Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – Review

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is everything you want out of a sequel.  It takes the best parts of the original and refines the overall idea along with the mechanics.  It changes other aspects of the game so that it is an overall better experience than the first.  One huge quality of life improvement that Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has over Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a fast travel system.  A fast travel system was desperately needed in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and I had a huge grin on my face when I realized it was in this sequel.  There are other improvements as well.  Thanks to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor only being on current consoles and not being held back by the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the game looks incredible, and certainly better than the original.  The game also runs much more smoothly as the gameplay is more fluid and something like climbing seems to be quicker and more intuitive.  Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was a pretty game itself but in my opinion, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor takes it up a notch, no doubt due to the more capable hardware.  The continuation of this story is also something I really enjoyed and it left me really hoping that the “Star Wars Jedi” franchise will be a trilogy.

The story begins on Coruscant.  Five years have passed since the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Cal is still battling against the Empire.  You are on Coruscant to try and secure some important documents that could really help the Jedi in their cause.  I won’t go into any more detail than that because I don’t want to spoil any of the story but if you played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order you should feel right at home here.  Your adorable and loyal companion BD-1 remains at your side helping you to hack into the system whenever necessary, scanning objects that might be important, and offering you tactical support like helping you across zip lines or providing a stim pack when your health might be running a little low.

The gameplay in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor at its core is pretty much the same as its predecessor.  There have been a few additions and improvements though that you should appreciate.  For starters, Cal now has what is basically a grappling hook and you will use it a lot during your fight against the Empire.  The way it works essentially is that there is something in the distance that you jump towards and once you get close enough you can quickly hit the L2 button and then you will grapple to that location.  You need to see that button prompt though or it won’t work.  Whether you are scaling a building or the side of a mountain, it feels better than it did in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.  It seems to be a bit more intuitive and Cal seems to be able to do it quicker overall.  When you are on a zip line trying to get to your next destination, you can also change direction at a moment’s notice, which is really useful.  You weren’t able to do that in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order so that was a nice quality of life upgrade that I really appreciated while I was going through this journey.  There were also some new Force powers that I was able to utilize as I progressed through the story that I had a lot of fun with but I am not going to mention specifics because I think everyone should be able to enjoy those moments as they happen instead of reading about them ahead of time.

The combat in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is similar to the original.  The core basics are the same but there are also a lot of different options here.  As anyone who played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order knows, Cal has different Jedi stances during battle.  Throughout your journey in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, you will acquire five different stances.  The first three that you get are the single blade, double blade, and dual wield.  These are some of the more traditional stances for a Jedi.  The other two are something a bit different but equally as cool.  Once again, I don’t want to go into specifics for spoiler reasons.  For me personally though, I found myself using the double bladed stance the most.  I enjoyed how it felt and how I was able to move through enemies with it.  There are also different perks that you can unlock as you play the game such as resilience, dexterity, precision, and more.  Then of course there are workbenches that you will find throughout the game that will allow you to customize your lightsaber as well as BD-1 himself.

If you played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order then you know what to expect in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor in terms of how battles will go.  There are five different difficulty levels in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and for you achievement or trophy hunters out there, there are no difficulty related achievements or trophies so you don’t have to worry about that.  The easiest difficulty setting allows you to focus primarily on the story and makes combat fairly easy.  There will still be a bit of a challenge but you shouldn’t have too much trouble overcoming the enemies that are thrown at you.  Then of course you have the normal setting which tries to give you a more balanced experience where you can enjoy the story but you are definitely going to face some challenges, especially against some of the bosses.  Then you have the highest difficulty in the game where your skills as a Jedi will be truly tested.  Here you will have to be able to quickly adapt to what is thrown at you and be just as good on defense as you are at offense.  This is probably a bit more Dark Souls-esque and will definitely test your resolve in your battle against the Empire.  I really appreciated the variety of experiences that you can have here.  This allows the game to be more accessible to a wider group of people.  If you are someone that just wants to kick back and enjoy the experience, you can absolutely do that.  If you are someone who wants a real challenge and you want your skills to be tested, you can go that route as well.

As you progress through the game you will gain experience and be able to unlock different skills.  There are three different categories here being able to learn skills in the “survival”, “lightsaber”, and “force” categories.  Survival has items like increasing Cal’s life, making stim packs more effective, and being able to work together more effectively as a team with BD-1.  The lightsaber category has a lot of different routes you can go down based on the different stances.  Some examples here are being able to perform a lunging strike, being able to split a blaster bolt that is coming at you to hit another target, having a high damage swing that has a long windup, and much more.  The Force category will allow Cal’s general Force power to increase, be able to force pull a group of enemies closer to you, be able to use mind tricks to confuse your enemy, and much more.  You will want to take a few moments to plan what you want to do here since there are some skills towards the top of the three that have prerequisites that you have to meet before you can unlock them.

As I was going through Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I was really impressed with everything the team has accomplished.  I had some technical hiccups along the way though.  There were a couple of times the game crashed on me but I was also going through the game before the launch day patch was available.  There were a couple of times the game stuttered as well but for the vast majority of the time it ran well.  It should be noted that I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.  Those issues seemed to be fixed for me once the patch was available.  Since I have downloaded that patch the game hasn’t crashed once.  It did happen during my experience though so I felt like it was worth mentioning.

Overall, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a really great sequel.  As I mentioned in the beginning, it is everything you hope for in a sequel.  It took the existing formula from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and improved upon it.  It refined the experience and added some nice quality of life features that improved the overall experience.  The fast travel system makes the big worlds much more manageable, although you don’t have to use that if you don’t want to do so.  The different stances and options available to you during combat means you can change things up on the fly to keep things interesting and to try something new.  If you enjoyed Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, you should really enjoy Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.  In my opinion Respawn is telling a great story here and I really want a third game to see what happens next.  Whether you are a big Star Wars fan that knows all of the lore or simply a more casual fan, you should definitely check out this game.  Be sure to go through Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order first though so you can follow the story and that way the key moments in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will mean more to you.

Please Note: EA provided us with a code for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor for review purposes.

Score: 9/10

Originally posted on Gaming Target


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