Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the latest Star Wars game to hit the market. Is the game just another mediocre attempt, or do we finally have a hit on our hands? Check out our review and find out.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows the journey of Cal Kestis, one of the few surviving Jedi from the Jedi Purge. Cal has been laying low, hiding out and working as a ship breaker at an imperial outpost. While on the job, he discovers a crashed Jedi Starfighter and reveals that it has been five years since the infamous Order 66 has taken place. Before getting a chance to salvage the ship, the deck Cal is working on breaks down, sending him and his co-worker tumbling to their potential deaths. It is at this moment that Cal decided he has to use the Force to save his friend.
Five years of keeping his head down goes up in smoke in an instant as this slight us of the Force is enough to get him detected. The Sith Inquisitors, namely The Second Sister, arrive to find the Jedi and bring them in. One intense escape later, Cal is partnered up with a new crew, a new ship, and a new mission. He has the opportunity to rebuild the Jedi Order if he can find the Jedi Holocron located on a hidden planet. This Holocron a list of Force-sensitive children on it, and could be the key to driving back the Empire. The journey from start to finish will run you roughly 20 hours, and it’s a game you won’t want to put down.
The story itself is excellent, but what really brings it together is Cal’s personal journey. Cal was not a full-fledged Jedi during the Purge; he was only a Padawan. You can sense his reservations about him being the one to reforming the Jedi Order. He has doubts, fears, and confidence issues, as anyone in his shoes should. The Empire already wiped the Jedi out once before; why wouldn’t they be able to do it again? The journey of going from Jedi Padawan to a true Jedi is one of the best-written video game stories in years. It is a masterclass of personal growth and character development not often seen in any media, let alone games.
The reason it works so well is that Cal has lost most of his connection with the Force. When you start the game, you can only use Force Slow and Force Echo (more on that later). As the adventure continues, however, you gain access to moves like Force Pull and Force Push. While great in combat, these moves are core to exploration in the game. At its core, Fallen Order is a MetroidVania. You will often go back to areas you have already been to discover secrets, new paths, and new upgrades. Each new Force ability feels like a milestone for Cal, a glimpse into the Jedi he can truly become. That and using Force Push to send five Stormtroopers of a ledge feels incredible.
Let’s talk about the combat in a general sense for a moment. I want to be careful about how I word this, so I don’t scare anyone off. It does have a very Sekiro feel to the way you parry and block, but it is nowhere near as tricky as that title. I played on normal and died roughly seven or eight times, and there is an easy mode for those who just want to play the story. Stormtroopers drop in one or two hits, and deflecting their laser blasts back at them is a simple yet satisfying task. If you are a person who doesn’t like to parry, the block mechanic works just fine, and you can beat the game using only that. Those looking for a more brutal challenge will want to up the difficulty at the start of the game.
Other than the Stormtroopers, you will face the Purge Troopers from time to time. These troops wear black armor and use electricity weapons to face you head-on. You can get through them without much trouble when it is one on one. Rather, it is when there are multiple Purge troopers and some Stormtroopers that you experience the most stress. The mental gymnastics you go through on who to defeat first is quite something in this game. If you take out the Purge Trooper first, then the Stormtroopers will be a breeze. On the other hand, you can take the Stormies out in a hit, but you will be open to Purge attacks. I talk a lot about what the game does right, but the way it makes you feel strong without feeling overpowered is one of its best strengths.
The upgrade system compliments the journey by improving your lightsaber skills, Force powers, and overall strength and stamina. They are meaningful, and each one brings you one step closer to being a Jedi Knight. While initially, your Force push can only push back weak enemies and single targets, the upgrade will allow you to push but large enemies or multiple targets with ease. Earning these skill points takes time and effort. If you want to fill out the entire skill tree, you will have to find all the secrets and defeat all the hardest enemies. That said, you don’t need all the skills to complete the game.
This brings us to the Force Echo, Cal’s unique ability that most Jedi don’t have. Force Echo allows Cal to see into the past of particular objects so he can see who has interacted with them. Its story implications are obvious; it helps him find out how to get the Jedi Holocron, among other things. During exploration, he can use it to learn more about the worlds he is on or learn about the people who lived there. None of this is required, but if you dig deep enough and find all the secrets, you won’t be disappointed with the results. It adds another layer to the game’s already fantastic world building.
Any good Star Wars game where you play as a Jedi gives you lightsaber customization, and Fallen Order delivers. Different colors, pummels, switches, layers, and even the metal you use for it can be changed. None of it changes your stats or gives you a buff one way or another, allowing you to make your lightsaber look how you want without worrying about if it is stronger then it was before. You start off with only a few parts, and through exploration, you will find new ones, encouraging you to search off the beaten path. You can also get new colors for BD, your ship, and new Ponchos.
Before I wrap this up, I want to talk about BD-1 and the power of the silent companion. BD-1 is a tiny robot that holds your healing stims and accompanies you through the game. It does do beeps and boops, but you don’t have a clue what it is saying. The interactions between Cal and BD during the adventure gives the player a way to see what Cal is thinking or feeling, without him seeming crazy or requiring some inner monologue. For all the doubt Cal has, BD is there to remind him that if he doesn’t do it, the Empire wins. It’s the quiet moments of exploration that humanize this robot and make you feel for it as much as you feel for Cal.
Much like what Arkham Asylum did for Batman games, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sets the new standard for Star Wars titles. Not only is it a great Star Wars game, it is also the best game of the year.
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