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Jedi Survivor: The Sequel We Deserved?

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hello world!
Erika Aundawyn,Iain McParland,Art of Lily K
| June 27, 2023
hello world!

The last 10 years have seen quite a resurgence for Star Wars related media. A new trilogy of movies, countless tv shows, theme parks, and video games have been released for fans to enjoy. It has made me reminisce on some of the Star Wars games we grew up with, like KOTOR, Battlefront, Jedi Academy, and many others.

Jedi Fallen Order has been consistently in nearly every “top” list of Star Wars game articles and videos since its release in 2013.

Sometimes, fans – dedicated or casual- are rightfully wary of sequels from an already top rated game. Does Jedi Survivor stack up to the original? To this gamer, yes. And in my opinion?

It’s better than the original.

Please note: be wary of potential spoilers and images throughout this review going forward. I did play Jedi Survivor on PS5 and did not experience the unplayable issues experienced by PC players.

Accessibility menu

Jedi Survivor improves upon nearly every function from the first game. Especially regarding accessibility options that allow more gamers to enjoy the experience customized to us and our needs and show other production studios that it’s a “game changer.” I personally struggle with motion sickness, so I stumbled through Jedi Fallen Order without the ability to change camera speeds. For more details, check out Steve Saylors Accessibility Preview

After going through the accessibility options before the start of the game, we get immersed into what I can best describe as the beginning of the game disguised as a “tutorial.” I’ll admit it was much needed, as it had been nearly four years since the original release! The muscle memory returned after a few hours, along with a healthy dose of trauma as the story dialed itself past 10 on the Richter scale and rapidly. Especially regarding puzzles, which are mind-bendingly creative, I had to look up a few tutorials…

Tactical Guide

The open world aspect was not as vast as some (myself) predicted and was a good thing. Everywhere you turn on each planet, you are granted rewards in the form of Priorite Shards, Bounty Pucks, or Data Disks (which could be turned into a vendor). Currency is not the only thing that can be looted! You can find chests containing all customization items (hair, beards, clothing, colors…), including Lightsabers!

BD-1 custom menu

Each player’s Cal will have a different vibe, Luke-inspired outfits, or pure insanity. Gamers will recognize the phrase “fashion is endgame,” which holds true for Jedi Survivor. You are constantly upgrading your Lightsaber, BD-1 components, colors, clothes, and a new Blaster given to you by a “friend.”

Along with the custom appearances are also new force abilities such as Force Slam, Taming Beasts, Confuse… and a few others. Cal already felt more powerful and learned when starting the game, and we continue to grow with him as a Jedi throughout the game. As part of Cal’s journey, we gain additional Stances, which consist of Crossguard, Duel Wield, and Blaster, to name a few. This also tied into allowing us to play at our comfort level. Enjoy slower, heavy damage-dealing effects? Crossguard is where you want to be. But you don’t have to have it one way or the other. At each meditation point, you can change your stances to fit the need and, during gameplay, switch between two stances and enjoy finishing moves.

Meditation point

Now we have reached my biggest annoyance of the game. Meditation Points. It’s the only way you can save your game. Say you’re playing for several hours, and something happens to your power, or your game force quits; you will lose all your progress after your recent save point. Please be sure to save frequently and whenever you can to avoid potential progress loss. 

When going through each mission or exploring-whether you’re doing NG+ or thinking about playing for the first time – do not sleep on dialogue or even a bit of patience. The best thing about the game is that the droids and other NPCs are unaware of you and are conversing together or to themselves! Not only do you get some hilarious moments, but they also add to the story and the immersiveness of what others are thinking and feeling about situations to help give context to the situation at hand. It’s absolutely hysterical and dramatic. Regarding patience, some other dialog may appear, and the ability to Mind Trick the NPC or gain additional dialog if you choose not to rush into particular areas and take your time. 

The bright lights of Coruscant

Regarding the story of Jedi Survivor, there’s never a dull moment. No obvious glaring plot holes, overuse of plot armor, and misdirects that will have your jaw on the floor and your breath knocked out of you. Cal’s story is continuous and heart-wrenching, with some extremely wholesome moments sprinkled in that will add to the tears already started. Truly being able to feel these characters’ emotions ensure that you understand them and the motives behind their choices. Motion Capture has progressed extensively with each new release, making Jedi Survivor feel much more realistic and immersive.

I personally judge a game by how hungry I get. Meaning, have I played for so long and so intensely hyper-focused that I neglected to take a break? Jedi Survivor truly delivers in that aspect. You don’t want to spend a moment away because you *have* to know what happens next. You find yourself mourning its inevitable conclusion and craving a little more.

Wampa creature being drawn like, “one of your French girls”

There are so many easter eggs within the game, puzzles to solve, and Merrin to kiss. Don’t be afraid to climb up that wall, walk in the other direction, or go down through a crack in a cave… you never know what or who you’re going to find.

Or who… *Matthew Mercer*

Jedi Survivor is the sequel we deserved.

Rated 9/10

Read other CouchSoup reviews here:

Iain:  

Respawn knows how to make Star Wars. From the moment I landed on Coruscant in the opening of Survivor, I was invested in the world of Cal Kestis again. Coruscant felt real, every bit of the grimy mess that the lower levels of the galactic capital should be. The opening had a lot to live up to after the brilliant train opening of Fallen Order, but Coruscant stepped up.

And the music! *chef’s kiss*. Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab both channeled John Williams and yet, made it their own. I barely noticed the soundtrack because I was so immersed in the world. But isn’t that the greatest compliment? The music was perfect for the universe, seamlessly integrated into the game.

Jedi: Survivor is an excellent follow-up to Jedi: Fallen Order, a game that I also thought was tremendous. However, Jedi: Fallen Order was a tighter, tailored experience where the story pulled you along at a rate of knots. Survivor’s open-world elements on the hub of Koboh were huge, with hundreds of side quests to complete, items to find, and seeds to plant. I was so distracted by these supplementary tasks that the story felt oddly paced. I had spent four hours searching nooks and crannies in the hub before proceeding to the final boss. When I completed that boss, I felt short-changed. Was this it?

It was. And it was my fault because I chose to look for Skoova Stev, and I chose to play holotactics. There was less chance of this in Fallen Order, a curated, linear (although Metroidvania-y) story.

That is a small nick-pick for an otherwise incredible entry into Star Wars canon. Although I experienced a few visual glitches and frame rate drops (and falling through the map once or twice), it didn’t reduce the joy I felt every time I swung the lightsaber(s) at stupid Stormtroopers.

Heck, I didn’t stop playing until I earned the platinum!

Lily

I – obviously – really liked Fallen Order. It was a well-thought-out story with amazing characters and fun gameplay. So I’ve been looking forward to Jedi Survivor since I played the first one. I had some worries that it wouldn’t be able to live up to the previous one, but it not only lived up to it, it was even better. We know that often, that is not the case, but this time, it’s spectacular.

The story pulled me in so heavily that I found myself angry, yelling at the screen, crying, and at one point, even stopping the game to gather myself. I was furious when the plot twist came in, so furious, in fact, that I turned off the game. It came out of the blue, I had my own thoughts on some kind of betrayal in the story, but I did not expect THAT. So yes, I cried my eyes out, obviously. I also realized that my anger issues would immediately push me to the dark side; angry Cal Kestis, seeing red, and being all-powerful is now something I need in my life. I honestly don’t know where they will go from here. Cal and the others now have a new home, free from the Empire, so… what’s next?

I said it during Fallen Order and will say it again; I think the only endgame Cal can have is Darth Vader, well, if they are planning on killing him. He escaped once, but I don’t think he could tempt his fate again. However, if they are not planning on killing him, then Cal Kestis is definitely someone I would LOVE to pop up in live-action. Seeing him together with the Mando-Universe would be an absolute win in my eyes.

I loved this second game a lot more than the first one, and honestly can’t wait to see what will come next.

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