When it launched in 2019, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order became not only one of my favourite games of that year, but also one of my favourite pieces of Star Wars media. I’ve been a lifelong fan of Star Wars, and while not everything that comes from the franchise these days is quality, the gaming experience Fallen Order provided was. Now 4 years on, Jedi: Survivor is here to continue Cal Kestis’ journey that kicked off in the first game, taking us to incredible new locations, and improving on just about everything that was established in the prior entry to create another fantastic video game and a great addition to the ever expanding Star Wars lore.
Survivor picks up 5 years after the events of Fallen Order and once again puts us in the shoes of Cal Kestis as he attempts to both hide from and fight back against the Galactic Empire following the events of Order 66. The game wastes no time showing us that Cal has become much more capable as a Jedi over the past 5 years and that his travelling companions have come and gone during that time.
The beginning of the game does include a brief, and I mean brief plot beat recap of the events of the first game, but much like the recap included at the start of God of War: Ragnarok, it should primarily be used as a key plot point refresher of what transpired during the last entry rather than a detailed replacement for playing through the earlier game. Jedi: Fallen Order still holds up really well, so i recommend if you haven’t checked it out to definitely do so. It will provide a lot more context for the story and attachment to the characters over jumping into Survivor first.
As I touched on earlier, Cal in Survivor comes across as a far more capable Jedi and has grown in the past 5 years. This is further felt by having him retain the abilities that you had learned in the first game, with him still able to utilise the force abilities and combat stances already learned. I loved this as it made this game feel like a progression of Cal’s story and his journey down the path of the Jedi rather than a video game reset where he’s suddenly stripped of his abilities only for us to have to progressively re-learn everything we once knew just for video game’s sake. There are certainly new abilities and skills to learn throughout the events of this game, but rest assured Cal feels like an effective Jedi right from the get go.
Survivor takes advantage of the current gen hardware the game is shipping on to showcase much larger and detailed environments compared to what we got in Fallen Order. Throughout the game, you’ll be travelling to various planets, some brand new, some returning from other Star Wars media. I was impressed by how detailed and diverse the environments were with many of the planets visited containing a vast number of different biomes and large scale setpieces that Cal will be traversing through during your time in that area. This also opens each of the zones up to a lot more exploration, and thankfully Survivor is packed with things to see and do outside of the main story. There’s plenty of Easter Eggs to witness of course, but also a large number of side objectives to source out such as optional bosses and hunters to locate and eliminate along with timed challenges and puzzles to complete that require strategic use of Cal’s skills and force abilities. Cal’s new capabilities also go hand in hand with the larger scale environments, which not only looks really flashy, it showcases how vast some of the game’s areas are. The new grapple ability is awesome to use and allows you to cover large distances in no time and also letting you feel a bit like Jedi Spider-Man while you do it. Combining this with the air dash ability makes some of the stages feel like a great platoformer at times and is used really cleverly to complete a number of the game’s puzzles and to access secret areas off the main path. Cal also I has the ability this time around to make use of various creature mounts to cover larger areas of the land or sky quicker than walking will allow which was a fun way to get around and interact directly with the weird and wacky creatures of the Star Wars universe.
The combat in Survivor remains relatively unchanged from what was seen in Fallen Order, focused primarily on hand to hand lightsaber based combat but Cal does have a few new skills he’s able to unleash that you’ll have the ability to master along the way. Cal retains the single, double and dual wield combat stances learned in the first game, but also learns the new Crossguard Stance which has the saber act like a heavy greatsword and is reminiscent to Kylo Ren’s weapon, a design I’m personally quite fond of and also the new Blaster Stance where Cal is able to simultaneously wield a Lightsaber in one hand and a blaster in the other, allowing you to slice down enemies close to you and also pick off foes from a distance using the blaster pistol.
You have the ability to equip 2 stances at a time that can be switched between on the fly but you can swap them out when you reach a meditation spot. Each stance also has it’s own upgradable skill tree that can be levelled up, further enhancing Cal’s skills he’s able to utilise while using that stance, so I’d recommend investigating all options, seeing which best fits your play style and then work on making your Cal the best he can be at fighting with that stance. Survivor also features a New Game+ option so you do have the ability to jump back in of course and play again to gear up the other stances you hadn’t utilised much on your first time through as well. The game also features a wide range of enemy types, more than the first game, which provide a diverse gallery of enemies to use your combat skills on, ranging from humanoid all the way through to some of the biggest and baddest creatures of the Star Wars universe. Many of which pose a real challenge, so running in furiously swinging you Lightsaber around won’t cut it when it comes to some of the foes Cal will come face to face with this time around.
Survivor also features a surprising amount of customisation options for a single player narrative driven game. While the story plays out the same regardless, you’re able to customise a wide range of the cosmetic side of the game. This ranges from tweaking the design of the individual parts of Cal’s Lightsaber, to styling his clothes and hair from a number of unlockable choices and also the appearance of his trusty companion droid BD-1 who is back to join him on this new adventure. This allows your journey through Jedi: Survivor to be somewhat personalised and unique even though the destination remains consistent for all players.
During my time reviewing Star War Jedi: Survivor a patch was pushed out that was designed to fix some of the bugs and issues found with the game at launch. I did encounter fairly frequent framerate issues playing the game initially, especially in areas where there was combat with numerous enemies at the same time and times where there were lots of flashy particle effects and destruction happening. Thankfully this was noticed a lot less frequently once the patch was rolled out and it has been promised that further patches are going to be released going forward to address other bugs and issues. I did also encounter a few times where assets would load weirdly into cutscenes or sections where enemies would get stuck in the wall. I replayed these sections post patch on my NG+ and was unable to replicate them again. I appreciate how quickly the development team was able to address these bugs and issue a fix.
I had a great time playing through Star Wars Jedi: Survivor overall, the only other gripe I had with the game was it’s lack of environment visual language in some areas indicating which way the path should take or which objects were interactable, especially in the early portions of the game. I did occasionally find myself lost in levels, unsure of which way I was meant to go to progress and did result in some frustrating and unfair deaths as I had to play trial and error with different pathways or try to leap gaps that were too large just to see if I was headed in the right direction. While I don’t need a game to hold my hand at all times, in areas that are super detailed, some visual language can go a long way in showing the player the right way before they end up feeling lost.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a fantastic follow up to the previous game and features some of the best narrative beats and characters from any recent Star Wars media. It takes what was already working from the last game and enhances just about every feature to create one of the best recent action adventure games. Best of all it closely captures what I imagine it would be like to wield the Force and use a Lightsaber. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars universe I can’t recommend it enough.
A PS5 review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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