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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review

People have been waiting quite a while for a decent Star Wars game this generation. We’ve had the two Battlefront games but both have been disappointing for many fans. Most gamers have been craving an epic single player Star Wars experience. Is that so much to ask? Well finally our prayers have been answered, but is Jedi: Fallen Order the dream Star Wars game we’ve been waiting for?

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Jedi: Fallen Order Story

Jedi: Fallen Order has you playing as Cal Kestis, a young Jedi Padawan in hiding from the Empire ever since Order 66 had all the Jedi hunted down. Living and working on Bracca, Cal is forced to use Force powers to save his friend, and is found out as a result. While on the run, he is saved by crew members of the Mantis, who incidentally were actually looking for Cal.

Cal’s saviours had a grand plan to reform the Jedi Order to help fight the Empire, and were looking for Cal to help carry out their plans. This forms the core of the story, and as every Star Wars story should be, is full of fun and adventure. You’ll be travelling to multiple planets on your quest, each with their own unique environments and sets of enemies. I do think the story dragged on a little bit by halfway, as I was starting to lose a bit of interest, but the twists that happened kept things interesting. There were also some truly spectacular moments (climbing the Origin Tree comes to mind), so it’s these moments that will pull you through the rest of the way.

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Along the way, you’ll get to know your crew members and their backstories, and you’ll eventually feel a connection with them as their stories are quite tragic. The voice acting is extremely good and they feel like legit Star Wars characters. I think a bigger cast of characters would have helped elevate this game, but I guess having a small cast makes their goal feel more difficult to achieve because there’s less help the crew can rely on. You’re part of what seems like a ragtag group, and it’s just your small group up against the whole Empire, and it raises the stakes of rebuilding the Order.

Without spoilers, I’ll admit at first I was bitterly disappointed with the ending, specifically the very last moments of the game. But after thinking about it a minute later, I realised it made sense, and their whole journey wasn’t all for nothing.

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Jedi: Fallen Order Combat

To most people, the lightsaber duels are the main course of this game. The combat here is heavily inspired by the Soulbourne genre, though it is no way near as difficult. There’s no stats to raise (except for HP and Force meter), but you’ll still gain XP and earn skill points to spend on more abilities.

While the combat doesn’t have the kind of depth as the other games it’s inspired from, it’s still fun in its own right. You’ll need to parry to break certain enemies’ stance before you can chip away at their health. You can parry lasers back to enemies to take them down from afar. Combine that flexible combat with Force powers, and you have a fairly complete and fun combat system. Plus the sounds of lightsabers swinging and clashing will be enough to make any Star Wars fan happy.

There are certain ways to defeat certain enemies, and as the game goes on, you’ll have to face these different enemies together and adapt to the situation on the fly. This makes each encounter fun, unpredictable, and rewarding when you get through it unscathed.

The only real problems I had was locking on to enemies which didn’t always work for me, and I had to dodge like mad to try to line up with the enemy. I may have taken a bit of extra damage while doing this, but ultimately didn’t ruin the combat for me.

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Jedi: Fallen Order Platforming/Exploration

There’s more to this game than just combat as the variety of gameplay was quite surprising. You’ll find platforming here very similar to that of the Uncharted series, where you’ll climb up walls, balance across beams, etc. But there’s more to it in this game, because the levels are designed like a Metroidvania game, and has Metroidvania style progression, so there’s more ways to make your way around the levels.

There are certain areas you can’t access until you unlock the correct methods to do so. There are abilities like wall running, double jumping, and many more. This game’s platforming is at its best when it combines different sections that require different skills. For example, performing a wall run to then force pulling a vine towards you to then swing to another wall run before finally making your way to safety, are all thrilling moments. The movements and animations can be a little clunky at times and can mess you up, but for me it wasn’t enough to detract from the game.

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While I love the Metroidvania-style level design, I think this game’s levels could have been a bit more intertwined. If I want to go to a certain point on the map, I’ll need to travel through quite a lot to get there, where more shortcuts around the whole map would have saved a lot of time and repetition. There already are shortcuts, but there needed to be even bigger ones to save us the drag of all the travelling. This repetition is enhanced even more as the enemy respawns every time you heal at a save point (did it need to copy this much from other games?).

But at least when you do get to where you need to go, it’s always fun to reach a previously inaccessible area to see what rewards await. So while exploring new areas is enjoyable, I think the very reason why you’re exploring is a little disappointing- that being the rewards themselves. Yes you will find upgrades to your stim capacity, as well as Health and Force meter upgrades, and that’s great! I love it when rewards feel worthwhile, but here it’s few and far between. 

A lot of the time, the rewards you find is discovering lore, new ponchos, BD/Mantis skins, or new lightsaber customisations. I always felt let down whenever I found these as they just don’t feel that rewarding. Lore is great and all, but not as a reward for completing a challenging platforming section. As for ponchos and the other skins, while it’s great to customise your looks, it’s just not a rewarding discovery. You can barely see your lightsaber, so finding customisations felt pointless. If those customisations actually increased stats, or gave some sort of gameplay benefit, it would have made a world of difference and I would have enjoyed finding them even more.

I also wish just a little more time was spent polishing this game up, as you’ll encounter visual glitches on occasion, slow-loading textures, and maybe a game crash or two. It wasn’t that bad overall, just a little more refinement would’ve made for a smoother playing experience.

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Jedi: Fallen Order Review Summary

So while it’s obvious this game takes a lot of inspiration from many other games, it would have been nice to see this game form its own identity from a gameplay point of view. I do think they achieved a nice balance of combat, exploration, platforming, puzzle, and story, but all the gameplay elements have been done better before. But I still think they’re done well enough here to enjoy in their own right.

The story overall is done well and feels like a Star Wars adventure. It does eventually drag on a bit (for me at least), but there are some memorable moments that manage to still keep things fun.

Can this still be considered the Star Wars experience we’ve been waiting for this whole generation? Yes I do. But while there are ways to improve it, it’s a big step in the right direction. If things continue along this path, Star Wars has a bright  future in the video game industry.

Score: 8.9

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