| Played on a PS5 and a CLX built PC |
It’s easy to see that Respawn Entertainment put insurmountable effort in crafting the world of Star Wars through the eyes of Cal Kestis – Jedi: Survivor is finally here after 4 long years and it takes place several years after the events of Fallen Order with a new crew after Greez, Merrin and Cere went their separate ways. Every facet of the game retains its identity with ease but expands it in ways that is rare for sequels these days. After my 37hr journey of epic moments, deep twist and excellent pacing, Jedi: Survivor sits at the top of sci-fi adventures today.
The Force Within
Taking place several years after the events of Fallen Order, Survivor follows the continued journey of Cal Kestis, a Jedi Knight, who is fighting against the Imperial Empire. Cal has a new crew in this game, as his old crew disbanded many years ago, leaving him feeling alone and as if they had given up the fight against the Empire. the most notable crew member is Bode, a bold mercenary who deeply cares about his family, fits well with Cal’s team. and happens to be my new favorite character. The plot of Jedi: Survivor is thematically darker than previous Star Wars games, which is a great choice, making the world feel more grounded. Respawn Entertainment has done an excellent job of building up plot twists and revelations throughout the game, coupled with great pacing throughout. One of the standout aspects of Jedi: Survivor is the character development this time around – Cal is even more complex and relatable than Fallen Order, showcasing even more struggles with his role in the fight against the Empire. When combining that with the chemistry between his new crew members feels deeper and more genuine.
The game’s environmental storytelling is also noteworthy, adding depth to the game’s world and narrative. The settlements in Koboh and the various NPCs encountered throughout the game provide a broader perspective on the impact of the Empire’s rule on the galaxy. The struggles of the Prospectors, for example, provide a sense of realism to the game’s world and make the player feel like they are part of a larger story. I spent way too much time just interacting with them in between missions – and although it’s basic, the voice actors and writers brings just enough light to feel immersed.
The Engine is Unreal
Jedi: Survivor is a visual masterpiece that showcases the Unreal Engine 4’s power in creating stunning, immersive game environments. One of the most impressive aspects of the game is the attention to detail in each of the locations, which feel three times larger than the original. The use of exploration in a metroidvania style makes the player feel as if they are truly exploring the vast expanse of the Star Wars universe – hidden with layered, tangible secrets. Even if there’s no loot drops of any sort other than cosmetics. What stands out most in the game is the insurmountable attention to detail and variety to architecture, structure and overall assets. From the vehicles whiffing by in the sky of Coruscant to the desolate landscapes of Jheda, each location feels unique and is packed with intricate details that make the world feel alive. The characters’ designs are also impressive from NPC’s to Cal Kestis himself. The level of customization for Cal is impressive – though not as much as I would like aside from Lightsabers. Each piece of clothing has all sorts of moving parts that is a delight in motion and the level of options for customizing your Lightsaber is incredible. Respawn is definitely showcasing an impressive level of creativity and attention to detail with Survivor.
The use of ray-tracing technology in Jedi: Survivor is also one of the most impressive features. Reflections, shadows, and lighting are brought to life in ways that feel unreal, giving the game a deeper cinematic feel. The environments are dynamic with enemies and wildlife roaming around, making it all feel like a breathing world. Considering all the graphical fidelity, even the use of GPU accelerated particles, the performance for Jedi: Survivor on the PlayStation 5 is rather impressive; all next-gen features in such a fidelity has the gaming running pretty smooth most of the time. There were some frame drops during open-world exploration that was pretty consistent – actually only really happened when exploring large areas within Koboh and Jheda, but it wasn’t too much of an issue as the main segments of the game, like missions and battles, were always stable for me. Additionally, there were streaming issues when loading assets when transitioning zones – so it may not be the most optimized game in the market, but it’s well enough all things considered.
Though, I will never understand why developers aren’t taking notes from Guerilla Games – I think Horizon Forbidden West is even more visceral looking, yet they managed to have that game run absolutely phenomenal with VRR enabled. Let’s hope we get a patch in very soon. I did spend some time playing the game on my CLX build using an RTX4090 and I have to say, it was struggling during the first couple days. It was quickly patched in, and it started running at around 4K90fps at extreme settings, RT on full. So, at least Respawn is hard at work.
One downside to the game is the limited number of planets available to explore. While the world created in Jedi: Survivor is expertly crafted and detailed, it would have been great to see more planets available to explore. However, this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things and does not detract from the overall quality of the game.
The Souls in Star Wars
Jedi: Survivor comes with a massive list of improvements – and some misses. first off, the Lightsaber Stances. This is the most exciting element to me as I am a huge fan of swapping between stances in games that are designed to play like a Souls-game. There are 5 stances in total:
- Single Blade – This is the most basic and versatile form of lightsaber combat. It allows for a balanced mix of offense and defense, with quick strikes and blocks. It is the starting stance in Jedi: Survivor and is the most accessible for beginners. It can be upgraded with various skills and perks to increase its effectiveness.
- Dual Blades – This stance allows the user to wield two lightsabers simultaneously, one in each hand. It offers a high offense capability, but leaves the user more vulnerable to attacks. It is a more advanced stance that requires greater skill and coordination. It is ideal for players who prefer a more aggressive playstyle.
- Double-Bladed Staff – This stance features a lightsaber staff that has two blades at each end. It is a powerful offensive weapon, with longer reach and the ability to deal more damage. However, it lacks in defense and requires a high level of skill to use effectively. It is best suited for players who want to take on groups of enemies at once.
- Cross Guard Blade – This stance features a lightsaber with a crossguard, which creates two additional blades that extend from the hilt. It is a unique stance that offers both offense and defense, with the added benefit of being able to block lightsaber attacks. It is a popular choice among players because of its versatility and the fact that it is used by one of the main villains in the Star Wars universe.
- Blaster and Blade – This stance allows the player to wield a lightsaber and a blaster at the same time. It is a surprising and unique addition to Jedi: Survivor, as it has not been seen in previous Star Wars games. It offers a mix of ranged and melee combat, allowing the player to take on enemies from a distance before engaging in close combat. It is a fun and exciting option for players who want to mix things up and try something new.
Hands down my favorite is the Cross Guard and Blaster – the combination just feels right and unlike other stances, Cal won’t just do an additional hit with a tap of a button, which throws me off as a player; being the type to modify controls to feel more like Dark Souls, I was often annoyed by Cal’s need to do an additional attack when I’m trying to be patience and concise, causing me to get jumped by swarm of Androids doing an infinite number of unlockable attacks.
As you venture through Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, you’ll encounter a wide range of helpful enhancements known as Perks. These abilities will make your Jedi experience all the more exciting by providing you with special powers that you can utilize to defeat enemies. What’s even better is that these Perks can be found in a variety of ways, either by exploring Jedi Chambers, Breath of the Wild Shrine-style locations with puzzles to solve, or investigating rumors, which are side missions. The game boasts a total of 25 different Perks, so there are plenty of options to choose from to customize your gameplay experience. I found myself equipping perks that gave me force/health back from successful counters and such, but there’s a bunch of options to fit your playstyle.
When I first heard that there were mounts in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I was hyped. What’s better than exploring vast locations of a galaxy far, far away on the back of a creature? And let me tell you, these mounts did not disappoint – well, maybe a little with animation, but more on that later.
Relter – This majestic flying creature is perfect for getting around quickly and efficiently. Its ability to soar through the air allows you to traverse large gaps in the terrain and reach areas that would otherwise be unreachable. The only downside is that it can only be used at certain points in the game, which can be a bit frustrating when you’re trying to get from point A to point B.
Nekko – This mount has a high jump, which makes it perfect for reaching those hard-to-reach places. It’s also surprisingly useful in combat, allowing you to jump over enemies and attack them from above. Plus, who doesn’t love a good battle on the back of a mount?
Spamel – This speedy creature is perfect for rushing across flat areas like deserts. Its speed is unmatched by any other mount in the game, making it perfect for those times when you need to get somewhere fast.
And with all of this, of course the game isn’t perfect. First, the animation transitions could use some refinements. I understand the game needs to be snappy given the action part of the adventure, but when transitioning between movesets could be disjointed given the nature of the graphics this game is producing. Same with climbing any obstacle or riding mounts – it just seems to reset animation midway through the next transition. It feels unpolished in that regard, and it may be too late to work on it. Additionally, there are some major issues with enemy difficulty scaling on Jedi Knight difficulty. There are times I can survive against a horde of enemies, but then I will fight a boss-level threat and get 2-shot with consecutive unblockables. On top of that, there seems to be an issue with inconsistent attacks not leaving any room for you, the player, to recover from Cal being so easily stunned by anything – and taking forever to initiate his attacks. This caused many deaths on my 37hr playthrough, and it didn’t feel fair because enemies would track you with every hit, mostly ghost hitting you and also skipping animations in between hits. It was a bit of a frustrating thing to deal with, but nothing I couldn’t overcome. It just felt overturned for normal difficulty.
REVIEW SCORE: 9.5/10
But despite its flaws, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the new pinnacle of cinematic sci-fi adventure that centers both gameplay and cinematic elements and expands on it through the ever-beautiful Unreal Engine 4. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Cal Kestis.