Many fans, including us, have long pined for a single player Star Wars adventure, and now one has finally arrived, is it worth dragging attention away from Baby Yoda for more than five minutes?
The reason there’s been such demand is partly down to EA, the company who owns the rights to Star Wars games, who have been heavily focused on the multiplayer market, particularly with their Star Wars: Battlefront series. While these games do well at what they’re aiming for, if you’re not fussed about owning a random stranger with a blaster or occasionally a lightsaber, they’re don’t offer too much. Despite some promising cancelled projects, including one by Uncharted’s Amy Hennig, Respawn, the brains behind the acclaimed Titanfall series were chosen as the custodians of Lucas’s legacy, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is what they came up with.
When you boot up the game, that familiar Lucasfilm motif does suck you in, and is the first of many examples of audio magic, which really ground you in the Star Wars universe. The music too, occasionally dipping into John Williams’ back catalogue, is masterful, as is the level art. Whoever did the background and level designs on this game deserves a well-earned round of applause – the imaginative landscapes, the subdued palette and the glorious lighting all combine to create one of the best looking games in this generation (sadly the player models are the only negative here). Now, of course, with the impressive range of material on offer, it does help entice the player, especially with the nostalgia the game likes to indulge in.
While the visuals and audio do an amazing job, the gameplay sadly feels like a bit of a let down. The decision to take on a lesser version of Dark Souls/Sekiro-style combat is a conscious one, but takes away some of the magic. Understandably you don’t want to let the player have all the powers and abilities immediately, but the slow dolling out of even things as simple as a force push feels unnecessary. The lightsaber combat feels held back, and though it could be said, more realistic, waving a laser sword isn’t exactly normal, so not letting the player have a bit more fun with it seems like a mistake. The climbing sections aren’t particularly exciting either, though they are often saved by some impressive cinematography.
Much of the fun of a Star Wars game is the story, and on this front, Respawn do pretty well, with a good sense of progression and development, and in true Lucas style, a big old McGuffin. However, the crew of your ship do seem a bit lacklustre and the plot towards the end feels rather rushed. A good example of this is the introduction of a charismatic new crew member – who is only unveiled in the last 1/4 of the game, which feels like such a waste. That said, it may be that previous games, such as KOTOR and its sequel, have spoiled us with their well-rounded cast of characters, and it must be said the introduction had us on the edge of our seats.
Overall, this is a fun romp through the Star Wars universe, and while the combat and gameplay might not be the force grip you had hoped for, it’s still an adventure that’ll have you and your R2 unit beeping happily for several hours.