Along time ago in a galaxy far far away there was once a glimmer of hope that gamers’ would get a decent Star Wars experience on this generation of consoles. The Empire (EA cough, cough) and the evil Sith Lord Andrew Wilson had corrupted and eliminated most of the Jedi.
All seemed lost after Obi DICE Kenobi had been turned to the Dark Side and Qui Gon Viceral Games struck down in the great battle for “Games As A Service” on Hoth. The recent and brutal slaughter of “Battlefront 2” was still fresh in the minds of the Rebellion.
Was the battle against the Empire lost?
No! A young Padawan named “Jedi: The Fallen Order” mentored by the great Jedi master “Respawn Interactive” rose from the ashes to lead the rebellion and restore balance to the force.
Could the young Jedi be corrupted by the Dark Side? Let’s find out!
The Force is Strong in Respawn
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is the latest Star Wars game from developers Respawn Interactive; best known for their sleeper hits Titanfall and Titanfall 2.
Respawn dropped EA’s usual games as a service model that has birthed such blunders as 2017’s Battlefront 2 in favour of a third-person story-driven experience. As the game is a story-driven piece, I will avoid story spoilers in this review so you can experience the epic space saga for yourselves.
A young Padawan named Cal Kestis is the story’s protagonist. Cal is on the run from the Empire with his crew of misfits, Cere and Greez.
Because the game takes place between Episodes Three and Four, you witness the Galaxy being enslaved by the Empire. Only a handful of its protectors, “The Jedi” survived the “Great Jedi Purge” and the Empire takes control.
A Classic Star Wars Story. In a Game. Actually a Novel Idea.
Fallen Orders’ story genuinely feels like a classic Star Wars story and is engaging as well as having great voice actors.
Everything about the game feels like Star Wars, but it never throws it in your face or breaks immersion. Environmental storytelling is perfectly executed.
The planets you visit are given a rich and painful history. Seeing the echoes of epic battle long forgotten consumed by vegetation or crashed on planets leads to a feeling that you have missed the war and you are now merely surviving extermination.
From Software’s samurai filled Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has certainly been a big influence on Fallen Order. Respawn opted for a counter-striking based system with stamina bars to whittle down before dealing damage. It works well and suits the lightsabre combat. Fallen Order makes the weapon feel deadly and powerful and never falls into the trap of previous games – like The Force Unleashed – where it felt more like a glorified baseball bat.
Not Just a SoulsBorne Clone
Gaining skill points is how the game dictates your progression. These skill points can be spent on new attacks, Force ability upgrades, or increasing your life bar.
The game never really gives you more power. Instead, it makes you feel like you already possess the power, you just need to learn to use it. It’s a great way to empower the player. But it never lets you get too comfortable.
Among the many mechanics borrowed from Sekiro and From Software’s other titles, you essentially have an Estus flask. You need to find parts to upgrade the flask, with shots administered by your droid BD-1. You also carry XP that you gain from killing enemies but when you die you lose them. And you can only regain them by landing a blow on the enemy that previously killed you.
Fallen Order even has a bonfire system ripped straight out of Dark Souls.
An Homage to Other Games and Star Wars Alike
You will use your ship to visit various planets during Fallen Orders twenty-ish hour campaign. Each planet is vastly different and will require you to learn a new mechanic or Force ability to progress.
The planets are to Fallen Order what temples were to Breath Of The Wild. Each planet will also have areas you won’t be able to access straight away. And to get every secret and upgrade, you will need to revisit planets as you learn new abilities.
Which gives it a Metroidvania style experience I was not expecting.
The graphics are really good, and the cut-scenes are well-acted. The scenes push the narrative of the game forward at a steady pace.
The game excels in its exploration and boss battles. Each boss battle is essentially a puzzle you must figure out in order to beat. There are a few methods to tackling most of the bosses. These include parrying, well-timed dodges, or by using Force abilities. Fans of the SoulsBorne games will be right at home.
Exploring the game’s planets for loot is good as you will be doing quite a bit of backtracking. Most loot consists of paint jobs for your ship, droid (“the charming BD-1”), clothing, or parts for your lightsabre. You can use your parts to customise your lightsabre by using workbenches found around the galaxy.
However, It’s Not All Sunshine and Good Lightsabres Combat
Now, I must address some of the issues with Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.
Loading times are painful. The game sometimes freezes when it autosaves, and glitching textures and characters popping into the shot from nowhere in cut scenes do happen. Hopefully, these are remedied in the latest patch.
However, none of the issues distracted me too much from my experience except one.
For some reason, the Wookies in this game look awful. Genuinely dreadful. The moment I saw a Wookie in this game, I made an audible sigh of disappointment. There’s just no excuse to have such poorly designed characters in this game. Especially when you consider how everyone else is so beautifully animated.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is an addictive twenty-hour Star Wars game that fans of the series will adore. It’s not just the best Star Wars game under the EA umbrella, it’s the best Star Wars game since the original Xbox’s Bounty Hunter. It does have a few technical issues but nothing I’m sure they won’t fix very soon – except the Wookies. The Wookies need a blaster to the face.
Fallen Order has a range of difficulties you can amend at any point and give you a detailed look at how they affect game-play, which is a nice touch. I played through on a combination of Jedi Master and Grand Master difficulties. And I think if you want to experience the game the way the devs intended, then Jedi Master is the way to go.
On the other hand, the easiest mode is the perfect cinematic way for a younger audience to experience a true Jedi tale.
A Ginger Jedi, the Perfect Star Wars Protagonist
In my twenty-plus hours as the ginger Jedi Cal, I experienced loss, frustration, joy and Wookie rage. But I enjoyed every moment of it. There is definitely something for most gamers to enjoy in the game, and for once the story ends in the perfect moment. It leaves you wanting more but ties up the narrative that has kept you gripping your lightsabre for its duration.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is not just a must-play for Star Wars fans but a must-play for all gamers!
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- Overall - 9.5/109.5/10
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is a Frankenstein creation from developers Respawn, borrowing and blending the best of games like Sekiro, Dark Souls and Breath Of The Wild to create an epic journey. A journey that revisits a familiar galaxy and treads its own path.
Fallen Order is challenging and rewarding, with a great story that you will enjoy from start to finish.
Respawn have reignited the Star Wars franchise for gamers’ and I cannot wait to see what they don next.