We've all heard about virtual reality, but what about augmented reality? The difference between the two is minute, but the experiences they provide are world's apart. We got a chance to test out one of these augmented sets last week, with Lenovo being kind enough to walk me through the motions for 'Star Wars: Jedi Challenges' game system.
Now I'll be honest, when I pulled down the huge headset over my head it felt like a gimmick. Utilizing a simple stunted lightsaber and calibration orb, I was immediately reminded of Playstation Move. Could it be another hugely hyped "life-changing" experience that would wear thin in seconds? Or was there some genuine benefit to investing in the system? The initial gameplay blew me away, providing a responsive and immersive usage that didn't result in me tripping over my own feet.
This is the main selling point of augmented reality, the ability to orientate yourself in the real world whilst entering a new level of sensory game. The key to ensuring success with something as niche as this is variety and Jedi Challenges addresses this in spades. Starting with lightsaber battles, which involve the expected use of the controller, it advances to more intricate modes like holochess and strategic combat (akin to something like a real time strategy game). Each mode provides a different usage to the system, taking components from successful games of the past. This is where it truly shines, taking something that has be done before (the lightsaber battle through a VR headset) and then providing more depth to it via extended gameplay and the augmented reality spectacle. But at the end of the day, I don't see the value... currently.
Hear me out, I'm not doubting the system itself. It is definitely next level, but the provision of content nowhere near justifies the price point. At $399 RRP, you're paying for a brand new game system with only one game. This is said to be updated with further content down the line, using different IP's and ideas to make it justifiable. But with the amount of Star Wars tech gimmicks out there right now and similar systems with access to whole library of games coming in at a much cheaper price point (especially if you have a console already), it just feels like a cash grab. Then again, the system honestly has limitless potential so I'm keen to see what Lenovo can bring to the table. As I write this, they have actually released extended content featuring Star Wars: The Last Jedi, showing that they may be on track for success. Let's see what comes of it.
While you're at it, check out some more epic Star Wars content here.