Arts

Games: Fallen Order is incredible with aggressive toe-to-toe combat

Fallen Order nails the fantasy of wielding a lightsaber
By Neil McGreevy

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Multi)

By: EA

Having played Star Wars games since the NES days, even the worst (and there’s many a low) still win you over with fanboy trimmings. John Williams’ parping polyphony alone elicits a warm Pavlovian response from fortysomething man-kids – or as nostalgic as you can be for something you’ve been choking down for the past four years.

Landing in time to stoke the spirits ahead of Rise of Skywalker at the fleapits, Fallen Order is no mere tie-in.

Entirely divorced from the celluloid troupe we’ve come to love, it may boast that sacred name, but doesn’t lean on Luke, Han or Finn for its jollies.

Taking place soon after the prequels, in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Fallen Order follows ex-Padawan Cal Kestis – a hero so bland he makes Luke look like Han. Having repressed his force-chops to survive the Jedi purge, Cal – with a cutesy droid in tow – is drawn into a quest to reform the order and build the foundations of the Rebel Alliance.

Respawn (developers of the hugely underrated Titanfall 2) have poached from the best, tapping Sony’s Uncharted/God of War formula for cinematic third-person action, nabbing Dark Souls’ combat and adding exploration straight out of the Metroid playbook, with a slew of areas opening up as you acquire new tools and abilities. As a lightsaber power fantasy, Fallen Order is incredible, with aggressive toe-to-toe combat that forces players to slow down and use their noodle.

You’ll parry and dodge, clashing and blocking attacks, all the while deflecting blaster bolts and force-pushing baddies off ledges. Bankrolled by Uncle Walt, there’s no dismemberment of humanoid characters, but this doesn’t detract from the boldest (sword) swinger in town. By comparison, exploration is nigh-on pointless, with scant rewards for off-piste pootling.

Full of Lucasian grandeur and vivid world building, Fallen Order doles out the lore as you trek its universe, though after a strong opening, it can become a slog, with Jabba levels of bloat.

And given Star Wars games are usually dripping in polish, it’s not without its fair share of technical glitches and long loading times in a galaxy far, far away.

A thrilling space western that nails the fantasy of wielding a lightsaber, EA’s latest offers plenty of bang for your space buck, relying on originality over nostalgia – and for that it must be commended. It’s just a shame that as part of such a well-oiled franchise, Fallen Order creaks a bit.

 

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