And so it is done. I completed Star Wars – Fallen Order. To my own surprise, even one day later, a very satisfying feeling lingers all within me. “Actually it was really good!” – or so I think. But wait … no … not all was good. Darkness looms within me. Anger. Disappointment.
Or maybe I am just too happy to finally complete a game after meandering around for two months. In a quick retrospect, the journey through the game world has been the true reward here, and the whole game experience was just awesome. Well, until it ended.
But let’s start the long tour though, without too many spoilers. Or even better: Let’s start in a decade, far far away …
I have always been a big fan of Star Wars since I have watched – totally unprepared – Episode IV with my brother and a friend on an unremarkable Sunday afternoon on VHS. I was around 12 – I think – and this movie has changed my perspective on what is ‘cool’ dramatically. Since then, I have been always eager to go and watch every new movies and got disappointed seven times in a row in the decades to come; well, with one exception.
Since the latest trilogy and origin stories it became rather obvious that Disney has no clue on how to find and set stories or invent characters within the Skywalker timeline, that create a feeling of meaningfulness. Solo was boring and VII-IX a catastrophe, with only Rogue One remaining a shining beacon. The Mandalorian has good vibes and angles, but has still to show, where all this is going. The season final was – again – a complete nonsense.
With Star Wars computer games I never really warmed up as much, as they have been mainly “side or fan-fictional stories” that were rather awkward for my taste. It felt that George Lucas just sold the license to whoever credibly wanted to do something with it. Besides Lucasfilm’s classics X-Wing, Tie-Fighter and X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter, I have only played Dark Forces, Knights of the Old Republic 2 (both not completed) and Star Wars – Old Republic. With the disaster that has been the release of Battlefront 2 (I don’t like shooters), no notable story-driven game has been released to the world that is Star Wars.
And then Star Wars – Fallen Order was here, with a new character – Cal Kestis – and a more dark and gritty setting between Episode III and IV than Rebels. A Jedi in the hiding, being revealed and chased by Inquisitors, banding with a crew of losers, unclear how and why they showed up at the exact perfect moment during his flight, who then follow another lonesome looser Jedi Sage paperchase circling around an ancient alien race called Zeffo through the galaxy. All to save some unknown younglings, who are soon to be killed by the Empires’ ruthless Inquisitors, who in turn are actually pretty cool.
At first I struggled with the premise and wondered about more or less everything that was story related. But the longer I played, the more I opened up to the characters and the world around me. The backstories of Cere Junda and Greez Dritus are believable in regards to Star Wars side characters and have some nice and soft twists and turns. Also the voice-cast helps tremendously here and is very convincing and supporting the characters with an extra edge. The cutscenes are almost always very good, including the transitions from game to cutscene and back, contributing to a very dense, believable atmosphere and immersion delivered through plain awesome graphics.
What really kept me going though was the focus on the main story, dialogues and the world and less collecting crap, trash and completing meaningless chores for some lazy bystander. Sure, you collect database entries and story-supporting Echos, but mostly all of them can be found while following the main path; or when you are backtracked later and revisit the planet. I did not mind the backtracking too much, as you can anyway choose if you want to follow the path from before or just follow straight your current story quest. It is basically just cosmetics you collect anyway. And I did collect … boy, did I collect.
Fighting is great, switching on your lightsaber is awesome, animations are smooth and you can see that they put a lot of details into Cal Kestis’ animations. Jumping, swinging, running along walls, double jump – you really start feeling like a Jedi sooner or later. Also, the combat difficulty is rather challenging: I started out on Jedi Master (one above normal) but reverted back to Jedi Knight (normal), as I put more emphasis on exploration, than on fighting. Both would have been too straining on my time currently, so I choose the ‘easier’ path. The fights were enjoyable on this level, nothing too difficult with a bit of concentration and timing; and still, fights do still feel really epic.
I spent 32 hours and had no feeling of boredom or “why do I have to do this”. The main reason here is simply the reduction of open world uselessness that is so popular right now in current game design. I mean, even swimming and diving stuff up was enjoyable! I even thought about a 100% completion somewhen in the middle of everything, but refrained from these extra hours I would have to spend.
Still, a dark spot remains. Like this one tree on Dagobah, a place of frustration, exhaustion and failure. Because, with all this greatness I am still angry with the game after it ended, or better: how the game concluded. I will not spoiler here, but it makes me questions the whole point of the game, the characters and the whole storyline. There are endings to games and there are endings. The first could be god-tier endings like in Nier:Automata and there could be endings like in Star Wars – Fallen Order. Honestly, it made me re-evaluate everything after the final scene with a capital letter “Oh, RLY?” and until now this still bothers me.
I assume that the reason for this choice of an end to such a well balanced game links back into the core problem of everything within the Skywalker timeline right now: In the end it’s all meaningless.
And this is so terribly undeserved.
If you want to be a Jedi – play this game.The Incompletionist
If you want to experience a souls-like fighting experience – play this game on Jedi Grand Master.
If you want an immersive atmosphere and planets – play this game.
If you want game character banter with some chuckles – play this game.
If you want to experience epic fights and true Star Wars action scenes – play this game!
If you want a true Star Wars story – play this game, cause like in all other movies called Star Wars, the end sucks.
Loved this blog entry!
Haven’t played the game yet but can see myself picking it up on sale at some point.
I am also pretty disillusioned with the direction the SW franchise is heading with The Mandalorian being the only New Hope (:P) of good things to come.
I would have loved Star Wars 1313 (Uncharted-like SW adventure game with the main character being a bounty hunter) to have happened as I’m sick of Jedi at this point but this seems to be as close as we will get to that.
Looking forward to your next blog entry!