Creating sequels for a critically acclaimed piece of media is a tough task. When something is loved so dearly, how do you exemplify that without creating the exact same game? Respawn Entertainment has had the arduous task of developing another expansion to the Star Wars franchise, the sequel to 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. So how did they do? Find out in our Star Wars Jedi: Survivor review!
This review will contain NO story spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor but may contain spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR – STORY
Set 5 years after the events of Fallen Order, Cal Kestis and his trusty companion BD-1 are struggling to stay one step ahead of the Galactic Empire. Burdened with being one of the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy, Cal must work together with his allies to keep the remaining survivors of Order 66 safe from harm.
Without giving too much information about the story away, it is one of the most captivating and emotional narratives set in the Star Wars universe that we’ve seen in the last few years. The pacing of the story is superb and allowed me to feel engaged with the unpredictable story the whole way through. Outside of the main Star Wars films, Cal Kestis’ narrative is my favourite alongside the events in The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Andor.
STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR – GAMEPLAY
Many of the gameplay mechanics from Fallen Order return in Survivor, with some innovative additions as well to make the gameplay feel fresh. Unlike most adventure games, Cal has retained his abilities, everything he learned as a Jedi in the first game is available at the beginning of Survivor. I really wish more games adapted this, but I can also appreciate that it wouldn’t work for every game.
Combat is more fluid than ever. Fighting feels extremely cinematic even during the smaller fights, but the most impressive addition to the combat is the addition of stances. Stances allow you to approach fights in five different ways with your lightsaber – single, double-bladed, dual wield, crossguard, and blaster stance. During my playthrough I mained the single and double-bladed stance but opted for the other three when I needed to change my strategy in a difficult fight.
One of the greatest experiences in this game are the boss fights. They can be exceptionally challenging if you aren’t good with parrying, but luckily difficulty can be turned down if you feel the need to do so. I won’t go into detail on who you are fighting in these boss fights, but there are some epic battles to be a part of.
Skills & Navigating The World
You gain experience through exploration and defeating enemies, which allow you to upgrade and learn new skills in the skill tree. The skill tree has been slightly redesigned but is still as simple and easy to navigate as the one in Fallen Order. Each stance has a branch on the skill tree so you can tailor Cal to your fighting style.
Traversal around the six explorable planets in the game is one of the best in an action/adventure game in years. Movement is so swift, that its going to be hard going back to games like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok which will now feel sluggish in comparison. I will say, however, there was a lot of climbing and platforming in this game which often got a bit repetitive, but the story and general exploration more than made up for it.
There are around 20 side quests, named Rumors, to complete during the game which offer you various rewards. I didn’t spend too much time doing these quests as the rewards didn’t seem that worth while. While exploring the planets, you will find a number of different collectibles which can be used to redeem customisation items such as facial hair, dye for clothing, and lightsaber parts. There’s a plethora of ways to customise, which allow you to create your own lightsaber and change Cal and BD-1’s appearance to suit.
Once the 18-24 hour story is completed, the game allows you to free roam the map post-credits to tie up any loose ends. Alternatively, it offers New Game Plus mode which allows you to start a new game with all of your skill points, lightsaber stances, cosmetics and collectibles carrying over, with new perks and lightsaber blades available in the second playthrough.
STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR – MUSIC AND SOUND
Star Wars is well-known for outstanding sound design and Jedi: Survivor continues this tradition. Every sound feels weighted and allows you to be completely immersed into the game. The game showcases what sound design standards should be as a benchmark.
Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab return as lead composers after their monumental score in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and its just as impressive this time around. That iconic Star Wars sound is infused into the game which makes it feel like such a cohesive and well-crafted experience. Here’s an example of what you might expect:
The voice acting is top notch with Shameless’ Cameron Monaghan (Cal Kestis), Batman: The Enemy Within’s Debra Wilson (Cere Junda), and American Horror Story’s Cody Fern (Dagan Gera) being the standout performers.
GRAPHICS AND PERFORMANCE
I played this on PlayStation 5, which at the time of writing seems to be the platform with the least amount of performance issues. I did experience some performance issues where the game looks and runs exactly how it’s meant to 75% of the time, and the other 25% it would run very sluggish and the graphics would look very grainy. The cinematics could have run a lot smoother but graphically as a whole the game provides some breathtaking landscapes.
In terms of graphics and performance influencing the review score, it does, to an extent. However, I won’t let any issues that I believe will be patched in the next update ruin the overall experience or deter my recommendation of this game.
Respawn have taken Fallen Order’s formula and perfected it to produce what could be considered one of the best Star Wars games ever released. The combination of exceptional storytelling and cinematics make Star Wars Jedi: Survivor an experience that I would easily recommend to anyone.