If you’ve been caught up on the Star Wars media in general, you’ll know about the timeline of events set by the movies. Specifically two main timelines. The Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. Every game usually covers one of the two timelines, sometimes going far back if we get into the Extended Universe business.
But what about that transitional window between the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War? That’s where this game takes place and boy does it capture it well.
You’re placed in the boots of Cal, a former Jedi Padawan who’s gone onto life as a scrapper after the ordeal of order 66 where his former faction and master supposedly died. Right off the bat you’re playing as someone very inexperienced and low tier, something new in a Jedi focused Star Wars game.
That part is evident in how much our boy tends to fumble through the events of the game. After needing to use the force during an accident at work, Cal is picked up on Imperial radars or some other inexplicable manner that shall not be spoiled. This is when we’re introduced to our antagonists, the Inquisitor Sisters, an elite team of force using bounty hunters. I presume they’re like Darth Vader’s task force assembled to exterminate any remaining Jedi hiding out in the Galaxy.
This includes Cal, our Padawan hero. After a brief scuffle with the Stormtroopers, Cal comes face to face with the Second Sister. The boss fight is really just a display of how outclassed you are as a Padawan coming face to face with a Sith Inquisitor.
It’s a scripted fight where you have to lose which does kind of suck but well whatever needs to be done to progress the story right? After that you’re rescued by a couple of supposedly old Jedi Council associates and are now on a Galactic quest to find vaults that will supposedly give you an edge in the fight against the Empire. Ahead of that, anything I explain in terms of the story would be a spoiler.
Now that we’re caught up, let’s talk about the video game aspect of Jedi Fallen Order. Respawn Entertainment hasn’t failed the community so far. I’m happy to say that even with this game, they haven’t disappointed. Jedi Fallen Order is an absolutely amazing game with the most grounded feel of being a Jedi in any game so far.
Now that does sound a bit odd for something called a Jedi but it really isn’t. The way the gameplay is very timing and finesse based makes you really feel like a user of the force. What I love about Fallen Order is how you really can differentiate between a new player and an experienced one.
In previous Star Wars games, you can sort of pull off most of the moveset by mashing buttons pretty furiously. I loved the Force Unleashed games but slamming square/X will pretty much make you look like a light saber connoisseur.
In Fallen Order, doing that will make you flop around like a fish out of water until the confused Stormtroopers shoot your head off. However, once you get ahold of the mechanics and how everything works, you really do look and feel like a Jedi.
The fact that it’s Respawn Entertainment also means the gameplay is very smooth. The way the character moves and traverses the environment is just so fluid and it really feels good to maintain a continuous motion running through areas. The platforming of the game is really good in how it looks and feels but I hate how linear and rigid it is.
There are very specific areas where you can platform. Which is weird because there are so many areas where you should be able to do the same acrobatics on the same looking ledge, but because it’s not part of the path, you can’t go there.
The area and level design is pretty good in the way that paths and shortcuts entwine and intervene. Although the platforming could be a little less linear, I do enjoy how everything connects after you explore. Each area is littered with patrolling enemies, positioned enemies and ambush enemies which become pretty trivial after you memorize their layout.
The areas also have meditation resting points where Cal can either spend skill points he gets or rest to refill his healing stims and health. You can also recover health and XP by striking the last foe that killed you. Failure to do so results in a loss of those items, however.
The combat in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a matter of counterattacking for the most part in my experience. I understand how different players can have different playstyles but mine was being on the defensive. It was pretty satisfying to parry cocky scout troopers or dodge lunges from large beasts to slash up their sides.
I did hate fighting a lot of the animals and planet life though. Not due to bad design or anything, but rather how annoying they were. Obviously you get multiple more ways to conquer your foes as you upgrade Cal’s abilities. You have three trees to do so from.
The lightsaber tree which specializes in Saber combat and tricks. Unlocking things like a sprinting strike or a lunging one. There’s survivability which hovers around being able to sustain yourself longer. Whether that’s through tanking more hits or being able to deflect blasts for longer. Then there’s the force tree which enhances your force abilities like Slow and Push for example.
Besides the combat, the game also has some puzzle solving that you first come across in an ancient tomb. The puzzles weren’t frustratingly difficult mechanically and they weren’t hard to solve thoughts wise either. Your little droid BD-1 is also able to give players hints if they struggle for too long, making it pretty user-friendly.
The accessibility of the game was another thing I wanted to focus on. Regarding if it was too difficult or too easy. I played on the Jedi Grand Master difficulty which is the highest one and even then the game doesn’t seem unfair or broken in any way.
Sure, you have to be a lot more careful, which resulted in my defensive playstyle. But a little bit of patience goes a long way in that regard. I’d definitely recommend that mode if you truly want to hone your abilities as fast as possible.
A rather subtle but amazing detail I really adored in the game was how lively the Stormtroopers were. In comparison to previous games and even movies where they just felt like blank slates, they were really alive here. Making their own callouts, talking to each other, getting scared or getting cocky. I was really surprised when one of them called me out on my healing at one point. I was like wait what?
To wrap up this experience, I’d say it’s a great Star Wars trip, truly able to immerse one’s self in it. We may not have gotten our Uncharted Star Wars from EA, but in my opinion, this more than compensates for it. Good job EA and good job Respawn Entertainment. Fallen Order is available now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on Steam or Origins. Users of Origin Access will get the game as well.