Release Date : April 28, 2023
Developer(s) : Respawn Entertainment
Publisher(s) : Electronic Arts
Platforms : PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Four years after Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Respawn and Electronic Arts are back with Jedi Survivor, the direct sequel to the adventures of Cal Kestis and his droid BD-1. You know the drill: it’s a combination of high-budget action-adventure and Dark Souls-inspired gameplay. So, does this installment bring strength to the mix and reach high enough for the stars? Here’s our review.
It’s finally time to welcome back Cal Kestis and his beloved droid BD-1, five years after the events of Star Wars Fallen Order! Since then, the hero has been constantly hunted down by the Empire, a ruthless political regime sworn to kill all Knights. Cal begins this second installment handcuffed, ready to be handed over to a senator on Coruscant…
Without revealing too much, he manages to escape and makes a discovery that could save his fellow knights and all the oppressed of the galaxy. A noble quest that will require the help of Cere, Greez and Merrin (his old team), and Bode Akuna, a brand-new character. A journey to the ends of the galaxy.
A Real Star Wars Game
As before, Jedi Survivor is an action-adventure game with inspirations from Dark Souls – in terms of gameplay – as well as Metroidvania (exploration that renews itself with each new power unlocked). There are also plenty of platform phases! This formula is now enhanced by the addition of vast new open zones, particularly on the planet Koboh.
However, it’s important to understand that this second episode is not an open world, and that not all locations offer such freedom. As the main story progresses, you’ll find yourself back in more classic levels – with a mix of action, exploration, platforming, and Force-based “puzzles”.
Clearly, this isn’t a bad thing. First of all, because the scale of these levels is much larger than it had been before, paying a fine tribute to the gigantic dimensions of Star Wars, and secondly, because by mixing level design in this way – and adding the whole narrative aspect – Jedi Survivor quickly finds a great cruising rhythm. After a perhaps lengthy introduction, Respawn’s title turns on its boosters and shows off the full extent of its ambition…
Whether in terms of writing, staging, and artistic direction: we had the feeling of living a real adventure in George Lucas’ universe! The technical side, ultra-solid in Resolution mode on PS5, contributes to this success. Thanks to ray tracing and realistic reflections, many of the panoramas are truly magnificent.
A Break at the Pyloon Saloon
The main focus here is “Koboh”, a planet shaped by rocky cliffs. It’s Jedi Survivor’s largest playground, and one you’ll return to frequently during the main adventure. It’s also where you’ll find the Pyloon Saloon – a temporary base that will evolve as you progress in the game. You’ll be able to chat with characters you encounter during your travels; discover “rumors” (a kind of side quests) that will guide you to unknown areas of the map, or even do some gardening.
A great deal of attention has been paid to the building’s mood, and it’s a pleasure to return to it between 2 missions. These return trips are the perfect excuse to explore Koboh again, and use the powers you’ve learned in the meantime to discover brand new places.
When it comes to the open planets, we love the fact that they’re not over-filled. For example, there are only a few enemy bases to clear (with very different identities). Apart from one or two cases, exploration always resulted in a unique corner that was really worth the effort, not to mention the rewards (health and Strength bonuses, cosmetic items for Cal, BD-1, and your lightsaber).
Koboh also features Jedi Chambers, the puzzle rooms inspired by Zelda Breath of the Wild. There are also combat and platform challenges, patrols, and mini-bosses. In short, Koboh, like the other zones, is well-constructed and a pleasure to explore. Especially on horseback.
But don’t be fooled, Cal Kestis is just as agile as the alien creatures! In Jedi Survivor, our hero starts the adventure with all the moves from Fallen Order (double jump; wall running; breathing underwater; fast climbing), plus a grappling hook and an aerial dash. The same goes for the lightsaber. The “Single Blade”, “Dual Blades” and “Double-Bladed Staff” stances are now accompanied by the ” Blaster” – which acts like a blade combined with a ranged weapon, like a sort of heavy sword. Note that in Jedi Survivor, you can only use two stances at the same time. To change your stance, you’ll need to visit a workbench or a “Meditation Point”, the infamous checkpoints that allow you to save your game, spend your skill points and regain health.
Appreciable additions, but unfortunately they don’t correct the gameplay inaccuracies of Fallen Order! On one hand, it works very well when the number of enemies is limited, but on the other hand, the more enemies you face, the more confusing and frustrating it becomes… It’s hard to keep your eyes focused on the soldiers in front of you and perform parries when others are firing rockets at you in the background. Fortunately, the powers of the Force are there to help you (from this point of view, they always work very well). In addition, your companions can now send a targeted special attack, if they’re with you during a mission.
A welcome option which – like the more extensive scripting – gives the impression of a “real team”. Jedi Survivor also features “Advantages”, bonuses you can equip to – for example – break an opponent’s guard more easily or have an extra healing bottle. But here, it’s no longer possible to switch from one posture to another in a combo – or to slow down an opponent as a basic power. The latter is replaced by an “ultimate” that charges as you play.
Difficulty to Suit Every Taste
Epic, Touching, Simply Star Wars
Don’t worry, despite a few gameplay issues, Jedi Survivor manages to deliver epic lightsaber battles, supported by top-notch staging. In fact, Respawn’s game took us through all kinds of emotions… While there are some intense action phases, there are also some touching moments with perfectly accurate writing. Yes, with Jedi Survivor, the American studio has succeeded in restoring the true spirit of Star Wars, from atmosphere to ambition, featuring a talented cast of characters. Overall, we only regret a few bugs and delays in Resolution mode, which will be corrected with future updates. After 30 hours of gameplay and the credits, we’d still like some more.
With Jedi Survivor, Respawn-Electronic Arts takes us on a true Star Wars adventure. The atmosphere and spectacular scenery are created with light speed, thanks to the use of ray tracing and the power of the PS5 / Xbox Series generation. The open-world environments are a pleasure to explore, and are never overcrowded. The direction is top-notch from start to finish, with scenes that are both epic and touching. The writing and screenplay are even more impressive. Finally, we only wish that the gameplay, while definitely complete, had been subject to a similar trajectory correction… Beyond a fairly classic start to the adventure, Jedi Survivor really keeps you hooked – even after 30 hours of play. An excellent action-adventure game and an excellent Star Wars title.