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Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order Review (Legolas_Katarn)

1 post in this topic

Played on the PC

Fallen Order has locations that can be enjoyable to travel through but combat that can't come close to the better games in the genre and rushed plot and character development. You are not going to be using the force in either powerful or interesting ways, the most interesting thing you will find in the entire second half of the game is some gloves that make you climb faster.

Your passive force power of sensing memories is a nice way to get history and cultural information, combined with your droid scans to tell you about tech or creatures. Fascism of Empire somewhat explored with disinterest in casualties, evictions/deportations, slaves, worker exploitation, stealing artifacts. It's pretty, all the AAA games are pretty, they are always pretty now, we've even made Gears of War pretty. It's typically well acted, even if you do have three pretty boring cliches as main characters. Your hair blows a lot in the wind and when fighting, he knows this, and sometimes fixes it after a fight or action. Planets and locations are varied enough or see enough change as you go through and climbing is never an overly lengthy undertaking making traversing the planets as you go through them the first time enjoyable.

The main character, Cal, is a somewhat broody boring 20 something human white guy with a blue lightsaber that is more personable after he finds his droid buddy, then he is more broody after he is lied to, then gets over that and is friendlier again. He goes beyond being the most generic video game protagonist you can make, to also being the most generic Star Wars protagonist you can make. His growth as a character is rushed through. He told the droid to prevent the sexy enemy Jedi with a voice I find soothing from hacking into his comm line to make threatening comments, cementing my dislike of him. The droid beeps, he is small, he sometimes does amusing things, saves you with his droid tech abilities, you get the feeling he can be a bit of a smart ass, so he's a generic small Star Wars droid that teams up with a Jedi basically which by default makes him more easy to like than the others. Former Jedi character who is taking you on your journey was a Jedi but then cut herself off from the force to not be bad Jedi, cause the evil darkness and this ain't KOTOR 2, and she now waits in the ship for you to do everything. Short four armed alien character that is there to be a cowardly Han Solo tells me that he used to only care about himself before running into the rest of us changed him, I think we had only spoken about four times before that event where we exchanged no dialogue of any importance. I suppose we've become like a family through our long trips back and forth from planets over and over again, shame I can't see any of that actual development or moments of down time, going back to character development seeming rushed.

Character development aside the actual plot is that you are all idiots on a quest to do something that is obviously monumentally stupid and driven by their self loathing. In a galaxy with an order dedicated to hunting Jedi and able to almost immediately be where they are if they feel any use of the force, you all think it's great idea to gather a hidden nonsensical list of force sensitive children to force them all together under your training to overthrow the empire, self loathing of the main characters aside this seems like the worst possible thing you could do. An interview said they didn't want to make the main character an alien or woman because they wanted him to be relatable and some of the current movies already have women making up about 1/3 or a 1/4 of the main characters, so naturally the nightsister who joins you at the end is the only likable one that tells you that your objective seems like a terrible idea and the only one I would ever want to see again in another Star Wars property. I wouldn't think her personality or some of the things she says make sense for her backstory and being a nightsister but she is adorable and not an idiot so I don't care.

She asks you basic questions, that I've been thinking about the whole time, that no one else really has an answer to. Things like, "How will you protect the children?" "Do you know how to train people?" "Would the Empire know about this hidden list of force sensitive children if you didn't start looking for it in the first place?" "So you're going to force children to fight a war for you with the alternative being to be killed when discovered?" Questions that really highlight the problems the prequels caused where the Jedi are incompetent, weak willed, manipulative, basically evil child abducting weirdos and that any story about rebuilding the order is going to be as asinine and unrelatable as games like Homefront or movies like The Postman wanting to bring back America just as corrupt, unequal, and nuclear weapon happy as it was before. Let's tell all the children about being peaceful and how using your powers to kill things will turn you into the dark evilness and then let's get to killing. It's really odd that she took your word for it that the Jedi were peacekeepers and that you weren't the reason all her people were killed, because, you're clearly a bad person hiding behind your creepy religious order's bullshit hypocritical teachings to justify forced conscription and a lot of killing of an organization that she knows nothing about.

The game is set up somewhat like a metroidvania, except it clearly has no real desire to be one. The only thing you will tend to find in out of the way areas is lore and mostly ugly cosmetic items you will have no use for. This is not anywhere near reason enough to have you traveling back and forth between planets and running back and forth to your ship because they didn't allow for fast travel. This seems like something you would do to say that your, already perfectly acceptably lengthy game, is even longer to appeal to people not wanting to buy single player only games at full price. In general you will see and find nothing of value from backtracking, exploration tends to only be new and interesting as you are progressing through new areas. In wanting to be like Dark Souls they borrowed momentary loss of XP earned after your last checkpoint on death until you do damage to the enemy that killed you, I haven't seen this system so pointlessly and ineffectually implemented since Hollow Knight. Just like that game, this never caused me to lose me XP, and if it did it would have been nothing more than a strangely implemented annoyance you could easily grind to get back. Obvious shortcuts can see you falling through platforms to be told you fell off a cliff, even though the map is loaded and those are platforms you can and will stand on after taking the longer way to them.

I saw a lot of people saying to play this on the harder difficulties and people saying to put it on story mode. I should have put it on story mode. It's still very easy on hard, it's just boring as you awkwardly kill your enemies after a ridiculous number of hits. Fighting human opponents is passable, probably at its best when you are blocking a lot of enemy blaster fire. Combat in general is at its best when you find openings during or after enemy attacks to get a blow in when they can't block, even on hard some human enemies do die in one or two hits. When you have to wale on enemies to break their guard to get one blow in before their meter fully recharges it's monotonous. The most effective move is to do running (an action Cal doesn't always respond to well) attacks at enemies, it does high damage, has good range, might not be blocked, does decent guard damage if it is blocked, and requires no force to use. You want to take down the fascist empire, deflect blaster shots while running along walls and sliding down steep slopes, toss storm troopers off cliffs, and get into duels with enemies trained to kill you? Well, too bad, the game is unfortunately obsessed with you fighting bugs and small and large animals and doesn't have much in the way of different enemies. Just what you've always wanted to do with a lightsaber, just like how you want to fight robots as Wolverine.

Your lightsaber handles more like a club as you keep smacking these often large creatures 10-15 times to kill them, sometimes before it plays an animation out where you cut off a body part of your enemy. You learn very few combat related skills over the course of the game so the three hit combo, dodge, and roll you start with is pretty much how you will handle all of your battles. You get a double sided lightsaber that is faster and does less damage, I don't really know why you would use it. One of the very few combat moves you can unlock is the ability to do a kick after dodging. A fairly slow kick that makes no sense to do ever but it ends up being really funny because there are so few enemy types and a lot of them are large creations or large droids.

The game has abysmal lock on and target prioritization combined with an awkward camera when anything is above you. It will refuse to lock onto enemies that are high, low, or more than 10 feet away from you, change lock-ons in odd ways, and if you aren't locked on you will often see your force powers automatically targeted at the worst possible enemy choice the game could have made. Eventually they thought it was a good idea to throw three or four of these larger creatures together to fight you, where they will of course conceal each others moves and clip through each other to hit you, you used to run into creatures fighting and damaging each other but now that they all want you dead the laws of physics just don't apply anymore. Luckily in what would be the most boring of these encounters they are only there to guard ugly cosmetics you have no reason to want, so you can usually just jump on a little ledge and ignore them.

You get a small assortment of force powers slow, push, pull, saber throw, and double jump. In combat they are of varied use depending on what you are fighting, some enemies are weak to certain powers while performing certain actions. You would think slowing time would be extremely useful except it is costly to use, stops as soon as you hit an enemy, and for some reason doesn't slow down their ability to turn and reorient themselves while under its effect. Sometimes it just doesn't seem to work, ignore incoming blaster shots (not that using your force to slow those is a practical use of your meter, problem with it being charged by kills is don't waste it on doing cool things) and sometimes it would slow a group of enemies and sometimes it would slow some targets but not all of the ones in the area it should effect. If it created something like an bubble in an arch that effected things that moved into that would have made it much more useful and a good choice of stopping gunshots (could even more easily throw in types of shots you can't block like the charged shots or the disruptor sniper rifles in the Jedi Knight games). The most use you are going to have for that power is to slow down fans you need to climb through or rotating machinery that you need to stand on as a bridge. Your force bar also doesn't recharge, it raises when you kill things, probably the strangest feature in a game where you are a Jedi (but you can just use your powers constantly to interact with navigation or puzzle elements). Your force powers are slow and weak to fit the slow and awkward combat and some of the very few combat abilities you get like swing overhead and running and slashing at an enemy require force to use. I didn't know slowly raising my arms above my head and bringing them down made me a Jedi. I imagine the problem these games have with limited powers after games like Jedi Knight come back to the limited number of buttons on a console controller where every power needs its own button dedicated to it or button combination.

The puzzle are not good, you are of course prevented from using your lightsaber and force powers in logical ways that would get you through them. I might have glitched my way through two of them, one from them I think they put button to close to me on the other side of a wall and let me push it through a crack in the wall (obvious you should just be able to do this with the force but the lack of an animation and a 10 second freeze made me think it didn't want me to do what I did) and one from outsmarting the game by doing an obvious thing it tried to stop me from doing. Puzzles might have you throwing fire into vines to burn them away so you can get to the climbable vines that look less climbable than what you just burned, or rolling large balls with force push and air currents onto platforms that they will give power to (how else would you design your mystical temples).

The game also feels fairly rushed with a lot of animation issues, characters seem to miss their cues in scripted events, and you can fall through or get stuck in a lot of objects.

Screenshots and additional thoughts

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