Title: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Official Site: ea.com/games/starwars/jedi-fallen-order
Release Date: November 15th, 2019
Version Tested: Playstation 4 Pro
It’s been a long wait. EA has had the Star Wars license from Disney since 2013. In that time, fans haven’t had a single-player only Star Wars video game. Instead, there have been two canceled single-player experiences. The first one Star Wars 1313, in development by Lucasarts. A bounty hunter centric set to star Boba Fett. For those unaware, that game was shut down when Disney closed Lucasarts as a video game developer. The other was under the direction of EA, developed by Visceral and Amy Hennig. Described as an open-world Uncharted like Star Wars experience, EA closed down Visceral altogether. EA Vancouver was assisting on the project and was then handed the reins to it. Long story short, the game was eventually canceled altogether.
Translation? Fans have waited and waited. They’ve held their breath. The feeling in the air for Jedi: Fallen Order has been one of cautiously optimistic combined with reasonable pessimism. No one blames fans though, they’ve been burned plenty, especially by EA, but that’s a topic for another day. All that said, everyone, breathe a sigh of relief. EA and Respawn have delivered, arguably the best Star Wars single-player experience ever made.
Jedi: Fallen Order’s Unique Difficulty
Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay, in a nutshell, is Souls combat combined with Uncharted/Tomb Raider terrain and platform navigation. For those that want it in a box with a bow, that’s it, but it’s so much more.
Unlike the Souls series, you’ll get to choose a difficulty. Now I love the Souls series. Bloodborne is in my five all-time favorite games. However, it’s not accessible to a lot of people. The series is simply too challenging, especially for new players. This isn’t the case for Jedi: Fallen Order and this is a choice that should be celebrated. Can it be changed mid-game? Yes. The game reminds the player in loading screens that the difficulty can be changed on the fly.
The story mode is for if you want to enjoy what the game has to offer and the world around you. Jedi Knight is the next difficulty, the game describes it for new players to melee combat games. Jedi Master (my setting), is for players that are experienced in melee games. Grand Master is hardcore. The different difficulty levels don’t affect how many lightsaber swings it takes to kill an enemy, that is consistent through them all. What changes through each, you ask? Enemies won’t be bigger or numerous. Instead, the parry window gets smaller with each higher difficulty. The enemies will also become more aggressive. They’re more likely gang up on you in groups. It makes for an adaptive difficulty that everyone, no matter your skill level, can enjoy.
Collecting is Always Rewarded Here
Jedi: Fallen Order has multiple worlds you’ll visit in your time with the game. Each one is stunning and unique. They truly adhere to the lore of Star Wars. Every sight and sound is on point. From background to the gorgeous views in the distance all the way to the roaring tie-fighter sound overhead. The team at Respawn builds breathtaking planets. During your time, you’ll return to planets you’ve visited before, especially if you want to collect everything. Trust me, you’ll want to collect it all.
Everything you find in the world serves a purpose and rewards you for it. BD-1, your loyal droid sidekick, can scan a lot of things during your travels. Each one will give you some experience points and provide lore. For enemies you defeat for the first time, you’ll receive more than a note. You’ll be given strategies or tips on how to defeat the same enemy in the future. This is great as there were many times in my playthrough where I just scraped by in defeating an enemy. The advice given would tell me a weakness or the best way to approach the fight next time. For many of them, I didn’t even know I could do x or y or that it was better to use z. It’s not an exact roadmap, but extremely helpful. In addition, it’s a testament to how diverse the gameplay combined with the enemies are.
Variety is the Spice of Space Life
The game never felt stale or repetitive. Each enemy truly is unique in its own way. It felt so rewarding struggling with a few of the beginning bigger tougher baddies. Only to reach a time later in the game where I knew their number, a couple of which I could beat with one parry. Don’t worry though, the game never gets too easy, if that’s what you’re concerned about. As for all the collectibles, you’ll receive lore and experience points for your troubles. Most importantly though, every collectible you find is cosmetic. You’ll be able to fully customize your lightsaber, the handle, sleeve and the end of it, combined with the overall color of the handle. This is a welcome surprise, I had a surge of feeling even more like a Jedi when I was able to make my lightsaber my own.
The other collectibles give you access to different ship paint jobs, Cal’s outfits, and BD-1’s look. Everything you change or customize shows up in cutscenes. In a game with a mostly linear storyline combined with a sole lead character, I never expected to have every little thing show up, but I felt rewarded when it did. Among other fun things to pick up, you can grab seeds of plants from each world, for no reason other than to have a memento from each planet. Plus they look cool in your glass terrarium like holder on the ship. If you search, you’ll also find a little stowaway for your ship. I’ll leave it at that to not give anything else away. Jedi: Fallen Order left me aching to find every little thing along the way.
Jedi: Fallen Order has Predictable Day One Launch Issues
In case you missed it, this review was done using a Playstation 4 Pro. I’ve heard little to no complaints from others on Xbox One X or PC. I have come across others, that have struggled with a Playstation 4 Slim. Issues such as frame rate drop, character models, dropping early generation type quality and world textures taking a long time to load. For more details on some of those issues, this video is a good resource. For the sake of this review, I can only speak on my own experience.
In my time, I had very few issues. I had the game catching up to load an area that I walked into basically freezing with the autosave on the bottom right. It cleared up every time though and I was never forced to restart the console. This only occurred a couple of times and most of them happened specifically in one spot. Environments in the distance on occasion would take a second or two to generate. I also had a couple of enemies disappear once or move weirdly.
The only notable consistent bug was cosmetic. Eventually, you’re able to find chests underwater, the animation has BD-1 jumping into the crate like he always does and rummaging around. For whatever reason, the animation plays out underwater, but BD-1 is still on my back and never goes in or out of the crate. Despite Cal saying something as if he just jumped in.
Overall my technical problems were nothing I haven’t seen in almost every major title that’s released on the first day, the game was never broken and none of the issues ever frustrated me.
Navigation is Good but Could be Better
Fallen Order’s worlds play a perfect balancing act. It looks like an open world, while being fairly linear, but also not making you feel cooped up. What that means is, a lot of the map is blocked off. You can see where other directions there are to go, some of which are labeled blocked, others available. The player can unlock and unfold the world as they go. This prevents the overwhelming giant open-world panic feel we get all too often from open-world games. You’re able to take it in layers.
The only problem is the map. It is very helpful in some ways, such as finding the areas you haven’t explored. It doesn’t do a great job of finding specific areas to get back to. It’s true to the aesthetic of the game with the holo grain blue we know from Star Wars holograms. Unfortunately, this is tough to chew when the map has multiple levels and the only discerning feature is that of dark blue and slightly less dark blue depending on which upper or lower level you’re on currently. Which each new part of the world you unlock, it gets confusing.
Make note there is no fast travel. For the sake of the story, this makes complete sense. You’ll see what I mean. Where this falters is after you’ve completed the main quest. When I’m trying to find every last collectible the last thing I want to do is run from one part of this large map to the other. I desperately wish I could fast travel from one meditation spot to the next, at least for the end-game portion.
There is Much To Learn Youngling
The skill tree was way bigger than I was expecting, branching out in three different directions. Lightsaber, force, and survival. Each section opening up more as you progress through the story and connect with the force. Your skill points will be acquired through combat and I was surprised how quickly I gained them. As the game progressed, I felt like a student that was becoming a master.
The star of the show is being a Jedi. From every lightsaber swing to every dodge and force power. You’ll feel more like a Jedi than you ever have before. Yes, more than that time you dressed up as Yoda for Halloween. Respawn also does an astounding job of giving a feeling of growth with Cal. The combat is clean and smooth. The hit detection is near perfect, the enemies are diverse, but most of all, using a lightsaber feels exactly as it should. You feel like a badass. It will truly never get old slicing down enemies or force pushing Stormtroopers off cliffs. The combat is challenging but balanced and fair. No matter how many abilities I gained, I never felt overpowered. There were always new heights to reach.
Jedi: Fallen Order’s Characters are its Foundation
Star Wars has always been driven forward first and foremost by its characters. It comes as no surprise then, that they are all captivating. I was concerned that Cal would be boring with simplistic character development. Another guy with little to say or little to differentiate himself from the many video game leads over the years. Without spoiling anything, I can confidently say that his story is interesting, while also being relatable and inspiring.
Cal is not without his flaws and that was always my biggest concern. Portraying him as a Jedi that has done no wrong and can do no wrong. He’s flawed, you as the player get to experience that first hand while also seeing the path he chooses. His comrades and enemies are no different. Everyone has multiple layers to them, at first, I didn’t have many feelings for them either way. The game does a great job of slowly but surely progressing their stories and the bonds they all share.
Fan Service Aplenty
Jedi: Fallen Order is not all serious, the story has so much charm. BD-1 shines in that department. For various reasons, the little droid has cemented himself as one of my favorite in the Star Wars universe (move over R-2). I dare you to not smile when that little droid is around.
The game is welcoming to all. Even if you’re not a diehard Star Wars fan, the game will give you plenty of contexts. If you are a big fan though, you’ll also be rewarded with subtle hints and mentions of things that link back to shows and movies alike. The fan service in this game is unparalleled. I really can’t get into any of it without spoiling key parts, but just know you’ll be rewarded along the way and that the game never loses focus on fun.
A Star Wars Game That Makes You Feel
For well over six years, fans haven’t wanted just any single-player Star Wars experience. No, they’ve yearned for the best experience possible. Something that blew them away. What you get, is something that sinks in, a title that despite completing, you won’t want to let go of. Respawn and EA have pulled off one of the most difficult tasks. Giving us the balance and feeling of being a Jedi while also making it feel “real”. They’ve even managed to tug on our heartstrings along the way.
Verdict: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a game that will stick with you after playing it. I want more of these characters, more of this story, and more of the impressive worlds Respawn and EA built. Jedi: Fallen Order had high expectations and they were exceeded. The game and everything with it is considered canon. The story is so good, it is a shame fans that don’t play video games will be unable to experience it. I truly wish everyone that watches any of the movies or any other Star Wars content could be exposed to this game. Is Jedi: Fallen Order perfect? No, but it’s close. The force is very strong with this one.
- What It Would Really Feel Like To Be A Jedi
- Balanced Combat & Inclusive Difficulty
- Breathtaking Worlds
- Characters That Have Layers of Depth
- A Large Skill Tree With Unique Abilities
- Fan Service At Its Finest
- Collectibles That Look Good & Show Up In Cutscenes
- Audio & Soundtrack Are On Point
- The Map Could Be Better, Easy To Get Lost
- Minor Annoying Technical Issues
Former podcast Co-Host, current freelance writer and lover of everything video games and the community along with it. Nintendo, Sony and Xbox are all great, @ me anytime on that.