Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire VR Experience
Review By: Chris Swain
The future of VR is here! Star Wars: Secrets of The Empire, is the latest interactive VR experience at The Void in Disney Springs, Orlando, FL. For the reasonable price of $29.99, you can embark on your own Star Wars mission with up to three of your friends (or strangers). If you’re like me you wonder if this is really going to be worth $30 of your hard earned money; I promise you, it is! You start with a mission briefing from Mon Mothma and Cassian Andor, where you find out that you have a secret mission to smuggle anartifact from an Imperial base on Mustafar. Disguised as Imperial Stormtroopers, you and your team select your color from a menu that allows the rest of your team to identify you during the experience.
Following the mission briefing, you are herded into a ready room where a Void staff member assists you with getting suited up in your gear for the mission at hand. The vest does have some heft and feels solid and very similar to wearing actual armor. The VR helmet is also a bit hefty and has the option of opening up from the front if necessary. However this experience is like no other. After suiting up you head out to the starting point. There the Void staff member arranges your team on their starting points and has you put down your VR visor. From this point on everything you see in your visor is a near 1:1 ratio of the real world. The entire room is setup to represent exactly what you see when it comes to walls and chairs and other objects in the room. The rest of your team from now on, clad in their Imperial Stormtrooper armor, is identified via the color they chose during the initial mission briefing which is indicated on their shoulder pad.
When you enter the mission area you and your team huddle into a shuttle and sit down on a bench, as it is dropping you off on the surface. Once you are ready to depart the shuttle you walk onto a small skiff and you immediately feel the intense heat from the lava on the surface of the planet as it takes you to the area of the station where you will begin your infiltration. You head to the armory and pick up your blaster and then the real mission starts. While I won’t give away anything about the mission, I will say that the shooting has its pros and cons. When you are shot you can feel the force feedback on your vest where you were hit. However when you shoot back at targets, your aim at your target doesn’t seem to be where the blaster bolt actually goes (although that could have been due to the blurry fingerprint on my lens that wasn’t completely wiped off during the cleaning process). Regardless it’s still tons of fun. During your mission, you will encounter several different characters from the films during the Rogue One era. Once you’re finished, you go back to the room where you put on your vest and visor and are instructed on how to remove them and begin the reflection period of what an awesome thing it was that you just experienced!
The entire event is a load offun and unlike anything I personally have ever experienced. I actually felt for the first time, that I was involved in the Star Wars universe and that is a very surreal but amazing feeling! I personally think that everyone, even if you aren’t exactly a huge fan of Star Wars, if you have the chance, should definitely take the time to go through the experience. If nothing else it will give you a glimpse of how far VR has come and what to expect in the future as this amazing technology advances and matures. I hope you have a chance to check it out! May the Force be with you!