I have to wonder if Disney threatened to pull SW away from EA unless they decided to make a good game with the franchise, and it’s with that in mind that I’m not sure I should be happy with this game or not. Sadly, this is the sort of game that’ll convince anyone that this wasn’t a game made by EA, as well as briefly buoy the hopes of Respawn fans that their company will be the exception to the long list of desiccated husks left in the megacorporation’s slime trail.
Fallen Order is a bit of an amalgamation of Souls, Prince of Persia and Metroid. Combat consists of mainly facing stormtroopers for which you can rely on parry whether they are wielding batons or blasters, and beasts and droids which require dodging and then following up with attacks. The game does a fairly good job of putting enough fights between rest points to challenge but not overwhelm you, and gradually increasing the difficulty with stronger mobs or more numerous groups of enemies to contend with.
The combat is the challenging aspect of the game, and it’s thankfully fairly smooth other than a somewhat clunky dodge function, and a sprinkling of bosses that are moderate difficulty jumps. Overall it feels like they got the challenge and pacing right, with new lightsaber and force power combos being added steadily to your repertoire. You feel like a blooming jedi knight, not a force god like in Force Unleashed.
To a degree you can customize what you specialize in first between melee combat, force powers and survivability through a skill tree, but it’s nowhere near as elaborate as other games and by the end if you find all the collectables you should have everything unlocked. Overall combat feels fluid, executing enemies is fun and it generally feels fair. There are multiple difficulties you can pick, and lower ones are nowhere near as challenging as the average Souls game, but bosses can still be a great challenge. My biggest complaint is reload times are far too long for a game that expects regular deaths, is this why you called yourselves Respawn?
On the more Metroid, Prince of Persia side of it is exploring for collectables. There’s a good mix of hard to find spots, exploring the edges of the map and puzzles that fill the other half of the game, requiring use of your ever growing arsenal of powers to conquer. Using force pull to grab distant vines, or force push to lower bridges are both integral parts of furthering the plot and going back to old worlds to find out what lies at the ends of previous impossible to reach areas. Generally, the map becomes easier to traverse as well, and thankfully the game does come with a map to follow, but even so it can be pretty time consuming backtracking and even if it were only unlocked at the very end of the game a fast travel would have been a nice feature.
If you’ve played Titanfall, you’ll probably feel fairly comfortable with the exploration, and if you’re not very good with puzzle platforming don’t worry- most of the story related parts are fairly straight forward and there’s not a risk of dying as falling into a pit isn’t punishing.
You can likely ignore half of the game’s map by simply following the story, which is as cinematic and full of moving music as you would expect for a Star Wars game. Without getting deep into it, it follows the Jedi Purge and is appropriately dark, feeling like a faithful representation of one of the most depressing periods in the lore.
Cinematic qualities aside, the story and characters are fairly forgettable. It is worth playing for fans of Star Wars and Souls games, though it won’t be topping any lists, and the lack of NG+, multiplayer and any customization eliminate replay value making it a solid 20 hour game that’ll be enjoyed but easily moved on from.