A lot of dedicated Sims fans were extremely disappointed to learn the new game pack for The Sims 4 was a Star Wars tie-in. As a more casual Sims player, I was kind of excited—though since I'm also a casual Star Wars fan, I'd never even heard of Batuu, the planet where the game pack takes place. Which, as it turns out, is a location based on Disney's Star Wars theme park—right down to some of the shops you can visit.
It's franchise tie-in inception: a game pack where you visit a fictitious theme park based on a real theme park based on a movie. But after playing through a lot of The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu, I can't say I didn't have a good time.
Journey to Batuu acts as a vacation destination (sort of like Jungle Adventure) as opposed to a new world to build houses and live in. After creating a Sim version of myself, I picked the vacation travel option from my phone and entered the Star Wars universe—or the Disney theme park version of it, at least.
Batuu is divided into three zones: Blackspire Outpost, where there's a cantina for dancing and socializing, plus a few shops, the First Order District where the stormtroopers patrol, and a Resistance encampment in the woods nearby.
You're free to visit any of these spots, and you can choose to side with the Resistance, the First Order, or the "scoundrels" as they're called. At the start you have a neutral reputation with all three factions, but as you complete missions you'll see that rep either rise or fall, and you'll earn rewards at certain milestones.
I immediately joined the First Order because I wanted to dress up like a fat stormtrooper and see what Kylo Ren sounded like when he spoke Simlish. (FYI: He sounds pretty depressed.) I joined up and asked how I could help.
And wow, what a confidence boost space-fascism is! My character, who I modeled after myself, gets stressed out in group settings and is embarrassed easily, so I'm always tense and unhappy (not unlike real life). But once I start doing a few First Order missions—which direct me to push other Sims around, demand to see their IDs, beat them up if they're friendly to the Resistance, and take them prisoner so they can be sent to some offworld prison—my confidence really kicks in. I'm strutting around the joint, happy as a clam.
I'd be more troubled by how quickly the Sim version of me took to oppression if I wasn't such a terrible First Order officer—I keep getting caught trying to hack electronics at the Resistance camp and I routinely get my ass kicked when trying to arrest someone. I have to spend a lot of my free time jogging around Batuu to increase my physical skills just so I'm strong enough to subdue some harmless alien and haul them off to space-jail.
The missions eventually get a bit repetitive, but there's always a selection available that involve activities like hacking electronics, interacting with other Sims, talking up your faction with the locals, and piloting ships on a mission (more on this in a minute).
It doesn't take too long to rise through the ranks of a faction, even with all the breaks to "sleep" and "freshen up" (there are no bathrooms or bedrooms on Batuu—maybe Disney told EA they didn't want to see a bunch of videos of Kylo Ren and Rey taking dumps, using the shower, or having woohoo). Changing ranks unlocks new uniforms and galactic credits, which you can spend on parts to build your own lightsabers and R-series or BB-series droids. The droids are cool, and they'll follow you around and can be used to distract people while you're hacking electronics. (Unfortunately you can't have a loyal Gonk droid (opens in new tab), my favorite, and while you can add one to your house later they just act as power generators. Lame.) Don't expect to be slicing limbs off people with your lightsaber—you can challenge other saber-bearing Sims to duels, but they're friendly and no one gets vivisected.
Once you've climbed the ranks a bit, both Kylo Ren and Rey will appear in the world, hanging around their respective zones. You can chat with them, engage in some lightsaber sparring, and even get a hug if you play your cards right. I'm not a fan of any of the new Star Wars films really, but I still enjoyed being able to interact with both Kylo and Rey in The Sims 4.
If your faction reputation is too negative, they won't be so friendly, however. I tried to make nice with Rey after I became a high-ranking First Order officer, and she immediately Jedi mind-tricked me into pissing off. In fact, she sent me walking right off out of the Resistance camp and back to the other map. Rey ain't playin'.
As for the tantalizing prospect of piloting the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing, and a TIE Echelon ship, well, you only sort of get to fly them. They're more like choose-your-own-adventure quests. The ship will blast off but you're just presented with a bit of story ("X-Wings attack your ship!") and given a choice (in text) of how you'd like to react. Depending on the items you've collected, like a lightsaber or an astromech droid, you'll have more options to pick from increasing the chances you'll complete your mission.
You're not forever locked into your choice of faction—after I maxed out my reputation with the Order, I strolled right into the rebel encampment and quit, which erased my evil rep completely so I'd be able to start working for the Resistance. So it's possible to complete missions for all three factions if you want, and unlock all the different costumes and items for the same Sim.
You can come and go between Batuu and your normal home whenever you like—I kept getting notifications that my bills were stacking up so I had to bounce away from the sci-fi adventure to avoid my water getting turned off back at home. And you can bring some stuff back with you, like your lightsaber (you can use it to practice with one of those little softball-sized droids). Naturally there are new home-building options included in the pack so you can set up your own cantina on planet Earth.
I had a good time as a bumbling First Order officer. Yeah, it's not exactly my dream tie-in to the Star Wars universe—I'd prefer to live on a Death Star than visit a theme park. But I got to duel with Rey and got a hug from Ren. Not even Luke can say that.
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