Thoughts on Jedi: Fallen Order

The last time I played a Star Wars game that I actually enjoyed was the Battlefront reboot that came out a few years back on PS4. I played that one pretty regularly for a few months, but as most lobby shooters tend to do, it eventually lost steam and I stopped playing. It didn’t help that it was produced by Electronic Arts, who are notorious for bad DLC/RMT practices, and I didn’t end up shelling out for any of the map packs. Later, they would release a sequel and Battlefront II was pretty universally panned about said price gouging so I avoided it altogether. Beyond that, the only other Star Wars game I’ve played in the last decade was Bioware’s The Old Republic MMO, but it too was lacking and never stuck with me. I was skeptical about Jedi: Fallen Order until I started seeing videos and had friends at work telling me it was really good. Compared mostly to the Souls games, it was said to have “difficult” combat that relies on timing rather than button mashing. I’m hard pressed to actually make this comparison myself, because it is in no way anywhere near as difficult as the Souls games, but I can see why people made the commentary. I would also compare it to games like Uncharted or Tomb Raider, in that you have a lot of running around jumping and climbing on things, but it also has some psuedo RPG elements in that you gain skill points and there is a skill tree, though much of it is locked until you complete parts of the storyline to “repair your connection with the force.”

Visually this title is stunning. I’d put it right up there with the likes of Uncharted, because it has a cinematic quality that isn’t present in most console games. This is probably due to the fact that we are coming to the end of this console generation and the machines have already been pushed to their max, but I’m still impressed that this several year old hardware can make such pretty pictures. The voice acting and motion capture of real world actors is top notch as well. The red-head kid from the TV show Shameless is Cal Kestis, our main character. Forrest Whitaker makes an appearance, and the lady from Mad TV (I can’t recall her name) is one of your crew mates who has some major parts influencing the story.

From what I can tell, this game seems to take place somewhere between Episode VI: A New Hope and Episode VII: The Force Awakens. There is talk of “the purge” where the Empire was able to basically eradicate all of the Jedi but there’s also talk of the Clone Wars and things that happened during Episodes I-III. Whatever the case, Cal has been working as a scrapper on a junk planet though you can tell there is more to the story. Eventually it is revealed that he was a Padawan receiving training from a Jedi Master but that Master was killed during the purge and he had been in hiding ever since. The Empire comes to the junk planet and he must reveal himself as a force-sensitive individual, barely escaped on a ship called the Mantis, piloted by an alien named Greez. Cere is his companion, and also your antagonist for a time, who pushes you to reconnect with the force and rebuild the Jedi order. There’s much more to it than just that, but I can’t say anything else due to spoilers.

Eventually you’ll lead your rag tag team to several different planets, where you and your droid companion BD-1 will learn new skills and open up new areas as you go. In this sense there is a feel of a Metroidvania, because new areas will become accessible only after unlocking certain skills/abilities for Cal/BD-1. There are a bunch of collectibles, chests and “echos” to locate on each of the planets, and if you are the completionist type, you’ll probably want to make side trips back to these planets as you progress the story and unlock these new abilities. Eventually Cal will have a bunch of different force powers and lightsaber abilities and the combat gets really fun. Boss fights can be pretty intense, but once you get the hang of your powers everything starts to feel pretty easy. I didn’t really feel challenged throughout the game, but I didn’t play on the harder difficulties where perhaps the game would actually feel Souls-like.

Overall I thought it was a great game. Perhaps not worth the full $60 price investment unless you are a diehard fan, but I was lucky enough to get this as an early Xmas gift from my girlfriend so I wanted to play the shit out of it so she felt that she got her money’s worth. It won’t be long before it goes on sale though, so if you can get it for even $10 off I’d jump on it. It will give you a few weeks of fun.

Apex Legends Doing EA Things

Earlier this month, Apex Legends, coming off of an uptick for me with the release of the second season and some overall changes, boasted about a new “Iron Crown” event. With it, came a number of new things to check out:

  • Limited-Time Mode – Solos
  • Octane Town Takeover
  • Double XP for Top 5 and Wins Weekend
  • A special Iron Crown Collection Pack and Iron Crown Event Store
    • With Bloodhound Heirloom Set Preview
  • Exclusive event challenges with free loot

Sounds good right? A new queue (which is actually rather fun, more on this later), an updated part of the map (this sort of thing has happened before, but it keeps the map interesting) some XP boosts, and free to earn loot. A new limited time store with micro-transactions are fine, but then they went and did the whole EA thing and made these loot boxes with % chance for awesome skins and why can’t we just outright buy this shit or grind for it??? At least that seems to be the way things went. I didn’t keep up with the news much because honestly I’ve been just trying to do enough to keep my Blaugust post total on pace and otherwise it’s IRL most of the time. Whatever the case, Respawn back pedaled almost immediately, which is better than the reaction EA had back when this was going on with Battlefront 2.

  • Starting on 8/20, we’ll be adding and rotating all twelve of the event-exclusive Legendary items into the store over the course of the final week of the event for the regular Legendary skin cost of 1,800 Apex Coins. You will still be able to purchase Iron Crown Apex Packs for 700 Apex Coins if you choose. The store schedule for the week will be as follows:
  • For future collection events, we will provide more ways to obtain items than just buying Apex Packs.

So at least there was some feedback. It sucks that devs are constantly doing this sort of thing, but at the same time it shouldn’t take this sort of crack back for them to realize they should just do it the right way in the first place. But the discussion has been going on for a long time so I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Whatever the case, they have now plotted out a bit of a roadmap with things to expect, and basically promise not to lock exclusive stuff behind lock boxes. Or something to that effect.

  • One or more new gameplay changes such as permanent and limited-time modes (Ranked or Solos respectively), map updates and town takeovers, balance changes, new characters, new weapons, and more
  • New free progression content via challenges or the free Battle Pass track
  • Purchasable cosmetics via Battle Pass, Packs, and/or the Shop

Season Launches 

At the start of every season, you can expect a major map update, a new Legend, new loot items (weapons, ordnances, etc.), meaty changes to the Legend and weapon meta and balance, updates to our Ranked mode, and potentially new features (like we introduced in Season 2 with Ranked mode).Every season will also feature the release of a brand-new Battle Pass.

Themed Events

These events will generally occur during a season and bring with them a limited-time mode, event challenges that let players earn cosmetics, and a mix of event limited and evergreen cosmetics available for direct purchase. These events may also include a town takeover or small map change, and potential extensions to Apex Legends lore. Legendary Hunt was an example of a Themed Event, with the next one coming early September focused on a certain Phase Expert.

Collection Events

Collection Events will also take place throughout the season and deliver a limited-time mode, event challenges where players earn cosmetics, and a set of event limited cosmetics available via Event-specific Apex Packs or direct purchase; it’s your choice. Like Themed Events, Collection Events may also feature a town takeover or small map change.

So it seems there will be reasons to check in with the game from time to time, particularly if you’re kind of over the base experience. Most MOBAs used to have these sorts of limited time events, as grinding 5v5 on the same map over and over can get tiring and having a way to break that up keeps people playing your game. Skins and things will keep a particular type of player engaged, but most are going to stay more interested in your title when they have more activities to participate in. As for me, I enjoy the base gameplay loop, but I also like having new game modes once in a while. New characters, alternate progression. Give me something to work towards.

Battlefront Beta Impressions


Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard by now that the multiplayer beta for Star Wars Battlefront is live and kicking. Personally I was very hyped for this game when I first heard about it circa E3. The gameplay looked phenomenal, it’s Star Wars so that’s a major plus, and it’s been a long while since I gave a shit about AAA first person shooters. This one seemed to change up the formula just enough to be interesting. Did it hold up to scrutiny though?

First off, we have to notate that this is a beta. That means you don’t get the full effect of the game because there are a limited number of maps and game modes, you can’t unlock everything that will be available on release, and other features I would have liked to test out weren’t implemented. The other day my buddy who owns a PS4 was telling me that he had been playing it so I went over to his house to check it out. I had never signed up for a beta on PC, and hadn’t even looked into it at that point, but the game looked like a console shooter right off of the bat. I was pleasantly surprised that the game was pretty and ran smoothly on the PS4. I didn’t detect any lag or bugs, though the control scheme was a little different than I was used to (when did Sony decide that it should emulate the Xbox’s default control scheme? I remember the days when L1/R1 were always the default for shooting controls). My major complaint was with the way vehicles and turrets control, in that they were kind of wonky and didn’t feel natural. The other complaint I have is that there wasn’t splitscreen for multiplayer, but it did work just fine on the lone co-op map provided by the beta. It would have been nice to play with my friend rather than taking turns, but under normal circumstances I’d likely just be playing at home with people over the Internet so that’s not too big of a deal. I should note that the split screen performed just as well during the co-op mission, but there aren’t multiple people connected to those sessions, so it made sense.

The systems of the game are nicely done. There’s an overall account level progression where you gain ranks as you play. This unlocks “cards” that you use to make up a “hand.” The cards are special abilities, items, or secondary weapons. Your main weapon is basically always a blaster, though their are everything from hand guns to rifles to machine guns — shooting lasers of course, but similar enough to the contemporary shooter. Side arms include grenades, sniper rifles, jump packs and other specials like a personal shield or an “ion blaster” that charges your normal weapons up so they do more damage to shields and vehicles. One major plus: all of these have cool downs, including the sniper rifle, so no one can camp in a spot with a rifle for very long without revealing themself. It’s also awesome that instead of having a stationary spot for vehicles and other power ups, they are randomly peppered among the battlefield, just waiting for people to pick them up. If you don’t use the vehicle right away or die while holding it, you also lose control of that vehicle. Power ups persist through death. Heroes like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are also played by picking up their respective power ups. It’s a great way to keep people from camping or having an unfair advantage.

The maps that were available provided 3 different game modes. The aforementioned co-op survival map is a wave based ordeal with a friend against increasingly difficult AI. It was limited to a smaller amount of rounds than what will be in the full game, but gives you a taste. The Drop Zone game mode is similar to Headquarters or King of the Hill, where a drop pod lands in a random spot and the two teams fight over control of it. First team to 5 captures wins. Lastly, the Walker Assault game mode is similar to Rush, where each team starts on one side and needs to push towards the other. The Imperials have two AT-AT’s slowly moving towards their base (similar to the battle on Hoth). Rebels need to maintain control of satellite uplinks so their bombers can attack the AT-AT’s, but also have A-Wings that can be used with tow cables to take them down. This mode seems to be heavily skewed towards an Imperial victory, as in most matches they win out, though I have seen the Rebels win one time. The in-game menus show a list of other maps and game modes so it looks like there will be plenty of variety upon release, and being an EA title I’m sure we can expect a shit ton of DLC to empty our wallets.

One complaint I’m seeing around the web is that the maps are too small, and that the game is just Battlefield with a new coat of paint. Both are true to an extent, though it seems to me that the game is more similar to older Battlefront games rather than Battlefield. It’s hard to tell from this small sample size though, and I imagine that there are many more ranks and unlocks that we haven’t seen yet. One of the things I hate about Battlefield games though, is just how big the maps are. Dying and running back to the battle just to die again is tedious with huge maps. I felt that the Walker Assault map was the perfect size. I will agree that the Drop Zone map is a bit small, but with a game mode like that you wouldn’t want it to be too big. It’s still bigger than most Call of Duty maps.

Yesterday I downloaded the beta through Origin. Having now experienced the game on both the PS4 and PC, I have to say that I prefer the PC controls. Mouse aiming is so much more precise, turning on a dime works so much easier and though I pride myself as being both a PC and Console gamer, I’m beginning to find that I prefer PC controls most of the time. Outside of controls, the game looked exactly the same, performed just as well, and was a lot of fun.

Overall I enjoy the game, but I don’t see the value in that $60 price tag. Had I infinite disposable funds I would definitely pick it up on day one though. I just imagine there will be a sale between now and the end of the year where it will be more affordable, and by then the community will have leveled out as well (I noticed way too many people that just don’t know how to play a team based FPS during my play time).

I recorded some of my gameplay from the PC beta. Here’s the Drop Zone mode:

And the Walker Assault mode:

Have you played the beta yet? What are you thoughts?