Fresh gameplay makes this the most Jedi one could be (in recent years)
Nestled in the safety of Disney's canon, so it's relevant
A very dynamic experience that balances well with gameplay
The heavy use of adventure tropes might be a turn off
There's nothing new per se with the story... but that's kinda the point
Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order is a return to incredible form for both Star Wars fans and EA. And not just a return to form, it straight up exceeds expectations.
It’s been an interesting journey for Star Wars fans the last few years. From having a sequel of one of our most beloved RPGs launched as an MMORPG, to having the entirety of LucasFilm purchased by Disney, we were also not only introduced to a new saga’s worth of characters but also had the previous Expanded Universe essentially wiped.
It’s been a hell of an emotional ride to say the least.
Jedi: Fallen Order returns the player to the shoes of the Jedi, but offers a unique experience. While the Jedi Knight and Knights of the Old Republic series have extensively offered in depth looks of what it means to be a Jedi (or a Dark Jedi), the landscape of the Star Wars mythos has very much changed since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith—largely thanks to the infamous Order 66.
A planted sleeper program in the minds of the Clone Troopers, Order 66 was essentially the kill order for the clones to turn on their Jedi allies in the middle of the Clone Wars, gunning them down when they least expected it.
While some Jedi survived–mostly those seen in post-Episode III content—the numbers of the Order was greatly reduced. And what few survived were often essentially Jedi orphans–padawans not yet prepared for knighthood.
Cal Kestis, the lead character of Jedi: Fallen Order, is one such Jedi orphan.
Right from the get go, the influence of the Jedi Knight games is evident. Not just in name, but the play style and interaction is similar to the iconic series. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Kyle Katarn popped up from behind some crate. Fallen Order however, is an obvious improvement on graphics and fluidity, further exploring the full range of how a Jedi could move and fight.
To best express this, the game borrows heavily from adventure games such as Tomb Raider and Uncharted, with their cliff diving and athletic stunts maximised to stress exactly how physically demanding it is to be a Jedi. In many ways, Fallen Order is essentially Assassin’s Creed for Star Wars fans… but with much better movies.
Unfortunately, the insistence of these adventure-styled sequences can get tiresome for players who’re here more for the story and the lightsaber action. Thankfully, the much more simplified “story mode” makes it as manageable as possible. I assume “hard mode” would require you to actually run across walls… like physically.
Where the game does excel at is slowly growing your range of Force abilities while imbuing what you’ve learnt into your combat and movement. Most of your development is split over the three basic branches of Force abilities, lightsaber skills, and survival. These aspects often mesh to provide a neat balance of improved swordsmanship and athleticism.
There is much that is reminiscent of the Force Unleashed games in terms of combat and eventual powers. But Fallen Order maintains a stronger sense of in-story continuity given its setting.
Fallen Order also banks on today’s seeming necessity to feature characters that basically look like their voice-acting counterpart. Cameron Monaghan’s soft-spoken but assertive take on the protagonist is a familiar but still interesting one.
This also makes him the second Joker to be a Jedi… and people say that the Jedi Order wasn’t known for their humour.
Derba Wilson and Daniel Rosebuck round off the primary cast with Elizabeth Grullon and Misty Lee joining the foray as the Second and Ninth Sisters of the Inquisitors. Most awesomely is Star Wars legend Ben Burtt (literally the dude who made everything in the movies sound so awesome!) contributing the sound for mandatory droid companion BD-1.
Forest Whitaker reprises his role from Rebels and Rogue One as Saw Gerrera, further cementing Disney’s aim to keep every bit of Star Wars media packed as consistently as possible. Imperial voice icon Dee Bradley Baker also reprises his role as a Clone Trooper. Reportedly, the bulk of EA’s budget was spent on cloning Baker to voice all the other Clone Troopers.
Interestingly, the voice of Vader returns to Scott Lawrence, who last voiced the character in Star Wars: Empire at War in 2006.
While I would say that the game has no outright failing, the story is incredibly predictable, often leading to certain revelations or “twists” to feel clichéd. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Star Wars has long nurtured a sense of familiarity in story-telling. Also, the Star Wars audience aren’t the best examples of how to deal with change.
Ultimately, while Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t the best that the universe has to offer, it’s definitely one of the top few and is certainly a return to form!
Mixing the best of what has come before, from Jedi Knight to Force Unleashed, Fallen Order is a promising beginning to a new era of Star Wars games.