Use The Force.
Respawn Entertainment put together a Star Wars game: the first of the series to be single player focused since Star Wars: The Force Unleashed finished in 2010. Let’s talk about it because I have a lot to say.
What You Need to Know
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows the story of Jedi Cal Kestis (who’s actor is Cameron Monaghan from Shameless. The game takes place, according to Wikipedia, five years after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and before Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Jedi are all but gone, and Cal is sent on a journey across the galaxy. I don’t want to spoil too much or say too much because I don’t know anything about Star Wars, but it’s cool.
Upon starting Fallen Order, players will be realize it’s a blend of a gameplay elements from a few different games including the Uncharted/Tomb Raider, Dark Souls, and even the Ratchet and Clank series.
Much like the Uncharted/Tomb Raider series, Cal explores a variety of stunning locales with plenty of puzzles and locations abound. After the beginning sequence, Cal unlocks a ship (the Mantis) he can travel to new planets in, and meets BD-1, his robot companion who helps a lot more than you can imagine.
The game cleverly involves Cal’s abilities to solve puzzles, which can be a bummer if you don’t have an ability unlocked. Solving puzzles will unlock cosmetic items that allow you to customize Cal’s outfit, Lightsaber color/handle, the ship he travels in, and BD-1’s appearance. You’ll also discover echoes of the past which give you cool backstories and opportunities to upgrade your health/Force meter.
Now the biggest and most important thing is the combat. Cal is a Jedi with a lot of cool Force abilities that give you the upper hand in combat. Combat is slow and weighty with a focus on smaller encounters. You’ll mainly face off with Imperial foes like the classic Stormtroopers, but also face off against the local beasts as you travel planet to planet.
Enemies have stamina bars that you deplete as you land blows and the same goes for you. Deplete the bar and you can inflict massive damage, and again, the same goes for you. The basic foes will be easily dispatched while the tougher foes will require you to chip away at their stamina bar, but be careful, because even the simplest of foes can beat the brakes off of you if you aren’t aware. Well timed blocks will result in parries, you can deflect blaster shots back at them, and you can use Force abilities like Force Slow or Force Push to help turn the tide in your favor. BD-1 has stim packs that will heal you in a pinch, but it carries only a limited amount. Sound familiar?
This is where the game looks to Dark Souls. As you defeat opponents, you’ll gain experience. Gain enough, and you’ll gain a skill point you can use to upgrade Cal’s abilities. However, if you die in combat, you’ll lose all your experience to the foe who killed you. Run back and hit that opponent, and you’ll gain everything back. You rest at meditation points which will respawn all the enemies you defeated, use skill points, and counts as a save point.
I think that’s everything I wanted to cover.
I knew this game was going to be good, but I didn’t think it was going to be as good as it is.
Critical reception has been through the roof and rightfully so. Respawn Entertainment gave us a heckin’ good campaign in Titanfall 2, and EA seems to be keeping their hands off of this, which is a win for everybody.
Immediately upon taking control of Cal, you get that Tomb Raider/Uncharted feel, with the third person design, platforming sequences and world building. If you’re a fan of either series, this game is for you. Even one of of the early sequences was almost an exact copy of the beginning train sequence from Uncharted 2 which makes sense since I believe a few members from Respawn came from Naughty Dog. I will say it feels lighter on the set pieces though which makes it feel realistic in a way.
The game is stunning, and I’d even say the sound is top notch as well. I found myself string off into space, using the Lightsaber to slice at walls and the slab marks it leaves. Ships will fly by in the distance out of nowhere, Blaster shots make that pew pew sound, and it all sounds and looks so realistic. Kudos to Respawn for pushing the engine to its limits.
One thing I hate is when developers insert questionable game design into their game because it’s cool or what everybody else is doing. The Dark Souls style of play has been beaten to death, in my opinion, so I was scared when I saw this game has a similar style. Crazy thing is it actually works. I think it works so well because of the story. Your dude is one of the last few Jedi, and that theme in the background makes you feel outnumbered but powerful. It’s hard to explain, but this style actually works, and it’s not ridiculously hard at least on Normal difficulty.
There are a few grievances to be mentioned. There isn’t fast travel between meditation points so most of your time in planet turns into going from one end to the other. A big thing that’s happened to me is textures won’t fully load sometimes. I jumped into a new area, and the area didn’t load up so I was running through walls and floating on nothing for a few minutes until I quit the game. Now it isn’t always that extreme, but it happens enough to be noted.
I like BD-1 and Cal’s relationship. It’s Ratchet & Clank like except that BD-1 talks like R2-D2 so you think Cal is crazy. BD-1 is useful with all his cool upgrades and abilities, and he’s just a cool little dude.
Listen, I don’t know shit about Star Wars, but this game has me going through and watching the movies so I can learn. I think now is a great time to be a Star Wars fan with Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian taking off and Rise of the Skywalker coming out next month.
Any who, check this out guys. My seal of approval is here.