Star Wars Outlaws Preview - Finally a Galaxy Full of Scum and Villainy

Star Wars Outlaws is to fans of the series' lovable scoundrels as the Star Wars Jedi series is to lightsaber lovers. Here's our hands-on preview!

Published: June 10, 2024 4:00 PM /

Previewed By:

A space ship shooting lasers with a TIE Fighter on the right side of the screen.

One of the least explored in visual media, yet most yearned for among many Star Wars fans, is a story focused on those with no connection to the force, jedi, or lightsabers. Star Wars Outlaws is poised to perfectly satisfy that craving.

Set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, you take on the role of Kay Vess, a scoundrel looking to swindle her way to a new life. The criminal underworld is a complex one that Kay can take advantage of, pitting rival gangs against one another.

During my time with the game, a little over an hour, I got to play three different sessions. In one I escaped an Empire base, another I scavenged some rare materials from an old ship long ago crashed, and the last I infiltrated a gang's base to steal a valuable artifact.

Kay shooting at stormtroopers in an Empire base's hangar.

My time on the Empire base was short, but I did get to see the simple hacking and lockpicking mechanics on display. I imagine it gets more complex, but the hacking I saw was to take 8 different symbols and correctly input three in order. You get some hints, like if it is one in the sequence or it is in the correct spot -- Wordle like you might say.

Lockpicking is certainly more interesting and rhythm-based. A light and tone will flash to a beat that you then have to match. It's simple but oh-so-satisfying, particularly when the lockpicking was a little more complex.

Once I hacked the mainframe to order an evacuation, making all the stormtroopers run out of the hangar with my ship in it, it was time to escape. Of course, there were still some enemies in the way.

Outlaws Gunplay is Deliberate and Strategic

Outlaws is a third-person shooter with some light melee to get you out of a tight spot. Punching a stormtrooper in the face is indeed satisfying. Think Uncharted's melee here.

The gunplay is strategic and more deliberate - Outlaws certainly isn't about running and gunning. Your regular plasma shots are good against the normal fodder, but you'll want to switch to ion shots to take out shields and droids. Then you can stun folks to instantly take them out, albeit with a cooldown.

Kay's trusty blaster doesn't have ammo, but you have a certain amount of shots before it overheats. If you time it right, you can get an instant reload, but in the thick of battle it's not an easy thing to consistently do.

Enemies can take a bit of a hit, so making sure your shots count is key. Getting stuck in a long reload with a bunch of stormtroopers bearing down is exactly where I found myself in the demo, and it made things way more stressful.

Of course, there are other tools like grenades and dropped enemy weapons you can use as well. Those are sparse, so using them wisely is a good idea as well.

Kay using a grappling hook to cross a gap with Nix looking on.

There's no doubt you can get by with just the blaster running from cover to cover, popping out to pick off people one by one, but these stormtroopers are a little more accurate than their movie brethren, so that may not work for long.

Eventually I was able to get on my ship and escape into space. However, some pesky TIE Fighters had the audacity to try to stop me.

The dogfighting I did get to experience was brief, though it was satisfying and intuitive. It's certainly not quite as complex as Star Wars Squadrons, but Kay's ship is equipped with a few kinds of weapons and abilities to get out of a scrap.

What I experienced was pretty simple lock on targeting, where you had to keep aimed in a certain reticle to hit your enemy. Standard stuff.

Escaping the base introduced me to the wanted system, similar to that in the Grand Theft Auto series. The higher the wanted level, the more you have angered the Empire and they can send some pretty hefty assets to try to kill you.

Once I dispatched the TIE Fighters, I was able to go to a beacon that cleared my wanted level -- essentially clearing the tracking the Empire had on me.

After escaping, I was able to fly towards a planet -- Toshara Moon, a new location to Star Wars lore -- and check out the landing sequence. It is not No Man's Sky in that you'll just fly into a planet. Once you get close enough to one, you'll be prompted with a menu of where to land. That then starts a cutscene to that landing location.

I landed in Mirogana to see a bustling city full of people milling about. Unfortunately I did not have the time or ability in the demo to explore too much, but it was obviously fairly sprawling and I can't wait to see more of it. That session ended promptly afterward.

Outlaws Exploration is Very Uncharted-like

The next slice of gameplay took place in a crashed ship that had been there a while. I was there to scavenge something from the trip, so I spent my time climbing, parkouring, and figuring out how to get past jammed doors and the like.

This is where Outlaws will feel the most familiar. Pretty much any big budget third-person action game has the exact same exploration mechanics in its climbing and jumping around. Kay can rappel down and swing across gaps, but that's nothing new.

Kay standing in front of a large crashed spaceship covered in vegetation.

I couldn't help but think of comparing it to the Star Wars Jedi series, which features similar parkour and movement but has the added elements of force powers to make it more interesting. Plus wallrunning.

Kay could use her blaster's ion shot to power up some generators briefly, but that's pretty standard fare as well.

Obviously, what I saw and experienced was not exhaustive, so there's a good chance Kay will have some more tools and abilities at her disposal in the full game.

A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy

The final mission took place on the planet Kijimi, which you may remember from The Rise of Skywalker. Its frigid mountains became a haven for all kinds of criminals, making it the perfect place for Kay to find some opportunities.

Essentially, Kay is on Kijimi to break into one of the big gang's strongholds and steal an ancient relic from one gang to then give to another gang.

Lurking around every corner of Outlaws are the various gangs in power. Kay's reputation with one or another will affect how people react to her and will of course change how those factions treat her.

Keeping a balance, or not if you choose to really hate one of the gangs, is an ever-present part of the decision making in Outlaws.

Kay walking in the snow-covered streets of Kijimi.

While going in to steal that relic, Kay's partner, ND-5, reminds her that she should probably be as quiet as possible and try to go unnoticed as she was stealing from the Crimson Dawn, a faction she had a good relationship with. If nobody is the wiser, then it's a win-win.

Stealth in Outlaws has quite a few options, mostly due to Kay's trusty sidekick and pet Nix. When skulking about, Nix can distract enemies, sabotage items to explode, and even crawl up stormtroopers to detonate the grenades on their belts.

With artifact in hand, I hit the streets of Kjimi. Just as before, I didn't get to explore much, but I did get to take a long guided pathway to the destination of my quest. There was obviously a lot to explore, it was just not open to me in the demo.

Kijimi featured a huge city with a ton of people. While running through it, there were points of interest galore. A haven for criminals that we can run around in is the best look we have had yet in the world of scum and villainy in Star Wars

Star Wars Outlaws Preview | Final Thoughts

That aspect is what I am personally the most excited for in Outlaws. What helped set Star Wars apart from the beginning was how so much of the universe is run-down, used, and worn. Dirt, grime, and rust cover the daily objects people use.

Outlaws is the first time we really get to dig in with what they day-to-day people in the Star Wars universe deal with. Jedi stories are often just too high level and take players to ruins or sterile environments, like Empire bases, or empty ancient ruins.

Star Wars is a rich universe that is now spending some serious time beyond the Jedi, like with The Mandalorian and Andor. Outlaws joins those ranks to further expand the different unique lifepaths that make Star Wars so interesting.

We've had many games where we could be a Luke Skywalker stand-in, now we've all got a chance to shoot first as our own Han Solo.

Star Wars Outlaws was previewed at an Ubisoft event as part of Summer Game Fest.

Previews you can trust: To ensure you're getting a fair, accurate, and informed review, our experienced team spends a significant amount of time on everything we preview. Read more about how we review games and products.


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Andrew Otton
| Editor in Chief

Andrew is the Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Conned into a love of gaming by Nintendo at a young age, Andrew has been chasing the dragon spawned by Super… More about Andrew

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Star Wars Outlaws
Game Page Star Wars Outlaws
Release Date
August 30, 2024 (Calendar)
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