6 Thoughts on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out this week and I wanted to make the occasion with a Star Wars List of Six. I’ve done some great ones in the past, like my list of crazy alien Jedi or my list of other famous wookiees. But for this week’s List of Six, I’ve decided to give my review of another big recent Star Wars property: the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order!
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I’ll probably also review Rise of Skywalker and even The Mandalorian soon, so look out for those. But now I want to delve into Fallen Order, the best Star Wars game in quite some time, and hopefully the herald of some new games going forward. It’s an original story with original characters, set in a very familiar universe. I was wary about the game based on the trailers. And while my concerns weren’t overcome, I still had fun with Fallen Order. It was a quick game, I beat it over two rental weekends, and now it’s time to be super late in my review!
Join me after the jump for my thoughts on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Expect some SPOILERS for the game in the review. And feel free to share your own review and thoughts in the comments!
6. I enjoyed my time
I had fun playing the game. It was an enjoyable experience. Fallen Order was mix between the Uncharted/Tomb Raider level puzzles and the Dark Souls fighting style — at least that’s what I’ve heard. I’ve never played those Dark Souls games. But I have been a big fan of the modern Tomb Raider games. So Tomb Raider with a lightsaber and Force powers was a lot of fun. I never mastered the Dark Souls-style combat, or the block vs. parry battles. But I still had fun swinging the lightsaber and deflecting blaster bolts. And the Force powers were a treat. Why fight yet another dark-armored power baton Stormtrooper when I can just Force Push him off the walkway?
The planets were fine, the exploration was fun, the variety of bad guy was good, the gameplay was enjoyable; this is an all around fun game that simply didn’t do anything remarkable, in my opinion. Fallen Order didn’t introduce anything new to Star Wars or to video games. It was just a good lightsaber-based action game. And considering how rarely we get one of those, I’m perfectly fine with that.
Though I am definitely glad I only rented the game instead of the full $60 purchase.
5. Unpopular opinion: I don’t like any of the characters
This was my biggest concern when the first trailers arrived and nothing about Fallen Order assuaged these concerns: Cal Kestis is a bland, white guy, and we don’t need more bland white guy protagonists in 2019. I’m more than willing to make diversity in storytelling my hill to die on. Star Wars is filled with bland, white guy Jedi protagonists. Luke Skywalker was obviously the first, but then we had Anakin Skywalker in the Prequels and then Kanan Jarrus in Rebels. Granted, Kanan isn’t white, but then he’s also a Padawan who survived Order 66 and went on to join a wacky spaceship crew on his journey to becoming a Jedi Knight and Master. There is nothing about Cal we haven’t seen before, done better elsewhere. Why, oh why, did the game make him a bland, white guy Padawan?
Take Cere Junda, the mentor character in Fallen Order. Absolutely nothing about the game would have had to change if the protagonist had been a black woman and the mentor had been a white guy. And yet the game makers went with the boring, bland option. At least Cere had an interesting backstory. Cal definitely did not. He was a Padawan with survivor’s guilt, and yet that needed a whole game and a bunch of flashbacks to resolve.
I definitely didn’t care for the ship’s pilot, Greez, and the droid sidekick, BD-1. If you want to talk character do-overs, Greez is exactly like the small, surly alien pilot from Solo. They both had four arms! And jeez, BD-1. I hear so many people falling over themselves to praise BD-1 as the cutest thing ever. Is that all it takes for you people? Something small and cute? It was the exact same thing with BB-8. And now that BB-8 is old, Disney is introducing an even smaller, cuter droid in Rise of Skywalker: Dio. How many tiny, adorable droids do we need?! And why are you falling in love with each one? Do you feel the same way about the fire salamander from Frozen II? What about the smaller, cuter sheep from when Lisa Simpson became a vegetarian?
Surely “smaller” and “cuter” aren’t the only ways to create a new droid character.
The only character from Fallen Order I actually liked was Mirren, the last of the Nightsisters. Here was an original character with some actual personality. She had a really dry sense of humor, and a really neat positive outlook on her future. Just having her around even made Cal interesting, at long last, because the kid was finally allowed some new emotions. I was very pleased when Mirren joined the crew, and was disappointed that she was then only around for the very end of the story.
But beyond her, I didn’t care for any of the new characters in Fallen Order. The last thing Star Wars needed was yet another bland, male Padawan who survived Order 66 and then went on to join a rascally crew of space adventurers.
4. I didn’t like the story, either
The overall story was just as bland as the characters. Our boring heroes have to bounce from planet to planet to track down some vague information about an ancient, never-before-mentioned, Force-sensitive alien race? All in the name of finding a list of Force-sensitive children so that they can restart the Jedi Order? This is full of holes. Why does this list exist? Obviously the list is pre-Order 66…so what makes this list different from any of the previous ways that Jedi found Force-sensitive children? How were these children missed by the previous ways? Why was the old Jedi hiding this list for himself?
Also, Star Wars fans know going into the game that this ragtag band doesn’t remake the Jedi Order, so from the start we know this quest is a wash. So what’s even the point of the story? They couldn’t come up with an original story that doesn’t have a foregone conclusion?
The story was a flimsy excuse to incorporate other planets. Surely someone somewhere could have come up with a simpler and better reasons why they had to visit other planets.
3. The little Star Wars cameos are neat
I liked the subtle touches of Star Wars continuity, at least. Like the battle droids from Rogue One are a regular enemy. And Cal’s Jedi master (shown in flashback) appears to be the same race as Zeb from Star Wars: Rebels. That’s the sort of neat thing I like in a Star Wars property, and Fallen Order had a couple nice cameos like that. It’s a great way to use the wider universe in this offshoot property.
2. The lightsaber was my favorite part
I love lightsabers. Everybody loves lightsabers. I also enjoy building my own lightsabers, so that part of the game was definitely fun. Once upon a time, my brother and I were walking through a random toy store in Disney World when my eyes behold a Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber booth. It was for kids, and was all plastic, but I stopped in my tracks, gasped and clutched at my brother in excitement. I didn’t know such a thing existed! And I still own that double-bladed purple lightsaber!
And if I ever go to Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World or Disneyland, I am definitely bringing the $200 needed to build my own official lightsaber.
So it was definitely fun building and tweaking Cal’s lightsaber in-game. I didn’t collect every single piece, so I can’t say my version was the ultimate one I would choose, but I had fun. I eventually went with a magenta blade and a Dolevite casing, making it a metallic red. I had recently watched the “Dolemite is My Name” movie on Netflix, so I was definitely in a Dolevite mood. I was definitely happy with my finished lightsaber at the end of the game — though I didn’t really like the idea of it being double-bladed. The second blade was nice and all, but Cal was a Jedi and they don’t normally do double blades.
1. Dammit, I want more diverse playable Jedi!
Look, I probably shouldn’t harp on this, but it is my major takeaway from Fallen Order: making the protagonist another bland white dude was a terrible decision. There are so many more options available! And not even just skin color or gender! A Twi’lek Jedi would have worked just as well, or a Zabrak. Or any number of different aliens in that far away galaxy. Why didn’t the game diversify? Why don’t any of these games diversify?
I want better Jedi protagonists in any property going forward. I want a freakin’ Ewok Jedi, gorramit! Or a Wookiee Jedi! Or better yet, a Gungan Jedi! Did you know there exists a Force-sensitive Gungan in canon? Her name is Roo-Roo Page and she’s from an episode of The Clone Wars, and she’s all I’ve thought about since playing Fallen Order. Maybe she survived Order 66! There’s your Padawan with survivor’s guilt! A badass lady Gungan Jedi! Why don’t we have a video game with that kind of protagonist? Why are these only dreams?
Star Wars can only reasonably have so many Jedi post-Order 66. They can’t all be young white guys!