The Rise of Skywalker
The Rise of Skywalker has its detractors as a film, but its action-heavy approach created some excellent set-pieces. We’re thrown right into it with the Millenium Falcon chase through the ice caves of the Sinta Glacier Colony. Like the speeder bike section in Return of the Jedi, it’s an excellent momentum builder and makes you really feel speed. Unlike with Return of the Jedi, that momentum is carried with the desert chase through Passana. From here, however, the momentum is kind of killed.
A stealthy trip through Kijimi, which culminates in a trip to the Steadfast, really slows things down. Meandering through a level that rewards just moving forward without really doing anything isn’t necessarily my idea of fun. A showdown with Kylo Ren on the ruins of Death Star II shows initial promise, but it stumbles over itself with sections requiring you to clear a path with BB-8. Don’t get me wrong, I love BB-8, probably more so than the next person, but the momentum of the episode is taken out of the level on a number of occasions. It does end strongly, however, and takes us into the assault on Exegol nicely.
And that assault is a joy. Alternating between Rey and Ben Solo, as you fight off sith guards, and the Knights of Ren respectively, before taking you into the shoes of ground forces taking down the Sith fleet communications tower. With a boss battle against BB-9e, no less. The level culminates with Rey bouncing Palpatine’s lightning back at him, like with the film, and we’re done. Much like the Return of the Jedi, however, there’s a notable omission from the episode as a whole, and that, again, takes place during that final level. Controlling forces in the air as well as on the ground would have been an excellent opportunity to influence the battle from both angles. As it is, you’re left wanting.