BY DEAN MOSES
Game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC Rating: T for Teens
December is set to be a big month for the Star Wars franchise, not only will it see the conclusion of the Skywalker saga with the aptly name Rise of Skywalker, Disney Plus will also finish airing The Mandalorian, the first ever live action television series set in the beloved universe. With the classic science fiction ad-venture coming onto the silver screen and on our smart devices, publisher Electronic Arts (EA) and developer Respawn Entertainment have joined forces to bring Star Wars to our video game consoles as well with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
A Post Republic World
EA suffers a lot of criticism in gaming circles these days for being the symbol of cooperate greed (not unlike the evil Galactic Empire in Star Wars itself), loot chests—in game boxes which contain random items that require real life money to unlock—being their most controversial offender as of late. Criticisms are cited in their online titles such as FIFA and Battlefield, yet Fallen Order is strictly a single player experience, so do these rightful critiques apply? Well, to put it plainly, no. When players first boot up the game it is clear that this game has been made with love by fans of the movies. Taking place after the prequel films, but before the original trilogy, we take control of Cal Kestis (Played by Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan) a Jedi in hiding struggling to survive in a post Republic world. He is working a dangerous maintenance job until an accident forces him to use his force powers, saving a coworker from certain death. This brief but flashy usage of special abilities alerts the forces of evil to his location, driving Cal to flee the planet and embark on an adventure he hopes will result in the reformation of the Jedi order.
A Larger World
This is an action adventure game that takes place over a variety of dissimilar locals, including famous worlds avid watchers of the movies will recognize. Each planet is a miniature open space brimming with an abundance of collectables that can be used to change Kal’s outfits, lightsaber aesthetics and color, along with so much more. The gameplay almost brings back visages of old school platformers in the vain of the Uncharted series or the most recent Tomb Raider games, this is, of course, in terms of platforming and puzzle solving. Mechanics are—rather surprisingly—mixed with elements of the Dark Souls games. Replacing the Souls’ bonfires are meditation points at which Cal can use skill points gained by defeating enemies to acquire new abilities and replenish his health, but beware, after kneeling at these safe spots foes will respawn, clustering a previously empty site with dangers. At any time, Cal can return to his space-ship and travel between areas. This seamless way of jumping locations truly makes players feel as though they are in the Star Wars universe, and a great way to make the game feel larger than it is. Combat is slick and intuitive, too. We can dodge and parry attacks, even deflect blaster fire back at shooters. In regard to force powers, Cal begins with only the ability to slow down time on objects and other characters. However, over the course of the game he will learn many new skills.
Blowin’ in the Wind
While graphics certainly aren’t everything, they go a long way in providing an immersive experience. Thankfully Respawn Entertainment has done a terrific job in this department too. Cal’s hair sways in the wind, as does blades of grass and other objects such as loose poles in the ground. This adds a great deal of realism. Faces are just as impressive. The actors deliver film worthy performances that will engage any fans of narratives in their games. Nothing is perfect, however, I did come across a few minor glitches. Some clothing physics act a bit wonky and malfunction, phasing through body parts and jutting out at odd angles. Although this is a minor complaint on the grand scheme of things.
Simply put, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the best game based on the classic space opera released this generation.