We take this day to remember the Battle of Yavin which ultimately rid the Galaxy of the first Death Star (whoops, spoilers for a film made before most reading this article - and me - were born. My bad.) But what about the side adventures that happened both immediately before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope? Well, there are explorations of some, most notably in the films Rogue One and Solo. But today I’m going to take a look at a more unsung, but in my mind, equally prescient exploration of Star Wars’ ‘lost era’ in the form of 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
As is hopefully evident through the numerous Star Trek articles I write, I am huge on that franchise, but also this. As my recent play through of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will hopefully attest, I even have a love for the more critically lambasted entries into the saga (eyes are on you Rise of Skywalker - although I’m happy to skip Solo on rewatches).
This interquel follows a new cast of characters. First up is Force wielder Cal Kestus. In the time immediately following the rise of the Galactic Empire, when Jedi are all but extinct and those not are vigorously hunted courtesy of Emporer Palpatine and Order 66. He has to visit many worlds in pursuit of training in the Force under the tutelage of his master, Cere Junda.
This approach will no doubt be familiar to those who, like me, have played the Knights of the Old Republic games to death. OK, the third KOTOR wasn’t the greats the other two were, but as the song says ‘well two out of three ain’t bad’. However, before I continue, a warning is in order.
It is by Electronic Arts. A movie franchise tie-in game with a single-player focus.I can imagine that your mind could already be filling with wherever you sit on the fence about in-game micro-transactions and such tie in games. I am here to unequivocally say there is no need to worry. Micro transactions will in no way ruin your experience with the game due to their absence. You shall never be forced to find the 3 magic numbers behind your card to get the right shade of Purple on a Lightsaber.
The gameplay borrows heavily from Bloodbourne. Very combat skill-focused and rewarding the player for the skill behind each kill. With the feature of if you are killed and on your next play through, manage to kill your killer, you get the points they accrued through causing your death. It must be noted that many would like to see Bloodborne updated to include an easy mode. I myself found it as easy as running face-first into a wall at full pelt. Star Wars Jedi seems to be about as close as we are ever going to get to it. It is fully enjoyable and rarely if ever a cakewalk.
In fact, there is one sequence making up a tiny part of one level involving a sequence of highly coordinated jumps. Thanks to my Ataxia, it took about two days. Then there is a ground battle with an AT-ST. But in both cases, the sheer joy and elation of getting past those challenges is something to behold.
Also if you’ll let me be controversial a minute, taking down an AT-ST while on foot is a bit more difficult here than it is on the equally well-received Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (a review of which can also be found RIGHT HERE at Robot Republic).
I will not mention the ending boss battle with the Second Sister without mentioning it is also incredibly difficult. But just as with crafting your own Lightsaber, incredibly rewarding. The lightsaber probably will not leave you quite as dead every few minutes though.
The gameplay utilises platforming in a manner reminiscent of the Tomb Raider remake trilogy and Super Mario Odyssey. I feel it does these well and perhaps it is just me, but maybe if the elements can be replicated so well so often, could it be time for platform games to make a resurgence? I personally would hope so. Frankly, my game of 2017 was Christian Whitehead’s Sonic Mania. A game I love to this day. Just saying, look to the past for gaming’s future.
Speaking of looking to the past for the future of gaming, I am sheer stunned by this game. I have trouble believing I am about to type this, but EA managed to develop a very high quality and micro-transaction free game. While I had slight niggles in that it did not include some standards of Star Wars (the end scene has dialogue and it does not end with a fast ellipse into the credits. The nerve!!). This title deserves your time for sure, an unsung hit with a huge franchise tag if there ever was one.
With the news from January of 2022 that development on a sequel is well underway (and the fact the story here seems to lend itself to further development)), I am optimistically buoyed by this news and will happily await whenever the resulting game drops.
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