Review: ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ is Star Wars gaming at its best


Cal Kestus and his droid companion BD-1 look out across the planet Koboh in “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.” This maybe one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars story. Photo Source: Lucasfilm

Jake Pfeiffer, News Editor & Copy Editor

Topping the video game “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” seemed like an impossible task three years ago. Such a decorated and celebrated title — and my favorite game at the time — set an immensely high bar for a sequel, one that felt too high to ever be surmounted. 

And yet, somehow, “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” managed to do it. 

The core of “Survivor” is largely similar to that of its predecessor: a dramatic action-adventure game filled with puzzles, lightsaber combat and conflict at seemingly every turn. “Fallen Order” was a strong, fun and visually stunning game, and “Survivor” has only improved on those elements. 

Of course, a lot of that probably has to do with the “next-gen” consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X/S) that “Survivor” calls home. W

Photo Source: Lucasfilm

ith more processing power available, it seems everything in the sequel is bigger than before: Maps have more space, enemies are more diverse, and the game comes in at a whopping 133.97 gigabytes (GB)- that’s almost three times larger than “Fallen Order” at launch.

One of the biggest things that made “Fallen Order” one of my favorite games was the story: Cal Kestis was a likable hero to follow, and his journey to rediscover the force was a compelling, gritty, heartbreaking and beautiful narrative.

The “Survivor” story is certainly very different, but no less engaging or enjoyable. Having fought against the empire for years since “Fallen Order” and separating from his crew in the events of the novel “Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars,” Cal finally finds somewhere the Empire cannot hurt him. The game sees Cal reconnecting with and forgiving his old friends, working and fighting alongside them in pursuit of this utopia. 

The origins of the sanctuary are intriguing, and the obstacles he faces in reaching it are wholly different from anything we’ve seen in Star Wars.

I would be remiss to not mention just how beautiful this game is. From the slums of the planet Coruscant to the forests of Koboh, the locales of “Survivor” are stunning. The cutscenes are also gorgeous, to the point where it’s almost hard to believe you’re playing a game and not watching a blockbuster movie. 

As far as gameplay is concerned, “Survivor” took everything that was wonderful about “Fallen Order” and improved upon it. As I’ve already mentioned, the enemies you face are more diverse: there are more types of stormtroopers, more varieties of hostile animals, and a whole new group to face off against in the “Bedlam Raiders.”

The ways in which you can face off against those enemies have also expanded. Where “Fallen Order” had only a single-bladed and double-bladed option for lightsaber combat, “Survivor” has five unique, fun and diverse options to choose from (My personal favorite is still the double-bladed saber, but all of the new options are interesting and challenging in their own ways).

The skill tree that allows you to upgrade Cal’s abilities has expanded as well, with more unique attacks and force powers to utilize. Moving through the skill tree really feels like progressing: each new ability advances gameplay, giving Cal new ways to fight enemies and traverse the terrain. 

Navigation was one of the few elements of “Fallen Order” that was lacking: there was no fast travel, the holo-map was hard to use and what shortcuts that existed didn’t reduce travel times nearly as much as they could have. 

The developers of “Survivor”s made it their goal to address these problems, and their efforts were a resounding success- the map works better, fast travel exists, and shortcuts come up much more often. Cal is given even more ways to travel in the new game, with more tools available to traverse terrain and the ability to tame and ride animals making their way into “Survivor.”

“Survivor” took everything that “Fallen Order” had to offer, and made it bigger and better. Even if you’ve never played a Star Wars game, “Survivor” will have something for you. The story is contained enough that you don’t need to know much about Star Wars or even have played “Fallen Order” in order to enjoy it; be it the visuals, the writing or the gameplay, “Survivor” has something to make every gamer happy and is worth a purchase for just about anyone with the right console.
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