If you had told me that one of my favourite games of 2019 would be a Star Wars game I would have laughed in your face, especially one distributed by EA Games. I would have laughed so hard, pronounced your ridiculous and then kept playing Stardew Valley on my Switch. Here we are November 2019 and I have spent 3 days completely devouring Jedi Fallen Order, this action adventure truly shows just why a story based Star Wars story is needed and with the amount of attention and care given from Respawn studios, Jedi Fallen Order is one of the best Star Wars games I have ever played.
You play as Cal (Cameron Monaghan) a Jedi who has been cast out now and has turned into a scrapper on the edge of the galaxy. He has completely cut himself off from the Force and the Empire. As luck would have it he is pulled back into the Rebels unexpectedly armed with the task of regrouping some children blessed with the Force and re-establish the Jedi Order for the next generation. Along for the ride is lead rebel Cere (Debra Wilson) and the captain of their ship, the very hairy Greez (Daniel Roebuck) who help Cal travel to different planets to recuit the army and fight stormtroopers and an array of local wildlife that apparently only goes for you. If that wasn’t enough the game seems to have designed the most adorable droid with BD-1 your constant companion throughout your journey.
The gameplay is set very firmly in that action/adventure area with plenty of Uncharted influences with a splash of God Of War. It is the kind of game that you swear should be a PS4 exclusive. The fighting aspect is a mix of lightsabre weilding and force grips. The more you play, the more force powers and lightsabers moves you unlock which really open up the combat to be something special, you just need to get through the first few hours with the same moves. There is a great deflective move that sends lasers from Stormtroopers back to them and if you can time it right you can do some pretty impressive back flipping, jumping and side blocks that look impressive. If combat isn’t your thing, there is a planet that should be re-named to Breath Of The Tomb Raider, it’s a massive planet with tombs and shrines that are begging to be explored. There is a ton of secrets and lore hidden inside them. It’s not easy though, there are several physics based puzzles that are not easy or even offer hints as what you are meant to do which could seem frustrating, but it you enjoy a good challenge, this is the ideal planet for you. If you are a collector there are parts to collect to change the look of your lightsaber (note that you don’t upgrade it to enhance it, it is just purely looks) you can also change the look of BD-1 as well as Cal’s shawl (I’m not joking!). BD-1 also has storage for health packs that is handy to keep around when some of the extremely punishing enemies attack you unprovoked.
Graphics wise this game is absolutely gorgeous. It is very dark for a majority of the game so be sure to play around with the brightness settings to get the optimum look. I did move these around in different parts of the game, again it would depend on your TV and the setup you have. There are several parts in cave when I missed some important items to progress further. Every planet has a distinct look and feel with plenty of areas to explore, wildlife to kill and treasures to uncover. BD-1 in particular has had a lot of detail and attention given, the little bot stays perched on your shoulder and the cut scenes rival that of the recent films. Throughtout the game there are several “save” spots that are meditation circles. You can save the game and meditate which refreshes your health and stamina, on the other hand when you come out of it, all of the enemies re-spawn so choose when you do this very carefully.
The story is solid, and there are elements of the characters that definitely take a while to get going. Cal in particular takes a while to warm up to, he initially is quiet and a little well cold. Once the game gets going and he interacts with Cere and Greez in between planets. Their brief interactions reminiscing about the past while contemplating the future of the Jedi is genuinely interesting and is a great offset for the lonliness that echoes around each planet. That being said there is a button to check on BD-1 and quite often Cal will throw out a few throwaway lines to himself.
The game manages to blend all of the best parts of Star Wars together resulting in one of the best games this year. The game clearly borrows from franchises like Tomb Raider and Uncharted in the best way, and the hacking and slashing of creatures reminiscent of the recent God Of War remake. Where the game stands out is its respect for the Star Wars canon, it is not trying to be something completely new or different, it acknowledges its place in time and holds up to the lore while expanding upon it in new places in the galaxy. If you are a fan of Star Wars you will love the attention to detail and the clear and obvious passion that Respawn have for the property. If like me you are take it or leave it with Star Wars, this game stands out as a brand new start for single player Star Wars stories in the best way.
Star Wars Jedi : Fallen Order is now available on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.