Congrats you made it to 2021, glad to see you here! I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year, let’s hope it’s a better year than last. Today I will be taking a look at Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order which takes the title of the first game I finished on my Xbox Series X!
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a game that got a lot of flak on release, and rightfully so. It was buggy as hell from what I could tell so I gave it a pass, and never thought about it again. Speaking of passes though, it recently came to Gamepass due to it merging with EA Play, so I thought what the heck? Let’s try it out, it can’t be that bad can it?
I had a blast with it. Alongside The Mandalorian, I believe it is one of the best uses of the Star Wars license since Disney pried it from George Lucas’ rigor mortis death grip (the $4 billion probably helped). The sequel trilogy probably would’ve been better if he’d been more involved or in charge, but let’s not get into that. I came up against two bugs throughout the whole campaign – one where an enemy was stuck in some stairs, the other I had force pushed a stormtrooper into an elevator shaft thinking he would plummet uselessly like Boba Fett into the Sarlac pit. Instead he just stood there on thin air, staring at me like I had mildly inconvenienced his day. So all in all, I had a very unbuggy experience, and in the games current finished state I would recommend it to everyone!
When I started the game I trawled through the settings trying to find a photo mode and had no luck. At the end of the game when I was reloading into the final boss fight (yes I died a few times, the game isn’t a walk in the park!) a loading screen hint finally told me how to access photo mode as if to mock me. I would’ve loved to have taken some pictures throughout the journey as the game is gorgeous, and could have used some in this post. There’s always next time if I go through on new game plus.
I played through on my XSX in performance mode which was an enjoyable experience at 60fps. There were a few dips here and there, but the game hasn’t received any next gen updates so it looks the same as it did before. The 30fps in quality mode feels clunky though, whereas in other third person games like control it feels smooth. If you can, I would recommend performance, and turn off settings like motion blur and film grain etc.
We start with the protagonist Cal Kestis on some junkyard planet living out a hard yet humble life scrapping ships from the clone wars. Cal witnessed the execution of order 66 as a Padawan when he was a kid, so it’s understandable that he would be too scared to rise up against the Empire and live in hiding. I’ll start by saying Cameron Monaghan was great as Cal, I haven’t seen him act in anything else like Shameless or Gotham but I’ve heard from a few people that he does a great job as the Joker. And it’s nice to see a fellow ginger as a protagonist.
This is where you get introduced to the Uncharted-esque platforming mechanics, jumping, climbing and shimmying your way around a very linear path to get to your objective. It works fine, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. You stumble across a downed jedi Eta-2 Actis – which brought back memories – and then the platform you’re stood on falls. To cut a long story short your friend is plummeting to his death and your only option is to use the force to save him, only for a droid to see and report it to the Empire. The Empire show up and that’s when we are introduced to the main villain of the story, the Second Sister, and everything turns into a shit show.
The moment you first turn on and swing your Lightsaber is magical, I got chills. I feel like the combat in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was executed perfectly, Respawn couldn’t have done a better job if they’d tried. Cutting through the stormtroopers like a hot knife through butter, deflecting oncoming blaster bolts back at them with a perfectly timed parry, I can’t think of any other Star Wars game that trumps this in the combat department.
After a very intense train ride you’re picked up by a lady named Cere and get recruited on a mission to find the Holocron. A device that has the locations of every force sensitive kid in the galaxy, with the hopes of restoring the Jedi Order. I wonder if Grogu is on that list? This pretty much sums up the story, you will travel to a few different planets to find temples which have clues leading you closer to the holocron. These temples work sort of like Uncharted or Tomb Raider games, you’ll have to use your brain. Sometimes I wished I could just swing my Lightsaber at a problem and it would go away but no, I had to think. I felt dumb 9 times out of 10 when the solution presented itself (possibly via a quick google search but don’t tell anyone).
I like how Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t hold your hand, there are a lot of unlockables you could simply miss and I thought it would be pretty linear in a progression sense. For example, you could easily miss the double bladed attachment for your Lightaber, as it’s down a path you don’t even have to go down. I went the whole game with only two stim packs, the healing item in the game, because I didn’t think to go back to the safe area once I’d learned wall run. I got a third one just before the final mission because you have to go there but there are more. God knows where they are, I’ve probably missed out on some interesting things.
The game has a number of boss battles and they are one of the best parts of it. There is a good division between humanoid bosses and creatures. For my taste I prefer fighting humanoids as they are more predictable, you can tell if they are going to swing their weapon whereas big monsters can be very unpredictable. Thrashing and lashing around with only one thought, kill, no tactics. All in all they were pretty challenging, I don’t think I ever defeated a boss first try. It is the same as souls like games, your only hope of victory is by learning their moves first so you shouldn’t really get angry at dying (unless you suck).
As you progress through Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Cal has flashbacks to when he was just a wee Padawan, and as you play through these trainings you learn more Force abilities and unlock more skills to purchase. Things like Force push, Force pull, slow down items and enemies, Lightsaber throw, double jumping and the aforementioned wall running.
As I mentioned earlier I think the combat is great. You have your standard x or square to attack, and LB or L1 to parry. You have to manage stamina and enemies also have a stamina bar like sekiro too. If you parry on time and break their stamina you can land a few blows to their body dealing damage to their health, or more often than not for the lesser enemies you’ll get an acrobatic animation of Cal finishing them off. Even if you can’t be bothered to take on an enemy in hand to hand combat, just Force push them off a ledge! The one gripe with the game I have is that there’s dismemberments for animals, alien creatures and robots but not for humanoids, I don’t know why they censored it like that. They should have at least given us the option to turn it on or off in the settings. Even in one boss fight with a humanoid about half way through the game you cut off their hand in a cut scene, so why the special treatment there?
There were a few moments throughout the story that were so cinematic and awe inspiring I couldn’t quite believe it. The first moment you fight an AT-ST for example, although they are quite easy it just felt so badass taking one on by yourself. Pushing its rockets back at it with the force and deflecting it’s blaster bolts back with your lightsaber. Waiting for it to crumple in a heap much like your Christmas paper last month, cutting down the engineer as he crawls out of the exit hatch. Then there was the moment you hijack an AT-AT. Swimming on the Wookie native planet Kashyyyk, slowly approaching said AT-AT as Tie Fighters get blown out of the sky. The game is very atmospheric, if you’re a fan of Star Wars and you haven’t played it yet, do yourself a favour!
Customisation is pretty good here too. Any Star Wars game worth it’s salt will let you customise the colour of your lightsaber and this is no different. You can even elaborately customise your handle, not that you see it that much. Different costumes for Cal, different colour schemes for your ship the Mantis and for your trusty companion BD-1. I’m a bit of a boring bastard though and simply stuck with the blue lightsaber. I went with orange for approximately 2 minutes before I decided it’s a bit too much ginger on the screen even for my liking. Green was an option but I feel like no one can do it justice other than Luke, sorry Qui-Gon.
All in all I would recommend Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to every single person that plays games and likes Star Wars. Even if you you’re not a fan of Star Wars it is still a great single player action adventure game in its own right. I would very much like a sequel, and possibly even a show as Disney are throwing them around left right and centre. Who’s excited for the The Book of Boba Fett?
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