With Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, a lot of gamers are banking on EA doing justice to the Star Wars license. A tall order you could say, but a win that EA desperately needs. Especially after EA opted to remove early access and the free 10 hour trial for EA Access subscribers.
The game releases today, and the review embargo lifted a few short hours ago (always a suspicious move in our estimation and often a harbinger of a lackluster game). There’s none of that week-ahead-of-release nonsense like Kojima-san and Death Stranding.
As the reviews are pouring in, the impression is a mixed bag. Praised by some as the best Star Wars game in recent memory, Star War Jedi: Fallen Order has also left a significant portion of reviewers indifferent.
On Metacritic, the PC version currently has a score of 90, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox versions stand at 84 and 85, respectively.
Let’s dive into what’s been said so far.
When I reached the end of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, I didn’t feel like I’d had a rewarding experience. I was relieved it was over. With some side-meandering, it took around 30 hours, and I didn’t enjoy a lot of them. I’ll admit crunching a Souls-like in less than four days is an unnatural and gruelling experience: I imagine if I’d played Fallen Order over several months, I would have been less frustrated, but probably still bored. It’s such a shame, as Fallen Order has an incredible gameplay experience at its core, with fantastic environments and well-directed action sequences. Yet it’s unable to sustain this thanks to some fundamental design problems.
It’s been ages since we got a great single-player Star Wars action game, but Jedi: Fallen Order makes up for a lot of lost time. A strong cast sells a dark story while keeping things fun and loyal to Star Wars lore, and fast, challenging combat mixes with energetic platforming, decent puzzles, and diverse locations to explore for an all-around amazing game.
Despite these numerous little problems, Respawn’s maiden voyage with Star Wars is largely a success. I couldn’t put this game down, both for the thrill of exploring and wanting to see where the story took me next. The inspirations taken from Dark Souls, Uncharted, and Metroid Prime unite to create something unique that just happens to work incredibly well for this beloved license. Like most starships in this universe, Jedi: Fallen Order could use a little polish, but the rust doesn’t hold it back from roaring with excitement.
Still, even if this isn’t the most polished Star Wars game we’ve seen, it’s also the first one in years that comes closest to capturing the magic of the series. Battlefront looked like Star Wars. Fallen Order, with an endearing earnestness that mirrors its heroes, gets what makes the series special. It’s in the glimpses of strange worlds and cultures we want to learn more about, it’s enjoying the ragtag groups who slowly learn to trust each other, and it’s the fact that lightsabers are really great fun. Especially when you get them right.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order comes painfully close to being the best action game of the year, but it ultimately falls short due to pacing problems and a host of technical issues. Still, this is the first step into a larger world for a franchise that has persistently struggled since its acquisition by EA.
It’s true that Fallen Order borrows liberally from other action games, but those elements work together with Respawn’s combat and environment design, and a story that finds humanity in the Force and in its characters, to hone in on what makes the world of Star Wars worthy of revisiting again and again. Even with some rough edges, Fallen Order represents one of the most compelling game additions to the Star Wars franchise in years.
Yes, there’s a lot about this game that’s awkward. But to do something different, you have to do something different, and that means it may take some time for a game to find its footing. Jedi: Fallen Order is enjoyable, with caveats about its performance and some aspects of its design attached, but it goes places I didn’t expect, and it gets there by a route I would never have considered. That’s a bold choice for a game this inherently commercial.
Jedi: Fallen Order is a flawed, sometimes messy game, but it’s a Star Wars experience I didn’t know I wanted. And after finishing it, I definitely want more.
While Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has some exciting combat and moments of genuinely interesting storytelling and acting, it just falls short of hitting the mark. It borrows heavily from several genres without actually adding anything new to the conversation. That’s not to say it’s bad, it just didn’t leave me wanting to revisit this galaxy.