, not Jedi

Star Wars Outlaws is reminicent of other recent outings in a galaxy far, far away. Ultimately, the closest comparison for the title is EA’s Jedi series.

take on the empire in Star Wars Outlaws
Take on the Empire in Star Wars Outlaws.

While both titles share some light RPG elements, the tones and emphasis of the games are very different. While Jedi focuses on the titualar force-wielding faction and combat, Outlaws emphasizes the galaxy’s less illustrious figures and story.

Given the varied environments and nearly half a century of world building, Ubisoft has lots to work with. The publisher’s gameplay style — particularly Assassin’s Creed’s open world, stealth, reputation and questing systems — are being used to full effect in Star Wars: Outlaws.

Star Wars Outlaws releases on August 30, 2024 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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