We had our doubts going in but after our hands-on time with Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, those doubts are gone and this game has some SERIOUS GOTY potential. This game is bigger and deeper than we initially anticipated and truly does justice to the universe that so many of us love.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order marks the first major Star Wars single-player experience since 2008 (with the exception of Battlefront which offered a single-player narrative, though that wasn't its focus), and it does this brand proud. Prima Games recently played over 3 hours of the latest Star Wars experience by transforming into the young Jedi in training: Cal Kestis. As the galaxy seeks to eradicate the Jedi, Cal must fight to survive and become the Jedi master he was meant to be.
Respawn has stated in the past that Fallen Order's main objective is to challenge players in their desire to explore. With my time with the game, I felt that immediately. From the second my boots stepped down on Zeffo, my heart wanted to explore every nook and cranny. The locales were stunningly beautiful, traversal was fluid and offers a brand of freedom that Star Wars fans will cherish. From taking on Zeffonian temples, to trying our luck at the insanely dangerous Dathomir, there was a lot to explore within my limited time with the game, and I already am itching to dive back in.
As a long-time BioWare fan, I was ecstatic to see how much this played like a BioWare title. There were a lot of familiar Mass Effect feels both with the mechanics and the narrative flow, while also unintentionally paying homage to the BioWare entries into the Star Wars-verse that are highly beloved by many. There was a richness to every aspect of Fallen Order that shows how much care and attention to detail the team did when approaching this single-player adventure. As producer Blair Brown told me, "We worked with LucasFilm throughout this entire project to make sure it was done right." When I asked what it was like trying to navigate all of the lore changes, he added "It wasn't difficult at all. We were on the phone with LucasFilm almost daily, the support was always there."
Though this game was very clearly Respawn and stands in its own right, I also immediately felt Legend of Zelda vibes with the intricate puzzles seen in-game, the exploration felt very similar to that of games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted, and boss fights felt pretty similar to that of God of War. Basically, Respawn created their own adventure that not only gives Star Wars fans something uniquely new, but also something that offers us the best parts of many of our favorite games from the past. From the subtle directional hints, to the traversal exploration as seen through wall jumping (hello, TitanFall), ice-sliding, and rope climbing - the freedom of Fallen Order was breathtaking and challenging in a way that pushes the player to keep going rather than feeling frustrated.
Cal can also be upgraded through an easy-to-use skill tree system that allows him to grow not only as a Jedi, but as an explorer as well. The ability to grow his force powers, his health capacity, his basic melee skills - the fluidity of progression felt natural and rewarding. It also allows for the desire of replayability with certain skills he can unlock that will allow players passage to previously blocked off areas. That big hallway that looked like it hid some spiffy secrets? Unlock certain skills and you can see what finds await, which was pretty fun when seeing just how detailed these explorable worlds truly are.
Also, can I just say how much I'm in love with BD-1, Cal's handy dandy android? Because I am. BD-1 is small and cute but incredibly helpful. It can provide useful scans for a way out of a precarious situation, it can help decode memory sequences that Cal can find in order to piece together the troubled history of those that walked before him, it can even help with solving those puzzles that are just challenging enough to make you grit your teeth in concentration. BD-1 is helpful and adorable and really, what more could you want from a companion?
Game Director Stig Asmussen told us that Fallen Order truly is about Cal's journey into becoming a Jedi, but the path of that transformation is rife with trials and tribulations. Challenging boss fights, hidden secrets uncovered, and a dedication to learning new skills is key but Respawn handled it with ease, making that evolution feel empowering and incredibly satisfying.
As far as how Jedi Fallen Order fits into the overall Star Wars universe, the game takes place after Episode III where it was very much the world against the Jedi. Cal is joined by quite a few companions, including Cere and Greez, and that companionship seen throughout my time with the game was a truly organic Star Wars feel. Greez was a hilarious Latero that - from the little time we had with the game - was very much that sidekick that has the witty one-liners and has that lovable grandpa feel.
Cere, on the other hand, is an incredibly mysterious character and one that takes Cal under her wing. A former Jedi with a story of her own, Cere is one of those aspects to Fallen Order that makes this game multi-faceted in a way that single-player games should aspire to be.
We have some more deep dives coming soon, as well as interviews with the game's lead combat designer and producer, so keep it tuned in here at PrimaGames for more about the latest Respawn title. As for the game itself, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order drops on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 15, 2019.