The Sims and Star Wars have finally come together; a dream that comes true for some (not all, though!) fans of both franchises thanks to the new Star Wars Journey to Batuu Game Pack for The Sims 4, which recently landed on the long-running and always successful sim game developed by Maxis. If it's true that The Galaxy Far, Far Away has already been explored far and wide by Electronic Arts through several games directly inspired by the popular saga created by George Lucas (not least, the upcoming Star Wars: Squadrons, which is coming out next month), now players can shape their galactic adventures more to their liking with this new game pack. More than Star Wars, Journey to Batuu is inspired by new attraction Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - found at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort - in which park visitors can choose whether to join the Dark Side via the First Order (led by Kylo Ren) or join the "rebel scum" of the Resistance, supporting Rey and Vi Moradi.
However, even before picking your side, users can play with the character editor, choosing clothing and accessories (over 130 items) inspired by the characters of the three different Star Wars trilogies. Whether it's Boba Fett's helmet, Kylo Ren's mask, Obi-Wan's robe, or Princess Leia's iconic hairstyle, you can give your Sims the Star Wars style you want, ready for the great galactic adventure that awaits them. It must be said that not all the Star Wars-themed clothes and items are available immediately, some are unlocked only after reaching a certain level, having completed some of the missions found in the park. In order to access Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it's necessary that players, once inside their neighbourhood and apartment, select the "Take a vacation" mode, which allows them to reach the Star Wars theme park.
Once you reach the park, your Star Wars avatar can finally explore the three different areas that the park is divided into. In particular, there is the Black Spire Outpost (which, as you will see shortly, acts a bit like the hub), Resistance Camps, and First Order Outposts. After a while, however, I started to notice the first flaws: the scenarios, although evocative and perfectly in line with the Star Wars universe, are characterised by buildings or vehicles that are inaccessible. What, then, is the sense of including an iconic element like the Millennium Falcon and not giving the player the opportunity to access and explore it from the inside? This issue actually extends to many other structures across all three areas, which ultimately makes the experience feel quite empty overall.
Even the Black Spire Outpost itself, where you can find areas such as the tavern or the bedroom where our Sim can be refreshed and eat, is largely inaccessible from the inside. In some situations, for example, a sim can access buildings, but the player cannot see what happens inside, limiting one to performing actions by selecting them from a menu. It's a bland, even lazy choice, which makes the experience undoubtedly less interesting than it could have been. However, the positive thing is having the opportunity for your sims to meet your favourite characters from the SW saga, interact with them, have a chat, show anger or affection, and more.
The most interesting aspect of Journey to Batuu is actually the Faction system. As we said, players can choose to join the First Order, the Resistance, or become a bounty hunter on their own. Once a faction has been selected, players can start participating in missions to earn acclaim and level up within their respective faction. The missions are quite varied and have you doing things such as catching a spy, stealing information from opponents, inspecting buildings, and so on. To increase (or decrease) your reputation, great importance is placed on your interpersonal relationships with the members of your faction: this, in addition to making it easier to complete missions, also allows you to access some truly unique equipment in the character editor and show them off after returning home.
Later, if the Galaxy Far, Far Away no longer keeps you entertained, you can choose to go home back your normal Sims-life without any regrets, since you can decide to do so at any time, keeping the progress made. In addition, besides the experience gained, players can also take with them any items/clothing obtained, including the droids and lightsabers collected during their stay in Batuu. In fact you can go back and forth as many times as you want; just select "take a vacation" on your smartphone and you will start exactly where your last adventure left off.
What, then, about Star Wars Journey to Batuu? Overall, while it turns out to be an interesting addition for Star Wars fans given the various Easter eggs linked to the saga, this expansion didn't always live up to my expectations. The only aspect that really caught my attention, other than dressing my Sims up as a Star Wars cosplayer, was the Faction system that allows characters to carry out some entertaining missions. A wasted opportunity? In part, yes, because I don't think the content it offers will satisfy the hunger of avid Star Wars like me, nor is there enough to draw in more casual fans, which is a pity.
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