Review – Star Wars Jedi Survior

Following a range of quality titles in the last five years, Star Wars is again being taken seriously when it comes to video game releases. Jedi: Survivor, the sequel to Jedi: Fallen Order, makes full use of the current generation of consoles to deliver a visually impressive, story-driven action/adventure spanning planets and ecosystems brimming with danger and reward. Building on the feedback received from players of the first instalment, Jedi: Survivor is a step forward in almost every way – adding fast travel, new lightsaber stances, greater enemy variety and stronger side missions – to become a genuine Game of the Year candidate. Despite some early issues with performance that have now been (mostly) patched, one of the most anticipated games of 2023 puts players into the role of a powerful Jedi capable of crushing even the most dangerous of foes. But with so much quality being released, is it worth your time?

Jedi: Survivor picks up five years after the devastating events of Jedi: Fallen Order and Cal’s fight with Darth Vader. After the mission, it is revealed that Cal’s team on the Mantis went their separate ways to pursue other goals – largely hiding from the all-conquering Empire. It is evident very early on that Cal has grown in strength and power. He’s confident, giving off Anakin vibes at times with his cockiness and abilities. He is far removed from the budding Jedi we saw in Fallen Order – here is a playable character that is ready for war. No spoilers, but he will face foes new and old in a quest to defeat the reign of evil.

As expected from a Star Wars game, the narrative is a focus and the soundtrack soars with emotional weight. Yet it is the gameplay that warrants attention, using a blend of the combat from Dark Souls and Zelda to create challenge, variety and a reliance on precision (depending on the difficulty chosen – which can be changed at any time during the game). Save points operate the same as the previous title, but the way in which a level opens up with shortcuts adds a bit of Metroidvania to the style – it is very impressive how such a large space can intertwine and bend back into itself. Fighting with a lightsaber has never been more satisfying, being able to choose your stance (two at a time from single, dual, double-edged, single plus blaster, and the crossguard made famous by Kylo Ren). Unfortunately, only two stances can be equipped at a time, but you’ll find yourself sticking to your favourite fighting style anyway. Levelling up skills and stats is available, and Cal learns a heap of cool moves across his adventures to make droids and stormtroopers look foolish. It’s never dull, it feels powerful and there are so many ways to approach a fight (including alongside the newly added companions).

Graphics and environments are eye-pleasure. The steam rising from swamps, the dust in caverns, the flowing water or chopping through vines with a lightsaber – it is next-level fidelity that makes the player feel like they are in a new movie. Yes, there is the occasional glitch, such as a raider sticking to my lightsaber for five minutes following his death, but the patches have enhanced the performance and now is the perfect time to buy. I only experienced two complete crashes and was able to load straight back up to the same save point within minutes. There are a range of biomes/planets to explore – mostly familiar, with some surprises – and each is authentic to the Star Wars lore established in the first six films. Voice acting is excellent, side characters (and villains) are well written and the last third of the game needs to be experienced by anyone remotely interested in the franchise – it will send you back into your twelve-year-old self!

Exploration is much more ‘available’ in Survivor, with Koboh offering a semi-open-world playground that serves as a HUB. The cantina houses a range of characters found along the way and offers tasks such as gardening, a Pokémon-type fight club, bounties and a DJ playing tracks found along the way. It’s comforting to return here after an epic battle, building up stats and engaging with store owners. It’s a much better way to bring people together than the Mantis from Fallen Order – though the ship still has a core role in the game. Fast travel may be the best addition, allowing the player to zip to any save point found on the planet. We were listened to, which is a strength of the developers.

Jedi: Survivor is a fantastic game of action, platforming, adventure and substance. It offers the player so much more than its predecessor and will likely be the second title in a trilogy (we hope). Despite some issues early on, the quality of gameplay, locales, characters and writing is a treat for Star Wars fans (be they casual or religious). There is a bucket of brilliant games already on the market in 2023, but in many ways Jedi: Survivor offers something the others lack – an original story in a franchise that has influenced film, tv, books and games for almost 50 years (a long, long time ago).

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Following a range of quality titles in the last five years, Star Wars is again being taken seriously when it comes to video game releases. Jedi: Survivor, the sequel to Jedi: Fallen Order, makes full use of the current generation of consoles to deliver...Review - Star Wars Jedi Survior