Between the disaster that was Star Wars: Battlefront II's loot boxes and the multitude of Star Wars games canceled that fans were excited about (Uncharted's Amy Henning's game, for example), EA hasn't really endeared itself to fans of George Lucas's space fantasy. Which was why it was heartening to hear the plans for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - even if the announcement of the title was a little... underwhelming.
Fallen Order is a single-player, 3rd-person action/adventure game set in the Star Wars universe 5 years after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. There is no tacked-on multiplayer mode, no microtransactions and, other than a couple of skins offered with the game's Deluxe Edition (as well as a really excellent behind-the-scenes video package), there's no DLC.
Oh, and it has eschewed EA's cool-but-terribly-flawed Frostbite Engine, and instead makes use of the time-tested Unreal Engine. That's a fun word - eschewed. Anyway, that's why Fallen Order looks less like Anthem and more like... well... not Anthem. That leads to a smoother gameplay and more familiar visual experience.
OK, so.... is it any good?
Yes. It's very good. But, it's not great. And that's perfectly fine.
So, let's get the bad... sorry... "bad" stuff out of the way. Just for the record, none of this stuff is game-breaking, or even deal-breaking, but it's noticeable and annoying. Some of it could even be patched later on. That being said, if you bought this on a physical disc and popped it into a game console fifty years from now, with no patches available, it would still play very, very well. Which you can't say about a lot of games nowadays.
OK, right off the bat - the platforming in this game is terrrrrrrrible. Again, nothing that makes the game unplayable, but there are parts that are just frustrating to the point of controller throwing - like sliding down a long patch of ice and having to leap and grab a vine. You have to do that a lot in this game and there's no reason it has to be this much of a pain in the rear. Which is a shame, because with some tweaked controls, this could actually be a really fun part of the game.
Leaping and grabbing onto walls/vines/grates/... things is a bit less agonizing but, early in the game, it's not exactly clear what can and can't be grabbed onto. Fortunately, falling from a great height doesn't mean an instant death, and players who tumble down a chasm will find themselves immediately back onto the ledge from whence they came, minus a small amount of health.
So.... the good stuff?
Combat, healing, and game saving is very reminiscent of Dark Souls and the other games it has inspired - which is not a criticism, by the way. Fallen Order toes the line between being inspired by the series and being a poor copycat but, in the end, it's still fun.
Fallen Order actually have four different difficulty modes - all of which can be changed to during the gameplay with no penalty. It's one of the elements of the game that's been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason - it's awesome. You can set it to be as difficult as the Dark Soulsgame that inspired it, or you can ramp it down to let you breeze through it and enjoy the story. And, there's two levels in between that, so you can find the perfect balance for your skill level.
Speaking of the story, it's also very good. You play a former Jedi Padawan hiding out from the Empire, who has an opportunity to help rebuild the Jedi order. That's... all I'll go into. Part of the fun is not only finding all the different Star Wars references (there's a lot of mentions of stuff from the prequels that are so cool, they nearly make the prequels seem cool by association) but finding out where this story goes - since anyone who has seen the films knows the general outcome.
Cameron Monaghan, best known for his work on Showtime's Shameless and Fox's Gotham, portrays the game's hero, Cal Kestis in both voice acting and mo-cap. While the rest of the cast does an admirable job (and you can see a cast list here), there's two other names that are worth pointing out.
First is the voice of Saw Gerrera - the rebellion legend first introduced in the animated Clone Wars series and portrayed by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker in Rogue One. Gerrera is also voiced by Whitaker in the game, as well, though not the motion capture. Still, it says a lot about Whitaker's love of the franchise (and EA's pocketbook and willingness to open said pocketbook) that he came in to do the voice.
Second is the "voice" of Cal's droid buddy, BD-1. Not only is this cute little bundle of bolts the breakout star of the game (sorry, Cal) but his voice is provided by Ben Burtt. Oh, you don't know who he is? He's just the guy who was the sound designer for pretty much all the Star Wars films and is the reason you go "vrrrrrrm-hrmmmmmm-crrrrrzzzk" when you're pretending to use a lightsaber.
OK, smarty pants... should I get it or not?
If you're a die hard Star Wars fan, you should probably play this immediately. The in-game content of the Deluxe Edition isn't anything special but, as I mentioned before, the making-of vignettes and the rest of the stuff is well worth the price of admission. The game's also canon, so if you don't want any gaps in your knowledge of post-Disney Star Wars lore, you need this.
If you aren't that fervent of a... Warsie... are they called that? Anyway, if you're not... that... but you like action games like Dark Souls but, like me, suck at them terribly, this is a good game to play, as well. It might be worth it to skip the Deluxe Edition or even wait for it to go on sale. It's a fantastic game and probably the best made Star Wars game to come out in a long time. But in this galaxy.
Sorry. I couldn't help myself.