It’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan, over the past few years we have been given a lot of content; the new trilogy, the spin-off films, the books, the tv shows and now a brand new narrative-driven game, Jedi: Fallen Order. I would be lying if I didn’t say that part of me was bouncing off the walls in excitement about this game, but the other half was tentative, ready to be let down, this is maybe why I have such mixed feelings towards the game.
Jedi: Fallen Order falls a few years after the Jedi were exterminated by Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66, in between the prequel trilogy and A New Hope. The game follows Cal, a Jedi on the run from the now established Empire, living his life as a scrap worker on the planet Bracca. After an unfortunate incident with an Inquisitor (Jedi hunters), he is outed and forced to flee, beginning a mission that could possibly save the Jedi Order.
From the get-go, I found myself drawing comparisons with Uncharted, Sekiro and many Metroidvania style games, it has taken a lot of what has made so many games successful over the past few years and bundled it together. Sometimes it works, and at others, it doesn’t.
A good Metroidvania shoves the things you can’t do yet in your face, the excitement builds during the game as you can finally unlock that door, jump to that out of reach platform, etc. Hollow Knight is a prime example of this, gaining certain objects completely changes the game, making it seem like an entirely new world.
Fallen Order’s attempt at this feels rather lacklustre, there is only one upgrade that I really felt changed things, the others were useful, yes, but only as the game progressed, there wasn’t much incentive for me to go back to other places to unlock things I may have not discovered on my own. However, when the narrative forced you back to those places I could kind of see the benefit, but the lack of drive to explore was what made the discovery of these new skills not as thrilling as they could have been.
The combat is a lot of fun, I actually took advantage of the force powers more than anything else. When you get into the swing of it the combination of the lightsaber and force powers looks incredible and is a lot of fun. I will say where a game like Spider-Man made you (excuse the over-used phrase) ‘feel like Spider-Man’ this game isn’t quite successful in making you feel like a Jedi, because whilst the combat is fun there are plenty of times where I felt so clumsy I might have well as been playing as Jar Jar Binks…
I get that the game aimed to show the player how awesome it is to play in the world of Star Wars and, in places, it really did – but there were so many annoying segments of gameplay that I honestly would have preferred to be button pressing quick time events (and I hate quick time events). Instead, there were too many falling and sliding scenes where you had to position your self perfectly with the hard to correct motion controls, leading to a lot of falling, which made these potentially really cool cinematic moments of gameplay seem tedious.
Things like this made the game feel so unpolished and when you add this to the constant lag, glitches and may I say super dodgy graphics on all of the characters, it ended up being so frustrating, mainly because the game has so much potential.
However, I will say that environments are stunning, so stunning in fact that when you see some of the characters against them, they highlight just how bad the characters look (especially the Wookies). There was obviously a lot of care and attention into making everything around you look epic, which I did appreciate, I loved being able to traverse around worlds familiar and others that weren’t so familiar, but the very thought of running around in the Star Wars universe makes me happy.
I thought aside from the terribly dodgy character graphics and animation, there were a couple of great characters, most notably my new favourite droid BD-1 who I felt the most connection with out of all of the characters in the game. I will say there was one character who was introduced fully later on in the game and I am so gutted she wasn’t used more. The villain, the Second Sister was incredible and had such an incredible back story, I loved everything about her, she was one of the characters I thought looked the best and was written the best out of them all.
Herein lies the game’s biggest strength, and its biggest draw, the story. The narrative of the game was very interesting and engaging and is what saved this game from being a complete disaster in my eyes. Learning more about the time between the main films is so exciting for me and I love being introduced to a new crew, some new villains, but also some familiar faces, it is so rewarding.
Although there is a lot of good things to be said about Jedi: Fallen Order, there is a lot that could have been improved on and I can’t help but think that if they had just left it for a few more months or even a year this could have been one of the best Star Wars games we have seen. However, even the stunning environments, fun lightsaber action and incredible narrative couldn’t mask the jarring character graphics, glitches and heavy-handed cinematic moments of gameplay.
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Director: Stig Asmussen
Artists: Ken Feldman, Chris Sutton
Writers: Aaron Contreras, Manny Hagopian, Matt Michnovetz, Megan Fausti