Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release Date: Nov 15, 2019
Platforms: PC (Microsoft Windows) / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One
Star Wars and great Star Wars games is something that you wouldn’t expect to hear in the same sentence especially given that the licensing for video games has been in the hands of EA for as long as one can remember and also given their tendencies to microtransaction every little thing that they can in their games has left many very unhappy that they still have the Star Wars IP and honestly while 2017’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 was a substantial step up from the previous Battlefront game it still was in no ways a great Star Wars game, good but no where near great. So color me surprised when EA announced that they were releasing a new Star Wars game that not only was a single player experience (something EA said gamers no longer care about) but also had 0 microtransactions. While I was a skeptic of this claim of EA’s I was also curious as to how the game was turning out and while I’m in no way a Star Wars fan, I do have an interest in the series especially since I’ve gotten into The Mandalorian and Disney+, so does Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order have what it takes to bring in none SW fans like myself and the hardcore fans as well? Let’s find out!
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place five years after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and before Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Rebels, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The game follows young Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis Five years after the execution of Order 66 and the beginning of the Great Jedi Purge where we have Cal on planet Bracca where he is a junk scrapper with his friend Prauf until an event happens which forces Cal to use the force to save Prauf which triggers a set of events that lead to the death of Prauf and Cal being hunted across the galaxy by inquisitor Trilla and it goes on from there spanning a story of growth, revenge, and redemption.
I have to say when it comes to the gameplay, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fires on all cylinders in such a great way that it hardly ever lets up or lets you down. Wanna feel like Lara Croft and explore your environments and find treasure? You can do that. Want to traverse the different set pieces and climb around like Natahn Drake? You can do that. Want to have open-world Zelda style worlds and dungeons with MetroidVania style ability upgrades allowing you to go back to earlier areas to explore new levels? You most definitely can do that. The game is not only openworld or rather open planets, but is also made in the vein of a MetroidVania where you are able to explore the various planets and then coming back to them later on with new abilities that both Cal and BD-1 have learned to open up new avenues for the world that they couldn’t previously reach to explore such as when you get the double jump ability or when you get Force Push or Force Pull for example or when BD-1 can slice locked doors and boxes to obtain various upgrades for your lightsaber and more.
The way the game controls is really intuitive with a button for jumping, dodging, blocking, attacking, heavy force powered attacks, Force techniques, interacting with people and objects, and locking on to enemies. Everything works so seamlessly from climbing to wall running and most of all the combat: the lightsaber combat in Jedi Fallen Order is the absolute best Lightsaber combat that I have ever experienced in a Star Wars game including the Jedi Knight series. The lightsaber combat feels so fluid that you can pretty much replicate what you see in the movies as the sword fencing combat looks so well-choregraphed that it just works and makes you feel like a true Jedi Knight when you come up against any of the enemies from the flora and fauna, wildlife, Empire Storm troopers, and even the mysterious Inquisitor. The gameplay just feels perfect and you can tell that they really took their time to make sure the game plays as perfectly as it looks and borrowed a lot of elements from other series to make a perfect amalgamation for this new title.
You may have heard a lot of people saying that the game is a Dark Souls Star Wars game as while it only takes one thing from the Souls series being the campfire sights being transitioned into meditation spots here where you can not only save your progress (which revives all fallen enemies) but also upgrade all of your abilities; that’s generally the only Souls-style element to the game, honestly I’d moreso compare this game to Zelda mixed with MetroidVania than a Souls game or maybe moreso Sekiro-esque even albeit not anywhere near as hard unless on the highest difficulties. Boss fights are incredibly epic on a cinematic level of the God of War/Lords of Shadows with bosses and common enemies giving tell tell signs of unblockable attacks as they glow red. Enemies and bosses do have patterns that honestly are pretty well put together and not always obvious to figure out and most attacks easy enough to parry and open up various counter attacks and finishing moves that can be executed.
The skill-tree system of Jedi Fallen Order is reminiscent of the Lords of Shadow and God of War style games allowing you to obtain new moves and various buffs and health/Force improvements while flashbacks of Cal’s training as a Padawan has him recalling various abilitis from wall running to force pull to double jumps and more as the journey continues.
Graphically, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is visually breathtaking and often it becomes very hard to distinguish many of the characters from real life when looking at Cal, Cere Junda, Nightsister Merrin, and even Saw Gerrera from Rogue One; while characters like Greez Dritus and BD-1 really shine and look as if they could be pulled right from the movies. The worlds that you explore from Bracca, Bogano, Dathomir, Zeffo, Kashyyyk, Ilum, and Nur all look absolutely stunning and fit right into the Star Wars universe and could easily be seen in any of the movies and are incredibly lifelike. Enemies a from the Empire to the bounty hunters and wildlife all are designed with incredible levels of details and animation in motion.
You’re given the option when playing on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X to either play with 4K visuals and HDR with 30FPS or performance mode which locks the graphics at 1080p and a variable FPS that flucates between 60FPs and upper 30s yet is never locked and often times can go from fluid looking to choppy so for the sake of the review I played the game with 4K HDR at 30FPS for the smoothest experience possible.
When it comes to the audio everything from the sounds of blasters to the igniting of the lightsabers and their humming sounds and even lightsaber clashes sound exactly as they do in the movies and even the Wookies sound exactly as they do in the movies. The ambient soundtracks fit each planet you explore and environments and the sounds of nature or the environments from wind to snow to waterfalls and more sounds absolutely on point! The voice acting and facial capture and lip-synching is so on point that it bests even games like Death Stranding and God of War.
The negatives of this game aren’t many as I didn’t experience much other than one time I ran into a situation where the game crashed, and I had to restart the game on my Xbox One X. Other issues I found where the occasional downgrade in graphics during some cutscenes which make some characters such as Cere, Saw, and Cal look almost cartoonish instead of realistic as often portrayed. I also absolutely HATE the sliding areas as when you initially encounter it on Bracca it isn’t so bad but as the game progresses it gets worse and worse and worse and its truly the one unwieldy aspect of the game as often you’ll need to make sharp turns and either Cal will slide right off in the wrong direction to his death or the momentum from sliding will make it incredibly hard to turn. Another issue is how platforming in this game is not the greatest and will often lead to falling to your death over and over as sometimes the platforming aspects are not as responsive as they should be. The last downside that I have to mention is how anticlimactic the ending of the game is and how out of nowhere it feels as it easily could’ve gone on for a few more hours.
With phenomenal graphics, voice acting, amazing soundtrack, and an incredibly engaging story there is almost nothing to not like let alone LOVE about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and even after you beat the game you’ll want to keep going back and exploring more of what the world has to offer and become more proficient with your force abilities and lightsaber combat skills. Even with some minor performance issues and occasional unintuitive and unresponsive sliding aspects the game is really good and honestly earns the award of YOU NEED THIS GAME as it easily showcases that EA when determined can make a game that easily can make Game of the Year and not burden players with shady microtransactions. Even if you hate EA as a company, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is a game you shouldn’t miss especially if you are a fan of not only Star Wars but also of excellent games. Add this game to your collection today!