Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a superb game that’s both exciting and incredibly fun to play.
Genre: Action Adventure, Open World
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: 15 November, 2019
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the latest Star Wars game to have been released by EA. It’s also the first wholly single player game to have been published by EA since they got the rights to the series. After playing through the whole game, I can safely say that it’s also the best Star Wars game that they’ve done so far. It’s loads of fun and if you’d like to learn more, read on!
Story and Locations
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set after the events of Revenge of the Sith movie and before A New Hope. It acts as a bridge between the two movies, much like the animated Rebels TV series. The game follows a failed padawan named Cal Kestis who has spent much of his life on the planet of Bracca, scrapping ships for the empire. On one of his routine scrapping runs his powers as a Jedi are revealed and he is forced to escape with the help of Cere and Greez, who convince Cal to aid them in their mission to restore the fallen Jedi order.
Their mission takes them to multiple planets including Bogano, Dathomir, Zeffo, Kashyyk and Ilum. There are a couple of other planets that you visit but only for a short time so they don’t appear on your map for very long. Each planet has hidden crates which house lightsaber parts and types of clothing materials for you to find. These aren’t essential to the story but they do give you some incentive to explore the areas but I will admit that this can get pretty boring quickly. It’s worth mentioning that each area that you visit isn’t mapped out when you arrive. This too encourages you to explore the game world in order to discover new locations, story areas, and, again, hidden crates. I actually really liked the way the this was designed because it wound up encouraging me to look for new areas to explore. I imagine not everyone will like this fact though because it does take a lot of side tracking to explore everything a planet has to offer. I also really disliked having to walk all the way back to the ship every time I explored a planet, it was time consuming and pretty annoying by the end of the game.
You can also continue playing the game after you complete the story, which may hint at future DLC, but there’s not much incentive to do so considering most of what’s left after is just crates filled with stuff and that gets boring pretty quickly. I wound up stopping completely as soon as the story was over, not much reason to play after that. I will say that the final scenes were easily some of my favorite parts of the game due to Cal’s run in with an iconic Star Wars character, who it is I’ll keep a secret due to not wanting to spoil the ending.
Exploration and Combat
As mentioned in the previous section, exploration takes up a good portion of your time in the game. This is largely due to how the game is designed and I’ll admit that it does get pretty tedious after a while. The majority of your exploration revolves around mapping out the area as you search for side stories, hidden crates and force echoes that are located throughout an area. These echoes add tidbits of backstory to each area but aren’t exactly important to the overall story and can be skipped more often than not. This does lessen some of the things you can do in the game, which isn’t plentiful to begin with, but they’re not essential. There are also various items that you acquire to aid in the exploration of the world. The breather, for example, allows you to explore underwater areas, which in most cases are pretty bare besides some ship wrecks and maybe a plant or volcanic vent. There’s no tentacle monsters like in A New Hope, so you’re safe in water environments. There isn’t even any fish…
I wound up being kinda mixed regarding combat in Fallen Order. While, the lightsabers are nowhere near the realistic dismembering sabers of the Jedi Knight series, they do feel incredibly punchy when you attack enemies. Your attacks feel like they have weight but it’s worth mentioning that Cal is merely a padawan in this game, his skills with a lightsaber are clunky and often unwieldy. The enemies he faces are much stronger than he is and can easily deflect a lightsaber or overpower him with quick attacks. My least favorite enemy to face was the one with the dual lightning batons, that guy was quick and could easily overwhelm me if I wasn’t careful. The easiest enemies you face are obviously the stormtroopers whose blaster bolts you can deflect for an instant kill.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of during combat though, is its inspiration from Dark Souls. Dodging and parrying is key to surviving in this game, but this fact is pretty irritating because parrying requires precision in order to deflect an attack, something I often failed at miserably later in the game because I couldn’t get the timing correct. This often led me to getting pretty annoyed and ultimately found myself hating most encounters with enemies. Dodging worked better but parrying was the key to succeeding in combat because if you couldn’t parry, your chances of hitting enemies went down by quite a bit. The final boss was especially difficult for me due to their speed and the difficulty I had in parrying their attacks. I quickly became overwhelmed and I got lucky that I won on the first try because she wound up utterly destroying me through most of the battle, so much so that it was embarrassing to witness. Combat in this game can be fun but ultimately it’s more annoying than anything.
There were only 3 lightsaber wielding bosses in the game but they put up the best fight out of everything else, excepth maybe the gigantic bat on Dathomir, which was easily the craziest battle in the game. These force wielding bosses were strong beyond measure and it was difficult to land a hit on them due to their usage of the force and their immense ability to block and parry your abilities. Even on the easiest difficulty it was difficult to parry them and then counter attack. Early force wielding bosses were pretty easy but as the game progressed you often faced much tougher opponents with more varied force abilities and lightsaber attacks. I will also admit that while I found these bosses to be the most impressive, they wound up being some of the most annoying as well. Especially with how irritating parrying could be.
I mentioned earlier that Cal’s connection to the force had been damaged so many of his force powers are locked at the start of the game. As the story progresses he regains force powers and is able to utilize them to traverse the game world and to fight opponents. This is a slow process and he only remembers them in the form of training under his Jedi Master when he was a child. You must perform the actions required to regain the powers as well but they’re pretty simple and shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. (Truth be told, I wound up falling off the platforms numerous times, but platforming isn’t something I’m amazing at).
There are 10 items, and force powers that you acquire throughout the game and each one alters the gameplay in various ways. One of the first force powers you obtain is the ability to slow your opponent(s). This can also be used to slow down fast-moving fans or objects to aid in your exploration. Other tools and powers include a breather, a dual bladed lightsaber, twin lightsabers, climbing claws, force pull, force push, wall running, and a double jump.
Your force powers and lightsabers can be augmented using the skill tree which can be accessed while meditating in a force circles found throughout the game world. These also act as save points and rest areas. The skill tree has 3 different areas you can place points in. These include Force, Lightsaber, and Survival. The force section allows you to augment your force powers to make them stronger. As an example, you can augment your force push ability to hit multiple enemies instead of just one. The lightsaber tree allows you to acquire new combat abilities while using the lightsaber. And finally, survival increases your health and makes you harder to kill.
Much like the abilities and items, the skill tree expands as Cal repairs his connection to the force. The higher the tier of skills, the more skill points that they require though. It’s really easy to level up in this game though so, all you need to do is kill countless enemies and you’ll eventually get enough to max out the entire tree.
It’s also worth mentioning that while resting restores your stimpacks and health, it also makes enemies respawn throughout the game world.
Puzzles and Tomb Raiding.
To be completely honest, the Zeffo Tombs were easily one of my least favorite parts of this game, which is pretty surprising considering I enjoy tombs in other games. This game makes them rather annoying though with it’s reliance on platforming and its unintuitive puzzles. The puzzles try to be Zelda-like in nature where you’re required to move objects, like balls, around the room and forcing them into holes in the ground to power other objects. While this may seem intuitive and easy, it’s actually pretty frustrating and quite annoying. There’s one specific puzzle that I absolutely hated on Zeffo which required you to force push a ball up a curved ledge into an elevated hole, this puzzle drove me nuts, but I finally managed to do it in the most unconventional way. By spamming force push until it climbed the ledge near the hole and dropped into it. Not how you were supposed to do it but I was getting quite angry by this point. The tombs are also quite long and much like with exploring the other parts of the world, you have to run all the way back to the beginning to reach your ship. A long, and often tedious process.
Overall, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a game that I’m decidedly mixed on. On the one hand, I think it’s a great addition to the Star Wars game lineup due to its story, and interesting characters. On the other, I find a great deal of this game absolutely annoying, from its combat, to its puzzles and even its tomb raiding. I also loathe the fact that you have to walk through an entire map to get back to your ship, which just makes things even more time consuming and tedious. In the end, I’m going to Save for Later on this one. It’s not a completely terrible game, it even has some good parts to it, it’s just not worth full price and there are a lot of things I feel could be better designed, I mentioned quite a few of them.