STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor Review
Not being the biggest STAR WARS fan, I have been enamoured with Respawn’s gaming entries that have taken the widely popular phenomena, and cultivated its own legacy in video gaming history. Jedi: Survivor is an immediate follow-up to 2019’s STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order, establishing a plot set apart from the live action, feature film series but connecting it directly to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It became a no brainer for Electronic Arts to capitalise on Fallen Order’s popularity, given the title’s expeditious pacing, level design and overall delivery being as masterful as it was, Jedi: Survivor improves on all facets and features the action-adventure prequel had initiated, leaving a lofty foundation for future entries in the series to ultimately carry STAR WARS’ rich gaming history into the next generation.
Not withstanding its already profound impact on pop-culture, STAR WARS’ turbulent ride through the video gaming space has been mostly a successful fleet through the unknown with rare crash and burns that coincided quick cash grabs purely out of business sense (ahem… Angry Birds: Star Wars) but I digress. With the action-adventure genre seemingly more inspired than ever to produce some of the most polished experiences throughout modern gaming, we’re now treated to great hybrids of cinema and interactivity in the same vein. It would be extraordinarily difficult not to plant one of Hollywood’s greatest sci-fi achievements into this great medium, lay a foundation as strong as the Jedi series has, and turn this beloved tale from a long time ago, into a prolific franchise for gamers to traverse through. Jedi: Survivor again, solidifies all perfect stances its prequel had, and plants its feet firm into gaming with great gusto.
For those wondering, you don’t necessarily need to play Jedi: Fallen Order to pick up Jedi: Survivor, but its encouraged to appreciate our protagonist’s tale, and how Jedi Knight, Cal Kestis came from young Padawan, to fierce light saber wielding warrior. Just as Jedi: Fallen Order was five years past Revenge of the Sith, Jedi: Survivor precedes another five years after its predecessor after the destruction of the Jedi holocron. Outgrowing his mentors, Cal sets off on his own self-discovery, that leads him ever closer to thwarting the Empire. With his objective in clear sight, Cal works with stoic, stern and widely renowned resistance fighter Saw Gerrera. His mission is to extract military data from the imperial capital of Coruscant, currently withheld by its Senator, Dago Sejan. Flanked by associate and merc Bode Akuna, The Ninth Sister intercepts Cal and assassinates the Senator before he’s able to complete his mission.
Despite their efforts, it is learned that the Empire has become stronger, invading multiple sectors of the galaxy. Deflated, Cal heads to Koboh only to find the location overrun by a revel group known as the Bedlam Raiders. With his space craft docked after sustaining damages during his escape from Coruscant, Cal hopes to find Greez Dritus, the mantis’ former Captain. Dritus leads Cal toward a cave that encases specialised parts needed to repair this ship, only for him to discover Zee (ZN-A4), whom gifts Cal a High Republic tuner, that activates another device that’s been cemented within the cave for a century. Upon activating the aforementioned device known as the Forest Array, they find Dagan in stasis within the bacta tank. Dagan is freed, but has fallen corrupt after the Jedi Order left Tanalorr. A battle breaks out between Cal and Dagan with leader of the Bedlam Raiders, Rayvis, stepping in to help Cal.
Jedi: Survivor sets up a unique plot that emphasises Cal’s growth in both a leadership role, and self confidence despite his minor setbacks to which he follows through. Albeit, while I would say the story is as strong as Jedi: Fallen Order, it takes a backseat to the fluid gameplay, to which has become the Jedi series’ strength. As encumbered as I was with our hero, sidekicks and cameos made, I wasn’t as thrilled as I was to jump back into its interactivity, wield a beaming saber and slice off the limbs of an antagonising star trooper or devious droid. Stronger writing would benefit the Jedi series moving forward, but could deficit its creative vision upon gameplay and biome design, so it sits in an equal balance of sorts that can be appreciated by both the hardcore fan and casual gamer.
Not to be Reckoned with...
✔️ Some of the smoothest swordplay I’ve ever experienced in gaming, ever.
✔️ A fantastic follow-up to Cal’s expedition, giving us a prominent protagonist to parlay through the Jedi series for a long time.
✔️ Can start from Jedi: Survivor, yet encouraged to experience its predecessor.
❌ Some technical issues, lighting and shaders.
So let’s talk about Jedi: Survivor’s combat mechanics. First off, its core fundamentals mirror Jedi: Fallen Order, but are vastly improved. It should be noted that Cal’s arsenal from the prequel is carried over without any forced excuse to strip him of his abilities, so props to the developers on keeping Cal strong from the onset. Of course, the allure of playing a STAR WARS game comes from the fact that you want to swing your saber, as a Jedi Master, and I’ve never felt as powerful as I did in this entry.
Different stances deliver unique offensive manoeuvres and arm Cal with either a single, or dual-wielding stance that allow a myriad of incredible sleek attacks. The Kylo Ren stance allows Cal to verse opponents with the Supreme Leader’s crossguard light saber, but has a respective offensive strategy that involves striking at appropriate times for effective blows. Cal’s stasis ability allows the Jedi Knight to control enemies and objects, akin to a Sith-lord. Each stance gives the fan a genuine feel of being a Jedi, encapsulating that immersion quite concise its live action demonstrations.
Defense mechanisms such a guarding and parrying play a major role in each confrontation, giving Cal a lead to open a flurry of hacks through his opponent. traversal is as seamless as ever, with the Knight’s grapple hook slinging him through tall peaks and parkour-like leaping and wall-running, mastering a sunset overdrive like feel that may not be unique, but is as smooth as those features are in Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. The very “Uncharted-like” terrain explored through multiple regions of Jedi: Survivor, gives us heavy outskirts vibes that keep Koboh relative, although distant. My only issues with pacing came from campaign progression by its story being a little scattered at times and hard to keep up with, but its worldly elements and biome placements being perfectly placed throughout its exploration. A weird combination that worked well by the end of my adventure.
An oddly timed comparison between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Jedi: Survivor is the title’s respective shrines, or Jedi Meditation Chambers as it’s known here. Both are placed in respective and unique areas of different regions and have puzzles that deliver the hero a reward that aims to raise their level. The chambers are unlocked through specific story events, but are a ton of fun to play. Character customisation has expanded drastically, allowing the player to cosmetically mould Cal to their liking, with a clean cut, a quick shave or a nice grizzly beard to boot, meanwhile sidekick BD-1 gets its own stylistic upgrades that are now much more complex than the old paint job it once had in Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s a nice way to personalise your experience aesthetically.
Major props to the cast and crew of Jedi: Survivor, with many popular reprisals at play including its central focus on Cal Kestis’ actor, Cameron Monaghan once again planting his feet firm into his role as the Jedi Knight. Daniel Roebuck returns as Greez, while Debra Wilson returns as Cal’s former mentor Cere Junda to give the once Padawan more sagely advice. While the trio play their prominent roles respectively, a swell of talent lend their ultimate talent to this awesome experience including; Liam O’Brien, Robin Atkin Downes, Yuri Lowenthal, Sam Riegel, DC Douglas, J Michael Tatum, Lex Lang, JB Blanc, Erica Lindbeck, Britt Baron, Fred Tatasciore, TJ Ramini and the incomparable Matthew Mercer. It’s a who’s who of voice over and mocap talent coming together to makeshift a masterful matinee.
STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor will be a perceived as a prominent piece of gaming history from 2023. A leading standard to action-adventure, role-playing, hack-and-slash storytelling that adapts the incredibly creative minds of Lucasfilm’s original vision. While it each story takes place long ago in a galaxy far far away, Cal’s relative campaign delivers a vicarious experience that fans live through in essence of its overall presentation. An amazing demonstration of taking an established property and turning it into its own respective piece of media that can be accepted by fans that aren’t well versed within the deep, rich lore of the STAR WARS universe itself. It’s encouraged me to finally sit down and watch the entire film saga, to which I’ve immediately fallen in love with. STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor may come out the dark horse Game of the Year, in a surprising victory for Respawn and Electronic Arts.
STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor Review
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