Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is Everything I’ve Wanted Since I Was a Child
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was a game that spoke to me on a level that no other game has and it was everything that I wanted.
I truly can’t remember how old I was when I saw my first Star Wars movie. I have vague memories of seeing The Phantom Menace at some point when I was very young but I honestly couldn’t tell exactly when I saw it. That being said, I do remember seeing Revenge of the Sith with my parents back in 2005 at a theater that doesn’t exist anymore. Like most kids after they saw a Star Wars movie, I was obsessed with lightsabers. They were big laser swords; who wouldn’t want to swing one of those around?
Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with trying to find a Star Wars game that captures the feeling of being a Jedi or Sith. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a title that got really close for me, but looking back, it didn’t control as well as I remembered and the story was a bit on the weaker side (although it’s still one of my favorites). 2017’s Star Wars: Battlefront II also came close but it wasn’t ALL about a force-sensitive individual like I would have wanted. However, when 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was announced, I was optimistic about what the game would have to offer. Now that I’ve played through the title and I’m on my way to the platinum, I can say with confidence that this game is everything that I’ve wanted since I saw Revenge of the Sith in theaters and there are two very simple reasons as to why.
The forefront of Fallen Order’s immersion comes in the form of its gameplay. Right out of the gate the gameplay is smooth, even if you don’t have all your force powers yet. Despite being in this “powered down” form, the game still nails the feel of being Jedi. In the films and shows, you can see the differences between the Jedi, Sith and the non-force-sensitive lightsaber users. The force-sensitive wielders have more grace to their fighting styles (even the Sith to a certain extent, although certainly less-so). This grace and fighting style is expertly replicated in Fallen Order.
Of course, the game doesn’t go too far. There are little to no insane flips or swings like the ones found in the prequels. When they are utilized, it’s sparingly. Because of this, the lightsaber combat has quickly become one of my favorites in a Star Wars game. Each hit and block feels meaningful. This is something that the sequel trilogy got very close to achieving compared to the other trilogies, but didn’t quite hit the mark. The heavy lightsaber combat and the fact that you’re actually playing the content rather than watching it makes for an experience that I could only dream about as a kid.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Fallen Order’s story is absolutely superb and easily one of the best Star Wars stories we’ve ever gotten. Part of the reason it clicked with me so much is that I relate to Cal in my own way. When we first see him, he isn’t confident, he’s scared, and he’s just trying to blend in, all of which describe me when I was younger, first getting into Star Wars. As the story goes on, however, Cal grows, becomes confident, makes friends, and gets back on the path to becoming a Jedi Knight. I sometimes feel like I didn’t become a confident adult until much later than seemingly everyone else around me. For these reasons, I’m attached more to Cal than any other Star Wars character that’s currently canon.
There’s a moment later in the game, when Cal is making his own lightsaber, that I realized what this game had become for me. When I had a chance to fully customize Cal’s lightsaber on Illum, I immediately chose a yellow crystal. Ever since I was a kid, yellow was my ideal color for a lightsaber. It’s always appealed to me for some reason. After I chose my crystal, I immediately started customizing the saber more than I ever had before in the game. This was my lightsaber. It wasn’t Cal’s, it wasn’t Jaro Tapol’s, it was quintessentially mine. And then it hit me: this wasn’t Cal’s journey in becoming a Jedi — it was mine.
For some RPG and MMO players, this self-identification may not come as a surprise; I know that a lot of those players see themselves as the characters. But for me, no other game has spoken to me like this before. Maybe it was the story, maybe it was the gameplay, maybe it was just the fact that it’s a Star Wars game. Regardless, it all feels right.
Earlier this month I released my top 10 games for 2019 and at the time I wasn’t that far into Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Because of that, I only put the game as an honorable mention. At the time, I was sure that it would probably rank in my top five of the year, but it didn’t feel right putting a game that I had only played a few hours of so high on my list. If I had known what I do know about the title, I would have easily put the title in the number one slot. I can’t wait to see what EA and Respawn have in store for a sequel and I can’t wait to recreate my lightsaber at Galaxy’s Edge when I go later this year.