Bad Games I Like - Review - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

First review in this series since the game is new enough I'm not looking through it with Nostalgia goggles.  Bad Games I Like, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order edition.

one random winner

Star Wars games have always been a mixed bag...

And in most cases it has been an issue of jank either in the writing, the game play, or bugs.  Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order hits those expectations dead on, even a year after launch.  I played on a PS4 slim and I don't have an SSD in it, and I do wonder if several of the issues I ran into wouldn't be resolved with beefier hardware.  Constant texture pop-in, random freezing for area loading when I'd try and get somewhere quickly, and annoyingly long respawn times plague the game throughout, and in more than one cutscene was basically unwatchable due to constant pausing and cutting into the scene.

Saw, that guy they introduced in the clone wars cartoon and then tried to expand upon poorly in all other media
At least on a stock PS4 slim you get to see about 25% of the cutscene above and the rest is a voiced over slide show.

The game decides to mix a little Dark/Demons Souls style game play into a Star Wars dressed game and while I played it on Jedi Master difficulty (no longer having the reflexes necessary to make playing on the most difficult Jedi Grandmaster difficulty worthwhile) my first run through I definitely felt it.  As I'm now about 75% of the way through New Game+, a mode added for free a few months back now, which just gives you your unlocked skins from the beginning and an inquisitor outfit, I can definitely say it's easier after you've learned the patterns needed and where the upgrades are.  I'll probably 100% it this time through, again, I like the game, but it has some major issues.  Seriously a game that punishes you as much as this does for failing to hit a button in the right fraction of a second shouldn't freeze on you for for greater than that in the middle of fights, seeing enemies teleport or yo-yo around (which is rare, but happens frequently enough to bring it up, especially in the larger late game fights), or manifest themselves 20 seconds after you've respawned (here's looking at you, Dathomir).

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy with an interesting person for about every 217.48 quadrillion

Fallen Order puts a heavy emphasis on the story, as it should given it's a Star Wars game.  I end up wishing the story was less predictable, the cast to be a bit larger, and more time spent with the final addition to your crew.  Merrin's story seems rushed (as was most of planet Dathomir) and was the character with the most potential, especially for someone who is a fan of the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon. 

The actors do a great job with the material their given though, and there is the appropriate amount of overactive gravitas for a Star Wars property throughout.  I found myself most interested in the primary villain, whose name I won't reveal for fear of spoilers, and Greezt, captain and owner of your ship hopping vessel the Mantis and a grey dwarf like four-armed alien with a gambling problem.  I end up wishing as much depth was given to Cal, your avatar, and Cere, who is the actual primary character of the game and the catalyst for the story.  Cal ends up being a means to an end for other Cere's goals, with very little agency for himself, and it ends up making me wish I'd played as Cere instead.

This temple deserved to be more than a straight hallway.
A large chunk of the game takes place in these Zeffo temples. This one is a straight hallway you have to take two or three tries to get through depending on when you first come here :/

Edit:  Totally forgot to mention the stupid sliding sections, which litter the game.  Controlling them is horrible and often you will die because the physics goes wonky and not because of anything you've done.  Sometimes they start without warning, and once you've fallen off the edge you get put right back on there so you'd better figure it out before you run out of hit points (and hope to god there's a save point near the end).  You get kinda good at a few of them that are required to use in order to get to locations, at least if you want to save yourself 20 minutes of travel time.  They never become fun though, and hopefully in the inevitable sequel they're cut entirely. /Edit.

I will probably never get tired of playing as a Jedi though.  I'm a fairly big Star Wars fan even if I really don't like the Disney trilogy.  It seems their best stuff has been in games and TV shows since the 90's anyways.  From Super Star Wars, to Dark Forces II, to Shadow of the Empire, to Knights of the Old Republic, and Force Unleased.  These games run the gammit when it comes to quality, but I seem to find myself always enjoying them anyways.  Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fits right in line with the average Star Wars game, and while it ends up with an extra point just for the set dressing for me I cannot up and recommend this for anyone who doesn't have similar tastes.  There are better Star Wars games, better Souls like games, prettier games, and less buggy ones.  If you happen to have a high tolerance for jank though, you can definitely find yourself having fun with this one.

- Game score is slightly inflated because of my personal biases that I definitely am acknowledging right here.
- Probably actually deserves a 5.
- Maybe even a 4.
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Pros

Game play overall is fun and challenging.

Feel like a Jedi without the ridiculous over the top power in games like the Force Unleashed series.

Outside of a couple very tertiary characters, character acting is pretty good, right at the level of cheese you want in a Star Wars game.

Even on a PS4 slim with a spinning disk drive the vista is often very pretty, especially in destroyed spaceships.

Cons

Bugs litter the game from start to finish even a year after launch.

Most item boxes are useless cosmetics, many of which are pretty similar to each other.

Story is extremely predictable and holds no real surprises, especially if you're a fan of Star Wars media.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 8, 2020 1:15 PM

    A year later, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order still has a lot of issues, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun.

    Read more: Bad Games I Like - Review - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

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      December 8, 2020 1:16 PM

      yeah I need to finish this up as well ! super fun game. when I was in the "flow" it was rockin'. then, like a Souls game, when you lose the flow you just get facefucked for hours on end and it's... less fun. lol

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        December 8, 2020 1:23 PM

        There are a few bad guys I never really figured out how to fight. The wannabe mandalorians and dagger based dark troopers I always seem to have issues with.

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      December 8, 2020 1:26 PM

      Woo, nice writeup.

      I too adored the game, flaws and all enough to play through it twice.

      I hope we get more games with Cal and or Merrin.

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        December 8, 2020 1:29 PM

        Thanks! I really have a soft spot for this kind of game. I don't know if I'll end up beating all the meditation room challenges that show up in New Game+ though, given that the only benefit of doing so is getting more BD-1 paint jobs.

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        December 8, 2020 1:35 PM

        Oh, and yeah, I'm interested to see where we go for pretty much the entire crew although I hope it expands in the sequel.

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      December 8, 2020 1:35 PM

      That's a year old already?!

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      December 8, 2020 1:39 PM

      Funny enough, I have actually been revisiting this. Mando got my SW juices flowing. The sad part is, it still runs like dog shit on an Xbox One X even in performance mode. It better than it was at launch, but clearly they never cared enough to go back and properly optimize it.

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        December 8, 2020 2:05 PM

        It desperately needed several patches that the game sadly never received :(

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        December 8, 2020 2:06 PM

        Rock solid 60 on the series X in performance mode.

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          December 8, 2020 2:11 PM

          How about the cutscenes? Those were generally the worst.

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            December 8, 2020 2:12 PM

            Impressively stable. Not a single dropped frame from what I can tell in 1080p mode.

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              December 8, 2020 2:16 PM

              Yeah, it's as I thought, thing really needs a system implemented with an SSD in mind or a paused loading screen for the older consoles.

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                December 8, 2020 2:21 PM

                https://youtu.be/sERHabi16nY

                You can skip around this video and see the smoothness for yourself. It’s pretty awesome. It was even a little choppy a high-end PC when I played it back when it came out.

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          December 8, 2020 4:54 PM

          Can you even change the mode when playing on series X? I couldn’t find the option.

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            December 8, 2020 4:54 PM

            Yeah, it’s right in the game options.

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              December 8, 2020 5:00 PM

              I missed it and swear I looked. I’ll look again

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        December 8, 2020 2:11 PM

        I'm doing the same but on PC, kind of shocking how many of the issues I experienced a year ago still exist. The loading hitching (I assume textures) is the worst offender, but even in areas where everything is fine it just doesn't load the GPU fully and frame rates move about randomly. For an Unreal engine game, they seemed to never find the optimizations. They just walked away from this one I guess?

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          December 8, 2020 2:13 PM

          Yeah I am really surprised at the state they left the game in. They never announced or made and DLC so what did that team move onto to? Just jumped to working on the next Fallen Order game?!

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            December 8, 2020 2:18 PM

            Supposedly before Covid hit they were hoping to release SWJ:FO2 in 2022, which would be jumping into developing it immediately given the changes in platforms and modern dev times.

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            December 8, 2020 2:23 PM

            There have been pretty regular job postings for Respawn's "Star Wars Team" including right now. So clearly something is being continued on.

            It's frustrating because Fallen Order feels like a proper Jedi game. The transit between worlds makes me smile every time. There just is a ton of jank that never got a proper polish pass. I also don't love the combat system, but it enjoyable enough to finish the game. Mainly I'm there for set pieces and big moments which do look great on PC (plus you can disable various Unreal patented post processing blur effects).

            Hopefully the next title is their Titanfall 2 equivalent and just blows it all away with a better story and more game polish. Plenty of rumors about Cal having a role in upcoming D+ shows.

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          December 8, 2020 2:14 PM

          Developer interview in USGamer specifically says they pushed it out despite the bugs to hit the holiday sales period. https://www.usgamer.net/articles/respawn-considered-delaying-jedi-fallen-order-to-smooth-out-its-rampant-bugs

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            December 8, 2020 2:18 PM

            I mean would it have killed them to patch out the bugs after release? I mean I know they did fix a lot of things but the performance just sucks.

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              December 8, 2020 2:33 PM

              I think they may have been working on one but they probably dropped any pretense thereof when Covid hit.

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              December 8, 2020 6:24 PM

              I guess we have EA and Covid to thank for that but I wouldn’t be surprsised if some of the team got pulled into shipping the Medal of Honor VR game.

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      December 8, 2020 2:29 PM

      I want to play it. I feel that Time in the Star Wars universe isn't wildly explored, save for the books. I heard the game goes a little HAM on some of the JEDI characters in it though.

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        December 8, 2020 2:38 PM

        I mean, it's a game very much so about Jedi shortly after the purge. The majority of the cast is force sensitive at a minimum and as I mention in the article there's nothing there that will surprise you in the story if you're at all versed in modern Star Wars lore. That being said, I still enjoyed it.

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      December 8, 2020 2:50 PM

      Good article. I just finished it for the first time on XSS and loved just about every part of it. Pretty much Star Wars-Tomb Raider-vania. I got addicted to the cool photo mode too and took a ton of pics for my wallpaper. I really wanted to play through it again on NG+, but I had to get to Ori 2. They gotta do a JFO 2.

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        December 8, 2020 4:41 PM

        It’s a really good looking game, even on XSS (I’m playing it there too).

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      December 8, 2020 2:51 PM

      I ran into very few bugs in my playthrough. I think it crashed once. I enjoyed it and would probably give it a 7 at least, possibly an 8. I, too, am a sucker for games where you play as a Jedi.

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        December 8, 2020 4:23 PM

        It crashed repeatedly for me in several different locations and I ran into consistent issues throughout. I'm a hard grader though and like to use the entire 1/10 spectrum.

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          December 8, 2020 4:54 PM

          Any falling through the floor to oblivion bugs? I had that in a courtyard entryway and had to do some trial and error platforming to get around it. Thought it was a silly Indiana Jones type trap at first lol.

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            December 9, 2020 6:31 AM

            Yup, a not-quite exhaustive list of bugs I experienced.
            - Random loading times where there weren't supposed to be any.
            - Slideshow (sometimes literally unwatchable as a movie) custcenes.
            - Significant stutter, especially when facing a large number of enemies.
            - Lots of crashes, the brief captured by Greezy's "buddies" section I could not get through the final fight there without it crashing. Crashed in Zeffo several times on the way to the second tomb, I've had the PS4 database flip out in the middle of playing after resuming from suspension, a couple of hard crashes in the final area that restarted my PS4.
            - Repeatable black screen of death if you go back to Kashyyyk and end up needing to take the Shyyyo back.
            - Random physics glitches, including getting stuck in the floor, enemies getting launched into the air, and one time I was jettisoned onto some weird section outside of a wall. Any time I have to use a rope to jump there's a chance I'll get launched off in a random somewhat forward direction when I jump off.
            - Constant texture pop-in, especially on Dathomir and Kashyyyk.

            And there's probably more but those were the ones I have run into in both play throughs so far.

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      December 8, 2020 2:55 PM

      I called it quits after the level where you go to the bottom of the massive temple, and then they are like "lol, now crawl your ass back to the top, idiot"

      Fuck that shit.

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        December 8, 2020 4:23 PM

        Lol, which time :p

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          December 8, 2020 5:02 PM

          Haha, it happens multiple times? This was the temple with the ball rolling/air jet puzzle. I hated that level and didn’t want to waste 5 hours trying to find my way back up.

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            December 9, 2020 5:53 AM

            Yup, it's a semi-frequent occurrence.

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            December 10, 2020 7:04 AM

            Do note that they are mostly big circles, so you get the thing you need to find and then getting back out ends up being much quicker.

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          December 8, 2020 5:02 PM

          Opposite of far cry syndrome. Instead of climbing up towers you climb down into caverns and then BACK OUT

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      December 8, 2020 3:01 PM

      I'm in the middle of the game since it just hit Game Pass, and I love it. It's like Metroid Prime, Dark Souls, Assassin's Creed, and Jedi Outcast had a baby. Story is paint by numbers, but they nailed the theme.

      I haven't hit any major bugs so far. aside from some texture pop-in, it's really good?

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        December 8, 2020 4:25 PM

        I enjoyed it, the game play is good and I like the characters. It's entirely possible that OG/Slim PS4 is the worst way to play and that's what I have it on.

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      December 8, 2020 3:59 PM

      I really enjoyed it. Challenging enough to make you actually think about the combat and not just hack and slash, but not Dark Souls punishing. And I really liked the giant maps, and the mechanic of having to find a path back to your ship.

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        December 8, 2020 4:00 PM

        Also, the only issues I had was some lag on Kashyyyk, which I assume was because of all the polygons for the trees.

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        December 8, 2020 4:26 PM

        I found myself wishing, especially when going back to look for the Secrets, that there was a fast travel system, especially on Zeffo. Combat is good though I agree. I found myself wishing Dathomir was bigger and Zeffo was smaller though.

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      December 8, 2020 5:03 PM

      At least you acknowledge it is not a Good Game.

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        December 9, 2020 6:34 AM

        Even if I didn't have any bugs I'd call it on the better side of middling. There's too many design choices I don't like in the story and level design.

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      December 8, 2020 5:11 PM

      TIL people are putting SW Jedi:Fallen Order in the 'bad games' category. Seriously, what is wrong people.

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        December 8, 2020 6:05 PM

        It's not a Good Game. The levels are a nightmare, and the combat isn't that great. Respawn should stick with shooters.

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        December 9, 2020 6:04 AM

        I'm a picky ass motherfucker. I enjoyed it, but it's also broken in a way I don't tolerate and there are several bad design decisions that plague that game.

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      December 8, 2020 5:57 PM

      I stopped playing somewhere after a mini boss on Dathomir, I hate that whole planet.

      I’ve finished Twin Mirror and will go back to Fallen Order after finishing Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

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      December 8, 2020 6:10 PM

      So much backtracking...

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        December 8, 2020 6:13 PM

        Yep, this was a major gripe I had when reviewing it. Why didn't they give me a "return to ship" option. That map was a damn nightmare to read, too.

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          December 8, 2020 6:24 PM

          Yep. I actually completely hated the game until someone here recommended turning the difficulty way down.

          I just couldn't play the game at normal difficulties.

          Oh and sliding parts can fuck right off.

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            December 8, 2020 6:59 PM

            I started the game at the hardest difficulty then halfway through, I just put it in story mode because the combat is not very good.

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          December 9, 2020 5:56 AM

          After going through it more or less twice I think it was to pad things out, for certain story beats to happen, and so that their XP system would work with the amount of content they have.

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      December 8, 2020 7:17 PM

      Just downloaded this cause I saw it and control were on game pass.

      Watched the digital foundry video and thought it would be rough, but they must have done some good work to it.

      Playing on an X with external SSD and I’ve yet to see any “IO” freezes with 10 second respawn times.

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        December 9, 2020 5:59 AM

        I really think it's probably a lot better on stronger hardware given how many issues I've run into on what is next to bottom of the barrel for this, it's just not an issue I'm used to having on a modern AAA console game. Not that I play a lot of those anymore.

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      December 8, 2020 7:24 PM

      If you like Star Wars it’s a fun game and good story. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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        December 10, 2020 6:59 AM

        Agreed, if it's not as broken and everything else remains more or less the same quality it can get out of this club and I'll put together a review that's not in the "Bad Games I Like" column.

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      December 8, 2020 7:41 PM

      I thought it was one of the better Star Wars I've experienced in a while. I really liked the Seventh Sister or whatever her name was. The main bad lady. She was cool. I enjoyed exploring and didn't mind they were only cosmetics as rewards - I guess I just kind of liked exploring for the sake of it. On subsequent playthroughs though I did not and just bee-lined for the end.
      Oddly enough I had more bad experiences and bugs this last time I played it after getting a 3080. It was janky before but beyond that I didn't have many issues but for whatever reason last time I had a shitload. Lots of odd physics and falling into the level, kind of stuff. Also still had that stuttering problem though it wasn't as bad.
      Really good looking game but it's starting to get a little distracting seeing Debra Wilson in every other video game. She's become typecast as a video game actor. She's great but... just something that's become apparent.

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        December 9, 2020 6:01 AM

        Yeah the Second Sister (there's a Second and a Ninth Sister in this game) was a good villain even if she was pretty trope filled.

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      December 9, 2020 6:03 AM

      The game became much more fun when I just slapped that bitch on Easy mode. The story was worth it to see through.

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        December 9, 2020 6:05 AM

        I think the characters were good but, especially if you've consumed a lot of Star Wars media, the story was pretty rote.

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        December 9, 2020 6:44 AM

        Also, I think Jedi Master is the right difficulty to play it on, with dropping it down to Knight or Story Mode if you run into issues.

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      December 9, 2020 6:45 AM

      Paging sevogajre.

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      December 10, 2020 1:34 PM

      I really, really enjoyed the story. Sure, it was cheesy and predictable. But it felt like a good Star Wars story, and it made me want more from these characters.

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