The Jedi from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is bland, but he has a cute robo-backpack and cuts up Stormtroopers real good. Those are my three main takeaways from my 25 minute peek at Respawn Entertainment's upcoming action RPG.
He's a nasty one, that Cal Kestis.
We're on Kashyyyk, clambering up the vines on an ivy-drenched AT-AT as it marches into battle. The robot is and remains adorable, even as Cal drops into the belly of the beast and starts chopping up the stormtroopers inside. He makes short work of the grunts, then gets into a little more trouble with a scout trooper's electric mace. The person we can't see (but have been assured is actually playing somewhere) starts using last-second, force-assisted dodges, then finishes the fight by slamming the trooper against the wall with a big force push.
Later, we see Cal go head to head with a big alien spider. He dashes and jumps, using force powers that make the exact 'whumph' noise you'd hope they would. It's hard to say without controlling it myself, but the combat looks like it skews a little more towards Dark Souls than casual hack and slashing. When you're not chopping though trooper fodder, at least. I can get behind that, sections where you can go wild mixed in with some trickier encounters.
You can freeze enemies and their blaster shots, then walk up and shove your lightsabre through their limp, helpless bodies. Like I say, Cal's nasty. The same ability (I believe) made a more powerful, dual-bladed purple lighting stick enemy move in slow motion - giving Cal enough time to roll to the other side of him, then force slam the wannabee against another wall. They're clearly much tougher foes, reminiscent of Sekiro's mini bosses.
The demo takes place three hours in, and more force powers will presumably unlock throughout the game. We saw our Cal unlock Skill Points and briefly step into some kind of celestial upgrade ring, but whoever was playing quit out before we could get a peep at what those points can be spent on.
It's hard to say more about the combat without having swung a sabre round myself, but I've got no such problems with reporting on the robo-backpack. The robo-backpack is ace. He's called BD1 (buddy droid), and spends most of his time skittering around on Cal's back, peering round at NPCs when Cal gets chatting. At one point he hopped off and jittered with excitement at getting to display a holographic map to Cal and his new gruff military friend. He's basically a dog that can hack doors.
I'm hyper aware that his cuteness is being played up, squeezed through a dozen layers of mascot-based marketability. But none of that really matters.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order comes out on November 15th, starring a blando Jedi with a cute backpack robot and promising combat. Colour me excited.
See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.