That has nothing to do with Vader Immortal, but everything to do with how I'm getting on with my Oculus Quest. Several hours on the thing yesterday, playing the likes of Superhot and Space Pirate Trainer - both of which required a degree of ducking and weaving - has buggered up my coccyx.
Oh, the joys of middle-aged gaming in the 21st Century. Also: ha ha - "buggered up my coccyx"!!!
For all the pain I'm in - and it's quite a lot of pain, but I don't need your sympathy thanks (I take my dopamine in a different form) - it's testament to the immersive qualities of the Quest that I didn't even notice I was actually doing some sort of exercise.
Albeit by moving my body in a way that it clearly didn't want to be moved.
"Oh, why's he whinging about his back? Just get to the review FFS."
It hurts, alright?!?! Plus, wiping my bottom later is going to be a painful chore.
Furthermore, I'm most surprised that I'm able to use the headset for extended periods without getting nauseous. Even my wife played on it at length last night, and usually she only has to turn the page of a magazine to get motion sickness.
Fortunately, most of Vader Immortal Episode 1 is relatively sedate - a creepy, atmospheric, interactive slow-burn, that we're being told is now an official part of the increasingly overwhelming Star Wars canon - and you're able to get through the first part of this three-part series in one sitting/standing.
Vader Immortal is kind of a follow-up to Secrets Of The Force - a pop-up VR experience that has appeared at various locations around the globe, and which I never bothered doing because I thought it'd make me throw up.
It expands upon the mythology of Darth Vader, and like most things to do with Darth Vader in the last 20 years, does its best to make us forget cherubic, bowl-haired, Jake Lloyd and cardboard human facsimile Hayden Christensen, and instil some mystery back into the character.
Its big selling point is that it's set primarily around Vader's Castle - as glimpsed, wholly unnecessarily, during a bit of Rogue One. Here you play the role of a faceless, voiceless, mercenary - with a chatty droid sidekick, of course, played by Mya Rudolph.
Starting in space - as all proper Star Wars should - you get drawn to Mustafar, with all its deadly high ground, and into Vader's clutches...
...Why would he build a house on Mustafar? That's messed-up, given it's where he had his legs and one of his arms cut off, and almost got burned to death, and accidentally choked his wife to death. If I had my legs and one of my arms cut off, and almost got burned to death, and accidentally choked my wife to death somewhere, I wouldn't then buy a house there. I'd do my best to avoid ever going back to the place. It's like something Fred West would do.
Maybe that's the point. I dunno.
The script, by veteran screenwriter David S. Goyer, is decent, the acting is good, the directing and staging of the environment is great.
Best of all, it doesn't drag; it builds atmosphere, but no moment goes on for too long. Essentially, it's one big, linear, cutscene, but the interactive elements are frequent enough to keep you engaged with the world. It's not a game - not really even once you get to wield a lightsaber - but it is an interactive movie done right.
Fortunately, there is a game mode attached to Vader Immortal, and it's actually pretty good. Vader's Dojo is a wave-based combat game, where you face off against those little Jedi training remotes. In short; last as long as you can by using your blade to slice through them, or reflect their shots back to make them explode.
It's doesn't evolve much beyond increasing the numbers and aggression of the remotes, but the feel of holding a lightsaber in your hand - as anybody who has played Beat Saber VR will attest - is unbelievably cool.
Coupled to the Quest's near-flawless tracking, I found myself instinctively doing the poses - holding the blade above my head, twirling it around, and generally acting in a way that I thought made me look awesome, but probably made me look a pilled-up flamenco dancer to any outside observer.
Suffice to say, as Star Wars fan, I enjoyed this first slice of Vader Immortal very much. It's over a little too soon, but I was left wanting more of this story, and more Star Wars in VR...
Did I really review a Star Wars gaming by talking about wiping my bottom? Yes. Yes I did. Do you think any Jedi has ever wiped their bottom using the Force?
Probably. Though I bet Yoda just uses a leaf on a stick.
SCORE: 66 Orders out of 80