Beväpnad med en ljussabel och kraften beger Jedin Cal Kents sig återigen ut på ett äventyr för att rädda galaxen från mörkret.
The Return of Cal Kestis
A direct sequel to Star Wars: Fallen Order, Jedi Survivor follows the story of Cal Kestis once more as he embarks on an epic new adventure that will push him and his friend to new levels once more facing the darkness of not only the empire but the darkness in himself.
Jedi Survivor is set 5 years after the events of Fallen Order that covered the aftermath of Star Wars episode III Revenge of the Sith’s Order 66 execution. Now it is not entirely mandatory to play Fallen Order before Survivor as Survivor attempts to strike out and be its own thing, however if you’ve played Fallen Order to completion you’ll easily recognize a lot of the returning characters and see how they have also evolved over the past 5 years from the end of of Fallen Order.
While Jedi Survivor tries to have it’s own identity it also doesn’t forget it’s previous game by including that of a Fallen Order story recap that covers the most pressing matters throughout the other so don’t be worried if you haven’t played the original game in the series as you’ll be brought up to speed quite quickly from the start.
Much like Fallen Order, Jedi Survivor follows the unique sliding difficulty scaler system. Upon selecting a new game all modes will be available to you, next to each mode will be three bars that empty and fill based on mode selection, these cover that of Story Mode, Jedi Padawan all the way up to Jedi Grand Master.
These bars denote that of – Parry Timing / Incoming Damage and Enemy Aggression
As the difficulty level is increased Parry Timing goes down while Incoming Damage and Enemy Aggression skyrocket, this is quite an interesting way to handle difficulty modes as for people just wanting to experience the story overall can have totally different experience from someone playing a harder difficulty simply due to these minor changes. Fights and AI movement in Story mode far more easier to handle and determine, however for example an enemy in Story mode that may play incredibly passive allowing for multiple hits before retailing will be juxtaposed by the same enemy of Jedi Grand Master being incredibly resourceful and seemly relentless in it’s disposal of Cal Kestis.
As with Fallen Order a large portion comes down to player choice, you’re free to navigate every world you venture in anyway that you see fit. The main base world is absolutely huge and holds many unique areas that will require other items/abilities from further worlds to fully progress and unlock the surrounding areas. Why should I uncover all these zones? you ask. Well aside from the excellent music score and environment design much like Fallen Order, Jedi Survivor has heaps of customization options for these can be for Cal himself, his ever faithful droid companion BD-1 as well as unique Lightsaber color schemes and modifications to tools. It was always an interesting experience to climb a high peak only to open a chest that contained a new beard option for Cal.
However there is a downside to this for fans returning to the series, while customization is still top notch it has been scaled back and a familiar customization option is no longer a feature within Jedi Survivor I’m unsure why this feature was removed as it doesn’t change the story in any shape or form however the removal of this feature has lead the way for several other interesting aspects of gameplay that I will mention, well.. right now.
Stances and Force Powers in Combat
Now we get into the meat and potatoes of Jedi Survivor and that is the Lightsaber combat and Force powers, you’ll be experiencing combat for a larger portion of the game so it’s best to give a brief overview of all the different styles that Cal Kestis now has access too, do note that this will contain spoilers for the already announced 4th and 5th Lightsaber style. Let’s begin with the most basic stance of all that players will immediately have access to that of the..
Single Blade – The most basic and easy to use stance of them all, this style is a jack of all trades master on none style of stance featuring lunging strikes, fast dashes and the classic Lightsaber throw, while suitable for all your needs it is beaten in certain aspects by every other stance on offer.
Double Bladed – Another of the iconic styles offered from Jedi Fallen Order, while you don’t start with this stance during the tutorial section you’ll be given this stance at an early instance and taught the true nature behind why two blades are better than one. Double Bladed boasts some of the best melee swings in the game with wide arcing multi hitting abilities, double bladed is also unmatched when blocking blaster fire which is the most common type of damage that you will come up against. While other stances will falter under heavy fire, double bladed will reflect all those blaster bolts back and destroy the battlefield with its extended reach and quick flourishes
Dual Bladed – This was gained quite late in Fallen Order, however Dual bladed is gifted to Cal towards the end of the tutorial level and is really amped up in it’s capability. While not as strong as other stances Dual Bladed more than makes up for it with its ability to cancel any swing with a simple click of the parry button, this makes Dual Blade the unsung king in combat as being able to cancel an attack to reflect an incoming blaster bolt will save Cal for suffering damage that might have otherwise caused several issues later down the line. While Dual blade may be on the weaker side it makes up for it with it’s extreme speed, built in parry abilities unique to the style, backstep abilities as well it’s double lightsaber guide throw.
Of the three original styles personally for me the crown is easily taken by that of Dual bladed, not only does it look better aesthetically compared to the others the ability to cancel attacks during combat on higher modes easily saved me from a game over multiple times. Jedi Survivor does these classic stance justice by bringing in older abilities that have been shown in media before and giving them a fresh face for the next generation. Speaking on the next generation..
Blaster Stance – While originally frowned upon by the Order Cal takes up a blaster to pair with a single bladed saber to create one of the newest stance, adding a blaster into the mix means this stance has the greatest range capability in the game, not even the Double bladed stance can make the sheer distance that Blaster Stance can match, however due to the huge increase in range Blaster stance suffers from one of the weakest attacks in the entire game as well as being required to charge each shot by engaging in lightsaber combat to recharge the blaster. While being very good at picking off some of the lower end foes in combat Blaster stances low damage as well as the need to charge after a few shots puts this style at a disadvantage vs strong single foes.
However you can entirely override this issue by pairing Blaster with what is probably the most iconic new lightsaber style for the new generation of Star Wars movies and that is that of the..
Crossguard Stance – Dubbed the “Kylo Ren” stance for its unique look and relation to the movie counterpart Crossguard stance demonstrates how well combat has been integrated into Jedi Survivor, boasting extreme power at the cost of defensive options and long swing times Crossguard adds the most pronounced feature in Jedi Survivor and that is weight. While all the stances have their own take on weight none are better than Crossguard, it actually feels like you’re carrying and swinging a weapon that is just too big for you to handle and that really adds to the power fantasy of the game. While not my favorite stance of them all, Crossguard is the stance that best showcases what the engine behind Jedi survivor can actually handle and bring combat up a level overall. Hitting an enemy with Crossguard stance just feels good and you can bet if you decide to throw that saber in an enemies direction they’ll be feeling it straight into next week.
Adding force powers into combat has always been an interesting experience, Jedi Survivor expands upon this concept further by much like lightsaber combat adding weight and the feeling of power to every single force ability used in combat.
As with most Jedi, Cal has access to the most basic of Force Powers, which are that of Force Push and Force Pull. Each of these are pretty standard practice for most Star Wars games. To change these up however rather than pulling and pushing enemies with no downside at all a vast majority of the enemies encountered during Jedi Survivor are better designed to combat the most basic of Jedi abilities.
Force Pull for instant while great vs some of the lesser enemies can become a direct detriment without upgrades vs some of the large enemies, rather than being pulled towards you these enemies with actively fight against you even using your force pull to their advantage by using it as a free swing towards you throwing Cal off balance and most likely taking damage if not correctly parried quickie beforehand which in the early game gives a lot more nuance to combat and tells you right away that you’re not the greatest jedi in the galaxy.
Force Push also runs into the same issue earlier with larger enemies just outright shrugging off the push or in some cases hardly even moving. On some of the larger enemies Force Push is entirely redundant in the equation.
Along with the standard Push and Pull mechanics, Cal can also fall back on the old Jedi mind trick, Cal can use this to an extreme degree taking control of large beasts to take down groups of foes with ease, if you’re feeling combat is becoming to hard then aggressively dominating an ally for yourself can be the best way forward.
Jedi Survivor does a good job of not only relying on Lightsaber combat to achieve victory, the mixture of unique force powers and other abilities that Cal can gain throughout the game make combat one of the better experiences throughout gameplay. Mixing force powers into combat with several different lightsaber stances adds multiple dimensions to a system that was already great to begin with.
Thoughts and Conclusion
Here at the conclusion I’m left conflicted as to my true opinion regarding Star Wars: Jedi Survivor on the one hand the environments and musical scores are top notch and really invoke the overall Star Wars experience, having not played the original Star Wars: Fallen Order I can’t comment on whether this is a better or worse than it’s prequel. But from my experience just running around in the overworld and interacting with all the different characters was a breath of fresh air compared to the more on rails and linear style games that have been released recently.
However.. This same thrilling overworld experience as mentioned lead to some of my most annoying experiences throughout the entire playthrough, I’m not sure if these are intended points or they are simply bugs but Star Wars: Jedi Survivor has two real big issues that if planning a third game in the series needs to be addressed before anything comes into place, these issues as alluded to previously are that of Navigation and Gravity. I’ll cover the Navigation issue first of all as this is something I feel can be fixed quite easily with just more overall indications and clearer visuals.
The issue with Navigation is that while some portions are clearly marked a larger portion of the game has no clear indication on where you’re actually supposed to go, this can be fine overall as exploration is intended and is indeed the main purpose behind hunting all the additional content/chests as well and increases Cal’s overall stats. There were far too many instances during my playthrough where I had to completely stop and ponder as to how I was supposed to navigate some areas of the game. In some cases for example while climbing up a wall or similar instance it’s very obvious due to a white splash of paint or scratches on the adjoining wall that your intended pathway is this way. However in other instances you’ll be just standing a the top of a climbable objects simply spinning the camera just trying to figure out where you’re actually supposed to be jumping too, this lead to quite a lot of gravity deaths as the game intended me to make several “Leap of faith” style jumps in order to figure out where to actually go, while understandable for some of the later zones due to the environment I don’t think this is very good game design overall. Platforming needs to be clearly indicated so people have an idea of where they need to go to fully experience what’s been designed to begin with. Now platforming and Leap of faith style jumping is very common. Prince of Persia made it their bread and butter but even then it was always clearly indicated where you should be jumping. This moves into my next point of..
Gravity… you’ll die a lot from gravity related incidents and they’ll not always be your fault. Jedi Survivor has a very strange relationship with gravity as a whole.In one instance it’ll be clear why you died and others you’ll be left scratching your head as to what happened for example, if you miss or fail a jump and fall into the abyss below on some planets that’s a very clear indication however there are time when swinging on a rope from one side of an area to another that you’ll just die upon landing on the other side. Perhaps you merely climbed the rope too high? In general, sadly no. This can happen from various different points when swinging and it’s not always clear in the environment what is considered “too high”
However, even with these two issues being very prominent throughout the game I greatly enjoyed the experience as a whole, the environments and music as mentioned as top tier along with the sliding difficulty scalers for each mode along with the variety of force powers and lightsaber stances. Combat in general is Jedi Survivor’s greatest points and really makes you feel like a Jedi that’s just trying to survive, you’re not too overpowered nor too weak and your choices have a massive impact on the world as a whole.
Jedi Survivor itself is not a 10/10 experience as it is held back by these above issues and a somewhat floundering story in the later half but this is easily a solid 8/10 game and if you’re a fan of the series you’ll most likely be picking up a copy of this, I’m hoping that in the future the above issues can be looked upon and improved if a third instance of Cal’s adventure turns up. For now I look forward to the KOTOR Remake and the changes that could present for Star Wars and a whole.
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- Lightsaber combat is alway thrilling and fun
- Likable cast and fan favorite returning characters
- Amazing music and environmental design
- Story suffers from lack of direction
- Navigation / Platforming isn’t always clear
- Gravity deaths for performing as intended causes frustration