Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, now available on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X, faces the daunting task of living up to its predecessor, one of the best Star Wars games in recent history. Jedi: Fallen Order, released in 2019, revived hope in the franchise with its compelling story and challenging combat, proving that single-player games were still relevant. The sequel, developed by Respawn Entertainment, aims to expand on the previous game by introducing a semi-open world with six planets to explore, a fast travel system, and improved combat mechanics. However, does a larger scale guarantee a successful follow-up? Let’s delve into the details and find out.
In the opening scenes, we find our protagonist, Cal Kestis, chained and labeled a ‘terrorist’ while being escorted through the Imperial city planet of Coruscant. It has been five years since the events of Jedi: Fallen Order, and members of Cal’s crew, the Mantis, have dispersed across the galaxy. Cal, now a powerful Jedi Knight, is determined to bring down the Galactic Empire. The story wastes no time dwelling on past events and quickly sets newcomers on the right path, although some terminology may still be confusing.
We soon learn that Cal intentionally allowed himself to be captured in order to get close to Senator Sejan and steal valuable information. This sets off a thrilling adventure as Cal navigates through the enemy base, wall-running, defeating Stormtroopers, and avoiding dangerous obstacles. The game seamlessly continues Cal’s journey, allowing players to utilize the skills and abilities acquired in the previous installment. There are no contrived memory gaps to explain forgotten abilities; players assume the role of the same skilled protagonist, equipped with new tools to embark on an epic new quest.
By the end of the exhilarating escape sequence, which includes a boss battle against the Ninth Sister, players unlock three different combat stances and obtain the Ascension Cable for grappling. The game smartly integrates these unlocks into the story progression, ensuring players don’t miss out on any exciting gameplay features. Additionally, this approach allows ample time for players to experiment with the combat stances, which I will discuss in more detail later.
Unfortunately, the mission takes a turn for the worse, leaving Cal and his new companion, Bode Akuna, as the only survivors. This loss is compounded by the realization that the Empire has only grown stronger, extending its control across the galaxy. Despite the predictable elements of blockbuster Star Wars storytelling, actor Cameron Monaghan delivers a remarkable performance, capturing the character’s emotional turmoil and guilt associated with his decisions. Cal’s reserved demeanor reflects his constant contemplation of his reliance on the Force to shape the future of the Jedi. He embodies a charismatic intergalactic cowboy, cautiously approaching danger with a cold stare or a sly grin.
After their escape from Coruscant, Cal crash-lands on the planet Koboh, a vast rocky terrain filled with opportunities for exploration, side quests, and collectibles. This desert canyon serves as a base where players can interact with old and new friends, rest before embarking on further travels, and gradually rebuild Pyloon’s Saloon. This location becomes a home away from home, providing a sense of comfort and familiarity. Interestingly, I noticed a significant improvement in the game’s performance as soon as I arrived in this new biome. Despite the open and dynamic environment, previous areas like Coruscant and the Mantis ship suffered from frequent stutters and technical issues.
Once inside the saloon, players are reunited with Greez Dritus, an old friend with a bushy beard who embraces Cal warmly, offering a heartfelt reunion. This beautifully written moment showcases Greez’s longing for Cal’s companionship and emphasizes the bond between the characters. Greez has even prepared a spare room with Cal’s old Scrapper outfit, demonstrating the depth of their connection. While the overall story may contain clichéd elements, the relationships between characters in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor are handled masterfully and often intertwine with gameplay through the new companion system. Although this feature can be slightly inconsistent at first, once understood, it adds depth to the journey.
Throughout specific story missions, allies such as Bode Akuna and Merrin join Cal, providing assistance in combat by drawing enemy attention. Bode utilizes a jetpack to eliminate foes, while Merrin employs teleportation to swiftly eliminate targets. These actions are automated, which can be both advantageous and disappointing, depending on player preferences. On one hand, companions cannot be injured or defeated, relieving players of the responsibility to protect them. However, this may also diminish the sense of importance placed on the companions’ lives. Occasionally, players can request their assistance in targeting specific enemies, but the stakes are generally low.
Conversations with these characters primarily occur during scripted segments, where players ride creatures or trigger dialogues during peaceful moments. These interactions occasionally feel detached from the gameplay experience. While traversing through different sections, companions may disappear for extended periods, reappearing only for final combats or narrative-driven cutscenes. This detached approach sometimes creates a sense of loneliness, with BD-1, the trusty robotic companion, providing constant engagement with its beeping sounds.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor expands on combat with five distinct stances, gradually unlocking them throughout the game. However, players can only equip two stances at a time, resulting in a tendency to rely on the safest and most powerful choices. The initial three stances are familiar to players of Jedi: Fallen Order, offering single-wield, dual-wield, and double-bladed options. The double-bladed stance, popularized by Darth Maul, proves particularly effective for dispatching groups of enemies. It can deflect projectiles and allows for impressive maneuvers. After becoming accustomed to the base stances, I discovered a preference for the two new ones.
The first new stance, inspired by Kylo Ren, resembles a heavy broadsword, delivering devastating blows at the cost of speed. As a fan of strength-build characters in Dark Souls, I immediately gravitated towards this high-risk, high-reward style.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.