EA Single Player?
That's right, EA decided to release a single player game with no loot boxes or tricky monetization schemes. That's great, but does it deliver? Overall, the answer is a resounding yes. However, there are a number of factors to consider when approaching this game. If your a star wars fan who enjoys action games, you should jump in. If you are not into Star Wars, not sure who that would be, but there are some extra concerns to consider. So if you want to read through the fine details, read on young padawan and lets discuss everything that EA's new action game brings to the table. Lets discuss its strengths and its short comings.
I found the story component of Fallen Order to be of excellent quality. Its not perfect, but its still good. The plot centers around a former Jedi Padawan that barely escaped order 66 and his quest to gather information on the location of several force sensitives that could help start a new Jedi order. I don't want to spoil anything, so I cant get into the details, but I can describe the various components of story telling that I enjoyed. The main character development is good, however, some of the side characters do not get the same attention. For example, you encounter a fallen Jedi who is obviously bad news and you immediately know you are going to incur a fight somewhere down the line. It would have been fun to see this character's intentions fleshed out more in a way that granted his motivation more substance. As it stands, he is simply a bad guy who you know is a bad guy who wants to do bad things. Its a similar story with one of the inquisitors. Fleshing out these side characters would have taken the story component to an epic level. Overall, I found the story here more engaging then the most recent Star Wars movies.
So this game has light sabers, the force, and obviously the combat that comes with those items. So how does the combat play and feel? Well, its not perfect. I played through and beat Sekiro before this game. The sword combat in Sekiro was excellent and I would give the combat in that game an easy 10, its the best sword combat I have ever had the pleasure to take part in. The combat in this game is good, but it could be better, I know this because Sekiro has better combat. So what causes the combat to fall a bit short here? The animation in this game seems a bit "sticky". Every now and then I would get the sense to block or parry, I'd hit the appropriate keys, however, my last animation would finish and fail to execute the respective move. A great example of this that I think many people will see includes the use of the heal mechanic. Several times I sent my droid the command to heal, I heard the main character make the verbal request, but the bot never sends it. Why? Because an animation prevented it. It simply does not feel tight enough and you get the sense that there should have been plenty of time to execute a given command that unfortunately fails. In Sekiro, I never got this feeling, anytime I failed, it felt like the responsibility fell squarely on my shoulders. So, how are the force powers? The force power are varied enough to make combat more interesting and do provide a fun boost against enemies that might otherwise give you a difficult time. There are a couple powers that make some of the enemies much easier to deal with, and are a blast to use. Push a group of storm troopers off a cliff? Sure. One move you want to make sure to pick up is the force grab and light saber throw. I found those two to be quite useful in a lot of situations. The combat here is good, there are plenty of great games that don't have combat this good.
What makes a solid adventure game? Good level design of course. No one wants to spend too much time in a boring predictable environment. I absolutely hate it when I see games with the same level layouts, I never finished Dragon Age 2 and this was one of the reasons. As you probably expected, Fallen Order does not have this problem. Fallen order has the main character visiting multiple planets that each have their own theme and environment. These planets all have their own creatures and fauna to deal with, so you never know what to expect when running down a new path or corridor. The environment layout is not predictable and the puzzles found in them are creative without being so daunting that they cause problems. There are a couple a couple minor road blocks that I could have dealt without though. You immediately know what you need to do, the act of doing it however is a bit challenging. When you come across them, you immediately think "Oh, some designer wants me to be stuck here for a bit". Once you get the timing down, its a breeze though, so not a big deal. Overall, I found the environments engaging and fun to explore. One criticism that you might have heard is that it starts to feel a bit like Tomb Raider, that is true, but it didn't bother me at all. It fit perfectly into the story of the game. One minor gripe I had though concerned some of the enemy placements. For example, a horse/bat creature standing in a locked room behind a gate. How and why are you in here? If you can fly, why are you just hovering behind that grate? It came off as odd and unnatural at times.
Graphics and Engine
I played the game on my PC at a 1440p resolution with all the eye candy on. The game overall looks pretty good and plays pretty well. However, you are likely to notice some problems during your outing. The hair effect in one example works really well on characters with small amounts of hair. That same hair effect looks weird on the wookiee characters though. I also experienced random frame rate drops, the random drops just seemed to pop up from time to time with no regard to what was occurring on screen. I had instances where I climbed a ledge and my character immediately fell back down the ledge. I also saw some enemies get stuck in a falling animation. In one strange occurrence, I killed an enemy that then did a shaky possessed roll up a wall. These small occurrences do not ruin the experience and do not happen a lot, but they do immediately break the immersion. Overall, I found the graphics and engine work pretty well, but there are some problems present. The game could have used some fine tuning in this area.
I found Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to be an engrossing game with a great story, good combat, and descent graphics to boot. It unfortunately has some problems, if some more time had been invested, this might have been an epic game. As it stands, its a great game and a good place to start. We haven't seen a good single player Star Wars game in some time. I'm happy to see that EA has not completely abandoned the single player genre or at the very least, have decided to give it some love. I really hope to see more single player stories from EA in multiple universes.