Simple, entertaining, visually spectacular, refreshing and not a micro transaction insight, not something most would expect to hear from a game published by EA in recent years.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Friday the 15th of November 2019. The single player action-adventure game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts has been at the hype of speculation since the reveal trailer in April 2019. The development team has gone against the industry trends of live service multiplayer games, instead delivering a single player story driven experience. There has been mixed opinions from the gaming community on whether to trust EA to deliver a Star Wars game, especially after Star Wars Battlefront 1 & 2 which most of us would rather forget! I can assure you after 30+ hours of exploring what this game has to offer, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order does not disappoint.
The game is set after the events of Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and puts you in the shoes of former Padawan Cal Kestis who survived Order 66 as a child. Cal’s story picks up some years later when the Jedi are all but wiped out. Cal is hiding out on planet Bracca working as a Rigger. During an accident, Cal uses his force abilities, which alerts the Order of Inquisitors to his existence. In doing so they send the main protagonist of the game, the ninth and second sister after him. The playable action sequences and seamless transitions to cut scenes in the opening thirty minutes was enough to know I was going to spend countless hours exploring everything this game had to offer.
Once leaving Bracca the wider map opens up to the player through an alliance with a former Jedi named Cere Junda and starship pilot named Greez Dritus who Captions the Stinger Mantis. Although this game is not considered an open world and has a linear storyline with no player choices dictating the story outcome, it does give the player a choice of four planets to explore on their own terms, with a fifth opening up later through story progression. In total, there are six planets that you visit but one of those is only available through story progression and at this stage is unavailable to re-visit. The game does a good job of guiding you to the planets in the right storyline order through mission objectives, but if you wish to stray off the main storyline and explore on your own terms you can. After playing through the story, it is not something I would recommend as cut scenes are triggered at certain stages of each planet and may ruin the immersion if you have not been following the linear story progression.
Each planet offers beautiful landscapes and environments which at first glance seem small, but you will quickly realise this is not the case as hidden doorways and paths become evident everywhere. The 3D map of your location shows you areas that you have explored and your current objectives, along with hidden pathways, which are highlighted in green if the player has the skills available to access them, and red if they do not, allowing the player to not waste any time attempting something they cannot achieve at that point in time.
Cal’s droid companion BD-1 seamlessly displays the map through a hologram projection. As you progress through the story you will revisit the planets on several occasions and each time a new portion of the map is made accessible completely changing the environment and challenges you face. Each planet offers a large variety of cosmetic loot & lore for you to discover, along with challenging area bosses and enemies to engage with along the way. The player is rewarded for going off the beaten track and keeping a sharp eye out for areas leading to hidden bosses, skill upgrades, in-depth lore, and cosmetics for Cal, BD-1, the Stinger Mantis and your Lightsaber.
The cosmetics for BD-1, the Stinger Mantis and Cal are nothing more than basic paint and pattern changes for the most part and if I had any negative commentary for this game, it would be the lack of customization for Cal in particular. The player only gets to change the colour and pattern of his poncho, which don’t me wrong there are a lot of variations to find out in the world, but it would have been nice to change up the design, or find something other than a Poncho. There are outfit variations to find as well, but again they only mildly change the colour of the starting outfit. The loot players will really be chasing are lightsaber parts, which unlike Cal’s Poncho make a huge change to the design of the lightsaber. Lightsaber customization includes the colour, emitter, switch, sleeve and the material allowing players to experiment with an almost unlimited amount of designs to suit every taste. Unfortunately, if you are looking for that sith red colour you are out of luck, this is a Jedi game after all, although the way Cal can use his force abilities against enemies is questionable which leads me to the combat mechanics.
The combat in this game is incredible. Let’s be honest, most people who are going to pick this game up are looking for one thing, to wield a lightsaber and force abilities to cut down as many enemies in their way as possible, rest assured there is no shortage of enemies to unleash your lightsaber on. The combat however is a steep learning curve to what most games offer these days and does not lend itself to hack and slash game play, especially on some of the harder difficulties. Running into a room full of storm troopers unprepared swinging wildly will often leave you with a respawn screen and the game is unforgiving when this happens. If you die in a combat situation it will take you back to the last save point erasing any progress you have made, including any loot or lore you may have collected, so you really want to avoid it and think about your strategy when it is possible to do so. Quite often, there are several different tactics you can use in each situation allowing the player to finish off enemies quickly with some spectacular visuals. Players will need to utilise blocks, parries and dodging to expose enemies to offensive attacks. Every time you defeat a new enemy BD-1 can scan the body which will give you tips on their individual combat mechanics and how best to defeat them in future conflicts.
Throughout the game, you will have the opportunity to gain skill points that are used to upgrade the skill tree for lightsaber skills, force skills, and survival skills. By following the story progression, you will also gain powerful new force abilities that allow you to access previously red locked areas on the map, perform some amazing combinations of lightsaber skills combined with those force abilities to slice up your enemies in style. I do not believe I will ever get sick of force pulling an enemy from a wall or down a corridor and impaling them with my lightsaber, although I’m sure that’s more of a Sith move than a Jedi one, but either way its more than satisfying.
Overall Respawn Entertainment and EA have delivered a solid single player action-adventure game in which players can live out their fantasies of being a Jedi Knight fighting the galactic empire in a truly captivating story that plays out in the Star Wars Universe effortlessly. It is a refreshing change to see a game go against the industry trend of unfinished online services and micro-transactions in favour of a great storyline, seamless gameplay and stunning visuals that will keep players engaged from start to finish. If you are new to the Star Wars universe, don’t let that keep you from picking this game up, no prior knowledge is required to get the most from this game. If you are, a seasoned professional of all things Star Wars this game will not disappoint with the abundance of lore to find in the world that stays true to the fundamentals of the expanded universe.
- GAMEPLAY - 85%85%
- GRAPHICS - 90%90%
- AUDIO - 82%82%
- Combat - 90%90%
If you have not already picked up a copy of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on any platform, do yourself a favour, put down the First Person Shooter, Battle Royal or MMO and give this go, I guarantee you won’t regret it!