Order 66 has wiped the Jedi from the Galaxy, but a new hope lies in Cal Kestis, a padawan that has of yet, escaped the clutches of the Empire. As premises for a protagonist go, this one is pretty up there on my list of favourites.
EA at E3 gave the world a solid 10+ minute glimpse of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and whilst obviously what we see is early days in the story, there is a lot of promise in this young padawan.
We begin on Kashyyyk entrusted with the mission of freeing enslaved Wookies and thwarting the Empire’s plans. Under the leadership of Saw Guerra, Cal is deployed on operation ‘Let the Wookies Out’ whilst Saw’s forces create a distraction. Firstly this further adds to Saw’s importance to the Rebellion, as his character is appearing more and more in the Expanded Universe and it also lends the remaining Jedi a kind of ‘Special Forces’ feel in this story.
Combat blends Force abilities and lightsaber attacks seamlessly with hints of God of War for time-based dodges and counters. The initial attacks seem to invoke a ‘Force Unleashed’ vibe as they are brutal and unfriendly but Lightsabers weren’t built for tickling contests. After chewing through some Stromtroopers, eventually ‘Skill Point Acquired’ appears - we don’t get to see a Skill Tree or how those points are to be spent but if I was a Sabacc player, I’d bet you’ll have the choose between Light and Dark powers as Cal evolves.
We see a few basic Stormtroopers, as always with terrible aim, not that aim matters when your target can parry a laser bolt back at you with a Lightsaber or Force grab you and shoot you in the back with your own bolt, that was previously frozen in mid-air. Later on a few more diverse Troopers appear in the guise of Flametroopers and Patroltroopers. But things get interesting with some Electrostaff equipped Heavy Troopers join the party, specialised Troopers requiring a bit more care and attention to dispatch, tactical fighting is the (first) order of the day.
Breaking up the monotony of sending faceless goons into walls come some creature fights: nothing is friendly but it would appear that under the right circumstances the enemy of my enemy is my friend ( i.e. that is you can turn these creatures, presumably Planet specific against your foe).
The environments are beautifully crafted and you can traverse them with ‘Uncharted’ ease with just a hint of Respawn Entertainment’s ‘Titanfall 2’. Following on from what we saw in the Official trailer for the game interacting with the environment whilst using Force powers will be key to your survival.
Cal’s droid BD-1 is also introduced who seemingly acts not only as your medic (portable and upgradeable medical canisters) but also your map and presumably Skill Tree menu as well and this is my only gripe from what I have seen so far, the game devs didn’t take the plunge and call it BFF but that’s a minor gripe as the game does have something that has been lacking from A LOT of recent Star Wars games - a sense of humour - we hear two Stromtroopers talking about the benefit of having the higher ground. *Chef’s Kiss*
All in all and no I won’t apologise for shovelling some coal in the hype(r drive) engine. Fallen Order looks to be the game Star Wars fans have been hoping for - a sprawling Space Opera saga with pathos and humour alike, some Lightsaber badassery and an actual story.