My goodness, I don’t think a game has caused me as much frustration as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has. Sure, the story is strong and the pacing is mostly fine. Unfortunately, the combat, weird camera angles, and other glitches are hard to ignore. I still can’t believe I got to the game’s conclusion.
Trying to be a few different genres, but not succeeding in the process
Back in 2018 when Fallen Order was first shown off, I immediately thought it was going to be Star Wars’ take on Uncharted. A game with a ton of platforming, puzzle-solving, and combat scenarios. For the most part, that’s the case, but the combat is where it varies greatly. I really enjoy the combat set pieces in Uncharted. Here, they were the worst part of the game.
Apparently, the combat, specifically the blocking and parrying borrows greatly from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Unfortunately, I never played it, so I can’t compare. The idea of properly timing a block, so you can get an advantage over your enemy should be a fun concept. However, I never got that kind of satisfaction.
The biggest gripe I have is that enemies are not aware of each other, and it only leads to stupid situations where a foe is able to get an impossible hit on you. This happens a lot in Fallen Order. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a Stormtrooper shoot right through another one before hitting me. There is a dual AT-ST battle late in the game, and they were shooting through each other to get me.
What’s odd is that when two different enemy types exist (a Stormtrooper and a monster/insect), they will attack each other and cause damage. But a group of Stormtroopers will swing or fire their weapons with no disregard. The only time I noticed any sort of friendly fire was with those using missiles or flamethrowers. Then, and only then, did their stupidity of firing at close range lead to death.
That damned camera and other design question marks
The other problem with the combat was the camera. This was a similar issue I had with 2018’s God of War. There are some really tight environments and the camera just doesn’t know where to position itself where it makes sense. There were multiple times when I’d be attacked by an off-screen character because the combat scenario felt it was necessary to be closer to the action. I’d get killed by that unseen character and be frustrated because the last save point was very far away.
Don’t get me started on the save system. Unless you activate a save point and meditate at it, if you die and respawn, you start at the last one you saved. That’s right, the game doesn’t trigger the closest one but rather the last one you visited. There were times when I would go awhile without hitting a save point, die, then be stuck going through a long section a second or third time.
It also doesn’t help the fact that the game lacks any sort of fast travel system. There were times when I wanted to return to previously visited planets. As you unlock new abilities, there are plenty of things to go back and find. But since you have to go through some long sections, I decided it wasn’t worth my time.
The story kept me going
Wanting to see how the story progressed is the only reason why I continued playing. There is a difficulty setting called “Story Mode” which lowers the damage and aggression of opponents. Although I never used it, I kind of wish I had. I began the game as “Jedi Master”, but quickly dropped it down to “Jedi Knight” because I wasn’t willing to deal with non-stop deaths. It didn’t help that I still died a lot.
The protagonist Cal Kestis is fine, but it’s the supporting cast that really shines here. I loved the side characters of Cere and Greez. Your companion droid, BD-1 steals the show, and there are a few other characters that you interact with that leave a good impression. Heck, I also loved the bad guys and kind of wish we had more screen time with them.
The game’s ending is satisfying but it kind of just ends. We get a big surprise at the end, and some closure, but no real cliffhanger to speak of. We accomplish our goal, but it feels like the writers weren’t willing to leave some things unanswered. Sure, we can expect some callbacks to the first game in the sequel, but I don’t know if you need to play the first to enjoy the second.
I can wait before I play Jedi: Survivor.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is slated to launch in March. I have no intention of playing it then unless EA Play offers a trial, which I doubt they will. Fallen Order famously was one of the few, if not only, EA games not to get a trial at launch. At this point, the only thing that will get me to play it sooner is if all the problems I had with Fallen Order are addressed. Otherwise, I can wait 9-12 months for it to enter the EA Vault and then play it on the easiest difficulty level. Heck, I can probably wait a few more years if necessary.