What We Saw at Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Preview Event

This week, we were invited to join EA and Respawn for a preview of their upcoming and highly anticipated single-player action-adventure, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Within this article, we will be share with you a bit of what we saw – without spoilers, of course! Let’s dive in!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place following the events of Star Wars Episode III. In the wake of Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66 – a mass execution of the Jedi commenced across the galaxy – you take on the role of Cal Kestis, a young padawan who narrowly escapes the fate of many of his peers-in-training. However, this fledgling Jedi is left masterless to make his way under the long, hostile shadow of the Empire. In Fallen Order, you will walk alongside Cal as he forges a path forward, pursuing his training with the help of a band of Rebels and an adorably helpful droid, BD-1. 

Fallen Order takes into consideration that every gamer has different things that they enjoy about the games they play. Difficulty settings can be changed to impact three areas: parry timing, incoming damage, and enemy aggression. The best part about this system: these settings can be changed at any time. So, if you went into the game feeling like Mace Windu, but find yourself getting knocked around like a youngling, you are in luck.

If you have played a third-person Star Wars game in the past two decades, Fallen Order feels very familiar in a (mostly) good way. You have light and heavy attacks, a dodge, block/parry, along with Force abilities. I say “mostly good” because we did not get to see the full extent of how powerful Cal becomes and how proficient he gets with a lightsaber. We will be curious to see if the combat gets any deeper than the few combinations we unlocked along the way.

As you gain experience, you unlock skill points to enhance your Force abilities and resilience. With each ability, the tree unlocks further, giving you access to more powerfully attack combinations as well. These skill points can be spent when you find a place to meditate. These meditation circles give you the opportunity to spend skill points and to rest. Resting will restore your health and Stimpacks, but it will also bring once defeated enemies back as well.

Within the demo, we also got to experience two Force abilities: Force Push and Force Slow. While both can be utilized in combat, they find much more use in the world as you manipulate the world around you to progress. 

For this event, we experienced Fallen Order on PC. From a technical standpoint, the machines we tested on had the following specs: 

Processor: Intel Core i9 9900K
CPU Cooler: EVGA Closed-Loop Cooler
RAM: 16 gig from HyperX
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080ti Founder’s Edition

Under these conditions, the game was gorgeous and performed fairly well, but I did have some issues with frame stuttering. It will be interesting to see art launch how optimized the game will be on more commonly used consumer hardware. The official statement made last week suggests that it will do just fine.

The folks from Respawn made a point to let us know that what we experienced was the finished build of the game. We began our session from a very early point with options of where to take our ragtag band. From our starting point on Bogano, we could go to the icy planet of Zaffo or to the fabled reaches of Dathomir, home of the Nightsisters. I spent most of my time on Zaffo, which eventually led me to the Wookie home planet of Kashyyyk.

Fallen Order has a very interesting mix of gameplay elements pulled from unexpected places. It uses the Metroidvania formula of keeping areas region-locked until you possess certain powers, while there are puzzled that felt right in line with those found in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Cap that off with a Darksouls-inspired XP risk mechanic, then mix these all together in a very Star Wars rapper and, from what we saw, Respawn has something special in the making.

From what we saw, Jedi: Fallen Order has all the trappings (so far) of a classic “tale as old as time” Star Wars story – a coming-of-age story, of becoming a Jedi. While this may be an old formula, it works in the same way any other Star Wars power fantasy does: it puts you in the driver’s seat, steering Cal toward his destiny. 

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will release on November 15th for Windows PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

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