Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Website: STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor™
Genre(s): Action & Adventure
Platform: Xbox Series X|S (Also available on PlayStation and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 28/04/23
I fell in love with Cal Kestis and BD-1 almost immediately upon playing Jedi: Fallen Order, and ate up the new Star Wars content to add to the canon and ever growing universe. I loved the story of a young Jedi in hiding and discovering characters and events within that time line. As a game, the combat was challenging but satisfying and the exploration fun. Now, 4 years later, we have been given a sequel in Jedi: Survivor. With such a good original game, does the sequel live up to it?
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
We rejoin Cal at a different place in life; older, and with a new gang, not the Mantis crew. Working for Saw Gerrara, who can’t help but appear in every piece of recent Star Wars media, we have an exciting first mission on Coruscant. However, a problem with the Mantis brings Cal back to old friends, where he discovers what becomes the overarching plot of the story. Two High Republic Jedi built a temple in a hidden planet, almost impossible to get to through an abyss. It’s the perfect place for anyone hiding from the Empire… I feel like this is as much detail as I can give without spoiling anything! However, the story is full of jaw-dropping moments (seriously, I gasped out loud and had my hand over my mouth at one point), excitement (that Jedha sequence though?!), and tears. In short, it’s an emotional roller coaster.
As much as I loved the first game, the story is somehow a level up; it’s an untold tale to learn all about, another part of the Star Wars universe to discover, whilst also featuring aspects that we know and love. Which Star Wars fans wouldn’t find that exciting?! Unfortunately, a major plot point was spoiled for me, so I do recommend going into the game as unaware as possible to feel the full effects.
The parkour mechanics and lightsaber combat feel very similar to the first game; though it took some warming up to remember how to time your hits and parry, muscle memory kicked in. However, there are five stances for you to choose from, which all play differently. My favourite was the dual blade, allowing you to wipe out multiple enemies around you and throw it in a wide circle, though it is not as powerful or speedy as others. Find what you prefer, and you can equip two, switching between them as you play and then being able to change what’s equipped at meditation points.
At the meditation points, you can spend your skill points to upgrade these stances as well as your health and force powers. There are even perks to choose from. All these help you in the foes you encounter along your journey; droids (listening to the droids conversations was my absolute favourite), stormtroopers and Bedlam Raiders, and even local wildlife stand in your path. Then, there are the boss fights, each one having their unique attacks, which you’ll learn how to avoid and counter. The difficulty level was interesting; I played 3/4 of the game on the middle difficulty, and though I did have to concentrate on enemies, and it wasn’t easy, I was defeating bosses within a couple of attempts.
However, it hit a stage where I had to lower my difficulty down to the second easiest difficulty; I’m not sure if it was just me, but the bosses seemed to get harder, and I was facing waves of enemies without checkpoints more frequently. The ability to change difficulty whenever you want helps adapt the gameplay to how you want it to be; do you want the boasting rights of completing it on the hardest difficulty even though you may tear your hair out, or do you want to get through the story without the stress? I am very much the latter!
Galactic Gardening and More
Besides the main story, which took me under 20 hours to complete, there’s a wealth of things to do. Investigate rumours from the locals across the planets or take on bounties, and collect seeds to plant in your very own rooftop garden. There’s even an aquarium to fill with weird and wonderful aquatic life. This isn’t to mention the collectibles, such as customisation for your lightsaber, BD1, and Cal, currency to spend in the shops, where you can buy more customisation items (it has become a Cal and BD1 dress-up game for many, including myself!) and music for the saloon. You can also challenge yourself to get 100% map completion and scour every corner of the planets.
Like the first game, there are also puzzle rooms to find, very similar to the shrines you’d find in Zelda. I felt like they took a bit of a back seat in Jedi: Survivor; I think I recall doing more as part of the story in Fallen Order, but they are mainly side quests in Survivor. They can leave you scratching your head, and you are offered a hint if the game realises you’ve been stuck for a while, though it’s up to you if you take it! Though I do like a good puzzle, I’m not that great at them, preferring to get on with the riveting story; Jedi: Survivor balanced this well!
I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This…
The game did a great job of feeling like you were sucked right into the Star Wars universe with its incredible visuals; whether you were in the orange deserts of Jedha or in the neon-lit city of Coruscant, they felt like living, breathing places. Impressive landscapes surrounded you, filled with plantlife, wildlife or buildings, and NPCs were well designed and blended in. Whether they were aliens, humans, or droids, they felt a natural part of the planets, making it more immersive. A particular new favourite character sweeping the internet is Turgle, who you first meet at the saloon!
Unfortunately, as well-designed as it was, I did experience a few technical errors. Numerous times textures wouldn’t load in straight away, completely taking me out of the experience, in particular with cut scenes that were meant to be tense or emotional. I also had trouble using photo mode, where the space around Cal and creatures, for example, seemed to be fuzzy and flash, particularly with an action shot or around hair/fur. This was a massive shame as I love taking photos. A handful of crashes, too and my experience on the Series S wasn’t where I expected it to be.
I Am One with the Force
Jedi: Survivor boasts an incredible new story in the Star Wars universe in an immersive world, which will have you gasping, laughing, and shedding a tear. As a Star Wars fan, I couldn’t have asked for a better continuation of Cal’s story! The game offers a challenge while allowing you to change it to what suits you best, and there is so much to do. Unfortunately, the technical problems grabbed the immersion away from me. Crashes had me terrified it would happen when I completed a particularly difficult part with saving. It seems I’m not alone in this, too, though PC players have suffered the most. Though this does affect my rating, I still had an enjoyable experience. I look forward to a potential sequel in the future just to see the gang again!
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase Star Wars Jedi: Survivor from the Xbox store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.