Star Wars’ video games have been on the steady decline in quality since the reboot of the Battlefront series. However, Star Wars Jedi Fallen order is a breath of fresh air for the series. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, creators of the Titanfall series, this game takes elements from Metroidvania and Soulsborne games. Does having all these elements make a good game? Let’s find out.
To start, the story in the game is average at best. The story revolves around Cal Kestis, a once Jedi padawan turned scrapper after order 66. The game opens with Cal on the Planet Bracca where he’s taking part in dismantling a ship. Events unfold and Cal ends up using his force powers to save his friend. This alerts Sith Inquisitors of a force user on the planet and tracks down Cal. From here, they find Cal and a chase sequence ensues. At the end of the chase, Cal gets saved by Cere, a once Jedi Master, and Greeze, a ship Captain. This is where the game starts and tasks you with going planet to planet searching for pieces of a lost civilization, as they hold a Holocron filled with locations of force users around the galaxy. I won’t go into the story anymore as I don’t find it necessary in reviews unless the story really shines.
Although, the characters of the story are well done. The dynamic between Cal and Cere is interesting. Cere becomes Cal’s pseudo master as she mentors Cal throughout his journey in the game. There are ups and downs as usual, but their relationship feels real and not forced in any way. As for Greeze, he’s the comedic relief of the group while also being a confidant for Cal. What I’m trying to say is the characters in this game feel real, thanks to there real-life actors.
When it comes to combat in Star wars games everyone looks to the Jedi Knights games or Force Unleashed. In those games, the combat is either arcade, in Force Unleashed, or methodical in Jedi knights. However, in Jedi Fallen Order, the combat is like diet Dark souls.
You will need to precisely parry or dodge opponents to get the jump on them. If you don’t, enemies can quickly take you out in two or 3 hits. This is an aspect that I enjoyed; no matter how powerful you get in the late game, enemies still have the chance to deal massive damage if you’re not paying attention. To help in combat, Cal has a droid companion, BD-1. BD-1 opens locked doors for you and provides health, and acts as your map.
Cal’s move pool has a variety of lightsaber attacks and force powers. The lightsaber attacks vary from light, heavy, throwing, and special. Special attacks involve combing force powers with your lightsaber; throwing it around your self; splitting the hilt in two to create a powerful attack. The force powers are push, pull, and freeze. All of these moves make you feel powerful and unstoppable and are satisfying to use. The reason I call this the diet part is the combat is kinda easy when you get the hang of it. Unlike in Souls games where you have to plan your attacks and think strategically with every enemy you encounter; in Jedi Fallen Order I found myself rushing enemies and taking them out quickly and without taking damage, keep in my I was on the second hardest difficulty.
The enemy types are what I blame for this. What you mostly encounter in the game is Stormtrooper with basic blaster fire; Shock Troopers with batons that can easily be parried; commander troopers with shock batons that take extra work but are still easy; and Inquisitors that either has a blaster, baton, staff, and battle axe. The Inquisitor mini fights are probably the best in the game apart from boss battles. If the game had more of these, the combat loop would be better.
Now, the boss fights. This is really where the combat shines and the game gets difficult. I found myself dying to bosses three times before I could beat them. This was an awesome change of pace as I had to think about what moves would better suit this fight. You see, the bosses will learn your moves so you have to keep changing them up to break their guard. Moreover, each boss is unique and has a move pool that you will quickly have to memorize, like a Souls boss.
There are other enemies in the game like creatures and monsters, but I see them as the Zubats of the game and not that important (sorry).
Metroidvania flows through the veins of this game. The maps are full of secrets and locations inaccessible until you have the proper abilities.
To start, the game allows the player to revisit any planet they previously went to. This means backtracking through every location you went to and finding everything you missed. As you play through the game and unlock more abilities, it’s encouraged that you do so. For example, in Zeffo, the largest map in the game, as a blocked off area that you can’t access until you unlock the double jump ability. The game also won’t tell you about accessing this new location when you get the ability. This location isn’t even part of the story. I really liked this location in the game, it allowed the player agency. However, this is the only location in the game that had this. Every other location had you follow pre-determined pathways that all connected into each other with ability locked areas spread throughout.
On that note, the movement in the game is by the numbers. You have a wall running, vine-swinging, and climbing. These movement mechanics can be accented with your force powers, but there generic nonetheless.
Overall, the exploration is good and the movement mechanics make it easy to maneuver around the various game worlds. I just wish there was more player agency involved in the exploration and less pre-determined pathways to follow.
Another aspect this game borrows from Souls game are the meditation circles littered throughout the game’s worlds. These circles act as bonfires and allow you to replenish your health canisters, upgrade Cal, and set your spawn point.
Created in the Unreal Engine, Jedi Fallen order is among the best looking games of 2019. The game is going for a realistic look similar to the Battlefront games. Also similar to the Battlefront games is the sound design. Every time you nail a perry a distorted lightsaber sound gets played, a sound so good it never gets old. Further, the overall sound design is akin to the movies and explodes with nostalgia. The game feels like your playing a Star Wars movie, which is what I think they were aiming for.
Overall, Jedi Fallen Order is a solid Metroidvania game. Yes, it borrows aspects from Soulsborne games, but it doesn’t rely heavily on it which is a good thing. The traversal mechanics make backtracking through the game a lot of fun, but I feel the backtracking isn’t worth the trouble. If you want to play a fun 30-40 hour campaign, this game delivers. If you’re looking for another Soulsborne game, you will need to look somewhere else.
I give Star Wars: Jedi Fallen order 8 stormtrooper helmets out of 10.