A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, fans believed that Electronic Arts would never get another single player Star Wars adventure. While Battlefront has its fair share of admirers, gamers were losing confidence in EA. Fortunately, thanks to the talented developers at Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall 2), EA has managed to right the ship. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order carefully treads into the saga of the films before making itself right at home.
The game takes place after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, following the Jedi purge. This has sent the remaining Jedi in the galaxy into hiding, including Cal Kestis. However, an accident suddenly exposes Cal’s secret, and he finds himself on the run from Inquisitors, including the Second Sister. Fortunately, he finds a ragtag crew that wants him to help rebuild the Jedi Order. make their way across the galaxy, with Cal exploring planets, attempting to track down secrets about Jedi lore. Along the way, the team will have to fend off monsters, as well as the Inquisitors, in hot pursuit
Jedi: Fallen Order does remarkably well in the storytelling department, under the deft approach of God of War III director Stig Asmussen. Despite some slow spots here and there, it never strays from its course. Even the tougher parts of the game ties everything together into a great experience. Cameron Monaghan’s voicework for Cal is very good, but Debra Wilson is even more impressive as Cere.
This review is spoiler free, so read on as we breakdown how each of Jedi: Fallen Order’s parts come together.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a stunning technical achievement. Asmussen and the team at Respawn have put together a series of compelling levels that weave together beautifully. What’s more, the creature design is impressive, from the smaller ones that pop out to pester Cal to the bigger behemoths that take more damage. There are occasional glitches, but nothing that gets in the way of the game’s visual enjoyment.
If anything, the levels may be too big. There are times in Jedi: Fallen Order where it’s easy for players to get lost. Of course, there is a map. But some levels are broken into so many layers, they can be difficult to navigate. Fortunately, the exploration factor kicks in, as Cal tracks down Jedi secrets and potential items to use with his lightsaber, like different colored blades. (Or, if you’re lucky enough, a Darth Maul-esque dual lightsaber blade.)
The voice acting is terrific; and listening to Cal’s new buddy BD-1 is a delight. He oozes the kind of charm we expect from robots in this universe, like BB-8 and R2-D2. As for the other actors, mentioned above, they’re terrific. The musical score is excellent as well, staying loyal to the themes of Star Wars, but adding something new for good measure. This game definitely warrants having a good stereo sound system.
Throw in some awesome sound effects (the lightsaber has never sounded better) and atmospheric touch-ups, and you have a game that looks and sounds almost exactly as it should.
Here’s where Jedi: Fallen Order earns its keep. The game does pose a challenge, but it doesn’t become impossible. There are some tough fights ahead, particularly against larger creatures and the Inquisitors themselves. But Cal can actually expand his Force powers and tricks with his lightsaber. It’s phenomenal how well Cal progresses over the course of the game. He starts as an inexperienced pup; and ends up on the same level as Luke Skywalker. Part of the joy of this journey is unlocking new abilities for Cal.
The combat is highly entertaining. Along with parrying incoming attacks and dodging moves that could destroy a typical person in one shot, the offensive techniques are impressive. Cal’s finishers are really enjoyable, and they continue to get better as Cal’s powers open up.
It can take a while to get around a stage, mainly due to their immense size. But, again, that makes exploration worth all the while. It never hurts to learn more about the lore as well. You never know what you might find hiding in a cave. This game can be a bit challenging, but it also has meditation points (or checkpoints) to spare, so you can always come back and try again. Respawn knows what it’s doing here, and it shows.
One disadvantage Jedi: Fallen Order has over Battlefront is that it’s single player only. There’s no multiplayer battle mode and there isn’t anything that you can do with your friends. It’s strictly a solo affair, and once you beat the story, that’s pretty much it as far as narrative.
However, as mentioned above, the game has a number of hidden secrets and compelling upgrades for Cal. For an even greater challenge, another playthrough at a higher difficulty can be really satisfying. The bigger bosses really put up a fight on the highest difficulty setting. Prepare to yell a few expletives more than a few times.
Like Dark Souls and other single player challenges before it, Jedi: Fallen Order is worth revisiting for its smaller components. Players can actually explore the planets any way they see fit and reset enemies to take on again. Granted, there’s only so much to unlock, but it never hurts to jump back in and get in a good fight. Regardless, it would have been nice to have some DLC — like a new planet or two to explore.
At long last, EA finally “gets” what makes Star Wars work — a story that stands out on its own. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order tells a truly great tale with memorable characters. The combat is equally impressive, especially as Cal levels up.
This isn’t a perfect game, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s easily a showcase, particularly on PC and Xbox One X. If it’s a single player Star Wars game you’re after — and The Force Unleashed games just aren’t enough anymore — then the Force is definitely strong with this one.
Recommended Reading: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The Xbox One version was covered for review.
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