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|Video Games| Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review

My friends and family know my background with Star Wars. I was born in the mid-1980s, and one of my family’s first VHS sets was the Original Trilogy and that was my Holy Grail growing up. I knew Empire almost backward and forwards, so whenever a Star Wars game is announced, I treat it like the announcements for the movies and TV shows and exhibit plenty of excitement. 

Unfortunately when it came to Battlefront, the multiplayer just didn’t “do it” for me and as much as I want to invest in The Old Republic. Not only is it now non-canon (as far as I know), but the graphics, gameplay, and “MMO-ness” of it just doesn’t grab me but Republic Commando, KOTOR, Dark Forces, Shadows of the Empire and Force Unleashed was a hells to the yes for me. I love single-player adventures; they make me FEEL like I’m the main character and whether or not I get to customize that character is of lesser consequence. When KOTOR (one of the best RPGs I’ve played) was released and I could customize the main character, I thought it was great. 

On the flip side, having Cal as the main character in Fallen Order, with no customizations, was just as cool with me. I had never seen Cameron Monaghan in anything besides Gotham so I hoped he would be a compelling hero. And he was! It’s hard being emotive in a game, versus tv/movies, and yes there was stiffness at times, but I enjoyed Cal as a character, seeing his growth, seeing his flashbacks, etc.

I bought Fallen Order because it was my “dose” of single-player Star Wars. If you say those two phrases to me, it’s almost an automatic-buy, on day one. I expected to be a bad-ass Jedi, to grow, and get more powerful, using my bad-ass lightsaber and Force skills to save the fading ember that is the Jedi Order. Was that what I got? See below:

Spoilers ahead for this game, other games, books, movies, and shows:

  • ExplorationMovementPlatforming, and Puzzle-Solving is equal parts Uncharted, Legend of Zelda, Infamous, Ratchet & Clank, with Metroidvania-style exploration-unlocks with new Force powers.
  • Saving System using Meditation Circles is just like Save Points, Bonfires in Final Fantasy and Dark Souls.
  • Combat is a good mix of Force Unleashed badassery and Batman Arkham/Dark Souls for its use of Force powers, timing, dodging, and enemy “tells”.
  • BD-1 is a VERY fun, cute, useful, and unobtrusive mix of BB-8 from the 3rd trilogy, R2D2 from the Original trilogy, and Clank from the Ratchet & Clank series.
  • No Fast-Travel between floors or Meditation Circles makes navigation and the “Metroidvania” feel of the game VERY tedious, especially by modern standards. If you’re going to make a massive, exploration-based, planet-hopping game like this, adding fast-travel for each Save Point is a 100% no-brainer. Given the LARGE amount of backtracking of planets you have to revisit via Metroidvania-style Force Power-unlocks is increasingly tedious. 
  • The Rewards for this heavy exploration are cosmetic skins for you, your lightsaber, BD-1, and your ship, none of which I used throughout my 20-hour playthrough other than a couple of adjustments to my lightsaber’s look, but they didn’t change combat one bit.
  • The rotating 3D Map of each area is HUMONGOUS, and the map itself is a VERY cool idea, but there isn’t enough distinction (i.e. color coding and/or shading). Some look like they’d be right next to each other but they’re really one floor up or down while others look like they’re one floor up or down but are actually right next to each other.
  • The Story is just OK as it is almost the same plot as Force Unleashed (now non-canon) – it swapped “let’s start the Rebellion” with “let’s restart the Jedi.” With Rebels, Rogue One, and Solo already out, as far as filling in more gaps of the “main storylines”. I feel like this game didn’t really fill in that any laking areas, especially given the ending.

ENDING SPOILERS:

While Force Unleashed ended with Starkiller’s death and paved a clear path for Leia to start the Rebellion (using Starkiller’s family crest as the Rebel Sigil), Fallen Order’s Cal destroys the only possible lead (a Jedi Holocron) he has to find other Force-sensitive children, which basically invalidates the whole game’s main goal of restarting the Jedi….

I have lingering questions, such as: Where was Cal during Obi-Wan and Luke’s adventures? Where was he before/during Rogue One when Saul Gurerra was more or less leading the rebels?

Ultimately I give Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order an 7.5/10 for fun game-play, and good character growth over the course of the campaign (even the secondary characters – your ship’s crew), but it was all for nothing because in the end the game didn’t advance any important universe-wide plots, or give us something new to think about.

Mark Maltz – Nerdtropolis Contributor

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