Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Expectations vs. Reality

Star Wars fans have suffered through some pretty poor video games at times.  The good news is that Respawn Entertainment have delivered a strong single-player experience with today’s release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

But, how did Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order live up to expectations?

Expectation: Good Combat

Battlefront and Battlefront 2 featured great combat for their genre, but Star Wars games have generally done reasonably well at delivering a Jedi power-fantasy to their players.

There were rumours before release that gameplay would be similar to Sekiro Shadows Die Twice and gameplay footage seemed to suggest that this would be the case.

Reality: Great Combat

Fallen Order’s combat is truly Dark Souls-like.  Sure, it isn’t as soul-crushingly unforgiving as the Dark Souls series, but players will need to take their time and watch for tells during most fights.  Those that rush in with lightsabre wildly swinging are likely to end up on the ground.  This challenge helps to keep the game feeling fresh throughout.

Given that the lightsabre is the only weapon available, it had to be perfect.  It is, giving the player an iconic weapon that not only looks and sounds great, but feels satisfying and powerful to use.

Expectation: An Amazing Story

It’s a single-player Star Wars game – an amazing story is basically guaranteed with EA’s budget, isn’t it?

Reality: An Amazing Story

EA dropped the ball by rushing BioWare out of the door with Anthem.  The story, gameplay and, well, game in general suffered.  EA seem to have given Respawn the time they needed to not only deliver a mechanically strong game, but one with a well-written and well-delivered story.

The game follows Cal Kestis, a surviving Jedi Padawan, five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.  Survivors guilt and remorse are key facets to the story, which has the standard twists and turns that you’d expect from any Star Wars release.  The dark story does not outstay its welcome during the 20-odd hour duration, and the finale is thrilling with a satisfying conclusion.

Expectation: Exceptional CGI

Forget the abysmal animations seen in Mass Effect: Andromeda – Fallen Order should have been given the resources to ensure that the animation of their story-delivering CGI sequences were on point.

Reality: Exceptional CGI (Obviously)

Respawn clearly put a significant portion of their budget into CGI, as Jedi: Fallen Order’s CGI sequences look every bit as good as their big-screen counterparts.

Okay, so the Wookies look a bit like spaghetti monsters, but that aside, the visual presentation is absolutely stellar.

Expectation: Great Performance

After the trainwreck that was Anthem’s launch, EA would surely make sure that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order ran as smooth Tenessee whiskey before releasing it, right?

Reality: Decent Performance

Well, sorta.  Overall, Fallen Order runs well, particularly when battles have started and the locations remain the same.  However, when switching between locations or first approaching a group of enemies, things do get a bit choppy as even powerful gaming PCs experience frame-rate drops while the game settles itself.

It is undoubtedly better than Anthem’s performance, but still worth noting.

Expectations: A Handful of Interesting Locations

The Star Wars universe boasts a plethora of iconic locations.  With an untold number of locales at their disposal, players had every right to expect a single-player adventure would feature some memorable locations.

Reality: Interesting, Varied Locations

For gamers thinking that Fallen Order might only have a handful of rehashed-feeling location, with DLC following close on the heels of release, I have good news – the base game features some really great locations.

Each map is surprisingly large, and the worlds themselves are varied and feel truly unique.  The settings are traditional Star Wars fare, which is a selling point for any true fan of the franchise.

Expectation: A Microtransaction Riddled Mess

Ever since EA purchased the rights to develop Star Wars games, they have released Battlefront and Battlefront 2 and cancelled the promising Visceral Games project.  EA’s entries, while looking striking, have shown clear signs that they have been focusing more on turning a profit than fan service.

Despite the furore that surrounded the release of Battlefront 2, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was expected to follow this route with microtransactions being utilised to further line EA’s pockets.

Reality: Not A Microtransaction Riddled Mess

It is a pleasant surprise that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t a messy cobweb of pay-to-win or pay-to-have-fun mechanics.  EA promised that Fallen Order wouldn’t have microtransactions or loot boxes either on release or in the future, but I struggled to believe them.  This is EA we are talking about.

It’s great to see that, at least on release, EA have kept their promise.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Is a Great Game

If you’re on the fence, you needn’t be.  Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has flaws, but it is free of some of the blemishes that tend to blight EA games. It’s undoubtedly a game in the vein of the JJ Abrams-directed Force Awakens rather than Rian Johnson’s new take on the series, but fans of both styles will find something to love in Fallen Order.

The force is strong in this one.