Review | Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
"EA Sports, it's… Nope, not that one! For the second time in a row EA managed to nail the single player formula. It seems like the force is working for them, but one must be aware that the technical performance is also a big part of the experience."
May the single player games be with you
Almost 4 years apart, two single player EA games were released on multiple platforms: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. The two story-connected games are everything the fans could hope for. There is almost no better way to experience the magnificence of the franchise (after KOTOR, of course). Respawn did their job well, EA should invest in such studios.
So, we are back to adventures of Cal – the Jedi Survivor that strikes back against the Empire. If you have no idea what happened in the previous game, there is a recap under the main menu – and it sucks. I forgotten everything, and this recap explained nothing. It even made the past events more confusing. I have no idea what the idea behind it was, it’s really weird choice if you ask me. Look up for some good recap video instead.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is out from April 28, 2023, on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (PC platform are unfortunately almost unplayable due to technical issues). Consoles (mine being the PS5) comes with Graphical and Performance mode, ladder being the best choice if you turn off the blur effects and chromatic aberration. Still, some areas struggle with stability, but consoles are definitely the best place to play the game (even at this point).
Welcome to bigger, wider, more generic... Okay, not generic, but bigger planets to explore. If it weren't for backtracking, it would be a pure delight to explore everything.
The story is not so strong within you
Cal Kestis, our main guy. Hi, our main guy! It’s been a while, especially after meeting Darth Vader near the end of the previous game. How the events unfold here is up to you to discover. If you ask me, the story is cool, but I expected more. I have major problems with the cast, yes, they are all back from the previous game, yes, you get to pilot your ship (not really, other than just point it towards the planets) – but the majority of the main story cast is simply plain boring. The lost Jedi, and Bode… Man, I disliked them from the very start. Almost nothing happens during the whole game. Nothing gets resolved, nothing new happens… I’m really puzzled what was the story idea behind it. The writing is not so great if you ask me. I fail to embrace Cal, and any other character, really.
As you run across the planets to explore them and to reveal the ancient planet where Jedi’s trained, you will always return to planet Kobol, which serves as a hub. You can talk to residents to get rumours about other residents (which you can recruit). This means you can bring more people to your base. Maybe 2 people there are somewhat interesting, the rest are simply generic. If you meet other random NPCs in the world, they just talk nonsense. The rewards from doing the side content are, well, not really rewarding. Prepare to backtrack a lot if you want to find and collect everything, but the main story is actually paced properly, without backtracking to the previously visited planet locations.
The crew is back, but Cal's girl is really annoying in this game. That is funny, I read my Fallen Order review where I like her the most. The writting is weak here, and the NPCs are not even worth mentioning. Some crew members are cool, but that is it.
Exploration is the big win (if we don’t count the backtracking)
This sequel is bigger than the previous game. It has some pretty sceneries, but also a lot of mechanical platforming. I prefer the natural sceneries, too bad there aren’t the majority. You will travel across planets, and every time a new path will open. Of course, that means new abilities which gets unlocked during a certain point in the story. For collecting stuff this means so much backtracking, but simply for following the story it doesn’t. You will return to all planets a couple of times, but each time there will be a new, big chunk to explore. I love the abilities – the air dash, and double jump especially. Combine that will force skills and you will feel like a Prince of Persia Jedi. It reminds me so much of that game (only in Star Wars universe).
The best part for me was the story and when it all comes down to exploration, puzzles, and platforming. The combat – not so much. I was often enjoying the view while jumping all over the place. It feels satisfactory. There are secrets on every step of the way. That is something I enjoy. It can feel a bit overwhelming, considering some areas are big and open, but the map is decent, finally. If only you don’t have to revisit some planets for like 12 times to collect everything - then I would praise this segment a bit more. But, going through the same area again and again, especially when they remove the teleportation points during certain side events – man, what a drag. And the loading times are a joke. Try traveling across planets fast. Yeah, I thought so. It takes like a minute to reach your ship, half the minute to select a planet, and then like 2 mins to get to sit on the chair and initiate the travel. The problem with pinpointing what you still miss is that you can’t circle through all locations under the planet, you need to pinpoint it on the map to see the legend on the map. Some weird choices if you ask me.
What carries this game is the exploration. Every part of every location has some secret. It's awesome how they created such a big and rich locations for us to explore. Too bad the rewards doesn't really help you a lot with the progress - I think I've even stopped upgrading skills after half of the game.
To run or to fight?
The combat is a hit and miss. It’s fun, but that is it. It feels like Batman combat, with a pinch of souls formula. It’s very similar to the previous game, with some new skills and stances. You can dual wield, use a two-sided lightsabre – it gives you the flexibility to choose your own style. Too bad the combat is actually very basic. Even on higher difficulties I was just blocking (parrying, which is really easy to do), and counterattacking. You can finish the whole game like that. There is no real challenge and tactic requirements. This means the boss fights feels like normal encounters, just lasts longer.
You can of course learn new skills, but don’t expect earning a lof of skill points if you’re just playing the story. Most of the points will come from the side content and exploration. By the time you finish the game, you will maybe master 3 skill trees. And the worst part is – it is enough to beat everything that moves in this game. I liked the bounty challenges, but the pacing during this almost killed me. So much backtracking.
Lastly, the customization comes in a form of colours and different haircuts/outfits. You can’t really improve your stats. I disliked that in the previous game, and I think some of the effort could’ve been invested to make the game combat deeper. It just feels like playing some arcade game.
To me, the combat is not so great. It's fun yeah, but in a long run it comes down to the same stuff - block and attack. I wish there was more, even the customizations doesn't give anything other than looks. Oh well, maybe next time.
It’s not all technical, but it kind of is
Due to some technical issues in certain areas, a lot of screen-tearing and hiccups’ – it’s a wonder that 8 months after the release the game is still not patched properly. Overall, it’s stable (still not stable on PC), but I was just waiting for a crash when I was traveling some areas (I had so much issues in cave area bellow the Python bar). Cal moves like he is constantly flying on the surface, but that didn’t really bother me.
One thing I noticed is while playing in the HDR mode – there are couple of white light bursts which almost made me go blind. I don’t know if that is normal, but they need to fix the sudden light bursts. Other than that, sceneries are awesome. Some are not, it’s just the way it is. And the enemy variety can be better.
Will Cal keep his love, kill his enemies and win over the Empire? Find out in the new Star Wars Jedi episode!
If you like the Star War Universe, own a console, and like a light-combat with lightsabres with an awesome exploration that reminds of the Prince of Persia games – this sequel will justify your needs. If you liked the previous game, there is no reason not to like this - this is a better game, but with worse story and writting. Prepare for some technical issues (nothing major, I had 3 crashes only) and 30 hours of story and 20 additional hours some exploring the whole galaxy will give you the satisfaction you need. I will for sure play the next game.
"A great sequel with some technical issues even after patching it for 8 months. Don’t expect a mind-blowing story, but expect a solid game in almost all other segments – with lightsabres (which are always cool)."
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