Two out of three ain’t bad.
I spent some of my holiday time in the Star Wars universe in three different ways : The Movie, the new single player video game, and the the old Star Wars MMO. They were all different experiences and two were great, one not so much. And, in true “shit sandwich” style, I will go good-bad-good and do it over three different posts.
Just to get it out of the way, the three are Jedi:Fallen Order (game), Star Wars:The Last Skywalker, and Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic MMO.
First, the good.
Outside of some screen shots, this will be generally spoiler free. Jedi Fallen Order is a single player game from Respawn which is a “traversal” style RPG. The gameplay falls into one of four categories, and in this order of abundance : Traversal, Combat, Cutscenes, Collecting/RPG.
It is a game that starts you off slow and introduces you to the various elements at a near perfect pace (in my humble opinion) and the combat has a few different difficulties available which makes the whole thing manageable if you are struggling with it. I played the combat on “Story Mode” as that was the piece I was most interested in.
The controls are well done, and the environments are absolutely gorgeous – and varied. Often I would walk (instead of run) just to look around and take it all in. There are great story moments all around – Cal (your character) has a force power that can read the “echo” of an item or place – recalling a recent memory there. This goes a long way to some gorgeous world building, stories that make the planets that much more alive.
And its a good thing too – because the world is built around “traversal”, and puzzles to get from point A to point B – the planets themselves are built just for that. In a village on a planet (again, keeping things spoiler free) you would have to be a monkey to get from point A to point B. Maybe it was a village of monkeys style aliens, who knows. However, the Empire was able to get troops around. The spaces are not designed to be realistic inhabited places (or bases), just obstacles from point A to point B. Which is a big part of the gameplay (and the part I care(d) about the least). For me it was the obstacle to the next story bit.
The companions have little to do with the gameplay but enhance the story – and as you get to know them a bit more as the game goes on you do appreciate what they add to the game. They may feel a bit familiar in some ways, but the game goes into enough detail to make them interesting. Except the third, which joins late when there isn’t much time to get to know them as you finish through the epic adventure.
And Epic it is. It is the perfect Star Wars style adventure with some truly awe-inspiring moments. Things I didn’t see coming that literally made me gasp and be completely immersed and excited with what was going on.
Short, and very clearly, this story was better than the Star Wars : The Last Skywalker story by heaps, leaps, bounds – hell, any measurement you like. Bolding and italicizing but not spoiling. I’ll go into what I didn’t like about SW:TLJ in my next post, but safe to say if they released this story as a movie it would fit perfectly into the SW universe before the disaster of the last trilogy. Rogue One style, for example.
I don’t like traversal games as a favorite, but muddled through it to get the next story-bits. The combat had some truly spectacular lightsaber moves that I enjoyed (until the 50th time the graphic went off with the same move). So rating this I’d go:
- Story 9 (would be a 10 except for an abrupt ending part I didn’t particularly love)
- Traversal 7
- Combat 8
- Collection / RPG 7
I suspect someone who likes traversal games and the kind of combat this game presents to score it higher, but it’s just not my style. That being said, I will buy any expansions, DLC, or sequels Respawn decides to do with it. #heretakemymoney
Next post will explore how a video game company does a better job than some of the biggest actors, producers, and directors on the planet – well, the galaxy, actually.