Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
It has been a great week to be a Star Wars fan!
Resistance is still rolling with its second season, The Mandalorian started and aired two fun episodes of television and just yesterday saw the release of the new video game Jedi: Fallen Order.
A lot of talk and criticism has been dumped on EA since the acquired exclusive rights to the Star Wars licence falling the closure of LucasArts as a part of the Disney purchase. I think it, as usual, was blown out of proportion but the two Battlefront games have left much to be desired and the void of a stickler narrative driven, single player campaign video game has been very apparent.
The development team at Respawn, a studio under the EA umbrella responsible for games such as Titanfall and Apex Legends have been plugging away for the past few years though on what has now finally been released.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows a long lineage of games in that universe with mouthfuls as titles so from here on out I’m just going to refer to it as Fallen Order.
At least it’s not as ridiculous a title as Star Wars Dark Forces 3 Jedi Knight 2 Jedi Outcast. I’m not making that up! Someone at LucasArts must have been getting paid by the letter for titling games.
Fallen Order follows a young man hiding out as a shipbreaker during the ‘dark times,’ the period of time between episodes 3 and 4 when the Empire is at its strongest and the Jedi order has been wiped out. Some remnants still remain though and we learn through the tutorial level that the play character is such a being. He was a Jedi Palawan at the time of Order 66 and survived the purge by going into hiding and cutting himself off from the force mostly.
That’s a very convenient mechanic for a video game and means we spend most of our time reacquiring these latent force abilities as well as finding upgrades for our faithful droid companion BD-1.
Gameplay wise it is strikingly similar to other third person action adventure games like the modern Tomb Raider series or Uncharted. That is a positive for me as those are some of the games I’ve enjoyed playing the most in the past few years.
Traversal and movement has always been a strong suit of Respawn games and this is no different, everything is fast, fluid and intuitive. Once you start unlocking your potential as a Jedi you’ll soon find yourself scaling a cliff, wall running along the side of a broken down walker leaping into the air and using the force to pull a hanging cable to use as a swing before landing on an icy glacier and sliding down and again using the force to hold the turbines in place that would otherwise cut right through you. Sound exciting? It is!
Then we get to combat which is all melee based, as a former Jedi apprentice your lightsaber is as much a part of your identity as the clothes on your back, all of which are customisable because video games.
It takes a bit to master it, as it should, but once you know how to block, parry, dodge and strike the challenge becomes more about how to deal with each different type of enemy as they all act differently.
The one criticism I have so far is the complete lack of any stealth mechanics, but I guess the logic is that you can’t really be too sneaky when your only weapon is a bloody great big glow stick that cuts everything in half!
I’ve sunk a bunch of hours into the game so far today and I’m enjoying it immensely. The story is pretty much what you’d guess it to be but the presence of the Lucasfilm Story Group who oversee all of the canon can be felt throughout as there are references and characters from books, comics, other video games, animated shows and all sorts of other material ancillary to the movies. This is a present change of pace from old Star Wars games where the antagonist was almost always a poor mans version of Luke Skywalker or Han Solo and the plot would feel forced to include visits to the planets seen in the movies with very little true expanding of the universe.
So far I’m loving playing Tomb Raider in Star Wars and I look forward to going back through again grabbing all the collectibles I’ve missed once I’ve finished the story.