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Review: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Ushers in a New Golden Age of Star Wars Gaming

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Video/Tabletop Games' started by SWNN Probe, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    I'm sure many may agree with me when I say it's been a number of years since we've had a really fantastic Star Wars game. Now that's not to say that some of the titles over the last decade or so haven't been enjoyable; I mean I'm one of those who loved (and still loves) Star Wars Battlefront 2 despite unpopular opinion and Star Wars: The Old Republic was a massively immersive and enjoyable MMO. But let's be honest, when comparing our most recent titles to some of those considered to be some of the best Star Wars games of all time, they've been severely lacking. Well I'm here to tell you all that Respawn Entertainment's newest action adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order changes that narrative and ushers in a new golden age of Star Wars gaming.






    <p style='text-align: center;']*Some mild spoilers to follow*</p>




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    If you focus mostly on the main storyline missions, Jedi: Fallen Order ends up being about an 18-20 hour adventure across multiple planets in a galaxy far, far away. This particular Star Wars story takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope in the aftermath of Order 66 and the purge of the Jedi Order. Our main protagonist, young Jedi hero Cal Kestis, is a padawan survivor working as a scraper on the planet Bracca while hiding from the Empire. After exposing his true identity by using the Force to save his friend, the Empire dispatches two Inquisitors known as the Second Sister and the Ninth Sister to hunt him down. Forced to escape and survive, Cal attempts to flee the Inquisitors and is rescued by former Jedi Knight Cere Junda and pilot Greez Dritus aboard the Stinger Mantis. Cere then takes Cal to the planet Bogano where he discovers a wonderful little droid BD-1 left by former Jedi Master Eno Cordova to protect a hidden holocron containing the names of Force sensitive children across the galaxy. Driven by a greater purpose, Cal and Cere work together and help each other overcome their guilt and remorse of surviving Order 66 with help from a plucky band of companions and allies. This is where Cal's journey to complete his training, take on the Empire, and rebuild the Jedi Order begins.



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    The game's linear story is fantastic and does a decent job answering some questions about the remaining Jedi in the galaxy after Order 66. Our main hero Cal is somewhat vanilla in regards to his personality, but Cameron Monaghan does a great job of portraying his character's fear, trauma and ultimately hope in his efforts to rebuild the Jedi Order. Personally I felt some of the supporting characters were actually more interesting to me than Cal, with Debra Wilson's performance of Cere Junda being the absolute highlight for me (other than my new favorite droid BD-1). I was also pleasantly surprised by the Second Sister, especially since most of the Inquisitor's we've met elsewhere in the galaxy during this time haven't been particularly profound or unique in my opinion. I don't want to give away anything specific as to why the Second Sister changes that, but let's just say Respawn did a fine job fleshing out and intertwining her backstory with other characters. It was awesome to see Saw Gerrera involved in the story as well, continuing to connect Jedi: Fallen Order to the greater Star Wars universe at large. I truly felt like I was in a Star Wars movie while exploring multiple planets and fighting off Inquisitors and other Imperial baddies.



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    Even at the beginning of the story when your skill tree is at the bare minimum, the combat is incredibly gratifying and only gets better as you continue to expand your skills with both a lightsaber and the Force. There are multiple difficulty options in the game: <span>Story, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master and Jedi Grandmaster, with the harder modes narrowing your parrying window and increasing enemy aggression and of course having Cal take more damage. I think these difficulties could have been a bit more balanced at times. I'm not really complaining per say, but sometimes things felt a bit unfair on the higher difficulty settings like Grandmaster or even Jedi Master, so sometimes I dropped that difficulty to get through a section of combat. Now combat isn't necessarily difficult, with proper patience and strategy you can defeat just about anything from the get go. But I'm that player who typically and continually just pushes forward regardless of the scenario which more than often gets me killed, so I had to adjust my play style a bit to be as successful as I wanted. I will admit sometimes the combat does get a bit stale (roll, roll, parry, strike, rinse, repeat) but the skill tree is large enough to allow some creativity with Force wielding and lightsaber combinations to eliminate stormtroopers and other small enemies. You can feel the weight of Cal's lightsaber with each strike, especially on a controller with vibration. Lightsaber finishing moves are a real treat as well, even if dismemberment only affects fauna and droids and not stormtroopers. I'll admit there is little as gratifying as Force pushing troopers into oblivion or dismembering a droid. The combat in Force Unleashed was perhaps a bit better in terms of carnage or destruction in a larger area, as Jedi: Fallen Order for the most part keeps the combat in closer, more compact groups of enemies.



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    Jedi: Fallen Order is more than just a solid Star Wars game, it's a really great action adventure game as well. The large platforming sequences are exciting, but in my opinion sometimes you sort of feel like it's Uncharted in a Star Wars skin. I would've enjoyed seeing some of the action animations given some type of cool twist with the Force, but Cal climbs up a wall just like everyone else would. Like other classic action adventure games, there are a few situations where you'll need to think on your feet (to an extent) as these giant and beautiful set pieces transform around you. The power of exploration is a real motivation and I constantly found myself navigating each planet to the fullest extent possible. There are plenty of chests and secrets to discover on each planet providing additional experience for skill points and various cosmetic unlocks for Cal, BD-1, the Mantis and of course your prized lightsaber. There are a ton of customization options for your weapon including colors, switches, sleeves, materials, and emitters. I rocked the pre-order exclusive orange most of the game until I had the opportunity to channel my inner Sam Jackson/Mace Windu and immediately switched to purple for reasons. You can customize your lightsaber at workbench points located at various locations throughout the game including one always on the Mantis. Although I haven't constructed a lightsaber in Savi's Workshop at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the fact you can customize your lightsaber in-game to match your purchase is really cool addition. BD-1 will give you prompts throughout the game to scan various interesting items like flora and fauna or other anomalies to collect data during your exploration. Your scans and other secrets like Force echos do expand the lore and storytelling in the game, but ultimately a good majority of it may just feel like filler material to the average gamer or Star Wars fan.



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    The planets are filled with plenty of interesting and enjoyable puzzles to complete on your journey. I'll admit that there were a handful of times I was stumped by a puzzle, but the solution was always right in my face the whole time providing me with a few hilarious facepalm moments (some of you did too, don't lie). Most of the time during these puzzles my challenges and frustration came more from getting lost or stuck than anything else. For instance once or twice I skipped steps and found the solution or next area by mistake. If you get stuck you can always ask your adorable droid companion BD-1 for assistance, but I'm too stubborn and prideful for that so I just wandered around until I figured it out.



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    Fallen Order makes use of meditation points scattered around the planets as checkpoints. Similar to the bonfires in Dark Souls, stopping in these areas to meditate will save your game and create the checkpoint. The meditation circles also provide access to your skill tree providing you the option to spend points on your various abilities as you proceed through the game. Lastly the points provide the option to rest, which restores your health and stim packs to full. Naturally there is a cost in replenishing your health and stim and resting will respawn all of the enemies in the immediate area, so you sometimes have to be a bit strategic on when to rest at the meditation points.



    One of the most quintessential components of Star Wars is the music and the score for Jedi: Fallen Order helps set the tone from the second the title screen appears. For me nothing elicits an emotional response quite like the music of Star Wars, especially when it is so eloquently and beautifully paired with epic backdrops and set pieces that Jedi: Fallen Order dumps in your lap beginning with the opening cinematics on Bracca. The score can make even the most mundane conversations and character interactions in the game feel exciting.



    As to be expected Jedi: Fallen Order runs pretty smoothly on console and keeps up nicely with the flow of the game. With that being said, there is still the occasional hiccup and mild stuttering when loading into a new area. These stutters were minimal and I was typically loaded in before combat ever began really making it a nonissue for me. The game does have some performance issues on PC. Overall the framerate was solid but some players have experienced some dips in performance here and there and the stuttering seems to be worse on PC (both loading into new areas and even sometimes pre-combat/mid-combat). Naturally I encountered one or two bugs and the game crashed once or twice, but again its was minimal and didn't really prevent me from enjoying the game (since writing this, some patches have corrected some of these issues). All of that said, it's still a great game with quite a few really fantastic environments.



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    For Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn did a really fantastic job at taking some of the best elements of other successful third party action adventure games like the Uncharted series and Tomb Raider, and mixing them with relatively intuitive combat similar to that of Sekiro, to create a satisfying, fun, and well balanced title wrapped up in a solid Star Wars story. This is without a doubt one of the best Star Wars games to date and certainly the best Star Wars title in over a decade. If you love Star Wars games or even simply great action adventure games, I would highly recommend picking up one of the best games of the year.





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    #1 SWNN Probe, Dec 6, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  2. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Great review!

    I was a big fan of the second sister as well!
     
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  3. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    I loved this game as well! Cal Kestis and the Second Sister are fantastic characters and the story and settings fit right into canon. It meshes really well with Solo and Rogue One IMO. I’ve gotten almost all of the trophies for this game, so I am looking forward to playing through the story again without having to worry as much about collectibles or anything like that.

    While I’ve enjoyed playing Battlefront 2 and seeing it grow the last two years, I’ve definitely been craving a new Star Wars gaming experience. Jedi: Fallen Order delivers that without a doubt! I hope to see a sequel in the next few years!
     
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  4. Dynamixx88

    Dynamixx88 Rebel General

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    Loved it! If you get past the ''Whoa, a long time ago, this galaxy was a platformer hell for people living in it!'' then the story is awesome, I loved the puzzles and exploring the maps... overall, I liked this game so much, that I finished it on Platinum on PS4 and that is something I have achieved only with Telltale games that you simply play to the end and one Japanese fighter...
    Most DLC's are unwarranted and it is basically customization than full expansion, but I would love something in Jedi Fallen Order besides a rumored sequel and would gladly pay for it!
     
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  5. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Haha, true.

    Though I think the game generally did a pretty good job of making the platforming sections in areas that generally wouldn't have been traveled by regular people, anyway. Shortcuts, wilderness, traveling on industrial machines that OSHA probably wouldn't approve of, etc.
     
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  6. Dynamixx88

    Dynamixx88 Rebel General

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    Yeah, you have a point! The village and inside of installations was designed like it could work and wasn't like these Megaman platformers we played in 90's.
    What I hated in this game tough, were the sliding sections. The controls on them were clunky and it took a pretty chunk from the health bar when falling.
    Sometimes, it was better to not control Cal at all and sometimes, he just went uncontrollably sideways. But that sliding part with the TIE Reaper coming after you on Kashyyk was awesome.
     
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  7. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Sliding was really rough, agreed.

    I got a little better handle on it by my second play, but it never really felt good to use
     
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