Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order officially released late Thursday night. Here are five early takeaways after spending some time with the game.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the single-player video game developed by Respawn and published by EA, made its long-awaited debut late Thursday night. With reviews for the game being embargoed until the game actually released, fans had to take a leap of faith if they were getting the game right at release.
I took that leap of faith and pre-ordered the standard edition. I’d say it was a great decision. Here are some takeaways from my first couple of hours with the game, Cal Kestis, and BD-1:
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Note: Some minor spoilers ahead about the introduction and game mechanics.
1. Playing as a Jedi is extremely fun
After a brief introduction with no fighting and some light obstacle climbing, players finally get to take control of Cal, with his lightsaber, against Stormtrooper enemies. The first time I took down enemies with the lightsaber it was absolutely thrilling. Ditto for every time I performed a parry that blocked an enemy attack and instead launched me into a dramatic finisher move.
Adding on to that, Cal has the ability to slow down enemies with the Force right out of the gate. This is useful and entertaining to slow a charging enemy and prepare your saber strike.
Cal cashes in XP earned from taking down enemies (and other things like scanning “secrets”) at his Skill Tree, which allows for additional boosts in three categories: Force, Lightsaber, and Survival. I’m excited to see more of Cal’s abilities and use them for an incredible Jedi experience.
2. BD-1 is the perfect companion
Cal, as we know from being on the run after Order 66, has been alone for some time. He is just trying to keep his head down and stay out of sight. So when we meet our character, he’s definitely reserved. But when he meets BD-1, he finally lights up.
Players won’t go long before meeting BD-1. The droid is not only adorable but useful. BD-1 can scan environmental objects to earn you XP and throw you health packs mid-combat to keep you from dying. BD-1 will surely prove a bright spot in a game with a dark theme.
3. The early learning curve
You know that when you get the suggestion to turn down your difficulty, things aren’t going so hot. I can’t tell you how many times I died in the first couple of hours, and I was playing on normal! This was part adjusting to the game’s specific mechanics and timing, and part taking on enemies that were stronger than me.
Blocking, dodging, rolling, calling for health packs, and using the Force to freeze enemies are very important to your early survival. Similarly, a parry attack can stun enemies and allow you an opening to unleash your saber, but these attacks require precise timing of hitting the block button right before your enemy hits you — I failed at this many times, but towards the end of my first playthrough, I was getting better at it.
Every time an enemy killed me I was just eager to go back and hit them — which gives you back the XP you lost when they killed you — so I found death more motivating than discouraging.
4. Frame rate drops that you can’t ignore
By far the most disappointing thing about Jedi: Fallen Order is the frame rate drops. I noticed this on the first planet after the introduction, my game would go from smooth to choppy whenever I approached a busy area of obstacles that the game needed to fully load.
This didn’t cost me anything besides a couple of seconds of waiting, but it happened enough to be downright annoying. One area in particular that I frequented several times would drop every single time I passed through, despite it not even being a busy area.
Early reviews of the game report the exact kind of problems I experienced, but those that were also disappointed in this are optimistic a patch can be released to clean up this issue.
5. It’s a game about exploration
This game is more Tomb Raider or Uncharted than anything else. There’s boatloads of secrets, shortcuts, and chests to discover on each planet. Chests are definitely worth the effort to get to as they provide cosmetic bonuses for your player or lightsaber. Shortcuts, when you engage them, allow the player to cut through and save precious time when they revisit that area.
Combat is surely a main dish of the game, but Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t so much slash-and-dash. Combat is often what you engage in to clear out an area and then go find goodies like chests that are around.
It’s a fantastic blend for any Star Wars fan who wants to be transported into the galaxy far, far away. You can use the Force like a Jedi and cut insects in half with your lightsaber, but you also get to explore various caves or hidden passages on unique Star Wars planets. I’m already itching to get back and explore.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is out now.