Review

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review - A Good Feeling About This

  • First Released Nov 15, 2019
    released
  • PS4
  • PS4

By increasing difficulty, ratcheting back Force powers, and developing compelling characters, Jedi: Fallen Order delivers a worthy expansion to the Star Wars galaxy.

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Star Wars games often feel estranged from the franchise that spawned them. Video games have gotten very good at capturing the aesthetic of Star Wars--the cold metallic angles of Imperial architecture, the powerful hum of a lightsaber, the electric snap of a blaster bolt hitting home--but can struggle to get beneath the surface. It's the rare Star Wars game that reaches beyond how Star Wars looks to explore what Star Wars is really about.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the latest game in the canon, is one of the better offerings specifically because it tries to look beyond the trappings of Star Wars. It's not just another Jedi power fantasy, although wielding the Force with skill and resolve will certainly make you feel powerful. Like the best Star Wars games, it's one that adds to the ideas of the films and other material, exploring new corners of the galaxy while focusing on the core themes of the franchise: knowing yourself, fighting your own darkness, and braving adversity with the help of friends.

Friendship has always been one of the main drives of Star Wars, especially in the original film trilogy, and it's the core of what makes Jedi: Fallen Order work in both story and gameplay. The primary relationship of the game is between Cal Kestis, a Jedi padawan in hiding in the aftermath of the Jedi Purge that took place in Revenge of the Sith, and BD-1, a droid entrusted with a secret mission by the Jedi Master that previously owned it. Once Cal and BD-1 meet, they become inseparable, working together as partners to solve puzzles in forgotten ruins, navigate alien environments, and beat back the Empire.

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The pair work throughout the game to complete a scavenger hunt created by BD's last companion, Master Cordova. Before he vanished, Cordova locked away a list of Force-sensitive children throughout the galaxy that could be used to resuscitate the destroyed Jedi Order and challenge the Empire. He left clues to how to retrieve that list hidden in BD, requiring Cal and the droid to travel to various worlds, following in Cordova's footsteps to free up BD's encrypted memories.

Functionally, BD is Cal's constant companion as he rides around on the Jedi's back, and Cal regularly talks with the droid as they explore Fallen Order's planets. BD also serves several support functions in gameplay. Most importantly, BD provides Cal with "stims" that allow him to heal himself in the middle of Fallen Order's often-oppressive combat. He can also function as a zipline, unlock doors, and hack certain droid enemies to turn the tides of battle. BD is just enough a part of any given fight or puzzle that you're always aware of his presence and his help, but it's Cal's constant interactions with the little droid that really build out their relationship.

You definitely need BD's help and the upgrades you find for him throughout your journey, because Fallen Order can be punishing. It lifts a number of gameplay ideas directly from the Soulsborne genre; enemies are often tough-as-nails and can deal big damage if you're complacent, whether they're Imperial stormtroopers taking potshots or two-foot rats leaping out of burrows to snap at Cal's throat. Fighting isn't just about wailing on everyone with your lightsaber, but rather relies heavily on blocking and carefully timed parries if you mean to stay alive against even the most run-of-the-mill foes. You and your enemies also have a stamina meter to manage, which dictates how many blows you can defend against before you stagger, and adds a strategic element to duels. To win a battle, you need to whittle down an enemy's stamina while blocking, parrying, and dodging to manage your own. Since every blow you sustain can be devastating, combat becomes an exciting, cerebral exercise in pretty much every case. You'll spend a lot of time not only honing your parrying skills, but also making quick battlefield decisions about how you can isolate dangerous enemies or use your Force powers to even up the odds.

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You can only heal from a limited number of stims or by resting at periodic meditation points, similar to Dark Souls' bonfires, and using them respawns all the enemies in the area, which makes being a smart combatant even more critical. Killing enemies and finding collectibles nets you experience, which accumulates into Skill Points you can spend on new abilities for Cal. But dying costs all the experience you earned since your last Skill Point unless you can find and damage the enemy who bested you.

Though the elements of Fallen Order are Souls-like--it's probably most closely comparable to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, in fact--on most difficulty settings, it's far less brutal than From Software's games. Fallen Order might be considered Soulsborne-lite, making use of the same elements but to a different effect. It's tough, even occasionally frustrating, but not nearly so much as the games from which it draws its inspirations. That balance achieves something that feels essential to Fallen Order's identity: It makes you a powerful Jedi Knight, without turning you into an unstoppable Force-wielding superhero. Ratcheting back on the Jedi powers (and forcing you to unlock them as you work through the story and deal with Cal's past) helps Fallen Order's take on the Star Wars universe feel grounded and believable--a place where people could actually live.

Your lack of overwhelming power also helps make the ever-looming Empire a frightening threat, even as individual soldiers comedically call out their own ineptitude in pretty much every battle. Cal spends the entire game hunted by the Inquisition, a subset of the Empire's forces specifically tasked with exterminating Jedi. Because every fight is potentially deadly, running into the game's specially trained Purge Troopers is always an event, and you're forced not only test your lightsaber skills and timing, but to consider all the abilities at your disposal to make it out alive.

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The rest of the game often has to do with clambering around the environment and solving puzzles, not unlike Tomb Raider, God of War, or Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Navigating the world is as much about using observation and problem-solving skills as your Force tools. Respawn's Souls-inspired map design allows you to explore off the beaten path without ever really getting lost, and each planet is richly realized and fascinating to explore. The intricate pathways encourage you to wander off and visit each planet's varied environments to see what you might uncover, and Fallen Order always make sure you're rewarded with a bit of story, a cosmetic item, or even an optional miniboss fight.

When you're between missions on planets, you're spending time with Fallen Order's two other major characters, Cere and Greez. They're the pair who manage to save Cal in the early hours of the game when his Jedi nature is discovered by the Empire, and they put him on the quest to find the list of Force-sensitives before the Inquisitors can get their hands on it. Though the story is a little rough in the early going as Cal is thrown directly into the quest with little lead-up or explanation, Fallen Order's story starts to excel around the halfway point as his relationships with BD, Cere, and Greez really start to develop. Once Fallen Order starts to invest in the interpersonal dynamics and deepening friendships of its cast, it really hits a stride--and its quest feels less like an elaborate series of tasks to fetch a MacGuffin, and more like an essential addition to the ongoing Star Wars saga.

It does take Fallen Order a while to get there, though. The first few planets are a bit on the dull side, rushing to get Cal on his quest through the galaxy without really establishing why you should really care. Until it starts to click later in the game as you unlock more Force powers, combat can be a hassle, especially at certain boss battles or chokepoints, when your last meditation point is some distance away and you have to navigate through the same chunks of the map over and over. And while parrying is an essential part of the game, at higher difficulties, the timing can feel finicky and unreliable.

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The game also loves to throw handfuls of enemies at you all at once, which can be overwhelming, and combat against lower-tier enemies is built to lock you into finisher animations in a lot of cases. Instead of making you feel like a cool, well-trained warrior, these usually just leave you open to some Imperial dork wandering up with an electrobaton and clocking you in the head. It's only after you get enough Force powers to effectively control the crowds that these moments become more exciting than irritating. But throughout the game, there are always times when an enemy you couldn't see because of the game's tight targeting lock system gets in a cheap hit, forcing you to replay a fair stretch of its large, interweaving maps.

But especially as it wears on, Fallen Order becomes perhaps the strongest conception of what playing as a Jedi Knight ought to really be like. It's true that Fallen Order borrows liberally from other action games, but those elements work together with Respawn's combat and environment design, and a story that finds humanity in the Force and in its characters, to hone in on what makes the world of Star Wars worthy of revisiting again and again. Even with some rough edges, Fallen Order represents one of the most compelling game additions to the Star Wars franchise in years.

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Now Playing: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Video Review

Back To Top
The Good
Difficulty strikes a great balance between Jedi power fantasy and feeling grounded
Maps are vast and interesting to explore without getting you lost
Combat is often harrowing and forces you to be intelligent, especially in the second half of the game
Well-rounded characters help explore the most interesting themes of Star Wars
The Bad
Battles can be frustrating when paired with distant checkpoints
Story starts slow and takes time to become compelling
Getting the timing right on parrying can feel unreliable, especially in tough boss fights
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Phil Hornshaw spent about 22 hours exploring Jedi: Fallen Order on Jedi Master difficulty, but didn't uncover all of its secrets. He intends to return to finish his training. Review code was provided by the publisher.
289 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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esqueejy

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And, what's more, it's allowed to be liked and enjoyed because it has a white guy main character. as asinine as all that is, it's almost a relief that we won't have to be subjected to gamergater incel tantrums in every comment board under every article about it on the internet.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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@esqueejy: He's a redhead, so he still counts as a minority

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esqueejy

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: AND he has no soul!!! Freckles are the devil's tattoos!

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aross2004

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@esqueejy: Daywalker!

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judaspete

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@esqueejy: The main character is kinda fugly though. Isn't that because of the SJWs? I heard game characters are fugly now because of the SJWs. That's what the internet said.

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Mogan

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@judaspete: Poor Cameron Monaghan. : \

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Gr4h4m833zy

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Gr4h4m833zy  Online

@esqueejy: there may not be as many games starring black people but some of the ones that are set records and sold really well. (San andreas)

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esqueejy

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Edited By esqueejy

@gr4h4m833zy: Yeah, but that was before the election of a black man as POTUS kicked the WASP nest and sent a good chunk of white Amurikkka into white fright "great replacement"/"white genocide" tantrums over demographic shifts taking away white dominance over the governance and culture of this country. Throwing nutties over developers/publishers/movies etc. making conscious choices to use women and minorities in more prominent roles has become way more of a thing now than it was then and it's because the closer Global Browning demographic shifts get to making white just another minority, the more they desperately need for the content they consume to provide comforting, reassuring evidence that they're not really being replaced, that they still maintain the dominance they consider to simply be baseline and normal, not a privilege. lol

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nintendoboy16

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Holy hell! A great Star Wars game in years! Guess I'm giving it a shot as I NEED a Star Wars fix for damn near every platform I have (3DS and PSOne are exceptions).

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cejay0813

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Went out on a limb and pre-ordered during the review embargo and started playing when it unlocked. Actually very pleased with the purchase. Haven't really been into any of the Star Wars games but this is a nice hodge podge of other action games that have done rather well. I'll repeat a lot of what people are saying in that it does feel like a mix of Uncharted and a Souls game.

While not capturing the exact fluidity of movement that's noted in Naughty Dog's games the animations are still great and the lightsaber combat is amazing. Captures the difficulty of a Souls game but not as taxing. The story so far is engaging. It's the Force Unleashed games done a bit better but honestly I still like those games for their portrayal of the Force. Truly made you feel powerful. This one seems to be getting close to that but I may still be too early on to tell.

One thing I wish they'd get right in these games (and I know, video game logic and just the limitations of the hardware) but have the lightsaber be as powerful as it really is in the movies. So much game real estate that I was looking to just slice through but sadly can't. I'd say its worth a purchase... if not a definite grab when there's an inevitable price drop

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Mogan

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@cejay0813: What system are you playing on, and how's performance? I've been seeing mixed responses on frame rate issues and minor bugs.

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cejay0813

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@mogan: X1X... Been playing on performance mode and haven't really run into any gamebreaking bugs yet, but the framerate does suffer a lot. You can immediately tell the compromise they had to make for this game to run smoothly in performance mode from the pause menu. Cal's face is super blurry and everything in the game world in general is not as crisp. However, everything still runs relatively smooth and doesn't really hinder the gameplay experience

Bugs are limited to the character not interacting with the environment as intended. Have a few deaths in the very beginning where he failed to either land on a ledge properly, or cling to a wall to climb, but again, these were minor. While I feel its compared more to Uncharted as far as traversal, I'd say its a bit more stiff. Think Talion in the Middle Earth games.

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Mogan

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@cejay0813: Thanks man.

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aross2004

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@cejay0813: This game is much better in Resolution mode. It looks much better, but plays at locked 30fps.

Performance mode just has a janky ass framerate, and looks crappy.

Resolution mode all the way on this one.

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cejay0813

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@aross2004: I'll try that. The framerate drops are just too jarring. Once you get used to gaming at higher framerates its hard to go back. I had a hard time accepting Outer Worlds because of the 30 fps cap but glad I did as the game is great. Was happy for a performance mode being built in to SW but sadly it just doesn't perform well.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

@cejay0813: Maybe the lore reason is your kyber crystal is crappy quality

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BraceYourSelf1

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Notice all the advertising on GameSpot for this? It's outrageous. They have to be getting paid by EA a ton of money.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@braceyourself1: Well, that is how this whole business thing works, you know. Can't blame them for accepting advertising dollars. Not like YOU'D refuse a decent wage just to wear a sign on your back.

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aross2004

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@braceyourself1: Is advertising a sin now? Or is it just not OK for Gamespot?

You realize it''s how most websites keep the lights on, right?

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Mogan

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@aross2004: This has been the conspiracy theory for years and years. 'Oh, GameSpot is running lots of ads for this game I'm predisposed to hate, and they gave it a good score! It must be payola!'

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Crazy_sahara

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@mogan: payola, well last time I read data is gold and we are the sheep, it's not like Facebook or Google or even Microsoft will release data on what they are using in regards to profit(I'll be fair on Microsoft as they have been transparent in the coming years) but we have no idea what CBS does when it comes to data, do they encourage GameSpot to sell sell sell, or drop the bomb.

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aross2004

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@mogan: Yeah, lots of ridiculous shit. It's Eightspot, it's Paidspot, it's a lower score to be edgy, it's a payoff conspiracy, it's blah blah blah.

It's not too hard to feel like one of the smarter people in the room nowadays.

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Sound_Demon

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@braceyourself1: Probably not tons, just pocket change which happens to be an oil field for gamespot.

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cboye18

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It seems the game would've been better suited going with Jedi Academy's combat system.

Anyways, there's a good game to be found here but Disney and EA destroyed my interest for anything Star Wars in just a couple of years.

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Mogan

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@cboye18: The Jedi Outcast/Academy combat was kind of just attack spamming when you circle strafed and jumped around. I mostly used guns because I didn't think the lightsaber combat was very good in the Dark Forces games. I like that Fallen Order actually requires some skill and deliberate timing.

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cashx002

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Will buy for my son and I. We will kill this bad boi on the X.. .

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videogameninja

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Sounds like Fallen Order took a lot of concepts from other successful titles out there and implemented them into the Star Wars world (Soulsborne franchise.).

Personally, I don’t see that being a problem and when done well taking something that has been shown to have a good outcome and implementing it into one’s work may actually benefit the overall product.

I’m just glad a Star Wars game now has a proper single player representation out there!

While I don’t think many were banking on it becoming the next 10/10 game I think what it has achieved is a huge success for the franchise and hopefully if it does well it will signal to the higher ups at EA that microtransactions, multiplayer only, loot boxes, etc… aren’t necessarily the only way to go.

-Ha! Fat chance , Ninja!-

-THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE NINJA APPROVED-

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Tekarukite

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@videogameninja: I'm surprised more aren't comparing it to Tomb Raider and Uncharted, where the more obvious comparisons are. The mechanics it borrows from Soulsborne are the meditation circles (bonfires), resetting enemies (it's optional), healing stims, unlocking shortcuts, and reclaiming lost XP from the enemy that killed you.

Other than that, it's definitely an exploration game like Tomb Raider, and I love it.

I agree that taking concepts from other games - and doing them (extremely) well - is a good thing. So far it's getting my vote for GOTY.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@videogameninja: I'm seeing a lot of people say the Souls comparisons are off, as usual, just because it's easy to die. They compare it more to games like God of War and Force Unleashed which sounds more sensible to me.

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aross2004

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@Barighm: The Souls comparisons are legit in this game. Most mechanics are lifted wholesale from Soulslikes, irregardless of difficulty, (it's nowhere near as hard as DS, unless you play on Jedi Grandmaster difficulty).

-Meditation points(bonfires) that act as a checkpoint where you can top off your health, force power and health stimpaks. Resting there respawns enemies.

-Your Bd1 droid heals you with stimpaks(estus flasks) that can be refilled at meditation points.

-If you die, you lose your exp and have to get back to the enemy that killed you and hit them once to get your exp back, (technically a little different than Dark Souls, but the enemies stay in the same spots so you are still working your way back to where you were killed to get your exp back).

-The bosses feel very soulslike.

-Levels wind back in on themselves, with shortcuts etc. Can feel like areas are gated off via Metroid, but layouts can also feel very soulslike.

Have you even played this? Sounds like you haven't if you're claiming that the Souls comparisons are misplaced with this game. It's beyond obvious.

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dcheard2

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@aross2004: but you and others act like souls didn't borrow from other games.. like what it did was original as if this doesn't happen in the industry. hell, it happens in every art form.. music, scultures, etc.. the actual gameplay and fighting mechanics is more GoW or sekiro to me. if i remember, souls didn't have force powers.. that changes everything. if anything, it's more like bloodborne than souls. i woulnd't say it's wrong to compare it souls in some aspects but the fighting is not one of them.. the stamina system is completely different.. it's more sekiro and force powers put it in a entirely new dynamic into it.

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Gr4h4m833zy

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Gr4h4m833zy  Online

@videogameninja: well said. Got my copy 30 minutes ago. Still pre loading. Cant wait to dive in.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Damn, there's no demo

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VGDork

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What does an 8 mean? It worries me, if Death Stranding got a 9 and is so boring it puts me to sleep, does an 8 mean I could end up dead if I play it?

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dcheard2

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Edited By dcheard2

@vgdork: i mean.. they're totally different games. you can't expect to like a game that isn't in your wheelhouse. i respect that Death Stranding got a 9 and i can imagine why.. the ambitiousness of the project, the graphics, story, and probably does stuff that other games haven't done but i know it's not my cup of tea so im going to play it. i feel like rating will differ for certain generes. but.. if you compare fallen order to say GoW then it makes a ton more sense.. fallen order is by no means a 10 like GoW but at 7.5/8 for this type of game pretty much means that i'll enjoy it regardless of it's shortcomings. can't just look at ratings. i liked fallout then i didn't.. i wan't even going to give Outer Worlds (spiritual successor to New Vegas, some might say) a chance but the rating of 8 plus across the board change my mind and now i very much enjoy it even more than fallout.

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Gr4h4m833zy

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Gr4h4m833zy  Online

@vgdork: have you read ign or game informer's reviews? They may help.

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JSprunk

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@vgdork: It means Gamespot has no reviewing standards and the person writing the review has free reign to give whatever rating they feel like giving at the time.

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santinegrete

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@vgdork: basically "very good". Still, I suggest you do this: check gameplay footage, if you like what you see get it. The site made me think assassins Creed, Lost Planet EC and REsistance 2 were9/10 games, but they we're not when I put my fingers on them. Also, if the review applauds design decissions you find cringy, that's a dead giveway to just steer clear.

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Mogan

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@vgdork: An 8 means this reviewer thought the game was great. It's not really comparable to the 9 Death Stranding got, because Death Stranding is a very different kind of game, reviewed by a different person.

You have to read the review to get the explanation for the score.

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dmblum1799

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@vgdork: This game is the most accessible game I've played in a while. You jump around, it's easy to parry stormtroopers shots and kill them - it's a popcorn game.

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dcheard2

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@dmblum1799: well i wouldn't say that if you put it on jedi master mode but i agree, it can be if you lower the difficulty.

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xantufrog

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xantufrog  Moderator

Looks great. Anyone compare M&K with controller for this? Curious what feels most natural

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brievolz84

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@xantufrog: Controller on PC is better IMHO which if I recall correctly is the same for the Dark Souls games on PC. I play a couple hours last night and I was having a blast, though I was playing RDR2 before hopping to JFO so I wasn't used to the controls yet.

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dmblum1799

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It's very Uncharted-y, the combat is similar to Souls/Borne but not nearly as precise. That what's make the Souls games such masterpieces - the timing is so spot on, you never feel cheated.

But this game is really fun and easy to jump into. This is a hit.

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dcheard2

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@dmblum1799: i think the combat is much more similar to Seikro. the stamina system it completely different and the force power completely change those dynamics

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cejay0813

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@dmblum1799: I think if you up the difficulty it makes the combat more precise as you describe. I could be wrong.

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Tekarukite

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@cejay0813: yes. It literally describes this when you are selecting the difficulty setting. Playing on the hardest difficulty, Master Jedi, required the precise timing.

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xxmavr1kxx

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Cant wait to be done with work.

I am looking forward to this game.

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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order More Info

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  • First Released Nov 15, 2019
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
    7.9
    Average Rating110 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
    Developed by:
    Respawn Entertainment
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genre(s):
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Mild Language, Violence