The annoying thing is that in the first ten hours I absolutely adored Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. What a wonderful feeling to finally dive into a Star Wars game with elaborate alien worlds, references that delight die-hard fans, and new traditions to expand this far-flung galaxy. Since EA acquired the Star Wars games license in 2013, fans have desperately searched for a really good story – and there's a tremendous amount of hope in the game.
On paper, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order seems to be just the ticket. It's a single-player title that combines Soulsborne Combat, Uncharted Climbing and Metroidvania Level Design to create something that's unique. As a true melting pot of many of the best features of modern and retro games, I initially thought that Respawn could be a winner. Despite a fierce start, the game struggles to maintain momentum in both game design and storytelling. Additionally, there are a number of performance issues on Xbox One. If only it had upheld that charm.
The Fallen Order takes place five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and the Infamous Order 66. The Jedi Order has been destroyed, as are almost all Jedi – but at least one is still in the form of the protagonist Cal Kestis, a former Padawan hiding on the planet Bracca as a scraper Cal is forced to surrender his powers and escapes the Inquisitors of the Empire only with the help of two mysterious characters, a woman named Cere and a reluctant green alien called Greez take him away to rebuild the Jedi Order for a story, and the opening sequences of the game through the industrial metal constructions of Bracca are pure heartbeat.
Once you've got through the initial stages, you'll be led to the main theme of the game: dare to join different planets to complete the main goals of the story and new abilities, in addition to finding Addi more pick-ups and cosmetics for decoration Cal, your ship, your droid BD-1 and your lightsaber. It's a decent system that gives players a degree of freedom while keeping the levels close enough for choreographed action sequences. I'm pleased to report that the outfits on one of the earliest planets, Zeffo, are still as brilliant as I played them earlier this year and that Fallen Order is at its best. Well-fought fights, beautiful views, epic music and fantastic environmental design make playing a joy and bring the balance between exploration and challenging gameplay to success. The routes are winding but navigable, and at this point, the environmental puzzles revolve around mobility and the timing of your application of force, such as freezing an object to climb it.
I've spent a lot of time scanning and reading data entries to learn more about Zeffo and to get an idea of what the Empire was doing there. The Fallen Storytelling Enviroment is complicated and detailed, focusing on something that previously had little air time in Star Wars: the impact of the Empire's war machine and how it touches even small communities on every planet in the galaxy. To make up for that, I also had to giggle at small details like the enemy's placement: Two rat-like creatures immediately pull on the legs of a dead stormtroopers (dark humor, I know), while another jumps on top of a stormtrooper to knock it over the edge.
In fact, I could probably write a whole article about the stormtrooper alone. Respawn has done an incredible job bringing these enemies to life to a point where I felt really bad because I had killed some of them – perhaps by mistake one of the better moral issues in Fallen Order. At this point in the Star Wars tradition, soldiers are conscripts, not clones, and you can hear the different attitudes to their work as you sneak out of a fight. Some show a kind of fascist attitude to their work (and the cleansing soldiers show an eager desire to accomplish their purpose by killing Jedi), but many are in the middle of regular talks: expressing how they do not want to Garbage collection, as they have not slept the night before – another that complains to an officer that their potential is wasted on a barren planet. During the fight, some of them will sarcastically realize that they are the last or reluctant to take on a Jedi. The abundance of conversations and the honesty of their reactions make them both funny and assignable – and there is at least one joke that satisfies r / PrequelMemes.
Sorry, back to Zeffo: The rugged landscapes also provide an excellent stage for the Battle of the Fallen Order and give players room to breathe between matches and The time between meditation points is mostly fair but challenging (saving points effectively). If that sounds familiar, it's because Fallen Order uses a combat system based heavily on From Software games, with timed parades and evasive maneuvers in the foreground. When you rest at meditation points, you can heal and reset your health stims. but this also affects the opponents, so you have to cheat if it's worth taking the leap to the next one. If this fails, you drop the XP you collected because you killed enemies against the enemy who defeated you. Killing this gold-glowing enemy then restores your life, a nice little boost in a tough fight.
This XP eventually becomes skill point, which can be spent in the skill tree of the Fallen Order to unlock various abilities and benefits. It is divided into three branches: Power, Lightsaber, and Survival – with new combat abilities available for purchase throughout the story, and Cal learns new abilities. It is more a matter of prioritizing which skills you need first (rather than adapting them to your specific style of play) as most of the major abilities will be available at the end of the game.
As a soul-like game, the inevitable question is: how hard is it? Fortunately, Fallen Order has four levels of difficulty: Story, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, and Jedi Grandmaster. The harder modes narrow the parry window and increase the aggression of the enemy. Cal inflicts more damage. I mainly played on the recommended difficulty Jedi Knight, which creates a good balance between challenge and accessibility for players who are not used to a hard melee (although there are some levels of difficulty in late game boss battles). I also tried to wander around on Jedi Grandmaster and enjoyed the challenge in short bursts – but I think playing the whole game that way would require a level of concentration that exceeds me. Every man for himself. At least, if you're tired of a particular boss, you can effectively skip it in story mode. However, I would not recommend playing the whole game in this way as it eliminates any challenge.
The fight is largely solid: you must exercise patience and think about the order in which you must fight groups of enemies (especially if some are removed) and with what tactics an enemy is defeated as quickly as possible. The right timing of a parade to open an enemy for a cinematic finishing move is unbelievably satisfying, and I've also become a serial force pusher by routinely knocking enemies off the edges (though this is not possible with larger enemies – there is a limit to the cheese). Playing Blaster Bolt Tennis with a Viper Droid is ridiculous and therefore great.
But the fun does not last long: That's how the turn from Fallen Order to the dark side begins.
One of the big selling points of Fallen Order is the influence of Metroidvania – the use of countless unfolding paths that are unlocked as you acquire new skills. Red is a no-no.) At the same time, it's the biggest capital and the biggest mistake of the game – a double-edged lightsaber. Once you've explored a brand new planet, you'll need to look for a retraversal to find bonus pick-ups and cosmetics – great: you're excited to explore the nooks and crannies, everything is fresh and you're ready to spend that right now because you are the person initiating the optional exploration. Also at this time, the cards are so small that it takes no age to hike them.
In the middle of the game, however, the story causes you to be asked to revisit the same planets – and this is when Metroidvania elements become incredibly boring. The goals are usually far away from everything you've already explored. This is a long way. While you can unlock links, they are often hard to spot in the completely blue, complicated level maps and are no longer highlighted in bright yellow color, indicating an unexplored area. In any case, most links are not significant enough to significantly reduce travel time. With the buzz of exploring a new world, you have much less patience to return through intricate, winding tunnels. Once you have reached your destination, you must return to the ship. This can take over 20 minutes to slip through defeated enemies. Even Dark Souls will eventually have a quick chance to travel, and Fallen Order is screaming for something similar.
The only thing that could have inspired me to work through all this was the promise to get a grip on the developments in the story. In the chapters of the game, it is noted that most of the developments in the story are in my head to soup had become. They are constantly brought back and forth between the ship and the target, tracking the holotapes of a dead Jedi to collect items to collect more items a never ending breadcrumb trail with no emotional payoff.
I have a bad feeling about this
In the midst of the descent into boredom something else happened – something dark and terrible. My game stopped. When I reached the jungle-heavy planet Kashyyyk, the frame rate hit hard. This often happened at battle-heavy points: Not ideal when you're planning a parade. I started to freeze, and then the crashes came. I've never heard an Xbox scream, but I heard that sound twice in a day.
When I moved away from Krashyyyk, the holodeck began to behave (the equipment needed to travel), with the frame rate slowing to less than one per second. I got it to work by opening and closing the Xbox menu, but eventually it did not work. I was forced to switch to Xbox One X because it was completely broken on the base Xbox One. The game gets a patch for the first day, so we'll see how well things are doing – and Digital Foundry is working on a more in-depth analysis.
The heart of the narrative problems is a central theme: I just do not care about any of the characters. Cal has the personality of a wet poncho. Many of his conversations lead to him essentially saying yes / no or commenting on the mission's goal. The best thing is the weird joke with BD-1, and although Cere has a more interesting background story, neither she nor Cal are particularly dynamic – and their conversations, which make up the bulk of the dialogue in Fallen Order, are just boring. Feeling totally alienated from his character, I wished instead that I could hang around with the Second and Ninth Sisters on the other side of the Lasertor, who actually have a touch of personality and a deliciously wicked dialogue. Of course, there is no way to make dark decisions in this game (Cal does not even think about it), and unfortunately you only see the bad guys when they appear in boss bouts. Pity.
Besides the way in which some of the moments in the story are visually portrayed, history has nothing smart about it. Issues such as failure and dealing with guilt and trauma are thrown around, but never explored in any depth. The game just does not leave time for it. The other characters stay on the ship, so you usually can not get on with Cal's boring interchange with your droid – while the cut scenes are all about the next target. Thank God for Greez, who is the only one who leads a consistently humorous and engaging dialogue – but a character can not carry a story. If Greez tells Cal that his actions have changed his way of life, it is incredibly worrying because none of the necessary foundations have yet been created. It just is not believable.
Eventually, Fallen Order has a history that barely develops. It's a story with no clear direction. It is a story without risk.
Everything makes a trap order a slog. I was tired of wading through waves of enemies to not find an interesting story in the end and not being able to jump through levels quickly: Even if I pass in story mode, you will be beaten, shot down by ropes or hunt on doors with an enemy mob on the hunt.
Maybe the Soulsborne format just does not go with Star Wars. In order to create a challenge, opponents must be beaten several times – and this means that lightsabers feel under-challenged. It may make sense for Cal to be at the beginning of his journey, but even if Cal is strongest, it takes about three strokes to knock down an overgrown rat. Lightsaber battles also feel less epic when Cal falls to the ground while trying to find an enemy's attack pattern. You get more skills and abilities, and you can increase your HP and strength, but with Trap Order you can never take off your gloves. The reason your power meter is limited is that players engage in fast-paced melee combat by restoring the ad by killing enemies (or blocking them if you unlock this bonus). The retraversal problem would have been greatly reduced if you could simply rage through enemies on your return to a planet. What fun it would have been to break away from Cal's powers and a hard-hitting lightsaber.
When I reached the end of "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order," I did not feel I had a rewarding experience. I was relieved that it was over. With some side meanders it took about 30 hours and I did not enjoy much of it. I admit that crushing a soul-like in less than four days is an unnatural and exhausting experience: I imagine if I had been playing trap orders for several months, I would have been less frustrated, but probably still bored. It's a shame, because Fallen Order basically offers an incredible gaming experience with awesome environments and well-directed action sequences. However, this is not possible due to some basic design issues.
As for the story? Well, it never gets off the ground.