Title: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
The Grade: A+
Fallen Order Haiku Review
Jedi on the run
The Second Sister is cool
A red head Jedi?
What is it? Cal Kestis (voiced by Cameron Monaghan from “Gotham” and “Shameless”) is a former Jedi Padawan who has been laying low for years since Order 66 wiped out the Jedi Order. Cal has been hiding in plain sight, working as part of a scrapping crew, when he uses the Force to save a friend’s life. This draws the attention of the Empire’s Purge Troopers, led by the Force wielding Second Sister. Cal and some new friends are now on the run, trying to rebuild the Jedi Order.
The Good: “Fallen Order” grabs your attention right from the start as the game’s wide scope sets the an impressive tone. Starting out on the planet of Bracca, you quickly get a sense of the enormity of this new (to you) world. In the opening sequence, as you work your way through the remains of hulking vessels, “Fallen Order” wows with enormous set pieces that are mind-blowing in both size and authenticity.
“Fallen Order” makes you feel like you’re actually living in a part of the “Star Wars” universe you’ve never heard of, which is an amazing feat. Unlike “Star Wars Battlefront II,” which is full of familiar characters and worlds, “Fallen Order” charts its own path. There’s a lot of ships and structures that look like things you might have seen before. But much like Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland and Disney World, this game is original, with its own story to tell.
A compelling tale also helps make “Fallen Order” feel perfectly at home in the “Star Wars” universe. You’ll meet your main antagonists (the Second Sister is sure to be a fan favorite) and characters who will become indispensable allies early, allowing for plenty of time for relationship building. Players will feel powerful right away, but not to the point of ruining Cal’s journey. “Fallen Order” is wonderfully balanced by giving players a sense of what they can do but also making you work just enough to grow and develop.
“Fallen Order” is jam packed with wonderful little details that are sure to lead to a lot of exploration. There are a number of fascinating collectibles to find, with many of them unaccessible until certain skills unlock. A non-linear title, you’ll be planet hopping quite a bit. Some may find this kind of loot hunting problematic, but I loved gaining abilities and revisiting different locations to see what new areas I could explore.
Naturally most gamers will be looking forward to wielding a lightsaber. Developer Respawn nailed this challenging combat element. Several lightsaber actions are simple and straightforward, but to be a true Jedi Master you have to hone your skills. When you have a firm grasp of your abilities, lightsaber battles are absolutely thrilling. You can also customize your lightsaber as well.
The Bad: “Fallen Order” has elements of several other popular titles, but in many ways it reminds me of another EA game, “Mass Effect.” One of the elements I most enjoyed from the BioWare developed series is how it dealt with morality. Earning Paragon or Renegade points for good and bad behavior impacted the “Mass Effect” game playing experience. Considering how intertwined the light and dark sides of the Force are in “Star Wars” lore, something similar would have been nice to see in “Fallen Order” and could have added even more depth to Cal’s character.
The Grade: Like many games, I came into “Fallen Order” hopefully optimistic. While the “Star Wars” brand has soared in film, that hasn’t been the case for “Star Wars” video games, at least not lately. Thankfully this title has rectified that problem. “Fallen Jedi” is the best “Star Wars” game I’ve played in years. This is a must own game for fans of the franchise.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.