If the only thought on your mind is to finish 2019 Jedi: Fallen Order Were you wanting more, then I have great news. Starting where its predecessor left off, Jedi: Survivor is not only similar, but literally more of everything, with meaningful advancements and improvements across the board. It’s a longer game with greater levels of customization, more enemies, more varied approaches to combat and puzzles, and more story and character development for a compelling cast of characters. While some of the structural and story choices start to slim down, Jedi: Survivor is nonetheless a step up in almost all the ways that matter. It manages to capture a lot of the tonal and thematic ideas that this piece of fiction works for, helping cement its place as one of the best in the long history of Star Wars games.
When we rejoin Cal Kestis, a bit scaled back in power in an attempt at some action game sequel. He’s a full-fledged Jedi Knight, with all the Force powers and lightsaber tricks you worked so hard to earn last time. Strong onboarding quickly dives into the action and story, leaving you feeling powerful and capable. The flexibility of playstyle expands from there, with new saber stances and equipment providing options in confronting the threats of the galaxy. The downside is that most of the upgrades to Cal’s use of the force feel like tweaks and tweaks rather than entirely new powers, but that’s a small price to pay for well-paced action from beginning to end. .
The combat and dueling are excellent, demanding the patience of a Jedi to defend. It’s impressive to balance combat combat in such a massive game so that they remain challenging every step of the way, but Cal’s New Adventures succeeds in doing just that. A wide variety of formidable enemies await, each demanding observation and canny button actions. Some late game masters rely on frustrating cheap tricks, but they always have affecting climaxes and encounters.
I love the dynamics and navigation challenges, which nail the feeling of controlling a Force-tuned hero leaping and swinging through seemingly impossible paths. As with the combat, a satisfying upward slope of complexity keeps traversal engaging – no small feat in a game this big. The many scattered optional puzzles are also fiendishly clever, and I enjoyed them as a departure from the action.
While Jedi: Survivor includes several unique planets to visit, it grounds the experience in a frontier world called Koboh, which has a bit of Old West inspiration. The massive scale of the game unfolds in different corners of this semi-open world planet, filled with rumors to track down, bounties to hunt, and mysteries to uncover. I love the location, but by the end, I was tired of running in circles to the same destination after so many prior visits. Thankfully, whether on Koboh or on planets like Coruscant or Jedha, a new fast travel system makes navigation between focus points easier.
Customization is found throughout the game and its reward system, from hairstyles, jacket and saber colors to character perks and powers. This extends to increasing ownership around the world through the ability to enhance a garden, an aquarium, new visitors and even a cantina with music tracks. I felt invested in the adventure and the improvements I found along the way.
Throughout its long campaign, Jedi: Survivor takes an opening course in finding its plot, but eventually weaves into the story of individual people searching for a safe home. Moment-to-moment character interactions and dialogue help make up for the lack of focus, with some sweeping melodrama in the best traditions of Star Wars fiction. The differences between love and attachment, and the dangers of both, often lurk in the background of Star Wars stories. Those themes take center stage this time around, with memorable and rewarding results.
Developer Respawn Entertainment clearly took a measured and thoughtful approach to what worked and what didn’t in its last Star Wars game, and Jedi: Survivor feels like a worthy effort in development. It captures the magic of Star Wars as well as anything in the current canon, and is a spectacular adventure in its own right. Still, dancing to the fantasy of being a Jedi? Doesn’t hurt.