Review of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order for the XBox One
By: Jeff R. Young

Hello fellow gamers, after a short hiatus, I have returned, bringing with me a review that is fresh in my mind as I have just recently conquered the game. But, before I get started, for those who don't know, one of my most beloved fantasy worlds has always been Star Wars. I have seen every movie more than once and have had the privilege of seeing them in the theaters since day one. Yes, I am old enough to remember seeing A New Hope at an outdoor theater when I was just a kid fresh from my diapers. Alright, maybe that's too much information, but it does let you know how far back I go.

It's not just the movies I've experienced, but I've played pretty much every style of game they created, up to the more recent board games and the pen and paper roleplaying world. I'm telling you this so you might truly understand that my reviews of any Star Wars may seem bias at first glance. I assure you they are not. It's because of my love for the world created by George Lucas that I analyze each game to great depth. Alright, now that I got my probably unneeded disclaimer out of the way, I present to you this month's game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Before I get to the meat of the review, I must strongly warn anyone who has not played it yet that there will be some spoilers within this article. So if you are the type of gamer who likes to experience those surprises in the games you play, you will want to set this aside, and please, if you do, come back after you complete the game to read this review and see if my thoughts are the same as yours.

Even though I have recently acquired a PS4 to compliment my Xbox 1 and gaming PC, the version of Fallen Order I played was on the Xbox. I have no idea if the other platforms vary in some ways, but I am fairly sure if they do, it would assumably be minor differences.

Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts released Fallen Order on November 15, 2019. I was so excited to see a Star Wars, non–multiplayer game (that wasn't a Lego game), finally hit the shelves, that I had mine preordered only days after they allowed the chance to do so. Because of my excitement, I did everything I could to stay away from articles and pre–release reviews since I am one of those gamer types that doesn't typically like spoilers for certain games. Needless to say, when I picked up my copy and plugged it into the Xbox, I was blissfully ignorant of what I was about to experience.

The first thing I found I liked was where this story fits into the overall timeline. Set five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and 14 years before A New Hope, the player takes the role of a young Padawan, Cal Kestis (played by the actor Cameron Monaghan who had a role in the television series Gotham), who escaped the extermination of the Jedi when the emperor executed the great purge known as order 66.

The game starts simply enough, having Cal complete a series of objectives on a backwater planet that allows you to learn the control scheme that allows the character to perform various actions, which becomes my first complaint. Perhaps it's my own fault, due to a lack of physical dexterity in my hands (long story there), but trying to hit the right buttons at the right time was both hard to do without some practice, and was also hard for me to remember which one to hit from time to time (that's not the games fault, I'm getting old, and sometimes my brain sends learned information into a proverbial black hole in the back of my mind). Of course, as the story progresses and Cal remembers various techniques he had learned in the past, more button combinations are unlocked.

We the player control Cal from a third–person point of view, and unlike many of the Star Wars games out there, Cal starts right out with a lightsaber. I found this to be a good part of the game as I didn't have to wait for how long to get to use a lightsaber in combat. In addition to starting with the laser sword, Cal already has several techniques available to fight with, which are fun to perform and graphically neat to watch. And who wouldn't like to run around taking out Stormtroopers with style?

Cal escapes the planet with the help of a former Jedi Cere Junda and her partner, Greez Dritus, who is also the pilot of the ship they used to getaway. Once away from trouble, Cal's shown a recorded message which tells of a list of force–sensitive children. The list has been hidden well and thus begins Cal's adventure as he works to find it before the Empires evil Inquisitors (known as the Second Sister and the Ninth Sister) do.

The game takes you (Cal) to several planets, some of which the player might recognize, like Kashyyyk, the home of the Wookiees, and the famous Chewbacca, as well as Dathomir, the home of Darth Maul from the movie The Phantom Menace. And, to make the experience even sweeter, for those who are familiar with the film Rogue One, Saw Gerrera (voiced by the original actor Forest Whitaker) makes an appearance. Ok, enough of the storyline spoilers, I don't want to ruin everything, since there is quite a bit of Star Wars canon within the game.

Graphically speaking, the game is fairly smooth. There were some hiccups a few times that repeated at the same spot every time I passed them. A couple of times I feared the game locked on me and I was going to have to restart. Again, this happened at the same spots on the map. So if it was just an issue of the game having to catch up or a load/render issue, I couldn't say. However, it did not happen often enough to ruin the game for me.

One big issue I did have was the lack of ability to save. Unable to do so, you have to find “meditation” circles hidden around the maps. Only by activating them would the game save. These circles, though held more than just the ability to save, as this is also where you could level up the character and 'sleep,' which heals you completely, and also, unfortunately, causes all the bad guys you've already dispatched to respawn.

The one issue that I have the most problem with is that the storyline itself is, unfortunately, way to short. However, you can expand the time played by exploring each planet. In doing so, you find upgrade items for the lightsaber, including many new looks to each separate part, and crystals that allow you to change the color of the lightsaber blade and hilt. You can also find items that you can use to customize the ship you fly, the little robot buddy you have, and the style of clothing Cal wears. Even though exploring allows you to find these things, to me, it became tedious trying to find places I had yet to explore. Not only that, many of the chests you'd find are not accessible until certain abilities are unlocked. This means you'll find yourself bouncing back to each planet many times if you intend to find every hidden treasure.

However, like many games have begun to do, once the main campaign is completed, they allow you to continue to explore the game world. In Fallen Order, they send you back in time, to just before the final mission. Unfortunately, even though you can keep on exploring, that is all there is, the game does not let you replay the final mission. So, to me, continued exploring is irrelevant. I would rather start a new game then continue the same one with no real point other than looking for loot.

One other matter I realized while playing is that I sort of felt as if I was playing Assasins Creed in the Star Wars universe. There is a plethora of climbing and jumping around to get from one place to another. You can even drop down and 'assasinate' a bad guy. The issue, however, is minute, in my opinion, and does little to ruin any part of the game.

I'm going to add something a little different than I have before. Upon researching the Fallen Order beyond the game itself, I came across information I feel I should share. It has been nominated for and won several awards. For 2019, it was awarded Game of the Year, Best Design, and Best Action–Adventure by Titanium Awards and D.I.C.E awarded it Aventure Game of the Year.

So, as to not spoil the game for you any further, I will wind this down and give my official rating of 4 solid stars. I would recommend any Star Wars lover to at least give it a chance. I also think if you happen to be new to either the Star Wars universe, this would be a great game to get into because despite its fallbacks, I enjoyed the game. I might have to wait for a long time, but I know I will enjoy replaying it.

As always, if you are interested in finding me on either Xbox or the PS4, you can find me under the gamer tag wickedwisdom66. And, if there is a game you would like me to look into, feel free to message me via Facebook /JeffRobertYoung or Twitter @JeffRYoung1

Till next month, game on!