Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order: Worth It?
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Release Date: Out Now
A fully single-player action-adventure Star Wars game. We’ve all been waiting a long while for something like this. But has it filled the lightsaber-wielding hole that Force Unleashed left us with way back in 2010? Developed by Respawn and published by EA, this AAA title certainly has the potential to do so. Fallen Order throws us into the shoes of surviving Padawan Cal Kestis who has taken disguise on the junkyard planet of Bracca, 5 years after Order 66 in Episode III. Soon enough, Cal’s disguise is broken and we become hunted by the ruthless Inquisitors, sworn to purge the galaxy of remaining Jedi once and for all. With the dark side on our tale, we follow the cryptic messages of Jedi Master Eno Cordova in hope to rebuild the fallen order. Before buckling up and hopping into that galaxy far far away, here’s everything you need to know about EA’s latest Star Wars title.
The Story (Spoiler Free)
As with most Star Wars games, Fallen Order is cannon, meaning the events of this story fit into the official Star Wars universe. Yes, this is mainly a good thing but there is a danger to tell a story which doesn’t break away from the main plot enough to really mean anything. There’s nothing worse than reaching the end credits and saying to yourself, “well what was the point in that?”. All in all, Fallen Order is a great tale of broken characters finding a new family and purpose but it does very little to cause a ripple in the grand Star Wars plot. Luckily, this is the only bone I can pick with the story and this campaign ticks a lot of satisfying boxes.
From the start of Cal’s journey all the way to the end, Respawn does a great job at making us feel like we’re not just watching Cal grow, but we’re with him too. The moving journey from Padawan to Jedi Knight is absolutely nailed.
Our main character isn’t alone on his journey. To name a few others, we encounter former Jedi, Cere, and pilot, Greez. After watching the trailer and briefly seeing the four-armed pilot, I was worried he’d be that annoying ‘funny guy’ who is just a distraction from a serious plot. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, he soon became my favourite character as his humour wasn’t forced and genuinely made me smirk on many occasions.
I can’t go through every character but, in short, Fallen Order is crammed full of interesting people (and aliens) with great development. To be honest, it came as quite the surprise for an action-adventure game. The plot is a good size and nothing feels unfinished or rushed.
The combat system is a Star Wars take on the iconic FromSoftware style, having many similarities to Sekiro, like the idea of breaking an enemy’s guard through parrying and attacking before eating away at their health bar. Thankfully, the difficulty setting means it’s not painfully hard if you don’t want it to be. You can have a balanced challenge or, if you’re a FromSoftware fan, you can ramp up the difficulty for a real accomplishment. If you’re like me, who by no means has mastered Dark Souls or Sekiro, the Jedi Knight (or normal) difficulty is perfect as it certainly doesn’t hold your hand and really helps you grow with the combat. Again, like Sekiro, you lose your experience towards your next skill point if you get killed. However, it’s nothing to rage over. Getting it back is as simple as hitting the enemy who killed you last.
Cal’s development isn’t just story related. Fallen Order does an amazing job of making you feel powerful by the end of the game. This is all down to your skills at learning each enemy’s moveset and the force abilities you carefully choose with your skill points.
Before I played the game, my friend said to me ‘it feels like you’re in a Jedi’s shoes’ and the more I played, the more I understood what he meant. There is a perfect balance of satisfying combat whilst avoiding the issue of being the stupidly overpowered force master (I’m looking at you, Force Unleashed!).
If I was to make one complaint, it’s how learning new skills link to the story. Cal has forgotten most of his Jedi training since Order 66 (which is understandable after 5 years in hiding) but the way he miraculously remembers each skill when at a life-threatening situation is a bit of an eye-roll moment. Especially after this happens with every new ability.
This seems like an odd category for an adventure game but one of Fallen Order’s greatest features is its RPG qualities. Yes, they’re nowhere near to Obsidian’s 2003 Knights of the Old Republic but they’re not supposed to be. The game’s feet are firmly planted in the adventure genre so there aren’t any player choices that affect the overall outcome but there are many instances which make us feel like we’re in control. For example, the option to have a chat with characters to see how they develop. The best part about this is that it’s not forced. You can go out of your way to talk to the crew without having to. Or you can revisit old worlds to find new lore but you aren’t told to.
The codex is dense and offers new insight for Star Wars lore veterans. Like before, it’s not thrown in our faces but it’s there to give us the option to make the game as deep as we want. I’m one of those veterans I mentioned earlier so I really enjoy this stuff but my friends just find it takes them away from the experience so they can skip it out entirely. The game is by no means SWTOR so it isn’t massive but the revisiting of planets makes it feel substantial. Worlds feel like worlds – you go back to them just enough to make them appear alive and changing – and not just glorified levels (an issue Force Unleashed had). As far as planets go, there was a great variety, a couple of new ones to expand Star Wars’ huge universe and enough old ones to get lore nerds like me excited.
Exploration & Customisation
Similar to games like Ratchet & Clank or Tomb Raider, each planet is a semi-open world with scattered unlockables and loot. Many paths overlap with shortcuts becoming available during our progression to allow faster travelling between them. There’s no fast travel within planets and no arrow telling us the route back to the ship. On some occasions, this really took me out of the story. I spent a whole hour trying to find my way back to the ship on a larger planet.
The loot is you gain is strictly cosmetic or lore related, offering immense customisation for Cal’s lightsaber (easily the weapon tuning on any Star Wars game yet). But what the game gives in lightsaber collectables, it lacks in other customisation, offering a few different outfit colours and an extensive range of ponchos – yes, ponchos. I really wish it took some outfit inspiration from Force Unleashed here. Also, not all of us care how Cal looks so it would have been pleasing to see something other than cosmetic customisation. Yet there are no microtransactions or loot boxes at all. EA, you’re finally learning.
Fallen Order came at a perfect time. A strictly single-player game with interesting characters and highly addictive combat is exactly what EA needed to restore at least some of our faith in them. This game is an excellent addition to the Star Wars universe and I only hope that its success brings many more of its kind to the modern gaming world. I highly recommend. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan. 9/10.