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My Jedi: Fallen Order Review

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Video/Tabletop Games' started by Devizz, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Devizz

    Devizz Rebelscum

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    Overview

    All right, so right off the bat I'll say that the game is good and if you're a Star Wars fan that enjoys playing games, the Fallen Order is an absolute must buy. At the very least, you'll be getting solid 30 hours or so of gameplay. It is by no means perfect - in my opinion, the storyline is somewhat... predictable? It's decent and a lot of fun but did not not have that wow factor if you know what I mean, even after the ending. Do not worry, this review is completely spoiler free and focuses more on the gameplay aspects.

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    Souls-lite puzzle platformer with uncharted vibes that borrows from multiple genres

    The overall gameplay is a mix of Zelda and Dark Souls with cinematic/scripted sequences that feel very Star Warsy. Sekiro inspired gameplay mechanisms are in there too, the Fallen Order's posture system is almost identical to the one seen in Sekiro. Only some enemies are affected by it though and this is where the Dark Souls mix comes into play. What else do I mean by the mix of Dark Souls? In comparison to the Souls series the game has a lot of similar systems in place and player actions but the main difference is that it actually explains them to the player and is more forgiving in some regards. For example. while rolling has a soft global cooldown before its another subsequent animation triggers, it does not spend any player resources. Also, certain enemy animations have a highlight that indicates you can't block the incoming attack and need to evade. I could go on in terms of similarities that were slightly iterated upon and altered to be more friendly for a wider audience. Overall though, the combat is great. It focuses too much on timing and too little on strategic approach to geometry for my liking but it is still good. It plays great, it feels great - it is both challenging and rewarding. Boss fights are not on the level of those sees in Dark Souls and I'd go as far as saying that one or two fights are simply poorly designed and not really fun (not due to them being too difficult mind you). Then again, Dark Souls is an utter masterpiece in that regards so yeah.

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    Challenging yet rewarding with slight pacing issues

    It is also worth mentioning that balancing felt a bit off to me. As someone who has spent hundreds of hours playing melee action games such as Dark Souls I chose to play on the highest difficulty setting and the game felt AMAZING at the start. Frustrating at times but still great and EXTREMELY rewarding. Later on though, the new enemies you encounter and their attack animations along with behaviour patterns are not really that different from one another. The game just becomes too easy or stale rather in comparison to how hard it was at the start since you get progressively more powerful and obviously learn while the enemy placement and attack sequencing does not really surprise you that much. Again, comparing the game to Dark Souls (I know, I know but obviously they took a lot of inspiration from it). Dark Souls constantly surprises and challenges the player with its excellent pacing till the very end, this game does not do that as well in my opinion - Fallen Order's difficulty affects its pacing in a negative way. Still, it does not render the game unplayable, far from it actually. Yeah sure, pacing feels a bit off at times but this game is truly a step in the right direction for the Star Wars franchise.

    The game could potentially benefit from a more in-depth progression that actually forces one to make tough choices

    Progression systems are fun and all the abilities you get over time feel significant, rewarding and authentic to the Star Wars universe. The skill tree could use some improvements though. Here's the thing: I never liked the idea of being able to unlock every single skill point (you can do that in Fallen Order) since in my opinion it takes away from this feeling of having really meaningful choices that define your playstyle and make one feel more accomplished. In short, the skill tree is too linear which has the potential to render it lackluster at certain stages of the game. It should gate some choices depending on what you pick. Change that, slap a NG+ mode in there (which really fits the game's design!) and you get such replayability potential.

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    Solid level design with just enough player agency

    Metroidvania-like level design and environmental puzzles intertwined with it mostly took inspiration from Zelda games and both are rather solid with tons of findable collectibles and narrative sub systems that add to the overall experience. Traversing uncharted geometry and backtracking is an integral part of the game's loop and the very first explorable planet, Bogano, introduces the player to that concept. Clearly the intention was to make the game feel non-linear and while the open world structure is somewhat limited it does feel good to be able to travel to any planet (well, almost any planet, there are some restrictions in place) whenever you want. At times I was slightly confused on where to go and perhaps lighting along with other tools could have been utilized more to guide the player - this happened only once or twice, overall the game does a good job of teaching and guiding the player.

    Not counting a few hiccups throughout the game, a good learning curve with transparent difficulty settings

    Then again, there was this puzzle that comes to mind that I simply have to mention. The said puzzle revolved around utilizing environment in a specific manner and there was also a button of sorts that had 2 different states. The puzzle had multiple stages and after beating the first stage the player had to return to the area and turn off the button after previously turning it on. In an off state the said button enables one to finish the puzzle by doing something. The thing is, players are likely to forget about what that button does in an off state after having played the level in different area for X minutes. Should have made the puzzle a bit clearer while keeping it of the same difficulty by reintroducing the player to what happens in the off state.

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    Great UX all across the board

    Controls and all the player inputs are very fluid and intuitive which I was slightly worried about when they announced the game. Except for the climbing context action that I found to be frustrating, especially early on but eventually I grew accustomed to it, realizing I have to always press the input twice just to be safe. Tooltips were added in very few instances during the game's flow for clarity - overall though, you really do feel like a jedi when playing this game.

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    The game is very true to the Star Wars IP and feels like an actual part of the ever branching narrative

    The whole experience is very seamless. For example, the BD-1 droid is an integral part of both the narrative/cinematics and the gameplay, acting as a guiding tool to the player at times. Scanning a creature corpse to unlock a journal entry that tells you about a certain weakness which you can take advantage of during the next encounter feels so darn good. Ah, I almost forgot to mention that the minimap is a UI element integrated with the actual BD-1 asset - it is a holo map that takes some portion of the screen (it does not trigger the auto pause). Small little detail that adds to the immersion. Everything feels really authentic to the Star Wars universe so that is a huge well done for Respawn. Obviously, Lucasfilm was heavily involved in the process.

    Final verdict

    A solid 7 out of 10, even an 8 perhaps and if you're a Star Wars fan, this title is something that you HAVE to experience. Please buy the game and support Respawn so that the EA suits see that this is the way to go instead of rushing something like the shallow the Battlefront 2 campaign with 4 hours worth of content.

    Steam link: https://steamcommunity.com/id/devizz/recommended/1172380/
     
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  2. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    Great review @Devizz! I'm curious, without spoilers, what did you think of the story? Gameplay is a big draw to a lot of people (my best friend is an example of that), but I'm more of a story-driven kind of person, so I'm curious of what you think of it there.
     
  3. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I'm also curious of what @Devizz thinks, but personally I'd say this: I went in with pretty low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.

    It's kinda hard to tell a good story of a Jedi during this era given some of the restrictions built into the lore, and Rebels already took a lot of the potential threads there. But Fallen Order manages to put together something pretty unique by the end, with the last 2-4 hours (depending heavily on how you much you rush the story) definitely being the highlight for me.

    I will say that the story itself seems to get pretty badly lost for a while in the middle, so much so that for quite a while I totally forgot what the main goal of the characters even was. And while each area also kind of has its own sort of side stories, some feel much stronger than others.

    The following might be considered a spoiler- it's more about the structure of some of the main quests, and while it doesn't reveal anything specific about the story I'll still tag it just in case:

    There are a few mega-dungeon areas (one huge one in particular) where the story seems to slow to a halt for a while. I always dislike stuff like that in a game, because it just gets boring to me for a while. If you know what you're doing and aren't worried about collectibles it shouldn't be too bad, but if you're a completionist on on your first playthrough it's likely to be a slog.


    Also, it feels great taking on the Empire as Cal. What feels a lot less great, in my opinion, is taking on legions of wildlife.

    I get that creatures are an inherent part of Star Wars, but it feels so un-Jedi like to constantly infiltrate creature dens and killing them- in fact, sometimes going out of your way to specifically kill creatures just because you're hunting an achievement.

    Not to mention that the combat with animals just doesn't flow as well, to me. Fights with humanoids are full of saber flourishes and fun uses of force powers. Fights against animals just feel like you're wacking stuff with a stick.
     
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  4. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    Agreed! It's weird and a little sad, but the highlights of the story for me where when you're able to go to The Red Place (and survive!). Everything before that was nice and fun, but definitely not as engaging.
    I also wish that there were more allies/companions. I like the crew of the ship, but it always felt a little empty to me. No real time to bond, no real time to chat. I didn't have to search out my companions in their hidey-holes or go comfort them after a loss. It felt like a crew, not a family.

    OMG I GET THAT. It's like "oh cool X character shows up! ...what was I here for again...?"

    As for the second spoiler, I agree. I almost wish that there was a way to "defeat" the monsters without actually having to kill them. Like, sure, if some were an invasive species or something go ahead, but others are protecting their family, so you side with them instead of killing them. Or if they're hurt, and your goal would be to use only Force powers to get close to them and give them a stim. Something like that.
     
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