EA has an awful lot riding on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The publisher hasn’t exactly had a good time producing Star Wars games. Ever since acquiring the license from Disney in 2013, EA has failed to do anything particularly great with it. In fact, the few games that EA has released have faced a mixed reception (Battlefront and Battlefront II). The company has also canceled several high-profile Star Wars games from studios such as Visceral Games. Disney is not known for its patience. So, if EA wants to keep making Star Wars games, Jedi: Fallen Order has to impress. And impress, it does.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order puts players into the shoes of Cal Kestis. The former Padawan apprentice was forced into hiding following the implementation of Order 66. With the Empire hunting down all remaining Jedi, Cal has had to live off the map. Eventually, he outs himself as a Force user when he saves a friend using his powers.
Although the character sounds like a classic trope, he allows for an interesting narrative. The story soon progresses into familiar territory after the introduction. You help set up a rebellion group to fight against the Empire and team up with other misfits. Although you know how the story ends, as with the film Rogue One, the journey still feels worthwhile. A variety of compelling characters, new locations, and twists in the plot ensure the story is great throughout.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a welcome return to a narrative-focused single-player experience. Many of the franchise’s last few games have emphasized multiplayer. But Respawn Entertainment has taken a different approach with its first foray into the sci-fi world.
Defining exactly what Jedi: Fallen Order is can be difficult. The developer has mixed together ideas from several successful action-adventure games. For example, enemies respawn if you go back to a checkpoint like in Dark Souls. Meanwhile, influences from the likes of Uncharted and Metroid are clear throughout. You have to traverse over environments and there is a heavy dose of exploration.
While this could have ended up an unoriginal mess, Fallen Order pulls it off. This is largely a result of there being so much variety in the gameplay. Players have to deal with everything from puzzles to challenging combat and platforming.
Thankfully, Fallen Order keeps many of the mechanics as simple as possible. You only get access to three Force powers but the way you have to use them constantly changes. Sometimes you have to push items around to get past an obstacle. At other moments, players have to slow down enemies to make them easier to take down. The regular changing of the pace ensures none of the action ever feels stale.
Of course, what fans want from any Star Wars game is to get their own lightsaber. The good news is that Fallen Order makes you feel like an accomplished Jedi. Fighting enemies or deflecting blaster bolts is intuitive. Boss fights are intricate encounters that do need a bit more strategy, but they work well. In the end, lightsaber combat is as fun and engaging as you imagine it would be.
Visually, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a real treat. Every character model is full of detail so that they appear as authentic lifelike beings. BD-1 is particularly great. The cute little droid is beautifully animated, yet so is every character. Performances are also excellent, so much so that it is easy to get engrossed in each individual’s journey. Meanwhile, exploring the magnificent environments is something you’ll not tire of. Each planet has its own distinctive look and is full of gorgeous landscapes.
As you would expect from an AAA game like this, the sound design is superb. All the iconic blasts, whistles, and hums of the franchise are present. While the orchestral score borrows from John William’s work, it stands on its own feet most of the time. It adds just the right amount of tension and emotion to every scene. You also get invested in what those around you are doing thanks to the emotional voice acting and expressive facial expressions.
Ultimately, Fallen Order looks and sounds like Star Wars. The game truly immerses you in the universe. There are not that many performance complaints either. The frame rate can occasionally stutter, but there are no other noticeable technical issues with the performance. However, prepare to see some slowdown during the busiest moments of the action.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order should give hope to players that the franchise still has life in it. It will also be a relief to EA and Disney. The game shows that the publisher is capable of making good use of the sought-after license. Despite the fact that it borrows concepts from a variety of popular titles, Fallen Order mashes them together successfully. Longtime fans will even find a collection of Easter eggs and hidden references. The end result is an engaging and enjoyable game that has everything you’d want from a Star Wars title.