The wait is finally over, here comes another Star Wars game from EA…
Reluctant you seem, after reading those lines - Master Yoda (Jedi Master and an EA rejectionist).
Don’t give in to your fears young Padawan. This is not a game with wallet-robbing microtransactions, nor is it plagued with loot boxes. Quite innocently, and surprisingly, this is a straightforward single player game with a wholesome story about a Jedi.
Now that we’ve cleared that, let’s jump into the full review. Spoiler alert: we love it.
In a single order
The game takes place a couple of years after Order 66 has been executed and Cal Kestis (played by Cameron Monaghan) finds himself discovered by the Galactic Empire who are on an endless quest to annihilate all Force users. Just the typical Sith stuff. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, we would recommend reading up on Order 66 or just watch the Star Wars movies from Episode 1 to 3.
In the early stages of the game, you get rescued by Greez (captain of the ship in which you’ll be travelling) and Cere Junda (a former Jedi Master in hiding). The collective heads come together (it’s mostly Cere actually) to figure out a way of restoring the Jedi Order. But hot on the heels of Cal, the Inquisitors and their army of Stormtroopers are chasing after the same thing as our lightsaber-wielding hero - An artefact that tells you the location of all the Force-sensitive people.
Star Wars Jedi is completely a story-driven action-adventure, so we’ll avoid giving out any spoilers here. Rest assured, it’s a Star Wars game through and through. With a new ‘hope’ to chase, plenty of lightsaber duels to fight and the best of all, the stunning universe of Star Wars waiting to be explored.
The game mechanics have been inspired (read as copied) by a lot of banger titles from recent years and the combat, more specifically, feels like a From Software game. You know, the guys who made Dark Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. But that is not a bad thing; in fact, this kind of gameplay suits Star Wars perfectly because how else do you keep an all-cutting lightsaber in check?
Enemies and Cal have a stamina meter, so blocking is not entirely limitless. There’s a heavy focus on parrying, nail it correctly and you can counter certain enemies. Even blocking StormTrooper blaster fires can be so satisfying, and if you time it correctly, you can deflect them back to the Troopers.
The lightsaber itself feels like the real deal. It switches on and off with a satisfying ‘zing’. Even the background score and audio pulls you into the Star Wars universe. We got really intrigued by the opening song - Black Thunder by The Hu - which sits in that sweet spot of being ‘alien’ and really fits in the game lore further in the story.
Pro tip: Play the game on Jedi Master difficulty if you’re looking to really dig your mitts into Star Wars’ combat. Story-glory hunters can stick to easier mode, but even on Jedi Master difficulty, the game isn’t as punishing as the ones it takes inspiration from, so you’ll get through… somewhat.
Even the dinkiest enemy in Star Wars Jedi can prove lethal if you don’t tread with caution. The real deal is obviously the lightsaber duels with the Inquisitors and the Second Sister, although giant monsters and Legendary creatures can send you back to the Meditation Circle more than once as well. So be prepared to get frustrated and then blame yourself by yelling ‘git gud’ in a mirror.
Meditation Circle are checkpoints where you can spend experience points to unlock new moves in the skill tree and Rest to regain all your health. Quite like the Soul games, resting will respawn all enemies on the map, so it’s a double-edged sword.
Cal Kestis himself is quite a one-dimensional character, with not much flair to entertain you throughout your journey across four main planets. Thankfully, you’re accompanied by a bot called BD-1 who ranks as our favourite bot from the Star Wars universe now. Sorry BB-8.
The Second Sister is also an interesting character, with typical Sith complexity. She’s one of the Inquisitors that you’ll face in the game. Think of them as Padawans in Sith hierarchy but with dark circles and an affinity for dressing like a goth teen.
The story takes you across multiple planets which are sprawling with enemies and extravagant fauna. It’s breathtaking, to say the least. There’s a great deal of detail put into the characters and enemy types, which tie up nicely into the Star Wars lore. And yes, this story is canon, so for Star Wars nerds, this is another holy compendium.
BD-1 scans new enemies and artefacts for information, and it helps to peek a look at the available catalogue of information on enemies to get the upper hand. Not all enemies will be open to an attack right after a parry; some have a weak spot and others can be hacked. It’s all written there, give it a read.
Love it or hate it, the maps are going to give you severe directional anxiety. It’s labyrinth-y and quite daunting at first, but soon you realise that the maps themselves offer a lot more than just fear-inducing confusion. Stray away from the designated path and you’ll almost always be rewarded with something nice (mostly cosmetic upgrades). More importantly, it’s the experience you’ll be collecting fighting monsters and Empire soldiers that’ll help in the long run.
The Metroidvania maps have shortcuts and new paths that become accessible as you unlock new abilities. As more of the map opens up for exploration, backtracking to older planet turns out to be a nice break from the story campaign. Cosmetic upgrades are fairly boring and even changing the look of the lightsaber isn’t as satisfying, except when you get access to new colours for your lightsaber. Unfortunately, that’s much later in the game.
We were extremely fascinated with all the beautiful vistas the game had to offer, especially if you’re running the whole thing on a beefy system at 4K. We got around steady 60FPS on 4K with the highest settings. The game would have a few glitches, but it wasn’t really game-breaking. Kashyyyk, the homeland of the Wookiees, is absolutely stunning and would dip frame rates across, even on the consoles. But it still didn’t stop us from playing with a silly grin on our faces.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER VERDICT
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order plays it safe. Too safe. It’s a very good action-adventure game and quite honestly, one of the best Star War games in the last decade.
Sure, a lot of familiarity runs deep within its gameplay. The combat is inspired by Souls games, BD-1 is an important companion to progress like the ‘BOY!’ from God of War, and the tomb puzzles and wall running is akin to Tomb Raider and Uncharted series. Even sliding down slopes like a waterslide, which by the way, is on every map and long enough to excite surfers, is all seen and done before.
Even if we sit to nitpick how EA could’ve invested more time to improve its single-player formula, Fallen Order deserves none of it. Because at the end of the day, Star Wars fan or not, wielding a lightsaber and trotting around its deep and expansive setting is fun, and that’s more than enough to get your money’s worth.
And if you’re a Star Wars fan, there is no other game like it.