Review: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Film editor Joe Holloran reviews the latest console game set in a galaxy far,far away.

Joe Holloran
1st December 2019

The new Star Wars canon has been good to us. With four films, three TV series and countless comics and novels, there is no shortage of great material across various media for fans to experience the galaxy far, far, away…

The only exception to this so far has been video games. The rebooted Battlefront series left fans disappointed with entirely absent, then poor storytelling, poor game specs and a game that was far too focused on the online experience at the expense of single player narrative. So, when EA announced last year that Respawn Entertainment - the company behind the highly successful Titanfall franchise – were in the process of developing a narrative-driven, expansive Star Wars game, fans understandably got very excited.

On 15 November, that project, titled Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order released on multiple platforms. The question is, does it live up to the hype?

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, as the title suggests, takes place 5 years after the execution of Order 66 by Darth Sidious to wipe-out every single Jedi in the galaxy (as seen in Revenge of the Sith). The game follows former Jedi padawan Cal Kestiss (Cameron Monaghan) as he attempts to come to terms with the fall of the Jedi Order, the state of the galaxy and his duty to help others.

Image: IGDB

After being exposed as a force-user while saving his friend’s life, Cal meets with former Jedi Master Cere Junda and her Latero captain Greez Dritus. The trio are joined quickly by droid BD-1 and the team travel the galaxy in their ship, the Stinger Mantis.

Together, they search for a way to bring the Fallen Order back from the dead with a little help from the hologram of the mysterious Master Eno Cordova - all while being hunted by the villainous Second Sister and her fellow band of Jedi-hunting Inquisitors.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is by far the best Star Wars game since the Disney takeover in 2012. Admittedly, that bar is not very high, but this game vaults over that bar and then out of the stadium. The Unreal engine used allows for varied and truly difficult combat situations. It is closest in style to the Dark Souls series, for those of you who have played that. Either way, prepare to die many times early on as you struggle to master Jedi combat skills which, conveniently for us, Cal has forgotten from his Padawan days.

The Unreal engine used allows for varied and truly difficult combat situations

The team from Respawn brought the platforming elements that worked so well in Titanfall into the Star Wars universe. While this led some to worry (including myself) that these elements would be over done and detract from the overall story, that turned out not to be the case. Additionally there are plenty of Jedi and Sith tombs to explore and complex puzzles to solve with the force in the Star Wars universe.

As well as missions-a-plenty there are copious amounts of boxes and customizables to discover, so you can change up your lightsaber, ship and outfit to your heart's content. There are also many Easter eggs and canon references throughout to please both those who love only the movies – hello Rogue One's Saw Gerrera – and hardcore fans alike.

There are some issues with the game. The long delay after death becomes tedious quickly. There are also problems with environmental textures fading in and out, and sometimes the speech option is unresponsive. These problems are small in comparison to the game’s biggest flaw – the dullness of Cal. Monaghan’s voice performance is fine; the problem is the dialogue he has to say lacks any personality.

Cal's story arc isn’t helped by Cere Junda, who has got to be the most useless Jedi Master in canon.

Fans of Star Wars Rebels will know how much Ezra develops across the shows run, from annoying kid to competent Jedi who we believed could do anything. Cal does not go on this journey. He isn’t helped by Cere Junda, who has got to be the most useless Jedi Master in canon.

While I am thrilled to have a third-person, narrative-based Star Wars game again, I just wish the story was better. I understand this won’t matter to casual fans, but to me, it was a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, Fallen Order is technically very sound, loyal to the legacy of Star Wars gaming and very fun to play. There is endless hours’ worth of missions, side missions and ruins to explore and indulge your inner Indiana Jones. The only thing it lacks is a story that you can’t wait to come back to each day. Well, you can’t have everything.

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