The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu
CNN  — 

The Sims as a franchise is all about self-expression, with Sims (the in-game characters you create) and the locations where they hang out. Aside from the “Create-a-Sim” functionality, you can pick a location, pick a plot of land and get to the building. It’s easy enough to get the hang of, and you’re building what you want — or what you envision for your Sim.

We’ve already seen touches of “Star Wars” enter the Sims franchise, most recently with a mini-statue of Baby Yoda (aka The Child from “The Mandalorian” on Disney+) for your house and some new clothing items. It’s been a blast, but the latest expansion pack for The Sims 4 pushes us into hyperdrive.

Journey to Batuu literally takes you to Batuu, which might be better known as the Galaxy’s Edge land at Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California. And like Microsoft Flight Simulator, the game lets you go to the location with a wild amount of detail.

The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu is out now for Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Better yet, it costs just $19.99, or $39.99 bundled with the Sims 4 game.

We’ve spent nearly a week journeying around Batuu, and there’s a lot to love here. You get a ton of value for just shy of $20. But keep in mind you will need the full Sims 4 game on whichever platform you choose. There are bundles to get the base game and expansion pack for the consoles.

Plenty to explore

sims 4 journey to batuu resistance camp

Once you choose to journey to Batuu, you’re presented with a map showing its three sections: Black Spire Outpost, First Order District and Resistance Encampment. You can hover each of the three spots and get a brief description.

For the most part, Black Spire Outpost is like a middle ground. You’ll see Resistance members walking the streets as well as stormtroopers. First Order District is where you might spot Kylo Ren, along with high-ranking members and low-level stormtroopers. And (if you can keep a secret) the Resistance Encampment is home to the Resistance — and the secret base where you’ll spot heroes like Rey and Vi Moradi.

For the most part, Journey to Batuu is a choose-your-own adventure setup. You can chat with Resistance members or First Order confidants to get missions and learn about their sides of the battle. But you don’t have to join one of those factions. You can also explore and dabble with both sides. Or opt to work with both sides as a scoundrel — those who are there to make a quick buck. The king of the scoundrels? It’s of course Hondo Ohnaka, a friendly space pirate who runs a “legitimate shipping company.” Fair warning, Hondo might just steal credits (the equivalent to simoleons on Batuu) while you’re conversing. And while a lot of “Star Wars” is serious, The Sims of course adds a dose of humor to all of this. You can pull pranks on stormtroopers, try to strike up a relationship with Rey or Kylo, and, if it works out, even give a baby a shot.

But the attention to all the details of Galaxy’s Edge is pretty outstanding. You can make out locations from the Disney parks; Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, the blue milk stand, First Order Depot and Olga’s Cantina are all here. And for the most part, you can venture inside. Stands and stores, like other Sims locations, cannot be entered, but rather a window pops up so you can buy trinkets and goodies.

Completing missions and objectives will earn you some Batuu currency (credits). We especially liked spending our hard-earned credits in Olga’s Cantina. Not only does it have the best music in the galaxy, spun by DJ R-3X, but it has iconic “Star Wars” drinks, the same ones you can get in the real-world Galaxy’s Edge. It certainly brought back memories from the parks, but where else can you drink alongside a stormtrooper and vent to the person inside the suit? As a whole, the Cantina is a great way to mingle with members of all factions and get a feel for Batuu.

Our only complaint is one we have with any traveling in The Sims 4: You can’t walk from sector to sector but rather need to travel via the phone. You’ll need to go through the steps each time you want to move between the three areas, which breaks the flow of the game up a bit.

Pick your side in the Galactic War

sims 4 journey to batuu review

As we hinted above, there’s a bit of a mission to go along with this pack.

You have different objectives that you can choose to take on and complete, allowing you to work your way up. You can choose to side with the First Order or the Resistance. Most of the missions involve scanning ships, like a land-speeder, the Millenium Falcon or a Tie Fighter. You’ll use your datapad — your phone — to scan and learn about the ships. For instance, you’ll learn the Tie Fighter has a lot of firepower, so it would be wise to not let it near the Resistance outpost.

Let’s say you decide to team up with the Resistance. You’ll start by talking with a faction member and inquiring about the ethos, learn the secret phrase (Spoiler: Ignite the Spark — what else would it be?), and then you can ask for missions. Your first task will likely test your allegiance: talking with a few stormtroopers, scanning some First Order hardware and eventually splicing in to get their communication codes. But it’s not a walk in the park. Stormtroopers might not be the smartest, but they will take notice if you’re trying to break a lock. You might get a talking to or, if you cause enough fuss, you’ll get taken into a questioning room.

And while you might want to confront Kylo Ren, we wouldn’t advise it. After all, he has the power of the Force, and let’s just say will make you incredibly dazed and confused. Though it is fun to mess with him, we’ll admit.

The missions get more complex as you go along, though there is some repetition here and there. Some storylines will even have you flying the ships, though sadly you can’t pop into the pilot seat. It will just fly you away, present you with a small story and then two options. You can decide which move your Sim should take or which fork in the road to go down.

The storylines are solid throughout and feel like they fit in with the “Star Wars” narrative. Electronic Arts, the publisher behind The Sims 4, did work with Lucasfilm on the storyline. It’s a more comical take on the franchise as a whole, but when you boil it down, it has you fighting for a certain side, or at least having a stake in the side of your choosing.

Graphics and the environment as a whole are done really well. At night, you can see the stars glowing over the mountains. Stormtroopers look good, Rey looks pretty spot on, and Kylo, well, looks like Kylo. He’s in the proper attire and dons the scary mask as well.

And as you complete the missions, you’ll get credits. You can use those to buy a Porg Plush or a Sabacc table. But there are two key things you’ll need to invest in. First, you’ll need a droid of your own, which is equivalent to the experience of Droid Depot at Galaxy’s Edge. You can build your own R or BB-Unit, and this way you can make a BB-8 or R2D2.

The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu

The other core item is a lightsaber. You’ll need to collect the necessary parts and can eventually make one of your own. If your Sim is more athletically inclined, it will be better at wielding a lightsaber. You can choose to challenge other Sims on Batuu, take a lightsaber home (you’ll need to make two and gift the second one to someone to play with them), or even fight against Kylo Ren or Rey.

Bottom line

The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu

As a whole, we’ve really enjoyed The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey To Batuu. At $20, with the base Sims 4 game required, it delivers a ton of content for the value, with three lands and a full storyline with three routers. There’s plenty of fun to be had in the Sims version of Batuu. We think it’s a no-brainer for any fan of “Star Wars” or The Sims.

The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu is out now for Mac, PC, PlayStation and Xbox One.