One of the first things that stands out about Ben Solo, the villain known now as Kylo Ren in the new trilogy of Star Wars movies, is his lightsaber. It's a jarring, unusual design, but more than that it's just about as far as you can get from the "elegant weapon for a more civilized age" we'd come to know these sabers to be. The energy coming from the hilt is jagged and sputtering, and the little beams coming from the sides make what we know as traditional lightsaber combat all but impossible. It's an eye-catching thing, and in most of the first movie, it's the most interesting thing about the character.
When Lenovo announced it was working with Disney to bring Kylo Ren's lightsaber to its Star Wars: Jedi Challenges headset, I was so excited. With the addition of PVP combat in the game, it would now be possible for people to wield Rey and Kylo's lightsabers against one another in the game and really get into the combat. But today, having spent the last two weeks holding this lightsaber in my hand and using it, I find myself deeply despising the character this silly thing was made for and wishing it was possible to kick his spoiled ass into the Sarlaac pit.
- Beautiful recreation
- Fun to use in-game
- Great price tag
- Kylo Ren is a doofus
Kylo Ren Lightsaber What I like
Like Rey's lightsaber, the Jedi Challenges controller for Kylo Ren is a movie accurate replica of the weapon the character wields. It's the same size, the same shape, and features all of the same blemishes you see when watching the films. In fact, this limited edition Kylo Ren variant of the Jedi Challenges controller is actually more movie accurate than the Rey lightsaber included in the core game, in my opinion. The power switch and microUSB charger port are much better hidden on this controller, making it look and feel that much more real in your hand. Visually, the work that went into making this look at real as it does is fantastic.
At the top of the hilt, you see the same white rubber nub which lights up as you play this game. This light is part of the tracking system the Lenovo headset uses to find the weapon in the real world, so when you press the button on the side of the controller the beam fires out of the top and sides. In the real world you are holding just the hilt, but in augmented reality, you see the whole lightsaber. As you rotate the blade around in your hand, you'll see the side beams move to match, offering an extra degree of realism you don't get with a traditional lightsaber. And, just like the real thing, the side beams fire after the main saber has fully extended. The sound effects match, which is to be expected, but it's still appreciated.
Actually playing through the Jedi Challenges game is exactly the same with the Kylo Ren controller as it is the standard Rey model. It didn't feel like I had an advantage, the gameplay all felt the same. Of course, by activating the Kylo Ren version of the saber you enter a version of the Jedi Challenges game with a little extra content to help justify the cost of the saber, but all this really does is bring more of the experience from The Last Jedi into the headset. You're going to have to really work to get to this part of the game, because the difficulty ramps up fairly significantly as you get to the halfway point in the missions.
Kylo Ren Lightsaber What I don't like
This lightsaber is a piece of shit. I'm not talking about the replica Lenovo made. No, I mean the source material is an actual hunk of junk barely held together with whatever we used instead of Duct Tape a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It's bulky, unrefined, and functionally broken in several places. There are exposed wires in multiple places along the hilt, and they aren't shielded in any way. Just loose wires mounted in several places along the shaft and in the upper casing, as though Ben Solo found a broken saber and had to cobble together junk parts to breathe life into a relic.
Because that's exactly what he did, and it drives me crazy.
Throughout The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi we're given several indications as to the vast depth to Kylo Ren's power. He stopped a bolt from a blaster in midair and held it there through an interrogation that included probing into the mind of a trained Resistance operative. He got the best of Luke Skywalker as a Padawan and killed anyone who refused to join him, even though they were all just as armed as he was. When face to face with his Master, Supreme Leader Snoke, he was able to mask his thoughts just enough to deceive what we're led to believe is the most powerful being in existence at the time.
So... what is up with this lightsaber? Instead of building an efficient killing machine, something that makes you brutally effective in combat and an unstoppable force against all odds, he pushes his hipster glasses up his nose and fixes up a vintage junker because it has a vaguely menacing look to it. Nevermind that it looks like it could rattle apart if you hit it too hard, or that a pair of dull scissors could defeat it by accidentally falling on one of those exposed wires, or that wielding this tube of old washing machine parts makes you way less effective in combat, it looks cool! Stop it, you're an embarrassment to villainy.
By all accounts, Kylo Ren should be a villain that makes everyone around him tremble. But they don't, because he's more interested in looking deep and hardcore than actually being a badass. And this lightsaber is all the proof you need.
Kylo Ren Lightsaber Should you buy it?
Fans of the new Star Wars films will love this lightsaber. You can pay a whole lot more than $100 for a Kylo Ren replica saber in most places, and not get something nearly as detailed as this. And fans of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges who want to stand out from friends who also have the game will appreciate the ability to swap controllers and use something other than Rey's saber in the game. For the most part, this is a visual upgrade. But it's a really nice visual upgrade.
4.5 out of 5
As for Kylo Ren himself, there's no fixing that. The guy just sucks, and his eventual defeat in the next movie is going to be deeply satisfying because of it.