Jedi Fallen Order is a Near Perfect Star Wars Experience

For those who don’t know, I grew up a Star Wars fan. I fell in love with the original three movies and I thoroughly enjoyed the prequels. Ever since Disney took over, I’ve been kind of distant. The new movies split up the fanbase and the games weren’t half as fun as they used to be. The new games weren’t bad, but they weren’t as good as games such as Force Unleashed. EA, the makers of Disney’s Star Wars games, was more focused on monetizing their games than making good games. When EA was set to make another Star Wars game, I felt it was going to be mediocre. That is, until I saw who was developing the game. The game was being developed by Respawn Entertainment, who is known for putting gamers before monetization. When the game was released and I got my hands on it, I was thoroughly surprised. Not only did Respawn reach my expectations, but they also exceeded them. 

WARNING! The next paragraph contains some spoilers. If you wish to avoid any spoilers, pleases avoid the next paragraph.

To start, they made a terrific story. It fits in the Star Wars canon, and feels like your playing through one of the movies. The story takes place a couple years after Order 66, the order to exterminate all Jedi. The Empire is growing stronger by the minute, and is hunting down any remaining Jedi. You play as Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan who survived what has now been named the Purge and has lived in hiding for years. Cal hid on a scrapping planet for years, and became friends with a fair amount of people there. After using the Force to save one of his friends one day, Inquisitors came to the planet in search of Jedi. Inquisitors hunt down any remaining Jedi who survived Order 66 as well as look for any Force-Sensitive children to convert to the Dark Side. Cal’s friend took the blame and was struck down. This prompted Cal to attack the Inquisitors in vain. Cal fled after his failed attack, and got cornered by The Second Sister, an extremely powerful Inquisitor. Cal got saved by a Jedi named Cere and Greeze, an alien who pilots a ship called the Mantis. Cal teams up with the Mantis crew, as well as a BD-1 droid, on a mission to restore the Jedi Order and fight back against the Empire. 

The customization menu for Cal, BD-1, and the Mantis

Cal using the force push on a group of Stormtroopers.

The game plays phenomenally and is very similar to Dark Souls, yet not, at the same time. On paper, it looks like a Soulsborne (nickname given to the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series of games) clone. You go through maze like areas, gather xp, drop that xp upon death, heal at meditation areas, and enemies respawn when you rest at these meditation areas. Even though these aspects are similar to Soulsborne games, there are also some aspects that set Fallen Order apart from others. One of these is the exploration. You explore areas with a variety of skills that you gain overtime, and discover all kinds of secrets. On top of that, the skills you gather unlock new areas from previous worlds. These new areas have all types of rewards in them from extra costumes for Cal, BD-1, and the Mantis to extra pieces of lore that add to the Star Wars experience. The force abilities are satisfying to use and each time you unlock one it feels like a reward. In combat, you have a force gauge so that you don’t spam the force powers. Speaking of, the combat is great. Parrying is a major mechanic since it can lower your opponents stamina and leave them open to attacks. Some areas and opponents feel unfair while others feel a little too easy (i.e. how come an AT-ST, a tank on two legs, is easier than a stormtrooper in black armor with laser swords?). The bosses themselves are challenging enough, and feel like a test of the skills you have gained thus far. Some of them do suffer from unfairness, or ridiculous hit box but they are still enjoyable nonetheless.

The characters were thoroughly enjoyable and I can’t say there wasn’t one characters I didn’t like. The heroes were charismatic and relatable, the villains uncaring and daunting. I love how one of the villains is absolutely heartless for most of the game, but she still manages to be one of the best parts of the game. Some characters do start of as being mediocre, but over time they build and turn into advanced versions of their previous selves. Character interactions also feel natural. It doesn’t feel stilted or robotic. Probably my favorite interactions are the ones on the Mantis, when you are jumping from planet to planet. 

I can’t really talk about this game without bringing up one glaring issue. Bugs. This game has a lot of them, at least on consoles (and especially on the standard PS4 and Xbox One). You will notice this when you reach the second world, Zeffo. Enemies will appear in a T-pose before initiating their animations, and graphics could take a bit to load in. There are also some frame rate drops in certain which ruins the immersion and can also mean life or death in certain situations. There are a few more, but they were from really early in my playthrough so I can’t quite remember them. 

Jedi Fallen Order is an amazing game and is probably a contender for game of the year 2020. The game is probably one of the best Star Wars experiences out there and should be played by any Star Wars fan. If I were to rate it, I’d give it a 9 out of 10. If the bugs were to get fixed I’d give it a 10 out 10 but until then, its lower.