In addition to the preview posted earlier by IGN, we also have previews of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that have been published by Josh Harmon at EGMNOW and Matt Miller over at Game Informer ahead of the game’s official release. Check them out via the respective links provided below.
Star Wars games have a fantasy problem. For decades, each time a new project is announced, the marketing blitz places heavy emphasis on the fact that the game will allow players to live out some particular fantasy from the films. Become an intergalactic bounty hunter. Step into the boots of a starfighter pilot. Or, most commonly, be a Jedi. But this idea of capturing a power fantasy in gameplay is vague and, as the Force Unleashed series showed, prone to exaggeration to the point of absurdity. Saying you want to recreate the feeling of being a Jedi through battles and amped-up Force powers is like skipping straight to the end of a complicated math problem—it ignores a bunch of important steps and is liable to lead you to the wrong answer.
I do not doubt that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the soon-to-be-released action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, was motivated in part by a desire to recreate the Jedi power fantasy. And it may well succeed in that goal with its story of Cal Kestis, a young Padawan on the run from the ascendant Galactic Empire. After going hands on with the game for a few hours, I’m impressed with the way Cal feels powerful yet grounded and vulnerable during combat, and the few narrative beats I got to see were promising enough. But my preview convinced me that Respawn has nailed something rarer and, to my mind, more important than just fantasy: the underlying creative process that made Star Wars such a beloved, successful piece of pop culture in the first place.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order draws on a number of sources to produce its unique breed of action. In moments of timing-focused dodges, parries, and varied melee attacks, the most recent God of War comes to mind. As I open shortcuts, respawn enemies after a rest, and retrieve lost XP following a death, Dark Souls is in evidence. And in moments of sliding down ice drifts from which I leap and swing on ropes across deadly gaps, I’m reminded of Uncharted. Chasing too many influences can sometimes tank a game’s potential, leaving everything a half-measure. But that somehow doesn’t happen here, as these and other borrowed ideas ably meld into one, at least in the all too short hours I played a near-final version. That’s because behind all the disparate ideas, Fallen Order nails one central guiding principle; it feels like Star Wars.
Dark Horse Books is publishing The Art of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which is set to arrive on November 19 (four days after the game’s release) in a standard edition as well as a deluxe limited edition aimed to serve as the perfect companion piece to the video game.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is set to arrive on November 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (requirements for the PC platform can be found here). For more information and to place your pre-order, visit the game’s official website.