June 20, 2019 by Paul Curtin
EA kicked off their E3 2019 event in Hollywood last Saturday with a first look at their highly anticipated new singleplayer game from Respawn Entertainment, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
At the event, we got a chance to check out an extended look at gameplay behind-closed-doors and from what we saw, Jedi: Fallen Order seems like a mash-up of the recent God of War reboot and Dark Souls with some extra wall-running mechanics just like in Respawn’s other game, Titanfall – so, basically, everything Star Wars fans have wanted since the last The Force Unleashed game nine years ago.
Taking place shortly after Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the demo started with new main character, Cal Kestis, swimming up to a group of behemoth AT-AT Walkers mid-battle and climbing up the overgrown mossy area of one similar to the platforming you would find in other games like Uncharted or Shadow of the Colossus.
Making his way inside the AT-AT, there was a brief combat segment where the player was able to use a mix of melee lightsaber attacks and the Force to defeat enemy Stormtroopers. Cal eventually hijacked the large vehicle with the help of his tiny BD-1 droid, which lead to driving segment where the player could shoot down enemy vehicles and eventually destroyed an entire Empire base.
The driving section felt a bit slow and on-rails (it’s no wonder they cut most of it out during the shorter trailers), and to ensure that players don’t completely lose interest, Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker from the Rogue One film), swings onto the AT-AT to introduce himself and keep Cal company on his short ride through enemy lines.
What wasn’t shown in the trailers is that once out of the AT-AT, the player was able to run around as Cal in an open hub area filled with NPCs. We didn’t get to see much of this hub and the NPCs didn’t move much until conversations were started with them (think Mass Effect or Fallout) but there were multiple dialog options which seem to allow a few quest-like objectives to be taken at once.
After accepting a new quest, Cal ventured out into the jungle where combat went back to the more grounded melee style that was shown in the trailer you’ll see above. However, in the extended preview, there were also some environmental puzzles which lead to shortcuts and bonfire save points where the player could upgrade their character just like in the Souls series.
One of the best parts of the first trailer was the player’s dark sense of humor when using the Force to kill enemies in unexpected and even cruel ways. Not only can players slow down time to dodge enemy attacks and pull enemies into oncoming laser blasts, but in the demo we also saw, Cal could also slow down time and use his own lightsaber to hit lasers right back at enemies.
Even Cal’s little droid, BD-1, is used to solve puzzles, shock enemies, and heal the player in combat — similar to how flasks are used to replenish the health bar the Souls series.
The extended gameplay lasted just around 20-25 minutes and one thing that wasn’t mentioned by the developers, was the game’s lack of a single loading screen during the entire demo. Similar recent action games like God of War and Uncharted have done a great job creating a cinematic experience without load screens breaking the immersion, while EA’s last big new IP, Anthem, was heavily criticized for having load screens that lasted longer than the missions themselves.
Considering EA’s recent track record, it’ll be interesting to see how the full game performs when it releases on November 15, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.