A beloved and enduring franchise has returned to form and highlights what is becoming a trend in the industry
The legendary Star Wars franchise hasn't had the best of runs since Disney's takeover.
On the movie front, four films have so far graced the big screen - two major entries in the final trilogy for the main storyline (with the third arriving in December) alongside two spin-off type films that explore other events and characters featured in the main story in further detail.
Disney's first foray into the franchise was a great success with veteran director JJ Abrams behind the helm, as The Force Awakens (episode 7 in the triple-trilogy saga) was a solid but unremarkable film that did its job in giving fans hope that the House of Mouse wasn't going to butcher their beloved franchise. The first spinoff film Rogue One followed a group of rebels as they stole the Empire's plans for the Death Star in a daring raid - after a slow start the film picks up and is a satisfying and fun romp through a lesser known story in Star Wars canon.
Just as enthusiasm for Star Wars was reaching a fever pitch for the highly anticipated episode 8, shit hit the proverbial fan thanks to Disney's decision to have a different director (and their own team of writers) handle each film in the trilogy. The Last Jedi came out to raving reviews by the media, but fans were much less thrilled by director Rian Johnson's horrible mess of a film and blatent political pandering. I'm not exaggerating in saying that The Last Jedi was quite literally one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Horrid directing, a terrible script that even great actors like Oscar Isaac couldn't sell, a bland and painfully predictable plot, shoehorned-in leftist political pandering complete with cringe-inducing side characters there merely to tick racial boxes, and even horrifically shoddy CG despite its blockbuster budget all combined for one of the most dreadful viewing experiences I've ever sat through.
Why Disney planned to have a different director for each movie in the final trilogy I will never understand; JJ Abrams had apparently created an overarching map for the trilogy when he created The Force Awakens, only for sequel director Rian Johnson to scrap it entirely (with Disney's approval) and create an entirely different story that completely changed the direction of the narrative and broke so much of the established lore and rules of the Star Wars universe one has to wonder if Johnson and his writers had bothered to watch any of the other films at all.
As a result of The Last Jedi the trilogy has lost all cohesion and entire plot points started in episode 7 were entirely butchered and shit on, iconic characters were ruined by Johnson's "vision" and any enthusiasm for the final entry in the trilogy has died. Rian Johnson has become one of the most hated directors in the world due to his handling of both the movie and the backlash - his smug responses to any criticism scream of holier-than-thou Hollywood elitism, and the director blamed the massive backlash on Star Wars' "toxic fanbase" rather than acknowledging any of his movie's glaring shortcomings.
The second non-trilogy movie, Solo, was an origin story of sorts for Star Wars icon Han Solo (sans Harrison Ford given his age). Thanks to the infected wound that was The Last Jedi and a weak marketing campaign, the flick bombed at the box office (compared to its creation costs of course) and Disney put future spin-off movies on hold because of it, rather than acknowledging it was a direct response from fans to Rian Johnson's turd of a film. Despite its failure at the box office, the film itself was surprisingly fun and action-packed and is arguably the best Star Wars movie of the last decade, though of course it ultimately has no bearing on the main trilogy and its direction.
Following their massive blunder Disney is returning the director's chair to JJ Abrams for the final entry in the trilogy. How much Abrams can actually do to salvage the series from the heaping pile of garbage Johnson left him is anyone's guess, but it's unlikely to offer a wholy satisfying conclusion to the 9-film arc thanks to the story threads he now has to work with. We'll see when The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres next month, but I wouldn't expect it to pull back many of the fans their last entry pissed on - bet on it having a rather lukewarm reception at the box office.
To return to fans' good graces however, Disney has taken Star Wars to the small screen in the competent hands of Jon Favreau with The Mandalorian, an 8-episode series released weekly as the flagship title for the launch of their Disney+ streaming service. Disney+, if you somehow don't already know, is basically the streaming service dreams are made of - for children that is. Very little content is on there for adults (unless you like children's movies and animated flicks) other than the already released Marvel movies and of course the Star Wars films. New content that isn't aimed at kids is in remarkably short supply, with The Mandalorian being the only title until some of the Marvel TV series air next year, but those are few and far between.
While the new show doesn't quite capture the badassery and professionalism of the Mandalorians depicted in books and videogames that fans like me were hoping for, so far it's a lighthearted and fun series that captures the classic essence of a good Star Wars adventure (even if the episodes are a bit short). It also features an adorable alien (that I won't spoil here) that's taken the internet by storm, so there's that.
The series' positive reception and large following shows there's still a massive audience for Star Wars stories if they're done right, and hopefully Disney will keep that in mind as they go forward.
On the videogame front, Disney's handling of the IP makes even their handling of the Star Wars movies look great in comparison.
The Star Wars Videogame Legacy
Star Wars has a long and storied history in videogames. While plenty of cheaply made and lazy titles have been churned out by smaller studios to make a quick buck off the franchise name, just as many AAA classics have been delivered over the years. Some of the most beloved and esteemed videogames in history have been set in the Star Wars universe and in many different genres.
Shooters like Battlefront, Battlefront II, and my personal favourite, Republic Commando are certified classics in the minds of gamers and critics alike. RPG fans often rank Knights of the Old Republic as one of the greatest games ever made to this day. Racing and space flight gamers fondly recall the classic pod racing game back in the N64 days and the Rogue Squadron and Jedi Starfighter series. For action/adventure fans there were the Jedi Knight titles and The Force Unleashed (we'll forget it ever had a sequel), amongst others. If you had any interest in the franchise at all, there was a great Star Wars game to play in your preferred genre.
Shortly after Disney purchased the Star Wars empire back in 2012, they shockingly chose to shutter the entire LucasArts arm of the company.
LucasArts was to videogames what LucasFilm was to movies, if not even more so, and to witness the entire Star Wars gaming universe shut down was a sad sight to see. LucasArt's staff was laid off and all projects in development were cancelled - this included Star Wars 1313, a highly anticipated title focused around fan-favourite Boba Fett and the underworld of iconic Star Wars city Coruscant. The loss of 1313 was the biggest disappointment for fans, especially considering it was deep into development at the time and the footage that had been shown to the world had set the gaming community on fire, with 1313 one of if not the most anticipated upcoming games at the time.
To make matters worse and to the dismay of gamers everywhere, Disney announced in May of 2013 that they had partnered with Electronic Arts, giving the company an exclusive licensing deal to publish Star Wars games going forward.
While EA has plenty of talented game studios under its umbrella, the company is known for less-than-fan-friendly business decisions and rather poor management that has made them one of the most hated brands in North America (no really, they won awards) for much of the past decade. They also have a unique talent for purchasing highly skilled development studios only to run them into the ground and close them within years (sometimes even months) of acquiring them.
Up until now, in the last 6 years we've seen just two Star Wars games released: Battlefront and Battlefront II. A reboot of the beloved Battlefront titles by LucasArts and now-defunct developer Pandemic Studios, the two newer Battlefronts were both created by DICE, the talented team behind the Battlefield franchise. To make you more confused on names starting with Battle-, DICE's Battlefront games are both essentially watered down versions of Battlefield, albeit with the look and feel of Star Wars (they definitely nailed the atmosphere and setting at least).
Both games were actually well done and quite fun shooters, combining aspects of the old Battlefront games with DICE's propensity for immersive combat and gorgeous graphics as well as the iconic sights and sounds of the Star Wars universe. Unfortunately, the first entry contained no story mode whatsoever, focusing entirely on the multiplayer aspect which still managed to be light on content; the second entry had a fun and impressive (though very short) campaign to coincide with a range of additions and improvements, but EA's infamous management got in the way of it being a success.
The game's multiplayer was completely ruined thanks to EA forcing an incredibly grinding and insulting pay-to-win microtransaction model into the game that turned the entire system into a way to force players into forking over more cash after they had already dropped $60+ on the title. The loot boxes and levelling system were so broken in fact that EA and even Disney itself were forced to issue public apologies at the game's launch and promised an overhaul, with EA disabling most of the microtransactions entirely right after the game was released. Of course disabling them did nothing to fix the mess of a levelling system and the damage was already done.
The disastrous launch left many fans abandoning the title even after updates fixed much of the mess (it did take a while to do) and turned it into the fun shooter that it should have been in the first place. The Battlefront II launch fiasco cost EA a roughly 8.5% plunge in share prices and over $3 billion in share value, essentially destroying EA's Battlefront series.
A promising single-player, story-driven Star Wars title was reported to be in the works at Visceral Games, a capable studio that had created the popular Dead Space games and had Amy Hennig, the director of Playstation's massive hit Uncharted, at its helm. Unfortunately, EA shuttered Visceral Games in large part due to the underperformance of Battlefield Hardline, a law enforcement-focused shooter borrowing the Battlefield brand that EA never should have tasked them with in the first place and was always destined for failure (although it was a solid game in its own right).
That Star Wars project was then passed on to EA Vancouver, who basically started from scratch and were aiming to build an open-world action game instead, only for EA to scrap the project entirely shortly after for unknown reasons.
It seemed like we were going to be waiting a while to get another Star Wars game, and EA had clearly squandered the enormous opportunities they had been afforded by the Star Wars license.
But then, EA decided to do something smart for once.
Respawning in 3...2...1...
Respawn Entertainment was formed back in 2010 by two high-profile former Infinity Ward executives: Vince Zampella (CEO, co-founder) and Jason West (President, Game Director). You may recognize Infinity Ward as the creators of one of the biggest franchises in media history: Call of Duty. After a messy departure from the famed developer which resulted in lawsuits and many of Infinity Ward's staff resigning to follow their former leaders, the new developer looked to EA's pocketbook to supply the cash needed to publish their idea for a major new shooter: Titanfall.
Having freshly led Infinity Ward to releasing one of the best and most successful games in history with Modern Warfare 2 and sporting many of the key staff from that title, all eyes were on what the new developer would put out in their debut.
In many ways, Titanfall delivered a first person shooter fan's dream game: fast and furious gameplay, unique weapons that felt great to use, unparalleled mobility, plenty of gadgets and abilities, and even giant mechs to fight in to boot. A multiplayer-focused title, Titanfall launched as an Xbox One exclusive to much fanfare in 2014 and its mix of Call of Duty's amazing gunplay with a slick futuristic aesthetic, awesome mech battles, wall-running and other mobility boosters, and its supremely polished package made it an instant favourite amongst shooter fans.
A sequel that came to both Xbox One and PS4 in 2016 delivered the one thing the first entry was lacking: a single player story. Respawn's first campaign was shockingly GOOD and ranks amongst the best campaigns in first-person shooter history, with its amazing mechanics, slew of gameplay additions and design improvements, a surprisingly deep and unique narrative and some truly inspired level design.
Unfortunately, despite Titanfall 2's critical acclaim and love amongst its fans, EA opted to launch the shooter in an incredibly packed release window that saw it competing directly with Call of Duty and EA's own Battlefield entry along with other massive titles. Combined with a lackluster marketing campaign thanks to EA's choice to focus on marketing Battlefield, EA's mismanagement made one of the best shooters in modern history an afterthought in the minds of casual gamers. EA's poor publishing support of the title severely hurt its commercial success and put the budding franchise on hold.
Despite this, EA purchased Respawn Entertainment outright in 2017. Fans feared that the brilliant developer would be run aground just like so many other promising studios have been thanks to EA's mismanagement, but so far, creatively EA has let Respawn do their own thing.
Earlier this year, EA surprise-launched Apex Legends, a free-to-play squad-based battle royale game loosely set in the Titanfall universe (despite not having any Titans in it). The game was announced the same day it became available on consoles and PC in a Netflix-style release that smartly garnered massive publicity, proving that even a company like EA can occasionally make wise decisions.
The game and release strategy proved to be a massive success, with Respawn's surprise title being downloaded by over 50 million players in its opening month alone. A 60-player battle royale game placing players into squads of 3, Apex Legends combines useful character abilities and special attacks popular in hero shooters like Overwatch with the fast-paced movement (albeit toned down to keep things from getting too chaotic) and brilliant shooting mechanics of Titanfall set in Respawn's take on an immensely popular game mode.
Compared to other battle royale games (including Call of Duty Black Ops 4's version) Apex offers superior and more polished gameplay, more tactical squad mechanics and simplified looting and upgrade systems that are easy for new players to understand yet are also surprisingly deep.
The game has continued to hold a massive following and remains a top draw on game streaming services like Twitch, and despite being free-to-play, EA has been surprisingly generous with its systems and microtransactions are all purely cosmetic, copying other successful free-to-play titles like Fortnite.
Since EA's purchase of the company, Respawn had also been working quietly on a new entry in the Star Wars universe. Branching out from their first-person shooter roots, Respawn has crafted a third-person action game following an all new story in the Star Wars universe. While a Star Wars shooter made by Respawn would surely have been incredible, a story-driven, hack-and-slash Star Wars game hasn't been seen since the old The Force Unleashed series back on the last generation of consoles.
Apparently, someone at Respawn was confident in the team's ability to change genres. Not only that, but EA has seemingly given their star developer free reign over the project and completely eschewed their typical microtransaction model. The new Respawn-led Star Wars title has absolutely no loot boxes to speak of, no microtransaction model, and no tacked-on games-as-a-service or co-op content to speak of. This is a pure and old-fashioned Star Wars game without the typical stench of an EA offering: who knew getting back to the basics would be exactly what a flailing franchise would need?
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Despite apparently being rushed into releasing their first non-first person shooter game ever (rumours heavily suggest that EA wanted the game out before The Rise of Skywalker hit theatres), Respawn has made the most of their first foray into the Star Wars universe.
The strong narrative direction puts players in the shoes of Cal Kestis, a young Jedi Padawan who looks to help revive the fallen Jedi Order while being chased by the Empire. Taking place shortly after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi were systematically exterminated by the clones following Order 66 and surviving stragglers were hunted down with extreme prejudice.
Having survived by blending in as a scrapper at a ship junkyard on the fringe of the galaxy, Cal is forced into a fight for survival after being caught using the force to save the life of a friend in a construction accident.
Life for the Jedi post-Order 66 is an arduous one as the few remaining forces for good are scattered and forced (see what I did there?) into hiding - it's focused on quite heavily in the expanded Star Wars universe (books, The Clone Wars cartoon, etc.) but the movies have yet to fully explore just how devastating this "purge" was for the Jedi and their sympathizers. It's brought to the forefront here and provides an engaging and sometimes grim undertone to the game world - it also explores what happens to the unfortunate Jedi that are captured by the Empire and the torture they endure. Despite darker tones and more mature themes, Respawn still manages to make the adventure fun and filled with wonder.
Cal quickly finds an adorable droid companion on his journey, BD-1, who helps him along his path and becomes key in many aspects of gameplay and exploration in addition to being his cute sidekick. The supporting characters are all fully fleshed out and the grandpa-esque captain of your ship even offers some comedy along the way, while BD-1 establishes himself as one of the most lovable droids in a series filled with them. You'll even come across a few recognizable characters like Saw Guerera (played by Forrest Whittaker) in your travels. The enemies faced along the way are also surprisingly layered and offer some thrilling boss fights.
Rather than looking to reinvent the wheel gameplay-wise, Respawn looked to what gamers had been craving and drew inspiration from other popular series over the years, including Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and Dark Souls amongst others.
Combat in Fallen Order is tactical and deliberate, and the enemies in it are tough - far from a button mashing title, timing is crucial in blocking and dodging incoming attacks and finding openings to land your own is vital to success. Respawn clearly borrowed much of the combat system from the infamously difficult Dark Souls series, but luckily there are several difficulty options available including an easy "story mode" for those that are more interested in the story and platforming and less so for the challenging combat.
Several other aspects are borrowed from the Souls series, such as Fallen Order's meditation circles: glowing spots on the map which save your progress and where you can rest to fully restore your health at the cost of respawning enemies in the area, or can spend skill points to upgrade your abilities. These ability upgrades offer more health, more force meter, different combo attacks and enhancements to your force abilities, and more. Skill points are acquired through levelling up, and experience is handed out for defeating enemies, finding collectables and secrets, and completing story objectives just like in most games.
Dying will see your respawn at the last meditation circle and all XP you acquired since your last save will be lost, however that XP returns once you land a hit on the enemy that killed you, incentivizing you to try again rather than avoid the obstacle.
Despite the challenging combat, the game's controls are remarkably simple - on an Xbox controller, press A to jump, B to evade (or roll with a double tap), X for a quick lightsaber attack, and Y for a stronger but slower lightsaber attack. The left bumper blocks incoming strikes and blaster fire and pressing it right before impact allows you to parry blows to open up powerful counter attacks (or send blaster fire directly back to its sender), though some attacks cannot be blocked - these are indicated by the enemy glowing red for a moment signalling that you must dodge to avoid damage.
As for force powers, they're mapped to the remaining bumper and triggers - pressing the right bumper "slows" a targeted enemy, a unique Jedi power that Cal has; the right trigger is mapped to force push while the left is for force pull, both powers you'll acquire later in the game.
The variety of enemies Fallen Order throws at you to keep combat fresh and fun throughout your playthrough is really quite impressive. A plethora of Stormtroopers are featured as expected, from the lowly cannon-fodder vanilla Stormtroopers to units equipped with shock batons, rocket launchers, and machine guns, which are supplemented with highly specialized "Purge Troopers" that feature shock staffs and are like mini boss fights in and of themselves. Each of the game's five planets have a wide assortment of local flora and fauna, many of which are hostile, from odd flying insects to oversized spiders to man-eating plants to giant ogre-like beasts to massive winged killers and even zombie-like creatures.
Platforming is just as big an aspect of the game as combat is however. Metroidvania level design has had a home in gaming for many years, but has become more popular than ever in recent years with titles like Control and 2018's God of War using the style of game design to incredible effect. Essentially, metroidvania games feature large open areas with many different interconnected paths to explore, many of which are blocked off or inaccessible to players until they've acquired certain items or skills required in order to unlock them.
Here, Respawn has lovingly crafted five such areas across the game's five planets, each an intricate web of branching paths and hidden areas. Often after exploring a path you'll unlock shortcuts to quickly traverse from one end to another, so when revisiting a level you don't have to take the full path and can get to hub areas much more quickly (though even with shortcuts the treks can get a little lengthy).
It can be quite fulfilling to explore a long path that seems so far from where you had started only to unlock a nifty shortcut that takes you right back to where you were, and it's quite impressively laid out. The one problem with this is that early on in the game, some of the areas aren't clear that they can't be accessed yet, and in certain cases where chests are right out in the open but can't be opened yet because you need an upgrade to do so, it can be annoying.
The lack of any fast travel can also get frustrating - you can easily travel between the planets you've got access to at any time by hopping on board the Mantis, you and your allies' small ship. Rather than sitting through a loading screen you'll travel to the planet within a minute in real time as the ship takes off from the planet you were on and enters space before entering hyperspace for a short period (typically accompanied with some banter from your crewmates) and finally zapping out of hyperspace to end up right in front of the destination planet, just like in the movies. It's a neat process and much cooler than sitting through a loading screen.
Once off the ship and planetside however, the only option for travel is good old fashioned exercise. Later on if you're seeking collectables or have completed a quest and want to return to your ship to further progress, it can get annoying to have to make your way through the entire level (shortcuts or not) just to get back to your ship, especially if your travels took you to the other side of the planet. While the level layout and the platforming in general make it fun to explore and discover new paths, later on the lack of a "return to ship" option seems like an artificial way to pad the length of the game and adding in the simple feature would go a long way in fixing that.
The 3D map, which is available at any time and is projected into the world by your droid, can also sometimes be confusing as to how to get to your objective. It would be extremely useful to allow players to place waypoints to help them navigate or even utilize a horizontal compass pointing to the next objective like many modern open world games have.
As you progress through the story, Cal will re-learn different force powers that were sealed off to him due to the fear caused by the Jedi purge, each of which becomes vital to access different areas of each planet and progress in your quest. Force pull will allow you to pull down platforms to unlock shortcuts and put other platforming objects into positions you can use; force push will have you throwing incendiary devices to clear blocked areas and maneuvering slabs and other items so you can climb them; Cal's force slow ability will let you get past whirling blades and run across spinning platforms. You'll also need BD-1's help to advance in some areas - after finding upgrades he can slice open doors, overcharge electrical components to assist you, and even hack certain droids to help you in combat.
Titanfall's wall-running makes a glorious return here and the game's sense of mobility through the use of Cal's powers is extremely fun - the different abilities are slowly layered onto each other so player's naturally get used to them and become experts in their own right. Before you know it you'll be running along a wall only to jump off and pull a hanging vine into your hands so you can swing across a chasm and clasp onto a climbable rock face.
What might be the most surprising thing to find in the game is the puzzles. Respawn clearly took ques from Uncharted and Tomb Raider for its construction of lost tombs. These include intricate and challenging puzzles requiring smart use of the powers and abilities at your disposal to progress in. Occasionally it wasn't always clear how to continue, but after a few minutes of trial and error I never had to resort to finding a guide online to figure the puzzles out, and they grant quite a sense of accomplishment when completed thanks to their challenge.
While some have pointed out that the game is stingy when it comes to the number of force powers available, each is incredibly versatile and useful in a variety of ways, from combat to traversal and exploration. While Fallen Order may not have the number of powers available as say The Force Unleashed, the game more than makes up for it with the way in which they are utilized. There are also a fair number of upgrades to be earned to enhance those powers, including the classic lightsaber throw and an enhanced dodge which automatically applies slow to your opponent on a successful dodge.
The game also looks and sounds great - it's truly a cinematic experience and immerses you fully in the Star Wars universe. Everything is fluid and smooth, and some of the larger set pieces are visually stunning, especially when the sense of scale is fully realized, from clambering around the hull of a destroyed star cruiser to battling a massive winged beast in the sky to climbing the origin tree on the Wookie home world of Kashyyyk, the world of Star Wars is lovingly recreated in great detail here.
It could have used another month or two of polish however - no doubt rushed to hit store shelves before the holidays, the game does suffer from some graphical imperfections. Texture pop-in is quite regular, killed enemies will sometimes partly fall through the environment or float in the air, and occasionally the lighting will visibly switch back and forth for a few seconds. Running into a new area will also sometimes cause a few moments of lag as the game hurries to load in the next area, but none of the issues here are game breaking or ruin the experience.
If you fall while platforming you almost instantly come back to where you were, so simple misteps aren't punished nor do they pull you from the game, but if you die in combat, sometimes the accompanying loading screen will take a few full minutes before you are respawned, which is really the only major issue I had while playing.
Customization may not be as extensive as in many games, but there is a fair amount of choice available and luckily none of it is hidden in loot boxes or microtransactions.
Customization options are found in chests located throughout the game world, often hidden in clever spots and hard-to-reach areas, and some can only be opened after you've acquired a certain upgrade for BD-1. These come in the form of paintjobs for BD-1 and the Mantis (your ship), different outfits for Cal, and different ponchos to wear over them (like the one pictured above).
More interesting are the lightsaber options - a variety of different hilts, handles, switches, alloys, and beam colours can be found to make your lightsaber truly unique - later in the game you'll even unlock the double bladed lightsaber, and you can switch between the single and double blade variants with the tap of a button. Near the end you'll even be able to separate the two hilts for separate blade attacks before locking them back together, which is nothing short of badass. Best of all, you can make your saber's beam purple - as everyone knows, purple is the baddest motherfucking lightsaber colour in the motherfucking galaxy.
For a different kind of collectable you'll find force echoes throughout the game world, which are objects (or even corpses) connected to the force which enable Cal to hear or see what an item was used for or how someone died, adding some interesting bits of lore and background to the story. BD-1 can scan things in the environment as well to unlock more information which can be read in the menu's databank, along with dead enemies and wildlife to discover more about them and their place in Star Wars canon.
Each planet also has a select few secrets to find, which not only provide more backstory but also offer additional benefits, such as increasing your maximum health, your force meter, or allowing BD-1 to carry more stims (used to recover some of your health when needed).
When all is said and done, the campaign comes to a climactic end in an epic and memorable final mission which includes the appearance of surprise guest character which I won't spoil here. After its conclusion you can continue to explore the planets available and find all of the collectables and secrets you may have missed along your journey. Completing the game should take players roughly 15-20 hours and more if you want to achieve 100% completion, which is a good amount of time for a well-paced game such as Fallen Order - even if a few too many minutes overall are spent on backtracking.
There is unfortunately little in the way of replay value though - there is no New Game+ mode, so if you want to play through the story again you'll have to start from scratch without any of your upgrades or unlocked powers to give you an advantage or allow you to skip ahead. Since it's also a linear story without narrative options or different paths (such as The Force Unleashed's light or dark side choices) there's nothing gained from playing through it again unless you really want to challenge yourself by playing on a harder difficulty (though you can change the difficulty at any point of the game).
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order may not be a perfect game, but it's exactly what the Star Wars gaming universe needs right now. The immersive and expansive worlds Respawn has created are a joy to explore and traverse, and the surprisingly deep and challenging combat offers rewarding gameplay to fans of action/adventure games whether they're Star Wars fans or not.
The fact that the game is so good despite the fact that it is Respawn's first non-first person shooter is simply astonishing and a testament to how good a developer Respawn is - hopefully EA continues to allow the talented team to flourish and avoids running them into the ground like they typically do.
With a great original story, a fun cast of characters and amazing gameplay to boot, Fallen Order is easily the best Star Wars game EA has put out and is exactly what was needed to bring hope back to the galaxy far far away.
+Superb storytelling and plot with compelling characters and moral dilemmas firmly rooted in the Star Wars universe, culminating in an epic and satisfying final act
+Deep and challenging combat with a lot of enemy variety
+Excellent platforming and mobility and intricate metroidvania-style levels
+Extremely polished and well-used force powers and abilities that are layered gradually and complement each other well
+A beautiful and lovingly crafted recreation of the Star Wars universe teeming with life and personality
+Double bladed, purple motherfucking lightsabers
-Lack of fast travel/"return to ship" ability
-Some graphical imperfections and perfomance issues
-Lack of replay value
The Score: 9/10