By Sweep 22 Comments
For a game that places so much emphasis on freedom of movement, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (I feel like that colon is in the wrong place but it's not and that's upsetting) has some pretty terrible platforming. Many times I found myself repeatedly plummeting to my death as a result of clipping through geometry, Cal stubbornly refusing to grab on to pipes and ledges that were clearly, often offensively, within his reach. It's an issue which plagued the Uncharted franchise (and still does) where an unexpected plunge would break any sense of immersion, and is one of the ongoing issues with any plot-driven platformer; you hurry the player forward with the narrative, but how easy do you make the game to ensure they maintain their momentum? This is compounded by the fundamental jank of Fallen Order - sometimes the player will do everything right but still die, which is a cardinal sin of video game design. To compensate for this Respawn trivializes these falls, each trip to the void removing only a sliver of health - one can't help but feel this is because they expect you to fall so much, and reasoned it was easier to minimize the punishment than to fix the damn platforming.
Other than the slippery-ass jumps, bad cameras, and repetitive force puzzles (which weren't helped by the aforementioned jank and camera) it was pretty fun to traipse around the mandatory jungle/snow/rock planets and viciously murder the (bizarrely unimaginatively named. This big slug is called a Slyyyg? Come on) wildlife that lived there. I played through the game with my girlfriend, who is a huge Star Wars nerd, and she repeatedly expressed her delight at exploring some of the lesser known planets that had featured in the Star Wars books. I wish we had been able to explore more of these locations in a context that wasn't just murdering fucking everything, and it seems a shame that the histories of the towns and villages you explore are only available through audio and text logs while the few NPC's are granted generic and uninteresting dialogue. Although having seen the embarrassingly bad hair rendering on the Wookies I have no desire to visit Kashyyyk again any time soon.
There's still moments of genuine joy to be had in the simple things that, when done right, feel incredibly satisfying, whether that be force-pushing a squad of Storm Troopers off a ledge to their deaths, or nailing a sequence of parries and slicing a huge space frog in half with a lightsaber. Fallen Order entered our lives at a time when we were more willing to persevere and forgive it's jank as a result of not being allowed to leave the house. Now that we're done though, I don't think either of us has any enthusiasm to return.