Star Wars is something of an anomaly in the game industry. Most license titles either stick to the source material or slap something original together in hopes fans will buy. While this holds for several series, Star Wars has released several memorable experiences. This isn’t just Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as Star Wars Battlefront and even Lego Star Wars, did exceptionally well. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order didn’t quite hit reach its highs, but it had enough potential that players were excited to see what the sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, would bring. With more power, lessons learned, and increased expectations, is this a marked improvement, or does it fall short of the original?
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor starts with a recap of what happened in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I appreciate the summary, not because I forgot what happened, but because it’s approached in a uniquely Star Wars way. Scenes are presented as if told by legend, along with only fragments of the original journey presented. It’s engaging, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and doesn’t even feel like a recap.
This is a Bad Situation
In this adventure, Cal Kestis continues his battle against the Empire. Things started strong as hostile forces captured Kestis. This situation is quite familiar for the franchise, something Star Wars Jedi: Survivor uses to its advantage. At times it’s hard to tell how bad the problem is, only for it to conclude with a satisfying reveal.
Most of the adventure follows the same overall flow. Seeing actual stakes is excellent, as the Empire has legitimate threats under the banner. The occasional big name is also welcome, though this adventure is more about the journey than just getting to Darth Vader or a big event. That is assuming you can survive the trip.
Choose Your Genre
While many people consider Star Wars Jedi: Survivor a souls-like game, which it does have elements of, the various difficulties allow players to dictate what type of experience they have. It’s nice to see a visual representation of what each mode offers. However, this, unfortunately, makes it hard to determine the right difficulty, mainly because the two extremes feel like entirely different genres.
On Story Mode, you can approach Star Wars Jedi: Survivor like an action game and do fine. This will appeal to some players. Admittedly, it was nice to effortlessly parry every laser as you see in the various TV series/movies. On Grand Master, you’ll be punished for any mistake so that every match might be your last. I think it’s good to have something for everyone, though all modes should feel like the same core experience.
That being said, combat is pretty good. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor starts by rewarding players that understand their powers. Many enemies are in positions where a Force push immediately ends their threat. Other times you’ll need to approach any given situation differently. Using a different stance will often be the difference between life and death.
Each combat style has a situation where it works best. Different versions allow some variety over simply using one saber for solo fights and dual for multiple combatants. Regardless of how you approach any situation, it’s nice to see different moves. It’s obvious where all these moves excel, with plenty of perks to maximize efficiency.
Finishing enemies tend to feel satisfying as well. Since this is Star Wars, there isn’t much blood, but that doesn’t stop Kestis from performing brutal finishers. So many of these moves also feel reminiscent of the movies that fans will appreciate.
For all the things combat gets right, exploration is painted by numbers. Most areas feature an essentially linear design. Typically looking around the corner or going the other path will reveal a “secret” without much else to see. As you progress, exploration starts to include wall jumping, and wall running, and no AAA action game would be complete without climbing some railing.
Even if certain scenes are reminiscent of Uncharted, or things of the like, locations are something. I wouldn’t say Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the most graphically impressive experience out there, but I would say locations are lovely to look at. It doesn’t matter if this is an Empire city or jungle; each location is begging to be explored.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Review Verdict
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a reasonably safe AAA experience. Combat can be fun, especially if you’re good at it. For those who need more help or want to slice down foes, there is also difficulty for you. Locations might have some derivative mechanics, yet that doesn’t stop me from wanting to explore them. Add in what fans love about Star Wars, and it might not be revolutionary, but it is an experience fan of the franchise or sci-fi itself will almost certainly enjoy.
[Editor’s Note: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was reviewed on PlayStation 5, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]