A long time ago, in a distant galaxy, the one between the Star Wars universe and the world of video games was an explosive mixture. From the big tie-ins for Super Nintendo to the adventures of Dash Rendar on the beloved old 64, the saga of George Lucas has been a veritable breeding ground of emotions, putting us in command of the raids of Rogue Squadron and dragging fans into the heart of the seductive life of Darth Revan.
Then something has changed. The intersections between Jedi Outcast’s lightsabers and the complex patterns woven by Bioware started to disappear slowly, while the love for myth gave way to the pursuit of fashions. The philosophical imprint of Star Wars, according to the public, has slowly passed to the Dark Side, a tendency culminating with the scandal of the micro-transactions that involved the launch of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, not to mention the premature cancellation of the ambitious project signed Amy Hennig and Visceral Games.
But just when everything seemed to be lost, new hope appeared on the horizon. Respawn Entertainment, undoubtedly one of the best studios in the arsenal of Electronic Arts, has in fact announced Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order , a title baptized with the daunting task of staging what so many Padawans have been waiting for too long, or a plunge headlong into the Gospel according to Lucas. And Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order , we can guarantee it, exudes the atmosphere of the saga from the very first beats.
As per tradition, a slice of space illuminated with stars is crossed by a giant spaceship, raising the curtain on what is only the first of many magnetic backdrops, treated in detail and extremely respectful of the mythology of the series. A merchant federation ship lies inert land, an imperial probe droid floats around the structures, while the protagonist Cal Kestis takes his first steps in a spaceport that seems to come from a wide angle of the original trilogy.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Treated version:
- Availability: November 15th on PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC
Survived the purge of Order 66, the young Jedi lives undercover to escape the attention of the Imperial Inquisition, a group linked to the Sith that carries on the extermination started by Palpatine at the height of the Clone Wars. As a star is setting on the breathtaking horizon of the spaceship cemetery, an imperial transport escorted by the inevitable TIE Interceptor bursts into the stillness of twilight, unleashing an inferno of iron and fire on the wreckage of the Cruisers.
This is how Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order begins, with a heart-pounding action scene in the heart of a setting that is as beautiful as it is dynamic, as if to remember a sequence torn from the borders of Uncharted. Rejecting blaster blasts and whirling with the lightsaber, Cal Kestis snaps into the agitated sequence-shot interacting with the scenario, throwing himself into the void and claiming victims among the unfortunate stormtroopers, exalted by a beginning with a bang that keeps the ritual of George Lucas alive.
It is only later, however, that Respawn’s latest effort shows his true face: it is never nice to make comparisons but if Sekiro of From Software and Tomb Raider of Crystal Dynamics were to have a child, the child would be called Jedi: Fallen Order. In fact, behind the action segments, intricate interconnected maps are hidden, dotted with fearsome enemies, well thought out puzzles, hidden areas, lots of shortcuts and some boss fights. In short, all the ingredients necessary to try out a recipe with flakes.
If it is evident that the deadly lightsaber battles draw heavily from the more classical soulslike tradition, staging parry, dodges and counterattacks, the “Circles of Meditation” intervene to dispel any doubts about creative inspiration. Just like it happened at the bonfires of Dark Souls and the idols of Sekiro, these particular checkpoints are not limited to recharging the “stim” available to the protagonist, or the treatments to be exploited in battle, but they even make all the enemies present in the world reappear of play.
In the same way the developers have concocted an excellent level design mosaic that mixes the beauty of the boundless Star Wars-themed landscapes with the typical coherence of the interconnected world, exploiting parkour, climbing and shortcuts to mitigate the exploration of open maps, or better, of each open planet. From the verdant forests of Kashyyyk to the twisted bramble that is Dathomir, every landing of the Mantis ship turns the spotlight on different and colorful landscapes, the perfect backgrounds to unleash all the power of the Force.
The celestial bodies are small treasure chests guarded by fearsome predators and imperial raiders, elaborate labyrinths that have given designers the opportunity to weave the skills of the protagonist with the elements of the scenography, hiding kilos of “lore” and quintals of rewards in each ravine. Among the ruins of alien civilizations real temples arise in which to exploit the Jedi abilities to overcome puzzles of excellent caliber and never predictable, to reach vast forgotten crypts that delicately collect the legacy of Lara Croft.
A natural consequence of this structure is a progression system that does not just influence the mastery of the lightsaber, but paves the way for a healthy dose of backtracking to reach areas that are initially inaccessible because, for example, Cal could not move an object too heavy. Does it remind you of something? Well, it is clear that the soul of Jedi Fallen Order is particularly close to that of the classic action adventures that made the sixth generation of consoles unforgettable.
On the other hand it is impossible not to include in the equation the incalculable added value of the Star Wars universe. If already a simple gesture like the extraction of the lightsaber is enough and advances to make some brividino run along the spine, we leave you to imagine what we have tried discovering that it is possible to activate the double blade just like Darth Maul did. And it is only a small aesthetic detail among the dozens of atmospheric passages that mark the progress of the plot. Yeah, the plot …
The Jedi narrative: Fallen Order draws heavily from the present and past mythology of Star Wars, not only treating characters like the Saw Gerrera of Rogue One and planets of the caliber of Ilum, but digging into the expanded universe to exhume elements unknown to the plus, over all the Sisters of the Night of Dathomir. But if the galaxy of Lucas remains a gigantic creative mine, the writers of Respawn have not been able to dodge the inexorable process of “Disneyzzazione”, orchestrating a script that is limited to play the most classic and flat of the homework.
Despite the design of the characters at the limit of the teen-drama, except for the splendid BD-1 droid, it is sufficient to see a TIE fighter that shoots a few centimeters from the coppery canopy of Cal to preserve the magic of the saga and sustain the plot shaky. In the end, that of Jedi Fallen Order is an honest, straightforward, no-frills experience. It holds the promise of making a fun and immersive journey into the Star Wars universe, but it does so without pursuing transcendental innovations or, unfortunately, overly complicating life with writing and systems.
Because, on balance, not even the combat system manages to shine for cleanliness. Don’t get us wrong: reaping Stormtrooper hordes and combining Force with typically soulslike mechanics is very satisfying, but Respawn’s work is not as well cared for as From Software’s projects. Often the adversaries are equipped with a homicidal tracking that leads them to rotate on themselves before delivering a blow, the animations of the slashes clash with the rhythm of the clashes, while dubious interpenetrations end up penalizing the arenas, drawing an experience that is yes challenging, but not for the right reasons.
Put simply, it seems that Vince Zampella’s study just missed the time needed to complete the finishing work. Suffice it to say that if all the areas were built like the planet Zeffo, a map with one of the best level designs among those encountered in the whole generation, we would find ourselves in front of a real milestone of the action, but the neck of narrative bottle arrives rather quickly, and to make him company comes some technical smear.
Which is completely justifiable, because the attention of the team has poured into giving life to the panoramas, the interiors, the sounds and every single element that orbits the imagery of Star Wars. The transitions at the time of landing on the planets follow the cinematographic counterparts, the sound design is simply perfect and the care given to the details of the lightsaber leaves you speechless. In case you were wondering, it is even possible to customize the hilt, the emitter and the color and then cross it with those wielded by the Sith, all while being lulled by some note of the unmistakable original score.
In short, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the epitome of the traditional action video game: a simple, fun and festive adventure that earns thousands of points thanks to the beneficial thrust of the saga. It is undoubtedly the best interpretation of George Lucas’s imagery among the most recent ones, a must for lovers who do not fail to extract some bunny from the cylinder. But if it is evident that Respawn Entertainment has all the cards in order to create a real Star Wars themed masterpiece, this time we had to settle “only” for a great video game.