For years Star Wars fans have been waiting for a decent game. Sadly with the demise of LucasArts to little more than a holding company a drought set in about 10 years ago. Then Disney purchased the Star Wars rights from Lucasfilm and gave licensing rights to Electronic Arts. “And Millions of fans screamed out in terror” – they did and I was one of the them. With EA having this license the milk-train was fully set in motion. Yet EA bungled it. Battlefront 1 was good, but the multi-player-only game had too little on the bone to justify its price. Then came Battlefront 2 in 2017. EA appeared to have learned from their experience and included a single player mode starring Janina Gavankar as Iden Versio. Sadly the game was just too short and the story made little sense. The multiplayer was better but before long I again drifted away. Now EA is back with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
The story of Jedi Fallen Order
Jedi Fallen Order is a single player story-driven game. For Electronic Arts that must have been hard, but the publisher has given developer Respawn Entertainment considerable latitude. In the game you play as Cal Kestis, a once Jedi Padawan who has been in hiding since Order 66 destroyed the Jedi Order 5 years prior to the start of the game. Cal has tried to remain in hiding but the unavoidable use of the force has exposed him to the Imperial Inquisitors. The Inquisitors are themselves force users who fight with lightsabers in an effort to destroy the last vestiges of the Jedi. Cal decides to stop hiding and fight back. And so starts a journey. Along the way Cal teams up with Cere, a former Jedi who has switched herself off from the force but also Saw Gererra and his fledgling rebellion. One element that adds impetus to the story is a Jedi Holocron with a list of force sensitive children throughout the galaxy. This list could potentially be used to rebuild the Jedi, but could also be used by the Empire if only to eliminate a potential threat. Parts of the story feels forced, initially, but quickly the story does become captivating.
From Tomb Raider to Dark Souls
Gameplay wise Jedi Fallen Order resembles the Tomb Raider and Uncharted games a lot. Instead of using guns your lightsaber and force skills are the tools to get things done. However, this is not a bad thing. That said, fighting can at times be problematic. Human enemies are relatively easy to deal with. You parry enemy attacks to startle them and then you have your opening to attack. Using dodging abilities and many force skills adds to a considerable repertoire. That said, the game is not easy. Parrying is difficult and Cal frequently does not what you want him to do. Large animals are more dangerous. Parrying them is difficult and dodging them as well due to their size. Jedi Fallen Order can in the beginning be frustrating to play. However, I accept that is part of the charm – the problem with Battlefront 2 was that it was just too easy.
However, Unchartered is not the only gameplay inspiration. It also borrows from Dark Souls, instead of bonfire’s meditation spot allow the player to heal up or adjust their skill tree. The use of melee weapons appears also inspired by that game. As Dark Souls has been referred to as one of the bets games of the last decade that is not a bad thing. Standing on the shoulders of such giants means that Jedi Fallen Order is a quality game.
Customizing and backtracking
Jedi Fallen Order brings plenty of new elements as well. Cal’s lightsaber is fully customizable – and we are not just talking colors. It is even possible to fashion a double-bladed lightsaber. Meanwhile progression through the game is also not exactly linear. The player will advance roughly as the designers intended but just like Knight of the Old Republic you have a choice which planet to visit next. But that is not all, many areas of a planet will remain unpassable until the player has reached a certain skill.
This means there you will have to revisit older places. Some have criticized this kind of backtracking like Metroid and numerous others games. However, I found it invigorating. It allowed me to appreciate some of the planets in a new light – and beating old foes with new skills is delightful. Talking of planets, there is plenty to appreciate there as well. Jedi Fallen Order boasts a number of new planets. From the icy cold of Ilum, the crazy rock formation of Bogano and the mesas of Dathomir. Of course players will also visit Kashyyyk, home of the Wookie’s. Which was also a planet in Knight of the Old Republic.
My final opinion on Jedi Fallen Order
And so there you have it – Jedi Fallen Order. It is very much the game every Star Wars fans have wanted for years. It is what Battlefront 2 should have been but with its short campaign simply wasn’t. For some Jedi Fallen Order has the potential of becoming the game of the year – I have not made up my mind on that as I have yet to beat it. Though I do not rule out the possibility. And that is as much praise a EA published game can receive. I could go on nitpicking this game, but I won’t. It is solid, I give it my thumbs up.