Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order review
It feels like it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that publisher EA acquired exclusive Star Wars video game licensing. Now we finally have a AAA single-player adventure—but is this the ̶d̶r̶o̶i̶d̶ game we are looking for? From Respawn Entertainment, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Details
A Hutt-sized adventure
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a vast and entertaining romp in the Star Wars universe. It’s set in the post-Clone Wars era when the few survivors of the Great Jedi Purge are in hiding. Players take the role of Cal Kestis, a young Jedi Padawan masking his identity in a galactic junkyard.
What follows is a narrative worthy of the Star Wars name. Cal must solve the mystery of a potentially invaluable Jedi holocron. In doing so he must evade the Sith Inquisitor on his tail, who is looking to secure the holocron for the empire and terminate any remaining Jedi along the way.
You’ll hop between multiple gorgeous planets, along with a lovable supporting cast as your crew. There’s plenty of lore as well, with both nods to familiar concepts as well as deeper dives into new world-building. The 15-20 hour campaign packs in the sense of discovery and adventure that fans of franchise crave.
Feel the power of the dark (souls)
From a gameplay perspective, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is not unlike Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a veritable patchwork of a handful of recently popular game mechanics. Playing through the game I nearly lost count of every other franchise that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order brings to mind.
The easiest comparison is to the Dark Souls series. In fact, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is steeped in the primary game mechanics of that franchise. Cal gains experience from defeating enemies, which can be spent on upgrades at “meditation points”. Die before reaching one however, and that experience is lost.
Like Dark Souls, it’s possible to recover your experience by striking the last enemy to engage you. However, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is much less draconic. You can make multiple attempts to regain your experience, and doing so also refills your health and Force meters.
Combat is also a familiar hybrid of attacks, dodges, and parries, relying heavily on proper timing. There are multiple difficulty settings however, including “Story” mode, which eliminates virtually any challenge whatsoever. So players can find a setting that’s comfortable and not worry about difficulty locking out progression. Your Force powers also add a large element of strength to your character, and mastering them will aid you greatly.
More familiar parts
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fleshes out with many more mechanics that are easily comparable to other games. It features dungeons and puzzles reminiscent of Breath of the Wild or Darksiders. Its climbing and traversal mechanics are Darksiders-esque as well, but also invokes franchises like Uncharted or Tomb Raider. So to do its sliding sequences and narrow pathway traversals strongly recall the latter.
I can probably rattle of a half-dozen or so more comparisons, from Metroid to God of War and beyond. The point is that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is an obvious amalgam of a grab bag of popular game mechanics. It’s tough to play without thinking about what other game it reminds you of at any given moment.
On one hand, this is a good thing in the sense that the game is still very fun. It rides on the shoulders of enjoyable mechanics, so inherently those mechanics work well. On the other hand, it starts to come across as a “jack of all trades, master of none”, and ultimately it lacks a strong identity of its own.
That said, if this doesn’t bother you, then there’s really no harm. Still, not every mechanic fits well into the universe. For example, the traversal elements are great, and really feel like “Jedi” moves—but it’s a bit harder to explain in the context of Star Wars why Storm Troopers respawn in the exact same place every time you kneel for a few minutes.
If only there were more time
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is packed with potential, and could easily have been one of the best action/adventure games of the year. Unfortunately it falls well short in overall polish. It feels like the game may have been rushed out the door to meet a seasonal deadline.
Mechanically there aren’t significant issues, but aesthetically it is a bit of a mess at times. Textures are constantly popping in late, animations are off, and on some planets the game will even chug to a halt for loading.
As one small example, when you open a chest your companion BD-1 will jump in and rustle around for swag. However, when swimming underwater, BD-1 stays on your shoulder when opening a chest, yet it still rumbles around as though BD-1 is inside.
It’s a small nitpick, but so many situations like this pop up throughout the game. To me it really feels like the sort of thing that developers refine over time, but in this case it just wasn’t an option. I can’t help but think what an outstanding game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would be if the team had the time to polish the little things.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a fantastic adventure that could have been elite with a bit more TLC
Despite its flaws I would still recommend Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to anyone looking for a great action/adventure game. The story is wonderful, the core gameplay is satisfying, and overall it feels a lot like the single-player Star Wars adventure many were hoping for.
That said, it does lack a bit of identity—coming across as a “greatest hits” of recent game mechanics as opposed to carving its own niche. It could also benefit from more optimization and some extensive sanding around the edges. There’s nothing game-breaking, but its level of polish is what keeps this great game from being a “Game of the Year” contender.
+ Compelling story
+ Variety of popular mechanics
+ Gorgeous environments full of lore
– Lacks unique identity
– Needs polish
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5