The lat­est Star Wars game, Jedi: Fall­en Order, is unlike any oth­er one before it. How­ev­er, much like the rest, it does­n’t ful­ly touch base with the movies, but tells a sto­ry of a sin­gle Jedi try­ing to bring back order in all the chaos.

You play as Cal Kestis, a for­mer Padawan who went into hid­ing on an Impe­r­i­al ship after the Jedi Purge, which takes place dur­ing the Revenge of the Sith film. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, cir­cum­stances occur which push Cal to use his Force pow­ers, reveal­ing his loca­tion to Sith, thus begin­ning your jour­ney.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid

After escap­ing Brac­ca with the help of a few friends, Cal comes across a lit­tle droid by the name BD‑1. He’s the key to every­thing in this game, fig­u­ra­tive­ly and some­times lit­er­al­ly. BD‑1 rides on Cal’s back for the entire adven­ture, and a great rela­tion­ship is formed while these two trav­el the plan­ets. How­ev­er, he does more than just lend an ear and make a few jokes. Dur­ing com­bat, BD has a stash of Stims that give Cal health when he asks for it.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the rest of com­bat in Jedi: Fall­en Order, is not as amaz­ing as BD. There’s noth­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly reward­ing about it, since every­thing you do is rather lim­it­ed to your Force bar. All the Force pow­ers and skills you unlock along the way are tied to this bar. Once it depletes, you have to wait for it to recov­er or put points into skills that gain Force dur­ing bat­tles or per­ma­nent­ly increase it. Even so, it’s still restrict­ing while in a fight, mak­ing for bor­ing com­bat. You nev­er get a true sense of what’s it’s like to be a pow­er­ful Jedi, and isn’t that the point?

Basic Stormtroop­ers are easy to van­quish

Ear­ly on, ene­mies can be a hand­ful, espe­cial­ly in num­bers or when they sur­prise you. Elite Troop­ers pose the most threat through­out, since their attacks are extreme­ly fast and block­ing them is dif­fi­cult. In games sim­i­lar to this, pre­cise­ly tim­ing your blocks gives you an advan­tage, like deal­ing dam­age back to that ene­my or stag­ger­ing them. This isn’t the case here. Timed blocks don’t stag­ger all ene­mies and those that do leave a small win­dow for you to attack.

The sta­mi­na bar marks how many hits you can block before you take dam­age. A cou­ple ene­mies have this same bar, and deplet­ing it makes your next attack deal its full dam­age. Aside from block­ing, Cal is a mas­ter at avoid­ing dam­age. He can dodge most attacks and the Pre­ci­sion Evade skill is par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful for keep­ing dam­age to a min­i­mum. Ene­my dam­age isn’t the only kind that can be dealt to you. Miss­ing a jump or get­ting smacked off a ledge means you’re tak­ing a bit of dam­age for falling.

In the end, com­bat isn’t near­ly as enter­tain­ing as it was in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which is rather dis­ap­point­ing.

Com­bat isn’t the only lack lus­ter piece of this game. All the plan­ets you trav­el to are laid out like a maze. This would­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly be a prob­lem, if the holomap BD‑1 pro­vides you was­n’t such a waste. The cam­era when view­ing the map is some­what fixed, so maneu­ver­ing it to the area you want to see is a major pain. There’s also sev­er­al lev­els, and high­light­ing areas below lev­el one require you switch to that lev­el (if you’re not already on it). It’s also quite dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish dif­fer­ent parts of an area with­out rotat­ing the cam­era a bunch.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid

Actu­al­ly tra­vers­ing the plan­ets are just as, or more, frus­trat­ing than the holomap. There is no fast trav­el sys­tem, and the “short­cuts” they pro­vide you don’t do enough to make trav­el short­er. Get­ting back to the Man­tis (your ship) can some­times take 10–15 min­utes. Longer if you haven’t unlocked any short­cuts or are a great dis­tance away from it.

That being said, long trav­el isn’t the only time con­sum­ing part of Jed: Fall­en Order. There’s also plen­ty of time spent load­ing these areas, some­times under the guise of ele­va­tor use or slopes you ride down on. Most of these areas load in, or occa­sion­al­ly have poor tex­tures upon enter­ing.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid
The tree leaves tex­ture isn’t so great

How­ev­er, there are some areas that load slow­er than the ini­tial load­ing time. There’s an ele­va­tor that real­ly stands out in my mind when it comes to this issue and it hap­pens every time. The first time I did­n’t notice the area was­n’t loaded, and stepped out­side the ele­va­tor door only to end up free-falling for near­ly 5 min­utes. At that point, the game final­ly reg­is­tered what hap­pened, forc­ing me to take dam­age from a “missed jump” and reset­ting me back to the top of the plat­form.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid
The plat­form out­side the door isn’t loaded

This is far from the only bug. There is a mas­sive amount of frame loss through­out the game, espe­cial­ly on the first plan­et you encounter, Bogano. It seems the game loads in chunks, even though there is load­ing time before you drop into a plan­et. Cramped fight­ing spaces can end up with bad cam­era angles, and the cam­era does­n’t move fast enough to adjust before you take dam­age. You can’t stand close to any object when open­ing the holomap, or a por­tion of it will be cov­ered by that object. There’s a par­tic­u­lar slope that, when rid­ing down it, is too short to catch the next slide. I fell so many times in this spe­cif­ic spot, that I had to respawn at the last save after los­ing all my Stims. Need­less to say, I was­n’t hap­py.

Anoth­er rather irri­tat­ing aspect of Jedi: Fall­en Order, is the save sys­tem. You can’t just save any­where (this is a huge pet peeve of mine), forc­ing you to push for­ward to the next save, or going back to one you’ve passed already. These save points also count as a place to unlock skills and rest. Rest­ing gives you back any Stims you may have used, but also respawns all ene­mies on that plan­et. Choos­ing the best time to rest can mean less has­sle in the long run. If you die before you reach anoth­er save point, the ene­my that killed you will be hold­ing all your skill points, health and Force. Find­ing that ene­my and deal­ing any dam­age to it will grant you your items.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid

Graph­i­cal­ly speak­ing, the game doesn’t look as appeal­ing as I had hoped. Although, plan­ets do have beau­ti­ful archi­tec­ture, with exquis­ite stat­ues, engraved murals on the walls, mas­sive tombs and exot­ic flo­ra. All the mark­ings of a Star Wars envi­ron­ment. How­ev­er, cutscenes suf­fer from voic­es not sync­ing with char­ac­ter lip move­ment, which brings you right out of immer­sion.

I did take off motion blur, film grain and chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion in the visu­al set­tings. Motion blur is nev­er enjoy­able, and tak­ing off the oth­ers helped some­what with the frame loss. There’ also a per­for­mance set­ting, which does make the game smoother, but comes with a graph­i­cal hit from 4K to 1080p.

Find­ing col­lectibles is usu­al­ly a favorite activ­i­ty of mine, but in Jedi: Fall­en Order, it’s more of a has­sle. As men­tioned before, tra­vers­ing these maps is painstak­ing, so seek­ing out col­lectibles is more work than it is fun. Stim can­is­ters and essences are the most impor­tant items to look for. Every time you find a Stim box, it per­ma­nent­ly increas­es the amount of Stims BD‑1 can car­ry. Essences are col­lect­ed in sets of threes, and when com­plet­ing a set per­ma­nent­ly increas­es your life or Force bar.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid
Stim box

There appears to be plen­ty of cus­tomiza­tion, but in real­i­ty, it’s pret­ty lim­it­ed. BD and the Man­tis have their own skins. Cal has a few base out­fits and a num­ber of pon­chos to choose from and you can cus­tomize the han­dle of your lightsaber. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you only have two options for the col­or of your saber until way lat­er in the game. It used to be one of my favorite parts of The Force Unleashed, hunt­ing down dif­fer­ent col­ored crys­tals so I could switch to what­ev­er I want­ed.

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Man and His Droid

While Star Wars Jedi: Fall­en Order isn’t like oth­er Star Wars titles, it does have shin­ing moments. The sto­ry can be cap­ti­vat­ing at times and the scenery def­i­nite­ly brings you to anoth­er world. But some of the choic­es Respawn made mechan­ic wise, are not so enjoy­able. There’s no fast trav­el sys­tem and hav­ing to save at spe­cif­ic loca­tions, are major neg­a­tives. The most redeem­ing qual­i­ty of the game is the whole­some rela­tion­ship between Cal and BD‑1.