Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows the story of Cal Kestis, a rogue Jedi who (unsuccessfully) tries to keep that secret under wraps after the falling out of the Clone Wars. His goal is to try to restore the Jedi Order (as many were slain during the events of the Clone Wars) and take down any and all resistance in his path to doing so. As luck may have it, he’s got a muddied past full of regret and ‘what if’s’, so naturally, he’s the perfect protagonist for a Star Wars game. The game he’s in, however, also has a troublesome story to witness, but do the glitches outweigh the end result and ultimately awaken the force within?
Our story begins in an active shipyard where engineers are repairing ships for the New Order. Cal has worked here and maintained his undercover Jedi status for years, but as luck would have it, a group of Empire aligned, including an inquisitor known as the ‘Second Sister’, is looking to root out a hidden force-sensitive within those working in the yards. Once Cal is discovered, a fight against the Second Sister teaches you how you block, dodge and attack. As Cal is in a weakened state, you are set up to fail, but thankfully are rescued at the last moment by a former Jedi knight named Cere and Greez, the pilot of the rescuing ship, the Stinger Mantis. You take off from there to explore various planets at your leisure and dive deeper into the story of Cal and the crew.
Throughout the rest of your adventure, you will be moving through planets on foot, with a bevy of force powers to discover and new tricks for your lightsaber. Different areas within the worlds will be inaccessible, due to lacking a particular force power. This serves to supply you with a more Metroidvania means of exploration, often having you backtrack within the world you are on, or perhaps travel to another planet to snag previously unreachable power-ups or goodies. The best-hidden upgrades also happen to be the most important, and they are upgrades for your robotic companion, BD-1.
BD-1 is able to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to traversal, as he can become a motorized zip-line for Cal to travel both up and down horizontal cables. He also can hack panels, controls and even other robots, eventually. Most importantly, however, is his ability to throw you a stim capsule, which can heal you during fights. You can upgrade the amount that is healed through your upgrade menu, but those aforementioned difficult-to-find upgrades are physical boxes hidden off the beaten path, and they increase the total amount of stim capsules. For a game as challenging as Jedi Order, they are certainly worth seeking out.
Mastery of your lightsaber and force powers is essential to survive in any one of the enemy encounters in the game. Enemies are generally merciless, requiring constant dodging, deflecting back projectiles such as blaster fire and countering heavy attacks. Any falter in your timing and you’ll quickly be dealt with. You will revive at meditation spots, which serve as your hub to upgrade after leveling up, but if you choose to heal, you reset all enemies in the area. The push to play without taking much damage in order to not have to recover makes each area that much dangerous. Thankfully, the game has multiple difficulty levels so any player can enjoy the amazing story all the way to the credits.
The graphics in Fallen Order are gorgeous, full stop. Environments simply awe, such as the lush forests in Kashyyyk, which bring to life the greenscape of a multi-tiered canopy of growth that personifies the great Origin Tree where the Wookies find pilgrimage. Every single environment is vividly brushed with an amount of detail to make it feel believable. Landing on and taking off from each planet is also just as much of a memorable, stirring experience every time it happens, showcasing a science-fiction dream in motion. If there’s one thing that Fallen Order does exceptionally well, it’s telling a striking story, both visually and through the use of interesting and engaging dialogue from the entire cast, both in and out of the Hollywood-quality cutscenes. There are, however, some ghosts in the machine we must address.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a fun and engaging game, but only when it works as intended. There are many, many glaringly obvious glitches that you absolutely will see and experience while playing this game. Most of them are visual, offering more of a gaffe than anything, such as T-posing enemies and awkward animations that Cal does when transitioning from one movement state to another. It seems that EA learned little after Mass Effect: Andromeda’s assortment of trainwreck animations caused by their procedural animation system, and while Fallen Order has nowhere as many of these distracting glitches, they are annoying when experienced and take you out of the zone from what is otherwise an amazing game.
Additionally, for some reason or another, there are tons of hanging cables and vines everywhere in this game. Why that is a problem is that, gameplay-wise, the ability to use them rarely works. I am given severe Assassin’s Creed vibes every time I go to jump from one and end up somewhere unintended, or even miss the rope entirely. It’s a fun traversal feature in theory, but the execution is sloppy and it quickly becomes an annoying feature that is met with a begrudging groan every time it’s seen shortly after the first bad experience.
These things are but a small blemish on an otherwise excellently crafted Star Wars game. It shows absolutely that the game was rushed out for the holidays, but that’s sort of EA’s modus operandi these days, so anyone buying this game should know what they are getting themselves into before cracking the seal on the packaging.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a great game with an amazing story that really pushes the canon of the series and brings some new, lovable characters in the fold. Playing through the game as an increasingly powerful Jedi gives you this power-trip experience where, when you have the controls and timing down, you feel godlike and unstoppable. The beauty of the game in motion is a sight to behold, and is sure to appeal to anyone who ever enjoyed the franchise. EA, we want more single-player experiences like Fallen Order, but please take the time to check under the hood for bugs and take whatever time you need to bring the game to the expected quality of the property. The original Star Wars fans and future generations deserve that respect, at the very least.
||Easily the best looking Star Wars game ever|
||Force powers are fun and easy to use|
||Soundtrack contains an epic, film-worthy score|
||Animation glitches arise, definitely could have been fixed|
||I need a BD-1 plush, right now|