‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’: The Force Is Strong With This One

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Image: EA
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Image: EA

What Is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order?

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the latest major Star Wars video game. Set five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the game tells the story of Cal Kestis, a former Jedi Padawan who has lived in hiding as a scrapper on the planet Bracca since the Order 66 purge. After using the Force to save a friend, Cal finds himself on the radar of the Empire and the terrifying Imperial Inquisitors.

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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Age Rating

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is rated ESRB T (Teen) and PEGI 16.

Common Sense Media officially recommends the game for ages 14 and up, while kids and parents on the site both suggested it was suitable for around ages 9 and above.

The graphics in Fallen Order are outstanding, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
The graphics in Fallen Order are outstanding, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Available Formats

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available on:

System Specifications

To play on Windows, the following minimum system requirements are required:

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Processor (AMD): FX-6100 or Equivalent
  • Processor (Intel): i3-3220 or Equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Graphics card (AMD): Radeon HD 7750 or Equivalent
  • Graphics card (NVIDIA): GeForce GTX 650 or Equivalent
  • DirectX: 11 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • Hard-drive space: 55 GB

While the following system requirements are recommended:

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Processor (AMD): Ryzen 7 1700 or Equivalent
  • Processor (Intel): i7-6700K or Equivalent
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Graphics card (AMD): RX Vega 56 or Equivalent
  • Graphics card (NVIDIA): GTX 1070/GTX1660Ti or Equivalent
  • DirectX: 11 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • Hard-drive space: 55 GB

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Trailer

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Gameplay

Let’s start out with the basics, shall we? Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (which I’ll shorten to simply Fallen Order for the rest of this review) is a third-person action-adventure game in the style of Uncharted and The Last of Us. Unlike the recent Star Wars Battlefront games (campaign mode notwithstanding), this is not a first-person-shooter style title with short battle scenarios to play through. Instead, you will follow a well-written Star Wars story through the eyes of former Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis and his adorable droid BD-1.

Planets, Travel, and Mapping

Although it follows a linear plot, the game world in Fallen Order itself is surprisingly open. Provided you can find your way back to your ship, you can take off and fly to any planet at any time, although your current objective will always appear on the ship’s holo map. At the start of the game, you will have access to three planets, Bogano, Zeffo, and Dathomir. Those first two are brand new planets introduced for the game, while Dathomir will be familiar to Clone Wars and Rebels fans as the home of the Nightsisters.

After the opening sequence/tutorial stage on Bracca (although the game begins on Bracca the planet is no longer accessible after that point), you will head to Bogano with your new shipmates Cere Junta and Greez—the pair seen rescuing Cal in the game’s trailer. It is on Bogano that the real core of the game’s storyline begins to unfold, and also here that you will meet BD-1. This is a true Star Wars story that fits into the canon universe well and feels appropriate for the time period in which it is set. The storyline is a little slow to get going after this point, but a few hours later it really picks up and then does not let go—I haven’t yet completed the main story, as I wanted to get this review out ASAP, but I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen next. There were some truly eye-opening moments throughout the story, too, and you’ll want to avoid reading too much online if you want to avoid spoilers.

BD-1 Projects a Holomap on Bogano, The Symbol and Arrow at the bottom left Indicate the Direction of the Current Objective Screenshot: Sophie Brown
BD-1 projects a Holomap on Bogano. The symbol and arrow at the bottom left indicate the direction of the current objective, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

As you spend time on each planet, BD-1 will helpfully map your explorations, gradually producing an increasingly complex map that will help you navigate. Your current objective will always appear on BD-1’s map (assuming you’re on the right planet at the time, otherwise it will appear on the correct planet on the ship’s holomap) and other symbols will help you spot save points and more. The map uses a color-key to help you identify routes: green spots show newly unlocked areas, red spots mean that area or path is currently inaccessible, and orange stripes lead to an area is unexplored. Exploring will also unlock shortcuts between areas so you won’t need to go the long way around every time you need to return somewhere.

While the mapping function is helpful, I can’t help but feel it could have been better. It’s semi-translucent nature and multiple layers can make it very difficult to figure out routes, especially when you have to go up and down levels in order to reach somewhere. While playing the other night, it took me an hour to get across part of Zeffo because a route I thought I could use was blocked and I had to backtrack through a large section. Personally, I would have loved a function where I could select a location I had been to before and have BD-1 lead me along the best route, similar to following a Clairvoyance spell in Skyrim.

Characters

Cal meets Wookiees on Kashyyk, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Cal meets Wookiees on Kashyyk, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

Being entirely honest, I didn’t find Cal to be the most exciting of characters. However, I also found that I didn’t care about that. Cal’s general lack of personality meant it was easy to project myself into his shoes (on a related note, it would have been nice to pick between male, female, and non-binary character options) and imagine myself on his voyage across the galaxy. The other characters in the game absolutely made up for that lack of personality as well. Cere Junta’s backstory is interesting (it’s also filled with spoilers) and there are some revelations along the way that will almost certainly alter your perspective of her one way or another. Greez is hilarious thanks to his deadpan approach—I’d love to see him get together with Shriv from Battlefront II—and BD-1 has instantly become probably my favorite droid of all time. He really is as adorable as everyone has made him out to be.

There are plenty of other minor characters along the way who add flavor to the story, including some familiar faces. Since the live stream from EA Play 2019 in June, it’s been known that Saw Gerrera appears in the game, and this feels like a perfect fit in terms of both the timeline and Cal’s personal journey. Even the really minor characters get some backstory, if you bother talking with them. I had Cal speak with a member of Saw’s crew and discovered that they were from Zeffo—the planet I had just left behind. If you have the opportunity to listen in to the conversations between Stormtroopers before attacking, do so. There are some hilarious one-liners to be found and interesting tidbits mixed in as well.

Training and Force Abilities

Cal and BD-1 Survey their Surroundings, a Blue Beam Indicating a Save Point can be seen on the Mountainside opposite, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Cal and BD-1 survey their surroundings. A blue beam indicating a Save Point can be seen on the mountainside opposite, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

Cal begins his story with very few Jedi powers. His years in hiding have forced him to conceal that part of his heritage and he has become cut off from the Force. This means that during the first part of the game, you will be hugely limited with what you can do, only able to use the most basic lightsaber moves and small jumps as well as the usual running and climbing. Incidentally, Cal’s running style is a little odd. My husband and I agreed that he has a certain Phoebe Buffay style going on! As you progress through the story, Cal’s Force abilities will grow, and your ability to take on more powerful enemies and access new areas will increase along with him. BD-1 will also have the opportunity to receive upgrades when you come across special workbenches, opening up additional skills for him as well that will greatly assist you and Cal on your mission.

I really loved the way in which Cal’s Force abilities grew because they felt very in keeping with his story. There are two ways to increase Cal’s skills during the game. The first is for small increments such as learning a new lightsaber technique or increasing maximum health. These are unlocked from the skill tree which is accessed through save points. Skill points are earned as you play from defeating enemies, finding and scanning objects concealing Force memories, and more. Once you have earned enough skill points you can spend them however you wish in the skill tree. Skills are divided into Lightsaber, Force, and Survival, so it’s up to you to decide how best to spread out your skills.

The Skill Tree in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
The Skill Tree in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

The bigger changes to Cal’s Force abilities come along organically as part of the overall story. I won’t spoil exactly how these occur because I found the first time it happened to be a great and surprising moment in the game, but it felt like a perfect way to unlock these huge and vitally important abilities. One of the first major skills you unlock this way is the Force Push, which almost immediately became one of my favorite moves. It’s highly satisfying to watch a Stormtrooper march up to you with a come-at-me-bro attitude and a huge weapon, only to casually fling him off the edge of the platform with one press of a button. And given the Star Wars universe’s propensity for building sky-high bridges and walkways with no safety barriers, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to do just that!

Combat

Unlocking Cal’s Force abilities really help make combat more and more enjoyable as the game progresses. I mostly played Fallen Order on the easiest mode simply because I was more interested in the story than in proving my worth against giant bugs and endless Imperial lackeys, but with four difficulty levels from Story to Jedi Master that can be switched between at any point, there’s a level here to suit all players. In the beginning, combat pretty much consists of hitting enemies with your one available lightsaber move over and over until you beat them, but as you unlock more and more moves, your options increase and you can begin to use the Force to execute increasingly impressive and powerful moves. Listening to Alex over at Star Wars Explained discussing the game, he comments that he found that getting frustrated will not serve you well while playing Fallen Order because button mashing is not an effective strategy here. Instead, you need to keep calm just like a Jedi would and focus on which attacks to choose. I agree with him 100% in this and found that as soon as I started thinking through my attacks more, I was able to power through battle sequences far more easily than just leaping in and hoping for the best. If you do find yourself taking damage, BD-1 carries a limited number of stim packs and can give you one at any time to boost your Health meter back up.

Cal Faces an Enemy, His Health and Force Meters are Visible at the Bottom of the Screen, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Cal faces an enemy, his Health and Force Meters are visible at the bottom of the screen, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

One thing I didn’t like about Fallen Order was the mechanism for refilling your Force Meter. The Force Meter is a small, blue bar at the bottom middle of your screen which shows up during combat. When it is full, you can use it to execute powerful moves with your lightsaber and to use Force Push and other moves—interestingly, using Force Push outside of combat doesn’t impact it and those skills can be used at any time without draining the bar. However, the bar quickly drains during fights and will need to be refilled before you can continue using those powerful moves. The bar refills through combat, so by taking down an enemy using your basic lightsaber skills, you will gain an amount of Force ability back. This is the issue I have with it. It just feels a little wrong in terms of the overall Star Wars canon to effectively regain your Force energy by hacking away at various bugs, wildlife, and Stormtroopers. When the rest of Fallen Order feels so perfectly in-keeping with everything we have learned about the Force and our connection to it, this one element was glaring in its inappropriate usage. That being said, I can’t honestly think of a better way to earn back that ability within a game environment.

This leads me to another regret I have with Fallen Order, which is about the lack of stealth. Cal has absolutely zero ability to be stealthy, with no crouch mode or ability to attack from a distance. I’m a die-hard Skyrim lover and pretty much always play by maxing out my sneak and archery skill trees. I had hoped to be able to take a similar approach in Fallen Order, but all Cal’s combat options involve being up close and personal with your attackers and simply sneaking past them like Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Death Star is not an option. Instead, it seems that Cal learned his combat skills from Anakin with a clear preference for charging in all guns lightsabers blazing.

Saving and Other Features

As well as an autosave function that saves your game regularly by itself, you can save your progress in Fallen Order by finding a Save/Meditation Circle and meditating upon it. These points are scattered across every planet and one is conveniently located on your ship—The Mantis—as well. When Cal meditates at one, the game saves but he can also choose to enter his skill tree or Rest. Resting resets Cal’s Health and Force meters to the current maximum and also resets BD-1s supply of stim packs, but it comes at a price because it also resets all nearby enemies so you’ll need to think carefully about when and where to Rest. Speaking of The Mantis, your shop is also home to one of the game’s most pointless but enjoyable extra features. Captain Greez keeps a terrarium on board and asks Cal to be on the lookout for interesting seeds during his journey. Whenever you find one, it can be added to the terrarium where it will grow into a plant, gradually filling that section of the ship with greenery and color.

Your Databank, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Your Databank, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

One of the most interesting parts of the game for canon fans is BD-1’s scanning ability. BD-1 will regularly scan items he comes across—from flora and fauna to sculptures and fallen enemies–and will add what he learns to a Databank which you can access at any time. Information about enemies is also added to your Tactical Guide to help you remember how best to defeat them in the future. This will slowly build to a small encyclopedia of interesting facts about the different planets you visit and the Empire, too. BD-1 can also access special boxes that are scattered throughout each planet. Opening these will allow you to collect bonus items including various lightsaber parts that will allow you to customize your blade, as well as skins for BD-1 and the Mantis, and outfits for Cal. None of these are important to the actual gameplay—changing the color of your lightsaber will not improve it in any way—but they are fun to play with. All the lightsaber parts available to build with at the Galaxy’s Edge lands in Disney theme parks can also be found in these boxes, so you will be able to build your exact lightsaber from the park in the game or vice versa.

There’s a clear Indiana Jones influence going on in Fallen Order too as you wander through ancient temples and try to solve occasional puzzles—incidentally, there were far fewer puzzles than I expected. I was honestly expecting to run into Doctor Aphra any moment, or at least be chased down a corridor by a giant stone ball. Actually, that last one did happen. Sort of… The temple style will be familiar to most gamers—personally, I was frequently reminded of Dwemer ruins from the Elder Scrolls games, but getting to explore these familiar areas with the Force at your side made them feel new again.

Expansions

There are no expansions for Fallen Order as yet, and also no microtransactions required. The gameplay is single-player only with no online options, so once you have paid for the game, you don’t need to pay out any additional costs for subscriptions or extra items.

Cal and BD-1 look out over Dathomir, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Cal and BD-1 look out over Dathomir, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

Verdict

Fallen Order may well be the greatest Star Wars game I have ever played. In fact, it’s already comfortably positioned itself in my top five video games of all time alongside Skyrim, Portal 2, and the LEGO Star Wars games. This is, quite simply, a brilliant game.

The game does an amazing job of balancing combat, puzzle-solving, open-world exploration, and storytelling into one stunning Star Wars story. No, it doesn’t excel in any one of those areas: Skyrim has a better open world mechanic, Portal 2 has better puzzles, and there are plenty of games with arguably better combat—certainly for players more comfortable in FPS mode—but in bringing all those elements together in a canon story, it’s as close to perfect as I could hope for.

The story found within Fallen Order is compelling, interesting, and fits well into the Star Wars canon. I wanted to know more about the characters I met and I’d love to see more of them in the future, which reminds me to mention the Jedi Fallen Order: Dark Temple comic prequel mini-series that is due to publish its fifth and final issue on December 4th. While it’s possible to just power through the storyline in a linear style, it’s absolutely worth slowing down, exploring out of order, talking to anyone you can, and simply letting yourself become a part of the Star Wars universe to really get the most out of the game. Even the music is a perfect fit for the game and adds a lot of extra atmosphere to every sequence. I’m hoping that we might see an official soundtrack release at some point.

Cal faces the Empire, Screenshot: Sophie Brown
Cal faces the Empire, Screenshot: Sophie Brown

Many of us have been burned in the past by mediocre Star Wars games and by others that require endless cash to keep playing and unlock all the content. Perhaps because of that, Fallen Order feels like a breath of fresh air with its total lack of microtransactions, paid content (beyond a few bonus skins that came with pre-ordered copies), and subscription requirements. I haven’t even reached the conclusion yet and already I’m hoping for an expansion DLC so I can play more.

In conclusion, Jedi Fallen Order is the Star Wars game you’re looking for and you should move along to your nearest video game emporium and pick up a copy as soon as you are able.

GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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