Following the release of the impressive Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order by EA’s Respawn Entertainment in 2019, enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating the next chapter in protagonist Cal Kestis’s journey. After a four-year wait, the highly anticipated sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, has arrived, and it’s even larger and more magnificent than before. This mighty continuation rectifies many of the flaws of its predecessor and includes additional elements, but it is also weighed down by familiar performance difficulties.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor takes place five years after Fallen Order, with the crew of the Mantis disbanded, and our hero still battling against the Empire’s tyrannical rule over the galaxy. It’s heartwarming to witness Cal’s transformation from a young Jedi knight in the previous game to a seasoned and disillusioned protagonist who has been through countless trials.
While it’s not necessary to play the first title before embarking on this one, there is a short recap video at the game’s beginning. However, having knowledge of our protagonist’s backstory will undoubtedly enhance your enjoyment of the game.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Feels Similar to its Predecessor
Everything you know and experienced in Fallen Order is back because Cal remains unchanged since we last saw him four years ago. He retains his force skills, the ability to climb on vines, walk on walls, and double jump. Brownie points to Respawn for not stripping Cal of his basic abilities, while also providing him with new and improved abilities to unlock gradually.
The progression of the game is well-structured, with a new tool introduced every few hours to keep players engaged. The game continues to use the Metroidvania-style approach, encouraging players to revisit earlier areas once they have obtained certain traversal abilities, such as a grappling hook and mid-air dash. Meditation Points make a welcome return, allowing you to rest, respawn enemies, unlock skills, and switch stances.
In terms of combat, Cal’s abilities have expanded significantly in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. He can now switch between five different lightsaber forms during combat, although only two can be equipped at any given time. These forms include the vanilla single blade, Darth Maul-style double blade, dual wield, Kylo Ren-style crossguard blade, and a wild dancer hybrid style of holding a blaster in one hand and a lightsaber in the other. Combat still follows a FromSoftware-inspired approach, with players having access to light and heavy attacks with their lightsaber, as well as the option to block and parry enemy movements.
“The developers have truly succeeded in allowing players to feel like a Jedi.”
There seems to be a certain jankiness to combat in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, where movements are not as polished and seamless as one might find in an actual FromSoftware game. Animations can appear incomplete, and it can be challenging to react in time to enemy attacks.
If you die, you lose all of your unbanked experience points and must respawn at the last Meditation Point. Skill points, earned from levelling up, can be used to allocate nodes in three separate branches: force, survival, and lightsaber. The game offers some innovative and refreshing force skills to learn, including the ability to control enemies and even perform the Jedi mind trick, which has become a popular meme. The developers have truly succeeded in allowing players to feel like a Jedi.
In addition to the various combat approaches available, players can customise nearly every aspect of their character. Exploring the world and completing tasks can unlock cosmetics, ranging from different hair and beard styles to paint jobs and parts for BD-1, your trusty Android companion.
At specific workbenches, players can fine-tune their lightsabers by tinkering with various parts and even changing the colour of the beam. Cal is truly a force to be reckoned with when he combines his dexterous close-quarter combat abilities with his newfound force powers while rocking a mullet, a full beard, and a hot pink robot on his shoulders. And, of course, the Poncho.
The Game Already Features A New Game Plus Mode For Enhancing Replayability
If you’re familiar with Fallen Order, you know that puzzles and platforming are integral gameplay mechanics. Meditation Chambers serve as challenge rooms that put your platforming and puzzle-solving skills to the test.
Additionally, Force Tears are optional challenges that you can undertake while exploring. I won’t lie; some of the chambers had me stumped with their challenging and perplexing puzzles. However, seeking out these shrines is worth the effort, as they offer new perks and skill points.
If you’re worried about the amount of overall content available, don’t be, as playing through the entire game once takes around 25-30 hours. Also, the game already features a new game plus mode, allowing you to start the game over with all your stances and perks from the start.
Another one of the new mechanics introduced in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the ability to ride mounts, but it doesn’t provide much other than being able to traverse large open areas at higher speeds. However, there is a flying creature that you can use as a glider at specific narrative sections, which does provide an immersive experience.
The levels are generally linear, but there are some “open world” portions to explore at your own pace. Climbing and platforming have been improved, and there’s a healthy number of shortcuts to unlock whilst progressing through a level. Helpful beacons on your holo map tell you where to head next to progress, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out exactly what you’re looking at. Thankfully, you can now fast travel between any Meditation Point, which is an excellent quality-of-life feature that saves you from running back and forth.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Struggles to Maintain 60 FPS
Cameron Monaghan deserves special recognition for his superb performance as Cal Kestis, providing both motion capture and voice acting for the character. Alongside Monaghan, the rest of the game’s characters, both main and side, are also voiced incredibly well, bringing essential charisma and charm to the narrative. Even newly introduced characters like Bode Akuna are written with remarkable depth.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor offers a new hub area filled with various NPCs you meet and recruit throughout your journey. These characters provide a sense of camaraderie, with some offering side quests and others acting as shop owners. Some parts of the game even have you teaming up with allies for breathtaking set pieces that are sure to leave your jaw on the floor.
One of my main gripes about Fallen Order was the technical performance, and unfortunately, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor shares some of the same issues, although there are some improvements. The game offers two modes: one that prioritises high graphical fidelity and the other that prioritises high frame rates. However, even in performance mode, the game struggles to maintain a steady 60 frames per second, particularly in large open-world areas that require loading lots of textures. Additionally, screen tearing, visual bugs, and pop-ins occur occasionally.
This is hands down the best Star Wars game to date.
Load times on the PS5 are also nothing to write home about, as they aren’t too quick but aren’t too slow either. Keep in mind this title is only available on next-gen consoles, so it’s reasonable to have higher expectations for better visual quality and performance. A few post-launch patches have made things a bit better, but I can’t imagine how problematic this title could have been without the already implemented six-week delay.
Despite patchable performance concerns, this is a no-brainer must-play for any Star Wars fan, especially if you enjoyed Fallen Order. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor vastly expands on both the combat and exploration compared to its predecessor, and pretty much improves upon everything else. This is hands down the best Star Wars game to date. Respawn Entertainment knows exactly how to do a sequel right, and I can’t wait to see the finale of the Star Wars Jedi trilogy and the end of Cal’s journey.