Title: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 15/11/2019
Price: £59.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Being born on the fourth of May, I think it would be criminal to not be a Star Wars fan. Luckily, I am, and I’m pleased to say that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was no exception. Playing as Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan who is one of the last of his kind, you will visit stunning vistas, uncover secrets and take part in adrenaline-rushing lightsaber battles all to keep the Empire at bay.
At the end of the review, we discuss the future of the franchise and spoilers. The section is clearly marked so read away.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The game actually takes place after the events of Revenge of the Sith, where Cal has narrowly escaped from the execution of Order 66. This is where the Grand Army clone troopers were programmed into believing the Jedi were traitors, hence turning on them. You will constantly be reminded of this as the enemies scream “traitor!” at Cal throughout the game!
I love exploring the Star Wars universe outside of the main films as it gives a great idea of events mentioned there which haven’t been portrayed. I thought Rogue One was such an excellent film and to me Jedi: Fallen Order has that same vibe. We meet new characters, such as Cal (I’m excited to see a fellow ginger as a protagonist!) and the adorable BD-1, as well as former Jedi, Cere, and grumpy pilot, Greez. However, we also get to explore places we know and love like Kashyyk, and experience references to the iconic films.
As someone who loves the story element in games, I think Jedi: Fallen Order had a really strong story. I was eager to find out what happened next and the cinematic cut scenes made me feel like I was sat watching a Star Wars film at times. I was attached to the characters, more so Cal and BD-1 in particular. Cal is brave, loyal and determined, but he also understands when he makes mistakes. His relationship with BD-1 is heartwarming, the way they chat and have conversations reminding me of Hiccup and Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon!
The general point I’m trying to make is that there is a strong new story and characters for us to experience, but there’s also that nostalgic element which stays true to the heart of Star Wars. I loved spending time with new characters, creatures and places, but it always got me excited seeing or hearing something I recognised!
Nailing Lightsaber Combat…
The main issue in Star Wars games so far has been getting the lightsaber-wielding right. Usually, it feels just like any other sword-like weapon in a game. You can block, or you can button mash. There isn’t much skill to it. Even in games like Star Wars Battlefront or The Force Unleashed, it wasn’t quite there.
However, I really think Jedi: Fallen Order has near perfected how lightsaber combat in a game should be. Parrying at the right time is extremely important, and as you go through the game you unlock more and more combat moves. These can include overhead leaps and throwing your lightsaber. Hearing the clash of lightsabers with their classic sounds completely immersed me in the role of a Jedi.
As well as a variety of lightsaber combat moves, you also regain more of your force powers which can be used in combat too. Force push is a great way to fling enemies off great heights, while force pull can bring them to you. I loved the way you learned these skills at the same time as Cal does, so you feel more connected to him. Using all your skills, you then have to study your enemies, particularly the bosses, to work out how best to tackle them.
I feel like the combat overall is a reasonable difficulty; it isn’t just a one-button spam, but it also isn’t insanely hard. It requires skill, but the more you play, the easier it becomes. I enjoyed the trial and error of fighting bosses, instead of becoming frustrated. There are actually four settings of difficulty, and the higher you go the harder parry timing becomes, and the enemies’ need to attack increases too. For me, the second difficulty was enough. It challenged me, but I didn’t fly through it and I also didn’t think it was too much for me.
Another key element of the gameplay is exploration. Reminding me of the mechanics in the latest Tomb Raider games, climbing, flying down zip wires and leaping off walls are all part of how you get around the map. I think this adds more excitement to travelling around the map, particularly as there aren’t any fast travel options. Again like Tomb Raider, puzzles are another aspect of progressing and get your brain ticking. If you get stuck, you can always ask BD-1 for a hint!
…But Failing to Run Correctly
Now, the graphics of this game make for some really stunning environments. From the green treetops of Kashyyk to the dry orange of Dathomir, I love admiring the views. I also thought the motion capture made the characters seem real, and watching lightsaber battles was exhilarating. Final blow animations were particularly satisfying!
However, they could not be shown in all their glory because of the amount of performance issues I had. I’m playing on an original Xbox One, so I don’t expect it to be perfect and any game could have minor issues. But I seemed to be having every kind of issue known to man happening quite frequently; frame rate drops, poor rendering, people disappearing both in-game and in cut scenes, input lag, cut scenes freezing and enemies t-posing. It really took me out of the game, and they were too frequent to ignore or forgive.
I just don’t expect so many issues on a massive title. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2 have been perfectly fine on my Xbox, though I don’t expect games to run perfectly when I don’t have the latest technology. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the game, but it certainly affected my rating of it. It’s such a shame because this is the only criticism I have of the game, and it’s too large to ignore.
That Classic Film Score
Despite this, the game has many redeeming qualities like the ones I’ve already discussed, but the soundtrack and audio is another one. It’s surprising how an entirely new orchestral track could feel so like Star Wars, and hearing snippets of sounds that we already know is a lovely gesture. There’s not only a sense of wonder and excitement but nostalgia and comfort too.
Just as a film score is vital to a series, it’s important in games too. It’s what makes the game have the same atmosphere and feel as the film, as it’s what we associate with the Star Wars universe. The cry of a Wookie or the missiles of an AT-AT is familiar to us but in a whole new story. Keep an ear out for the tune BD-1 trills as he slices a droid, you may recognise it!
The Search for Ponchos
The story is great enough (and not too long) that you could easily play through it again on a higher difficulty. There are also many collectables that you will come across throughout the game, but you may have easily missed them too. There are chests hidden around the planets which either contain a poncho design, lightsaber designs, BD-1 skins and Mantis skins, which is the ship you fly on.
You can then customise each part of your lightsaber, including the colour, and dress Cal however you like. They don’t really add much to the game, but if you’re a completionist they’re worth hunting to gain achievements. And personally, I just like my lightsaber and outfit to look pretty!
You can also find lore scattered around too in the form of Sense Echoes, which triggers an audio clip of something that happened in the same place previously. You can look at this later too in the data section in the menu. You will also sometimes receive life or force essence, and collecting a couple of these will increase your overall health or force. As well as gaining achievements, this is an extra incentive to return to the game if you want to make Cal the best he can be.
Spoilers – Fallen Order and What’s Next?
So Fallen Order falls after Order 66, between Episodes 3 and 4, and now that it’s canon, I wanted to touch briefly on some of the major plot points and questions that now lie ahead. Warning Spoilers Ahead!
Firstly, they don’t break the Rule of Two. Some have wondered if this is true, but technically they are not Sith, so let’s not argue about that and move swiftly on.
How long has Vader been overseeing the “training” on Nur? And is that a moon of Mustafar?
Did the 9th sister survive that fall? She’s survived much worse from Vader; her inquisitor journey has been pretty painful.
But the biggest question and maybe plot hole is where are they in Episode 4?
It seems the Inquisitorius has vanished by the battle of Yavin and Vader is meant to be the only force wielder in the galaxy.
Does this mean we get to murder the rest of them in Fallen Order Part 2?
Who are the Zeffonians?
The newest addition to the Universe, who appear only in a vision on Zeffo, and numerous statues. What are they setting up here, are they the new Celestials/Architects?
Side note – talking of visions, doesn’t Cal’s seriously resemble the journey of Rey when she’s on Ahch-to (The Last Jedi) after touching the reflective cave wall?
The Zeffo that could wield the force or “Life Wind” were known as Sages. However, they changed from a peaceful culture to that of power and pride, how? What happened?
So many questions
Illum is Starkiller base, right?
Vader now knows about Cal and Cere. With this in mind, and with what follows in Episode 4, how and when do they die? That ending proves Cal is no match for Vader, currently.
One Nightsister lives and has magic. Does she get revenge?
Has Cere indeed rejected the Dark Side? She just witnessed her Padwan murdered.
Sister number 2 and possibly 9 are dead, where are the rest?
Will we be seeing the brother inquisitors soon?
Finally, if there are thousands of force-sensitive children out there, where are they? Was Luke and Leia’s location in the Holocron?
I’m sure we will get some answers in the future, but it’s opened a gap in the lore between episodes 3 and 4. It seems, for now, I’ll have to enjoy the mystery and wait patiently for Episode 9, Rise of Skywalker. End of Spoilers!
An Out of This World Adventure
I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Cal and BD-1 in Jedi: Fallen Order, exploring beautiful planets and discovering even more about the Star Wars universe. I’m extremely happy with how amazing lightsaber combat feels, and curious to see whether we’ll see more of this story. I’m finding myself feeling somewhat empty after finishing it, and wishing it wasn’t over, so I will definitely be returning for the collectibles! If only there hadn’t been so many performance issues, I would have rated this game even higher.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order from the Microsoft Store at the following link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/star-wars-jedi-fallen-order/c2csdtscbz0c#activetab=pivot:overviewtab