Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is the latest Star Wars game to come out of the licencing deal between Disney and the game publisher. Given the generally lacklustre games that we’ve seen make use of the licence to date, this one, from Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn.
Taking inspiration from games like Dark Souls and Sekiro, it’s a single-player action game with a lot of focus on lighstaber battles. It tells an original Star Wars story about Cal Kestis, a Padawan who survived the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. As one of the last remaining Jedi, Cal will have to complete his Jedi training before Inquisitors discover his plans to rebuild the Jedi Order.
Given the game’s late embargo, the relative lack of review copies and the missing EA game trial, many were worried that the game’s coverage was being buried by EA so they could sell copies before people realised the game was bad. Was that worry necessary?. Here’s what critics think of Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.
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.
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.
As for the story? Well, it never gets off the ground.
Challenging combat is broken up by platforming and exploration, and it’s all held together by a narrative I genuinely cared about. On their own, none of these elements are going to win awards and are all done better elsewhere, but as a package they form something exciting — much like the Star Wars films.
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.
In all, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order clocks in at roughly 20 hours to complete, but when I finished the main campaign I still had large swaths of planets to further explore. The only thing I knew is that wanted more. Not unlike their work with Titanfall 2, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order stands as one of my favorite games of 2019, and easily a front runner for Game of the Year. The force is very, very strong with this one.
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 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.
With the noteworthy exception of its aesthetics, no single element of Fallen Order feels fully realised. Combat rests too often on bland, unbalanced encounters while ignoring the potential depths of its duels, and exploration feels good but the worlds themselves emerge underdeveloped and disjointed. Both of which are issues I could easily overlook in service of a good Star Wars story but Fallen Order fails to deliver anything we haven’t seen before, only now slightly worse thanks to an unfocused script.
There are pockets of joy and engagement in Fallen Order, but ultimately it feels like a game developed a long time ago, before Star Wars moved on to brighter galaxies far, far away from this.
Last Updated: November 15, 2019