Let’s not pretend that Star Wars isn’t good. Answer me this: if Star Wars isn’t good, how come they got away with having BB-8 branded oranges?? Less reliably good are the official Star Wars video games. Despite throwing out some absolute bangers in the LucasArts days, or stone cold classics like Knights Of The Old Republic giving us big Force energy, the more recent quality has been varied. One could even say scandalous.
But what is this? A new single player Star Wars game? Lightsaber battles where you have to block, parry, and break your opponents guard? Levels that have an almost roguelike approach? Shorcuts and hidden secrets? And – gasp – a small robit friend? Jedi: Fallen Order, I think you and I can talk.
I was initially quite sus of Fallen Order, because I’ve been promised modern single player Star Wars fun before and been disappointed (more than once!). Plus, Fallen Order was announced in a powerfully weird way, with Vince Zampella sitting in an audience, having to do a very awkward staged interview and just… just saying the name.
But I have now played a chunk of Fallen Order and I fell in love the first time I was immediately beasted by a giant toad bastard. It makes all the right Star Wars noises, the jangling keys that I want to be distracted by. There are spaceships going screeeoooooaaaaaaaawwwwwww and a weaponised glow stick going whummmmmm. When you land somewhere mysterious there is a screen wipe, and flutes go toodledoo. Excellent.
But it also feels a bit different to Star Wars games of yore. Respawn made the Titanfall series – Titanfall 2 was billed to me as “the best game of the last million years” just yesterday, in fact – and in Fallen Order you traverse like a real Force boi, like Luke doing his callisthenics in a swamp, but instead of Yoda on your back you have a little beep-booping robit shaped like a big Yorkie bar with legs. You do wall runs! You do big jumps! You go places only a person wielding space magic could go!
Then there’s the distinctly Soulsian flavour to the fighting, which Brendy talked about in his review. In fact he called it “laser sword Sekiro with four difficulty settings”. When you die, you lose your accrued XP, and can only get it back by damaging the monster who killed you. You can rest at meditation spots to regain health, but it’ll respawn all the enemies in the area.
But Brendy also identified that “the best thing it drains out of FromSoft’s catalogue isn’t the fighting, it’s the megalevels”. The areas are grand and sprawling and have tantalising puzzles, locked doors you can see but can’t reach yet. Shortcuts you know you can open if you find the other side. Fluttering their eyelashes at you. Ooh, Fallen Order, you saucy little minx.
Basically, Fallen Order offers a lot to talk about, whether about the things it does right (tiny robit you can give different outfits) or that it does wrong (protagonist arguably has the charisma of a spare Weasley sibling who was cut for time). So we are going to sit here, as a family, and talk about it. Turn off your phones.