Today was the press conference for EA Play, kicking off the festivities for E3 2019. A majority of the chatter surrounding this conference centered around some new gameplay we were shown for the next Star Wars game, Jedi Fallen Order. For better or worse, we’ve got a slightly clearer picture of what to expect about the game. We’re left following the storyline of a new Jedi hero, Cal Kestis, on a mission to the Wookiee planet Kashyyk. It appears to be a rescue mission, with Cal attempting to save some Wookiees who are being held captive.
For what it is worth, EA provided viewers with about fourteen minutes of gameplay, and for a AAA game in 2019, it feels like it’s barely checking off the boxes for what we should be looking for. I can’t shake off the feeling that the game has this old, last-generation feel to it. The character models look kind of like the characters from Star Wars: The Old Republic but a little more polished, a game that originally launched back in 2011. It may not be the best description about the visuals, and I understand the displeasure that you might have towards me for it, but the general feeling for me is that honestly, I think the game deserves better, especially given that despite the failures of the last two Battlefront titles, they knocked the visuals out of the park.
After watching the trailer, and again, the game play just didn’t stand out to me. It feels uninspiring and commonplace, lacking the grandiose feel of the Star Wars universe. I feel like the color palette needs to be brightened up a bit more. The movement also feels stilted, like Cal’s about twenty years older than his character model suggests. He looks encumbered, which is a huge surprise given that Jedi are a bit more spry than that. There were a few other questionable moments, like the lightsaber cutting the droid trooper later on in the demo, and the cut making it look like the droid was bisected, without really being bisected.
If Respawn nailed anything, it was giving the game’s soundtrack the Star Wars feel.
The franchise music is iconic, and you can identify those themes almost anywhere. Not just the tunes, but the style of the music as well. Games like Final Fantasy XII took this to great effect, and if I was glad about one aspect of the Jedi Fallen Order gameplay, it was the music. There’s also a really cute new droid companion who rides on Cal’s back, and it’s fixing to be a new star for fans everywhere.
Was Jedi Fallen Order the game I’ve been waiting for? At this moment, I don’t think so. After seeing and enjoying smooth, visceral gameplay from games like God of War or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, I imagined that Star Wars would set a higher bar than what we have been shown thus far. Yes, the footage we were shown was early footage, but it’s entirely correctable! I’m just hoping it’s not too late and that we can get a stronger game for the franchise instead of an entry that gets glossed over in favor of other AAA games.