Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order plays very much into Star Wars universe cannon, taking place after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and of course, prior to the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.  In Fallen Order, you play as Jedi trainee, Cal Kestis, thought to be of the last remaining Jedi.  Yet, the Galactic Empire is still on the purge to ensure that no Jedi remain, so that they can rule over the galaxy without the threat of the Jedi Order.  Cal remained hidden working as a scrapper in a junkyard on the planet Bracca.  However, an incident arose where Cal was forced to use his powers to save his loyal friend Prauf.  This sudden act of heroism alerts the Empire to Bracca and Cal is forced to flee once more, only this time with two relentless and ruthless Inquisitors known as the Second and Ninth Sister hot on his heels, hell-bent on making Cal and the Jedi Order are extinct once and for all.

Upon his escape, Cal is rescued by Cere Junda and Greez Dritus and they make their getaway from the Empire on their ship, the Stinger Mantis.  Believed to be a safe place (at least for now), Cere takes Cal to the planet Bogano and it is here that not only does Cal befriend the small droid BD-1, but the droid reveals a hidden message from its Jedi Master, Eno Cordova.  Cal learns of secrets that could rebuild the Jedi Order, however, with the Inquisitors on the hunt, it could only be a matter of time until they also learn of this hidden message, which could spell doom for Cal, any hope of the Jedi Order and all those that oppose against them.

Now let’s get on to how Fallen Order plays, which in truth, it caught me off-guard to begin with.  Being used to the difficulty of some other Star Wars games and other franchise that this seems to be inspired by, I did not expect this game to be as tough as it would be, at least until you get over the initial surprise.  Even on the normal difficulty, this is more of a challenge then some other games in its genre, when playing on a normal difficulty.  So if you go in hacking and slashing your heart out, it won’t be long until you’ve met your untimely demise.  As a result, you need to approach each enemy and threat with a different tactic.  Some may allow you to slash away, but others may require more timely and precise attacks.  Depending on the foe, akin to FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you and your enemies will have a stamina bar that will deplete as you attack and block attacks, thus opening up an opportunity for a killer blow, for both you and your enemy.

Coming from someone that avoids most trailers for games that I’m looking forward too, this level of tactical approach surprised me, but it is also something that I welcome, because once you’ve figured out a pattern of attack and you stand victorious following your duel, such hurdles make you feel like a true Jedi, especially when you deflect Stormtrooper gunfire with ease and you see them dropping like flies, it makes you feel like a total badass.  Now of course being a Jedi, you will have an arsenal of Force powers with the combination of Push, Pull and Slow against your enemies.  You’ll also use your Force powers to access certain areas and progress through some fun puzzle segments.  Also, as you slay enemies, access certain key areas and find treasures, you will earn XP, which can be spent on your skill-tree to unlock new moves as you progress.  You can also level-up your BD-1 droid, as well as customising your Lightsaber to your heart’s content.

Taking further inspiration from the likes of Demon Souls and Dark Souls, if you die during a battle, you will lose any XP that you may have accumulated, however, after you’ve respawned, you will have the opportunity to pick them back up from the location of your death or by killing the enemy that took you down.  You can secure you XP by reaching a Meditation zone, similar to that of the Bonfire from the likes of FromSoftware titles.  At these Meditation zones, you can spend your XP on your skill-tree, as well as resting up and topping up your health.  However, if you do top-up your health, all the enemies that you’ve killed will respawn.  So if you’ve only lost a sliver of health, it might be worth soldiering on.  The Meditation zones will also act as respawn points upon death (unless you choose the respawn on the spot option earlier in the game), which given the difficulty of the game, can grow a little frustrating if you have a tendency to die a lot during a certain section and you’re thrown back a considerable margin.  You can change the difficulty at any point during the game, to and from, so you do at least have that option should you need it.

In terms of visuals, some of the animations may be a little rough around the edges and Cal might not at times move as fluid as you might expect, but this is a small discrepancy on what is a very good looking game.  The facial animation on each character looks fantastic (even though I struggle to get over the fact that I’m playing as Jeremiah from the Gotham TV series) and that aspect also plays into the fact that Fallen Order has a fantastic cast of actors with some even reprising roles from Star Wars movies.  Almost everything about Fallen Order feels like an authentic Star Wars story, not only with the interesting characters brought to life by their representative actors, but also its vibrant and detailed worlds, which includes the Wookie planet of Kashyyyk, one of six planets that you’ll visit in the game, some of which we haven’t explored before in a Star Wars videogame.  Also, Fallen Order may be considered from the outside to be a “linear” game, but each planet offers plenty of exploration in its Metroidvania-esque layout, with secrets and back-tracking galore.  Then we have the awesome soundtrack, which is something that just about all Star Wars fans will love.

 

If I was going to take one disappointment away from Fallen Order, it’s the fact that it doesn’t feature a New Game Plus, which always feels lacking for a game that has level-up mechanics.  However, upon completion of the campaign, you are offered to venture back into the adventure, to uncover secrets that you may have missed.  If I was going to be optimistic, we’ve seen a New Game Plus added to games such as God of War (2018) post-launch, so with a bit of luck, developers at Respawn Entertainment might add a New Game Plus via an update in the near future, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.  All in all, even though I had some high hopes that I would enjoy Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, I was still taken by surprise to how good this game is.  For a publisher such as Electronic Arts, that in recent times has tried to shy away from linear, singleplayer stories, this is evidence to EA that there is still a huge demand for such games, especially considering the fact that Fallen Order has been doing very well in sales since its launch.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes a piece of inspiration from the likes of Demon/Dark Souls, Tomb Raider and Uncharted, and moulds it into a great Star Wars experience that will have you pushing for just one more hour as you find yourself immersed in its enticing worlds and its cinematic story that will grip you from start to finish.  However, I can’t help but think that if this game had just two or three more months to cook in the oven, this could be one of the best games of this generation.  That said, despite some of its flaws, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has installed itself as one of my all-time games in this beloved franchise and it offers one of the best singleplayer campaigns that you’ll play this year.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake