- Electronic Arts’ “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” is a single-player game designed to invoke the same spirit of mythic adventure that inspired the first generation of “Star Wars” fans back in 1977.
- While recent “Star Wars” games have been focused on online multiplayer, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” is a story-driven experience that returns to the roots of the franchise.
- The game stars the Jedi-in-training Cal Kestis as he works to repair his connection to the force and restore the Jedi order.
- “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” is out now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
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Electronic Arts has launched just a handful of “Star Wars” games since acquiring the publishing rights from Disney in 2014, focusing on online multiplayer games in genres with mass appeal.
But the newly released “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” feels like a direct response to critics who accused EA of trying to capitalise on the “Star Wars” fan base with generic games and microtransactions.
“Fallen Order” returns to a story-driven experience that’s both recognisable and intimate for “Star Wars” movie fans, moving away from the large-scale online multiplayer that defined “Star Wars: Battlefront” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
EA’s “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” was widely criticised for its generic military gameplay and shallow single-player experience. The game garnered attention from lawmakers for its initial plans to include costly in-game purchases for iconic characters like Darth Vader, and a comment from EA’s support team defending those microtransactions eventually became the most disliked comment in the history of Reddit. Sales fell well short of expectations as a result of the controversy.
In October 2017, a month before “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” was released, EA announced it would shutter the development studio Visceral Entertainment and revamp development on a single-player “Star Wars” game the studio was working on. The announcement left some questioning whether single-player adventure games were still viable for major video-game companies.
However, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” eventually surfaced under the helm of Respawn Entertainment, the same studio that launched EA’s wildly popular “Apex Legends” earlier this year.
Unlike most major studio releases this year, “Fallen Order” is completely forgoing downloadable content, season passes, or any other form of microtransactions at launch. Instead, the game is a single-player adventure focused on delivering a complete experience and telling a new story in the “Star Wars” universe.
It’s a gamble on EA’s part, since there won’t be any downloadable content to boost the game’s sales in the future. But it also shows a degree of confidence in delivering a quality product that millions of “Star Wars” fans can appreciate on a personal level, without the need for online play or constant updates.
Here’s a closer look at “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.”
Cal Kestis is the hero of “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” He was once a padawan training to become a Jedi, but the Jedi Order was executed by the Empire before the start of the game.
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” goes back to the series’ roots, with a story set just before the original “Star Wars” movie and a hero that echoes Luke Skywalker’s own coming-of-age story. It’s not a retelling by any means but a parallel tale that tries to capture the spirit of adventure that makes players want to become Jedi in the first place.
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” follows Cal Kestis, a young man whose Jedi training was cut short by the nebulous Empire’s rise to power. During the journey, players work to restore Cal’s connection to the force, gaining new powers to fight the Empire in the process.
Cal is searching for a set of ancient alien temples to repair his connection to the force and restore the Jedi Order.
Cal isn’t alone on his quest — he’s accompanied by BD-1, a helpful droid who keeps a map for Cal and scans the environment for information.
The game itself is pretty challenging, though there’s a story-specific difficulty if you just want to breeze through and see the story unfold.
“Fallen Order” is designed to beat you down and make you stronger, so even when you’re struggling to push past waves of enemies, you’ll gradually improve Cal’s skills and take steps toward mastery.
Combat in “Fallen Order” is intense and can quickly turn deadly for Cal. Your lightsaber will cut foes down quickly, but you’ll need to learn how to parry and dodge enemy attacks because you can heal in limited amounts only.
“Fallen Order” will immediately draw comparisons to the “Dark Souls” series or “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” for its intense and punishing melee combat, but the game feels much more flexible thanks to its variable difficulties.
There’s also a greater emphasis on exploration and platforming in “Fallen Order” and less focus on mastering the combat system. You’ll even have to do a bit of puzzle solving when you encounter ancient alien temples.
There aren’t a ton of enemy types, but they each feel unique and require slightly different strategies to beat. Mashing the attack button will leave Cal open to attacks.
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” has a quite a few bosses too — beating them requires a mix of strategy, proper use of force powers, and good timing.
Cal explores several planets, each with their own environment. You’ll have to battle against animals and the elements to complete the journey.
Cal doesn’t have his own ship, so you’ll spend your time mapping out the planets on foot and finding ways to reach unexplored areas. There’s no fast travelling either, so you’ll have to get used to navigation and platforming.
Respawn worked with Lucasfilm to ensure that each planet in “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” had a distinct personality and bizarre alien creatures to match.
Between clashes with the Empire and adventuring across the different planets, “Fallen Order” will provide a challenge for most players. Luckily, you can change the difficulty at any time.
The story-driven action sequences in “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” are some of the game’s finest moments, but you have to restart the game to replay them.
The story isn’t anything life-changing, but it feels fun and familiar for fans of the “Star Wars” movies.
As always, “Star Wars” fans can expect some twists and turns as the story unfolds, and the game is short enough to warrant multiple runs.
Completing “Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order” took me about 12 hours on the second-hardest difficulty, Jedi Master. I could easily spend a few more hours collecting hidden treasure, upgrading Cal’s abilities, and just enjoying the combat.
“Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order” is the best “Star Wars” game in a very long time, and a refreshing return to story-driven games for the “Star Wars” franchise.
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” is a wonderful “Star Wars” game that pays proper respect to the franchise and encourages players to immerse themselves in the universe.
It does lack some of the polish that I would expect from a major studio game, with some graphical errors and frame-rate issues occasionally interrupting an otherwise great experience.
But all in all, “Fallen Order” sits squarely on my list of must-play games for 2019. It’s available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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