For the past five years, Star Wars has been unavoidable, with its triumphant return to the big screen and a new TV show on Disney+. However, video game adaptations have been lacking, with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront releases falling short, and a number of promising projects being cancelled. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, released six years after securing the license, is EA’s first single-player, story-focused game in the franchise. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, it is one of the best Star Wars titles ever made.
The game’s open-ended structure, where players can choose where to go next, is a standout feature. The five different planets in the game are huge, sprawling environments that reveal secrets as players accrue further force powers. Learning various abilities opens up new pathways, rewarding investigative tendencies, and uncovering obscure pickups. Engaging in combat is a big part of the game, with mechanics similar to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, where well-timed parries, dodges, and blocks are crucial to success. Heavy attacks and force powers add depth, while a flashy system of moves, counters, and abilities encourage experimentation.
Meditation points, which act as checkpoints and allow players to restore health and stock up on supplies, seem heavily influenced by bonfires in Dark Souls, and the game’s use of vertical traversal, with wall running and climbing, feels reminiscent of Uncharted. Despite this, the combat feels unique and enjoyable, while the game’s open nature makes exploration a pleasure. The superb narrative follows Cal Kestis, a Jedi-in-hiding, on a quest to rebuild the Jedi Order, and takes place just after the prequel saga.
One of the standout elements of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the performance of Cameron Monaghan as Cal Kestis. Monaghan brings a nuanced depth to the character, portraying him as a complex individual struggling to come to terms with his past and his place in the world.
Throughout the game, Monaghan delivers a powerful and emotional performance that truly brings Cal to life. From his moments of self-doubt to his heroic acts of bravery, Monaghan portrays Cal as a fully-realised character with a wide range of emotions and motivations. He captures the essence of a Jedi. His delivery of Cal’s dialogue is imbued with a sense of quiet strength and determination, and he effortlessly conveys the sense of wisdom and serenity that are the hallmarks of the Jedi way.
Monaghan’s performance also shines during the game’s more action-packed moments. Whether he’s engaging in lightsaber combat or using his force powers to take down hordes of enemies, Monaghan brings a sense of physicality and athleticism to the role that is truly impressive. Its a nuanced portrayal of the character that adds depth and emotional weight to the game’s story.
Overall, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order borrows heavily from successful titles, but does enough to differentiate itself in the areas that matter most. It offers a unique and enjoyable combat system, an open-ended structure, and a superb narrative that connects everything together.