Finally a Force to be reckoned with...
I can’t remember the last time my expectations of a Star Wars game were met so I approached the much hyped Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order with some trepidation.
SWJ:FO is an action-adventure entry into the franchise developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA.
To set the scene the game is set in the Star Wars universe, shortly after the film Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and follows a young Jedi padawan learner named Cal Kestis as he is being hunted through the galaxy by the Galactic Empire. You are very much learning on the job as Cal is trying to complete his Jedi training and restore the now wiped out Jedi Order. Throughout his journey, Cal visits both new worlds and ones from existing Star Wars lore, such as Kashyyyk and Dathomir, as well as making new friends and allies, including Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera and former Jedi Knight Cere Junda, who becomes his new mentor. As anyone who has seen footage of the game will testify it looks absolutely, jaw-droppingly, Star Wars fanboy-satisfyingly brilliant. But looks have never been an issue for EA’s Star Wars games. They have nearly always been a big let down when it comes to the key components with weak multiplayer and poor or complete lack of a single player campaign mode. The first thing to note is that this is an action-adventure game with a capital ACTION. They say the best form of defence is attack. And there is no stealth here, no cover tactics, just all out attack with your saber and Jedi skills. Your Force consists of three different abilities, namely push, pull and slow down (like the Matrix). Unfortunately there is not an option to play a Dark Side path which may disappoint some. STJ:FO instantly had me hooked and wanting to continue playing. I think that was largely due to the composition of the levels and the brilliant balance in difficulty. Games where the key protagonist has special powers are often riddled with issues. But here Respawn have found a very happy medium between the Jedi elements and the more real world combat and movement. You don’t feel like some ridiculously advantaged superhero fighting mere mortals, but it gives you just enough to make you feel a bit special while craving more. The maps are huge and as I have already touched on they look fantastic. The design and the fact this is not a sandbox game means there is no danger of getting lost, though, which will appeal and deter gamers depending on your personal preference. Combat is thrilling and forces you to think fast and use your full array of skills as the game progresses. Parrying can be hit or miss (pardon the pun) but overall they are solid fight mechanics. The skill tree and sense of achievement are perfectly in sync with one another and that is probably SWJ:FO’s crowning achievement. Checkpoints proved a bit of an irritation for me personally as at times they were placed too far away which makes for some unnecessary grind. But for once when it comes to a Star Wars video game, the good far outweighs the bad. And it’s not often we have been able to say that over the years.
The skill tree and sense of achievement are perfectly in sync with one another and that is probably SWJ:FO’s crowning achievement.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist