Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is developer Respawn Entertainments attempt at combining the ideas of many beloved games. Did they bring balance to the force or fall into the Sarlacc pit to be digested for 1000 years? Engage the hyperdrive and let’s find out.
Star Wars has impacted pop-culture like anything else. Since the release of the first movie in 1977, the franchise has brought us many hours of entertainment. To a, sometimes, varying degree of quality. Unlike Respawns earlier titles, Jedi: Fallen Order is a singleplayer story-driven action-adventure. You take control of the fate of Cal Kestis. A padawan who survived the purge of Order 66. At first, Cal has somewhat lost his connection to the force, due to the fear of being found by the empire. The further you journey along to the various planets the more abilities you unlock. This, in turn, unlocks paths, that were locked, when visiting each location for the first time.
It is the weapon of a Jedi
As you probably expect, the only physical weapon Cal wields is his trusty lightsaber. By gaining experience points and exploring each planet, you can unlock new abilities to better deal with anything the galaxy far, far away throws at you. In addition, you will find different parts to customise not just your lightsaber, but BD-1, the Mantis and Cal.
To younger readers, the combat is very much inspired by the Souls series. You lock into an enemy strafe and use your lightsaber and the force to win. The set-pieces, most of which have been shown in the trailers, are a sight to behold. From dismantling star destroyers to climbing up an AT-AT, every planet has its unique look and feel.
John Williams & Ben Burt are Jedi Masters
The score also ads that special John Williams feeling. Where we see places we have never seen before, by being grounded by the music to make them feel as if we have. the sound designers also did a great job capturing the Star Wars feeling.
Jedi: Fallen Order is clearly inspired by franchises like the souls and uncharted games. Sadly Respawn Entertainment never seems to be able to fully grasp what made these games what they are. The fighting mechanics sadly are more akin to Ocarina of Time on the N64, than any of the games by FromSoftware. The situation is similar when it comes to the way the universe is presented.
The onliners of the Stormtroopers are not even b-movie quality and repeat too often. Next to Cal I only was able to really bond with BD-1 and a character that joins the crew right before the end. During my playthrough, on a standard PS4, I encountered a countless and endless array of technical issues. From part of the level slowing to full freezes and massive frame drops. I encountered everything that can be described as a Wookies worst nightmare. For some reason, the levels seem to have an issue when you run.
They travel in single file
It got so bad, that on Dathomir enemies would spawn late, by sliding into place past me. Like figurines on a chessboard. At first, the enemies seem to require individual strategies. The further I progressed, I realised that button mashing works fine on all of them. The boss battles are mostly forgettable and had little deviation from how you approach standard enemies.
Me no wanna slide-o
The levels, although hiding many secrets, have so many video game issues that they are hard to summarise. Respawn seems to have not been able to solve how to connect parts of levels, so there are multiple slides on EVERY planet. There are many more elegant ways to connect levels. I love exploring, especially the galaxy far, far away, but none of the chests you find contain anything of value. All you can find are cosmetic items. The placement of the chests also rarely makes sense. The same goes for many aspects of the structures within a level. They all feel like they were placed to be a videogame, not show a part of a planet. The same goes for many enemies. In our world today the placement of an enemy needs to make sense and not be a clown car full of them behind a locked door.
The meh side of the force
Don’t get me wrong. I had loads of fun playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It is just so frustrating that you can see and feel the bad decisions by Respawn Entertainment downgrade an oh so promising game.
Overall I have to say to EA and Respawn Entertainment: “Much to learn, you still have”. Seeing that the sales numbers were great a new hope rises in me, that Respawn will learn from their Padawan-esque mistakes and make the potential sequel rise above this game.
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