When I found out that I was going to fly to LA to play Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I freaked out. I freaked out so much that I played all the way through Fallen Order. I played it for hours, for days on end. I explored every bit that I could. I thought Cal Kestis was inept, and there was no way he was going to make it after being found out as one of the remaining padawans from Order 66. He proved me wrong as I went through the game. As he grew in power. As he remembered who he was. He started to become more confident in his Jedi skills, which means I too, decided that Cal was ready to take on and defeat The Second Sister. Cal would be the protagonist I would bet my galaxy on. And then, that ending happened, and THAT guy showed up, and I exclaimed to myself "It's over for ya, Cal! You had a good run!". Rolled credits, and flew out to LA. Days after gathering myself and getting used to West Coast time, the direct sequel was available for me to play. I played it. I played EA and Respawn's new game. I had hands on time with it. Respawn has taken all the things you love about Fallen Order, and turned the volume up to 20.
Cal Kestis is back, and so is his droid BD1, and they are better than ever. In the preview that I played, Cal retains all of his powers from Fallen Order. The double jump, the wall run, even the double and dual blade stances are here. But this game take place 5 years after Fallen Order, so Cal is more refined, and seems like he's mastered much, much more. He seems grizzled, and more confident than ever. In the previewI played, he crash lands on Koboh, but instead of not knowing what to do, Cal knows what he must do. And that's find parts to his ship. There's an old friend that he can visit, and he knows exactly where to go. Gone is the Cal that was unsure and running from the Empire. Cal is going right into it, and he's on a mission, though we don't exactly know what that is yet.
As stated before, Cal is a more seasoned Jedi, and now he fights like it. Cal now has five, count 'em, FIVE stances. Single, which is balanced. Double Bladed, which is for smacking around multiple enemies at a time. Dual wield, which comes with an auto parry, but uses more force. Then there are the two new stances, Crossguard which is more for long, wound-up powerful strikes. Finally, there's the brand new and shiny blaster, for long range enemies that you don't have to pull in. Footage at the event I attended showed Cal using the Blaster to stun enemies before he pulled out one of his many new and fancy finishers. You can set these stances at any save point to your right and left cross pad (controller) for easy access. Cal makes everything look flashy. He is not taken down so easily, and the controls are fluid, and fast. He seems to move, swing, strike, and react quicker. In fact, the whole game seems faster.
Cal can block and parry with a quick click of a button. If something jumps out at him, you hit the button to parry, and another button to strike a foe down in the same fluid motion. He can pull foes to him and kill them in one strike, or send them out to other enemies. Cal can sneak strike enemies from behind, or above, but he can also strike enemies if he's hanging on a ledge below them. It was very funny listening to a BD droid just talk, only to get taken out in one quick strike, followed by a Cal Kestis quip. All the climbing in here too, with a new gadget called an Ascension cable. It's a grappling hook, and pops up when you can use it. You can even use it in mid jump, which was pretty awesome. Cal still has his force push and pull, and his slow, but he also has force confusion (we call it the Jedi Mind Trick), which allows you to turn enemies against each other. It was super cool to turn big monsters on storm troopers, and cackle while they get taken down. Good times had by all.
BD1 also gets a speedy, more fluid upgrade. His scan is literally done within a second, and a stim cannister comes out almost instantly, hardly interrupted. The droid goes through treasure boxes faster too! BD1 can also turn into BD-noculars, which lets him zoom in and scan the area, and spot enemies from afar. So if you miss a scan, and want to add some info and tips info to your data base, you don't have to run all the way back. Just scan from afar using the BD-noculars, done and done. BD1 also brings up the new and improved holomap in record time. Now the map shows you a trail of where you're coming from, and looks way more extensive than the first time around. You can now set up to five beacons on that very same map, so when you're running back to a uncharted area, it's right there for you to eventually make your way back to. Oh, and I can't talk much about it, but I will give you two words: FAST TRAVEL!
Now if Cal can get upgrades and be faster, so can the enemies. You'll have your run-of-the-mill storm troopers, and shield troopers. But I also ran into a new faction called Bedlam Raiders, who seem more like mercenaries than anything. They are the ones who are terrorizing the people of Koboh, and they come with B1 Battle Droids, which are hilariously cut down in one strike. There are also B2 Super Battle droids, and Droid Commandos. There are also plenty of creatures to test your mettle, like Shiverpedes, which jump out of the ground and sneak attack you. Then there are Rawkas, which you can only kill after a dodge or evasion. There are also your larger than life creatures, like the Mogu, who still fights you after you cut its whole arm off, and the beast that I lost 15+ times to at the event, the one-hit-killing, very hungry, no lipped beast, the Rancor. It was nasty, and no good, and terrible. I don't wanna talk about THAT anymore. Let's move on.
The Lightsaber can now cut through certain things in the environment. You can collect seeds by cutting plants down, and use them in a garden. You can also cut through areas to keep moving forward, just as the previous games. In Survivor, the game lets you cut down pillars of rocks. You can also use the force to push rock ledges. You can also pull and push certain things to continue your journey. For instance at one point, there are proxy bomb droids (non official name) that hone in on your location, and follow you. If they get close to you, the explode, but if you lead them to a place where you can use them to bust something - or someone - up, do that. It's pretty cool how many more puzzle elements they've added to this game.
Speaking of puzzles, there are now discoverable Jedi Chambers, which are literal mini dungeons, where you use your skills to figure them out. Once you do so, you are rewarded with different upgrades. You can also find Force Tears, which are Force Echoes that send you through small challenges using the skills you already have. Last but not least, there are max health and force upgrades, except you just find them in the wild. There's also one in the Rancor pit, but I thought WE WEREN'T TALKING ABOUT THAT ANYMORE!
The rest points still respawn everything, but you can still rest, and refill your stim canisters. This is also where you use your skill points. There are 5 separate categories in your Lightsaber skills, one category in survival (Because Cal is a beast now), and 3 categories in your force skills. There's no one specific "real" way to upgrade these, so play your way. This is also where you find fast travel, but I've already said too much!
They've also overhauled the customization in this game. The workbench is back, and you can now customize SEVEN whole parts of the lightsaber. You can customize BD1 by its head, its eyes, and its legs. You can even customize Cal, but again, there's an overhaul. You can change this Jedi's beard or haircut. You can can change his entire outfit, if you wanna save the galaxy in style. You can even plant the seeds you find in an elaborate and fully customizable garden. I don't know why, but you can. You can find these seeds, and customizations in the wild, or you can go in town to meet Doma Dendra. Doma is the mayor of Rambler's Ranch, the first town you stumble upon on Koboh. She can sell you these goods in exchange for some in game currency. She also sells you songs to have the DJs play at the in town Cantina, where you might see a familiar face or two.
Last but certainly not least, if you thought the Fallen Order planets were nice on the eyes, Survivor will make you look at FO as if it came out for the Commodore 64. I might be exaggerating, but the game is gorgeous. The detail alone is astounding, from the way Cal's light saber crackles, to the far-as-the-eye-can-see environments. It's definitely one of those "if you can see it, you can go there" games. This is a Next Gen game only, so if you're running it on PC, be ready. There are many different options to get the best game play, but I'm a console guy, so I don't have to worry about that. I saw this on some of the highest settings the game could muster, so I know it's potential. The scales and fur on the monsters, the reflections off the water. It's a beautiful game.
There is way more in the game, but then we're crossing over to review territory, and I want to leave some room for that. They've packed a LOT more into this game than Fallen Order. No word on the time to complete, or post-game content. It is on schedule to release April 28th for PC, Xbox Series, and Playstation 5, and there was no mention of delays. There's also this guy in the tank in the photo above. I cannot wait to see what they do with this game. It's good for both adventurers and explorers alike. It still feels like a Star Wars game, with all the enemies and the lore, but it sure does play like your metroidvania 3D action adventures. Is that even a genre? I don't know, but what I do know is, from what I've seen, so far, so very good. I definitely look forward to it. Now look at this picture of Cameron Monoghan and me, and get your lightsabers ready.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Joseph is the resident streamer for Gaming Nexus. He grew up playing video games as early as the Atari 2600. He knows a little about a lot of video games, and loves a challenge. He thinks that fanboys are dumb, and enjoys nothing more than to see rumors get completely shut down. He just wants to play games, and you can watch him continue his journey at Games N Moorer on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook gaming!View Profile