Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
They say that if you throw enough excrement in life, then eventually some will stick
Way back in 2013, Electronic Arts (EA) was granted the exclusive rights by Disney to produce games in the Star Wars universe. Since then they’ve been attempting to create a hit, with their efforts resulting in various games ranging from the incomplete game that was Star Wars: Battlefront to the frustrating Star Wars: Squadrons.
None of the games have hit the top levels of stardom and quality. There is no Metal Gear Solid in this catalogue, but there is a Tomb Raider, and it’s perhaps the one bright spot in the collection.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order feels like Lara Croft with lightsabres. The oddest part of this is that it works to some extent. It does feel like a chore at times but despite my grumblings and frustrations, it has potential.
In the 21st century, we do rather enjoy cute couple names. Here we have the affectionate name to which this Star Wars entry should be changed. It is a blend of Lara Croft’s exploratory adventures and the lightsabre swinging of George Lucas’ ever-growing franchise.
It is a game that focuses more on the side of Lara Croft than Star Wars, which took a while to get used to. The first few levels transported me (mentally) back to the beginning of Tomb Raider Underworld, where the game starts (spoilers!) with Croft mansion exploding followed by flashbacks to establish the story. This was more frustrating than enjoyable and given that I never completed said Tomb Raider game, a worrying idea.
This is not to say that the adventurous, Croft-style elements are dull. It is to say that they are frustrating and after an hour of running in circles in the jungle and only seeing bugs, you yearn for a stormtrooper.
The map is essential to avoid these frustrations but when you have ten angry ladybirds trying to eat you, it is not an option.
A greater level of pause opportunities would have been appreciated here. Maybe it is an age thing, but when the jungle elements look alarmingly simple, I would appreciate the opportunity to find my bearings.
Use the Force
Thankfully though, the game is not all jungle exploration. There are also some caves and a couple of imperial bases. If you’re looking for a slice and dice revenge spree on the Empire, then I would explore the Star Wars back catalogue in greater detail. This is not for you.
If what speaks to you is a game that rewards patience and blends genres, then this could be your ticket.
You are rewarded with battles against the Empire, which are enjoyable. More so for when they are pitted against a group of Storm Troopers. The feeling of successfully jumping to push a trooper off the edge, before swinging back to cut down his mate helps make you feel like Luke Skywalker.
The boss battles are when you feel a little letdown. Too often these froze when I was plaything through them. For the secondary boss battles, which are not provided with a cut scene, I found that I could walk around the corner and the boss would be stuck running through the door. In that position, I was able to easily destroy it until I felt as though I was cheating and decided to restart the level, as I believe in a fair fight.
The main bosses feel overpowered and a little laborious. They are not the hop, skip, and shot to the head, as they are in the current generation of Croft games. They are more, learn your lines and if you stray a little then you are doomed, to reduce the boss to one health point before you plummet to your death. They could definitely be frustrating.
I am currently sulking about a boss that I have been unable to get past. I have tried a few times and as I have a day job, I use this as my excuse for not going back to the adventure. I know that if I played consistently, then I could awaken my inner Jedi but the desire to sulk is too strong in this one.
Is it Enjoyable?
For all my negativity, it is fun. It is a good blend of the two games. Lara Croft meets Luke Skywalker would be the un-marketed name behind this game and it is one that I would still buy.
It feels as though Fallen Order was a trial of this style of game, particularly as it was a studio creating a Star Wars title for the first time. There are a few bugs and frustrations, namely relating to the 70/30 split between exploring caves and the jungle, compared to cutting down the Empire.
I purchased the game expecting more of the latter and instead I received more of the former. It is something that once you get into and understand the ebbs and flows you will enjoy, but it takes a while.
There is also a lot of backtracking and revisiting the same levels, which is fine. It takes you to new parts of the map, which is okay but really you want to continue progressing. I understand it but cannot say I ever looked forward to going back to cave number five.
A Final Thought
If I was to assign an arbitrary number to this game, then I would give it a six. Great ideas and thoughts but the balance is not quite there. This is one Star Wars game that is not one with the force. It is closer to Shadow of the Tomb Raider than Call of Duty in space. It is heavy on the exploration and battling of space bugs, rather than the Empire.
I would have preferred a 70/30 split in the other direction but you can’t have everything in life. The game is enjoyable in chunks, and though it's not got the draw of The Last of Us or any of the recent Tomb Raider games, it does entertain when it does not glitch out on you.
It is something that I would assume is going to get a sequel but who knows these days. I hope it does as I love Star Wars and this is a new idea and one that brings a smile to my face. These smiles may only be short-lived, but I enjoy trying something different and laying the foundations for the future.