Also on: PC, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Even though I?ve somehow never seen Star Wars, I?ve always been able to follow the plots in all the Star Wars games I?ve played. The gist of the original trilogy has permeated pop culture to the point that everyone knows the basics of the story, while in all of the other games I?ve played ? be it Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, or Republic Commando ? it was easy enough to figure out the specifics based on what was shown on screen.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the first time I?ve felt a little at sea. I only played a bit of Fallen Order a few years ago, and while there?s an explainer video of that game?s plot included in this game, Survivor is still filled to the brim with lore, to the point that it includes one of the most extensive Databanks I can recall seeing in a game. Exploring all the worlds this game includes doesn?t just mean picking up useful trinkets, it also means you may need to pause the game to read about what you?ve just uncovered ? and then go on to read the related entries, too, if you really want a full picture. (Obviously, if you know the lore, that may not apply to you.)
Not that that?s a criticism, mind you. It?s kind of neat to see a game draw from its long history the way Star Wars Jedi: Survivor does. It may not be completely accessible to newcomers, but at the same time, it?s not like you can?t get up to speed quickly with only the tiniest bit of effort.
Now, if I were to make a criticism of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, it would be this: the double-jumps look a little silly. I know, I know: double-jumps are all kind of silly, if you think about them. But for me, there was something especially silly-looking about the way Cal Kestis tucks his chin and pulls his knees up when he double-jumps.
And that?s all I?ve got for complaints.
The fact that double-jumping, of all things, is my only complaint about Star Wars Jedi: Survivor should probably tell you that it?s one heck of a game. I didn?t even have any issues with the game?s performance on PS5, despite reports of some people finding that the game didn?t work perfectly well (though, admittedly, most of the performance complaints seem to have come from PC players).
I suspect a big part of why I was able to get into the game so easily was because it?s incredibly accessible. EA made a big deal about how much choice they give players in this game in terms of allowing people to play how they want, and that wasn?t just lip service. If there?s something in this game, there?s a pretty good chance you can customize it, from the big, obvious things like difficulty levels, down to what colour you want your robot companion BD-1?s eye plates to be, or what stance you want to take when you?re wielding your light sabre.
For someone like me, who?s not exactly great at combat that requires perfect timing, this was especially helpful when it came to determining exactly how big a window the game gives you for timing dodges and parries. I usually don?t even bother with those actions in most games, but in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, they make it easy and intuitive enough that I constantly found myself slowing down before running into battle, waiting for enemies to fire lasers at me so I could send those beams right back at their heads. (And, needless to say, if that kind of thing is second nature to you, then you?ll enjoy the much more challenging difficulty levels too.)
I was also impressed by how well this game allows Cal to parkour around the world. Not only do you have those silly-looking double-jumps, it?s also really fun to run along walls, use the force to grab robes and swing across chasms, and use a grappling hook-type tool to pull yourself up to hard-to-reach spots. Chain all those things together, and you?re able to explore the world in a way that brings to mind a game like Spider-Man.
In other words, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a game that?s an absolute joy to play. Exploring these worlds, slicing through enemies, customizing how Cal looks, uncovering the game?s lore: it?s all done perfectly here, in a way that should appeal to anyone, regardless of their familiarity with Star Wars itself (though being a fan probably helps). There are minor flaws, to be sure, but they?re so minor, they feel like nitpicking. In a year that?s already featured some outstanding games, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor still manages to stand out.
Electronic Arts provided us with a Star Wars Jedi: Survivor PS5 code for review purposes.