‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’ Is Strong With the Force

In the Star Wars universe, the Force is everywhere. It connects everyone to each other; it permeates all things, living and dead, mechanical and organic, solid, liquid, or gas. This makes it a powerful storytelling tool. The Force is a built-in metaphor machine, basically, a bellwether any Star Wars narrative can gesture toward to reinforce themes, build drama, or progress the story. In Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the Force is dark. It’s full of trauma, tragedy, resonant with a whole galaxy’s worth of suffering. That echo of pain is the background to a classic Star Wars setup: a handful of heroes against a galaxy of fascists, racing against time and impossible odds for a chance at hope.

It makes sense that Electronic Arts would release a Star Wars game at this juncture that hews so closely to the familiar beats of the franchise. As a game, Fallen Order is a Hail Mary for EA’s approach to the games. Up until now, the company’s releases have been scant and disappointing, to the point that it’s hard not to wonder why Disney’s Lucasfilm, a production house more than happy to part ways with collaborators performing below expectations, hasn’t cut the publisher loose. So, in what feels like an effort to restore its credibility, EA has handed the license to its most critically acclaimed development house, Respawn Entertainment, creators of the exceptional Titanfall series, in the hopes that Respawn absolutely nails it.

Fortunately for everyone involved: it does. With scant exception, Jedi: Fallen Order is a consummate Star Wars videogame, traditional in its approach to the material but so elegant in its craftsmanship that it feels worthy to stand with some of the best Star Wars games ever made. Respawn Entertainment proved with Titanfall 2 that it has a deft mastery of single-player design, and Jedi: Fallen Order only cements that pedigree.

In Jedi: Fallen Order, you play as Cal Kestis, a former Jedi Padawan in the space between the Empire’s ascent in Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV—A New Hope. Over the course of the game, you join up with a small crew helmed by a pilot named Greez and a captain named Cere, a former Jedi herself. Fighting against the Empire on a variety of planets, you must restore your full connection to the Force, growing as a warrior and a Jedi, while seeking out an artifact that could be crucial to the future of the Jedi Order and the galaxy as a whole.

The journey is handled deftly. Each planet is a densely knotted level, a miniature open world with winding linear paths and significant side digressions that unravel only as you progress in player skill and character ability. Much of the game is spent exploring, prodding at available paths and backtracking to brush past old dead ends with new abilities. These quiet periods of exploration and puzzle solving are interspersed with periodic chunks of combat and scripted set pieces that lay familiar types of Star Wars bombast on thick—exploding ships, giant alien creatures, lightsaber duels, and madcap chases. In its rhythms, the game plays like one of the modern-day Tomb Raider titles, with a duel interest in both exploration and storytelling, but broader and more player-directed. Again, it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s well made from top to bottom. Each planet feels distinct and compelling, and the level design offers a satisfying loop of discovery and recognition as you discover new hidden areas and the paths that connect them to places you’ve already been.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/star-wars-jedi-fallen-order-review