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Star Wars: Outlaws is Red Dead Redemption 2 in space, could be 2024’s biggest game

Star Wars: Outlaws is Red Dead Redemption 2 in space, could be 2024’s biggest game

Crait Expectations

The Jedi are boring as hell. Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars - but I’m kind of over the obsession with those pious space wizards, with their glowy swords and creepy rat tails.

To me, the beating heart of Star Wars has always been the scoundrels. The rogues. The outlaws. Characters like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, who live outside the law and do what they need to do to get by in the galaxy (usually stealing from assholes who deserve it anyway).

When Ubisoft Massive announced it was working on an open-world Star Wars game I was concerned it’d be yet another Jedi adventure. Not only have I just made my thoughts on the Jedi clear, but I think it’s also safe to say EA and Respawn have given us the perfect version of a Jedi video game at this point, so we really don’t need another anytime soon.

What a treat it was, then, to see the reveal trailer for Star Wars: Outlaws at the Xbox showcase earlier this week and discover that we’re getting a game all about being the best scoundrel we can be. And now that I’ve seen roughly 20 minutes of the game in action? I’m convinced that this is going to be one of 2024’s biggest games, and a dream come true for Star Wars fans everywhere.

Star Wars: Outlaws puts us in the dusty boots of Kay Vess, a charming crook who cons and steals her way across the outer rims. Set between the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, as the galactic civil war rages towards its explosive conclusion, the crime syndicates of the outer rims are seizing on the chaos and confusion. And someone like Kay can make a lot of money as a result.

What immediately struck me about the gameplay demo is how similar to Red Dead Redemption it seems to be. I maintain that Star Wars has always been at its best when it wears its Western influences on its sleeve, and Star Wars: Outlaws is no exception.

The demo kicks off with a stealth segment in which Kay attempts to sneak through an enemy compound to retrieve an item she’s been hired to steal by a local crime boss. There’s a touch of Watch Dogs to the stealth as Kay can use her alien pet, the adorable Nix, to cause distractions and mess with machinery. There are also some really sweet touches to the stealth takedowns, like Kay tapping her target on the shoulder and knocking him out with a swift punch to the face before shaking her hand in pain.

Star Wars: Outlaws / credit: Ubisoft
Star Wars: Outlaws / credit: Ubisoft

After Kay’s cover is blown the stealth encounter turns into a full-on shootout, and it’s here we see some fun cover-based gunplay. Kay’s blaster has a range of settings to work on different enemies, and Nix can also be commanded to scurry and fetch larger enemy guns to give our hero some extra firepower. What’s most interesting about this segment is the confirmation of Outlaw’s reputation system. Because Kay got caught by the rival gang and had to shoot a bunch of them dead, her reputation with this specific criminal group has gone down, meaning she’s more likely to fall foul of them further down the line.

Leaving the enemy base, Kay hops onto a speeder and shoots across the open-world planet to her next objective. We get a sense of just how huge this game is at this moment - and how beautiful, too. We already know there are multiple planets to explore - a mix of original and familiar - and it’ll be interesting to see just how much there is to do on each of them.

We’re then treated to a cutscene in which Kay delivers the stolen goods to her client, only to discover an Imperial officer is waiting there, looking for a bribe. Here, we can decide whether to hand over the bribe, losing a cut of our earnings from the job so we can leave the planet safely, or refuse and accept the consequences.

For the purposes of the demo Kay refuses, and we discover the game also has a wanted system. Sprinting back to her ship and avoiding enemy fire we get to perhaps my favourite part of the demo: Kay kicks her ship, The Trailblazer, into gear and seamlessly flies through the sky, out of the planet’s atmosphere, and into space with zero loading screens. My jaw hit the floor.

Star Wars: Outlaws /

After a quick dogfight with Imperial forces (yes, this game really has everything), Kay jumps into Hyperspaces and leaves the system, shaking her pursuers in the process and heading to her next adventure.

I left my Star Wars: Outlaws demo with the biggest, dumbest grin on my face, and I can’t wait to see more. Ubisoft Massive have perfectly captured the feel of the original trilogy, and I suspect Kay and Nix will swiftly establish themselves as fan-favourite additions to the Star Wars canon. Hell, I’m already campaigning for them to get a Disney Plus show.

More than anything else, Outlaws looks like a genuinely new kind of open world experience for Ubisoft, something I think it desperately needs. Hopping between systems, exploring planets, and taking jobs all while being constantly hunted sounds like a blast, and exactly the kind of Star Wars game I’ve always wanted to see.

Obviously this open world, with its various planets and systems, will live or die based on how much variety it has to offer in its missions and combat… but I’m quietly confident that Ubisoft Massive can fill Star Wars: Outlaws with enough surprises to make it one of the best games of 2024. Hell, even if it’s shit I’m going to play it for at least 100 hours.

Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft

Topics: Star Wars, Ubisoft