Lexi’s Review: Star Wars Fallen Order

A little while back Star Wars Fallen Order came to Gamepass when Microsoft and EA worked out a deal to add EA properties to the games service platform. To be honest I didn’t have a lot of hope for Fallen Order to be a game I really enjoyed, but I had no reason to not give it a shot after it arrived to Gamepass so here we go.

Fallen Order is a souls like Star Wars game released back in November of 2019, as stated before I did not pick it up at release. You play a young jedi hiding from the empire between episode 3 and New Hope named Cal. The game starts with Cal on a junker type planet where they dissemble ships of all sizes from all over the galaxy. It is a potentially interesting environment where you can see the insides of some of the largest ships in the galaxy as they get cut up and parted out. From here you use the force to avoid disaster, get found out and narrowly escape the empire. It sets up the general stakes, gives you a villain and introduces you to the crew you will end up traveling through the game with, all in one fairly linear tutorial level that does it’s job. From here to the end it is exactly what you would expect it is. You hop from planet to planet in the order of your choosing (though completing these planets are gated off by required abilities so you have to play everything in order, but there is the illusion of freedom) each acting as world zones for you to explore and find things in. You fight some different enemies and go down a list of bosses. You eventually have to go into an empire installation and finish your fight, you have your battle, Vader shows up to Vader things and there you go. If you really enjoy Star Wars and you particularly love the era of Star Wars where this takes place then the plot will probably sit well with you. It’s generic, It’s pretty bare bones and predicable, it is very safely Star Wars. This leads into why I didn’t pick up this game until it came to Gamepass, I don’t really care for the post episode three Star Wars. I don’t really like the time period between 3 and 4, and I certainly have seen nothing from 4 onwards that makes me want more of that era. Episode 7 was fun enough, but 8 and 9 completely take away anything there for me. That’s not Fallen Order’s fault, but it finds itself in a time period I don’t want more stories in. I also didn’t need another really generic white dude to be the lead. And Cal is very, very, very generic. He is by far the thing I dislike the most of this game. I truly see no reason for him to exist as he is. I don’t like being so negative but this game could be perfect from a gameplay side of the equation and I’d still actively dislike it because of Cal. A fact which aggravates me more when you find out the dev team actively looked into the main character being an alien (a really under represented demographic in Star Wars) and/or and woman (another under represented group). The reasoning on this decision to scrap everything that wasn’t a white dude was “they”, I’m assuming management but could be wrong, felt an alien would alienate players thus causing them to not fully feel for Cal’s story. And Cal couldn’t be a woman because Rey exists and having 2 Jedi women lead completely different stories would cause competition, and they didn’t want to take away from Rey. Everything about those reasons are asinine. It’s Star Wars, fans of Star Wars should be completely capable of sympathizing with an alien (and if they can’t, maybe we should be giving more aliens the spotlight to change that) and when franchises have 7 million white dudes leading everything, no one complains about competition, but 2 women exist and now it’s a problem. And for that “competition”, they gave Cal the ability to see an objects history with the force, Rey’s power, and then said that competition bullshit. How the fuck isn’t them both having the same power, both coming from a planet that salvages ships, and both being nobodies who come from nothing not enough to worry about competition, but having 2 women is way too much. It’s ridiculous. Fuck that. I believe “they”, whoever they are, just decided white guys sell better so it’s another white guy. As it so often is no matter how “woke” things get or how many idiots complain about how persecuted the white man is, it still ends up being a super generic white guy in the lead. So yeah, I genuinely hate Cal, he is one of the worst video game protagonists I’ve ever seen and that sucks, and that isn’t going to change. But, the game is on Gamepass, so it was free so I really gave it the best shot I could.

I played and beat the game on the hardest difficulty, Jedi Grandmaster. This is your smallest parry window, most damaging and aggressive enemies combo. This game is a souls like, kind of, so difficulty is one of it’s things. I played most of this game avoiding much of the force powers, I tried to take on everything possible with the lightsaber and timing. This is because the force powers can trivialize many fights. They are not that impressive, they are pretty small scale. There is no pulling a star destroyer down out of orbit. And yet, even the small powers you get can still completely trivialize a fight if you understand when to use them. Now I don’t mind this, trying to balance force powers is probably very difficult and I feel they did a pretty good job. Certain enemies or bosses are weak to certain force powers at certain times, use it and boom, free opening. An easy example of this is you fight old man(different generic white guy) sith with 2 Lightsabers. He has moments where he opens himself up when going for an attack, you force push, he gets knocked over and you rush over to stack damage. Rinse and repeat. If you don’t use these openings on grandmaster, then prepare to parry a lot, for very little reward and a great deal of risk. This gets back to that trivialize part, there are some bosses who could take you hundreds of attempts on grandmaster if you use no force powers, but then someone with very little skill could win easily with force powers. This is especially true of the final boss. I went in blind and won, first try, with almost no effort. This is because of the particular power the boss is weak to, your character’s unique force slow power. You basically use force bullet time on people. I figured the final boss would be particularity weak to your first and main power, and yep, that’s the case. In fact the boss is so weak you can just stun lock them on the hardest difficulty and win without having to understand many of the game’s mechanics. This reminds me a lot of tools in Sekiro being able to turn the tides on fights by large amounts. This is why I was doing a no force run, as I do no tools runs in Sekiro. I like sword fighting. It’s just fun to figure out a games rhythm and flow through fights with timing, concentration, and practice. Some fights in Sekiro are very fun for this like the first Owl fight, some fights are not fun to use no tools like the headless ape with ape friend. For fallen order, unfortunately none of the fights are very fun for this. None are very memorable either. So at a point, the game was just unfun to play without force and was trivial and boring with it. They tried to make a difficult game that also had as few barriers to entry as possible, I feel they did a pretty good job, but at the end of the day, the combat was boring and the main character was infuriating.

So that's story down, I hate it, and gameplay down, it’s boring, lets talk positives. The biggest positive it has is lightsaber customization. You customize the handle from a bunch of different parts and choose your color. They said they would never have red, they added red later in an update, so if red is your thing then there it is. You just have to beat the game first. I enjoyed the customization, I wish we had more Star Wars games with more lightsabers to customize. We don’t so if you really, really, really, just need to play around with a custom lightsaber than Fallen Order is technically an ok choice. It’s potentially a good choice if you have Gamepass. In fact I’d recommend any Start Wars fan who enjoys swinging a lightsaber and who has Gamepass to try Fallen Order. It’s free and you can hit things till it’s boring(which was fast for me) and then uninstall it without spending a dime.

I honestly wish I could be more positive, I really do love the potential in Star Wars. It’s a literal different galaxy where we can make up anything we want. As it stands we are currently getting the most boring version of Star Wars out there and that really is sad. Fallen Order is just a bad example of what Star Wars could be. I give it 4/10, if you really love this era of Star Wars and think Cal looks ok then it’s probably a 7/10 for you.

Extra readings. I have wondered how to do scores for a while as they are completely subjective and unreliable. I may stop doing scores but I’m trying something here. Basically, and this is still fairly subjective, I rate three categories. Functionality(how stable or buggy the game is), Polish(things like animations and general presentation), and mechanics(the mechaincs of the gameplay). I add them up F+P+M and get an X value. I then take the X and divide by 3 to get an average. so (F+P+M)/3=“general score”. I then take this score and add(+) or subtract(-) up to 3 points for my own purely subjective view of the game, it’s content and story and all. So for Fallen Order you get (9+7+5)/3=7. that's the 7/10 above. Then my subjective feelings are -3, the most I can knock a game for my subjective rating, and you get that 4/10 seen above. so it’s ((F+P+M)/3)+(S)=Score. I feel this is a fair enough way to try and rate games and I plan on seeing if this works in future reviews, or if I will drop ratings all together. If some how this ends up getting read and you would like more clarification into this system, or anything else, I’ll be happy to try and clarify things. No idea what game is next, maybe Sekiro.

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