Jedi: Fallen Order is a third-person action-adventure Star Wars canon video game that will be released on Friday, Nov. 15. Set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (smack in the middle of the Imperial ascension) it follows Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan,) one of the padawans that survived the Jedi massacre that followed Order 66. At the beginning of the game, he has managed to avoid detection by working as a rigger of the Scrapper's Guild on Bracca and taking apart decommissioned ships.
However, when one of his colleagues trips and tumbles from a spaceship into the maws of a Sarlacc, Cal uses the Force to stop him mid-fall and pull him back to safety. Unfortunately, that attracts the unwanted attention of the Inquisitors, the Imperial dark Force users who are not quite Sith but are in charge of tracking down Jedi and Force-sensitive children to either kill them or bring them back to the Emperor.
To escape, Cal forms an unlikely alliance with Cere Junda (Debra Wilson) a member of the artisans, part of the crew of the Stinger Mantis, and most importantly, a Jedi Knight hiding in plain sight who will take Cal under her wing so he can complete his interrupted training. Every step of the way, he's helped by his loyal droid BD-1, who can attach itself to Cal's back while paragliding or jump off to scout an area when they are on the ground.
This mission won't be easy, because the Inquisitorius hunting Cal are formidable. Fans of Rebels will already be familiar with the Second Sister and her ruthless pursuit, but the terrific tank that is the Sixth Sister from Charles Soule's comics will also have her own boss fight.
Helping out the Inquisitorius are the Purge Troopers, black-decked and pumped-up stormtroopers able to deflect and block lightsaber attacks (although at the hilt, not at the blade), regular run-of-the-mill Imperial stormtroopers and the wide array of droids, creatures, and aliens that populate the Galaxy.
Jedi: Fallen Order is very much a canon story and part of the new Star Wars continuity, so because Cal Kestis' quest takes place in the past relative to The Rise of Skywalker, the player's decisions won't ultimately affect their ending or their alignment like they did in Knights of the Old Republic. Instead, players enjoy a mix of open-world exploration that rewards free-roaming with special skills, lore and skins, the ability to travel to any planet in any order they choose, no loading screens and total lightsaber customization, from the color of the blade to the internal components and the shape of the hilt.
Combat is skill-based rather than a pit of health-points, and the game seems to encourage players to follow the path of the Jedi when confronting their enemies, both mechanically and visually. Some reviewers have commented that in the getting-to-know-your-opponent stages of a duel, the block-parry combo is their best friend, because before they lunge, the tells of the character become evident, helping Cal win each battle with relative ease.
There are three difficulty modes, with the hardest one relying on increased enemy skill, not health points, so mileage may vary. There are also three Force abilities that Cal can use in combat: Force pull, Force push and Force Stasis.
Regarding combat violence, the rule of thumb seems to be that humanoid opponents cannot be dismembered despite Cal's lightsaber. However, the designers made sure that their bodies carried the marks left by its searing blade. On the other hand, droids and creatures seem to be fair game.
And talking about fair game, Jedi: Fallen Order takes inspiration from many other blockbusters from the past. Combat seems inspired by God of War III (which was helmed by the same director, Stig Asmussen,) while the bonfire element, the doom and gloom of the crapsack universe surrounding Cal and the meticulous combat sequences seem inspired by Dark Souls. Level design has Metroid and Zelda vibes, with lots of intriguing puzzles and exciting dungeons, while movement-wise, the fun wall-gliding, climbing, and slope-sliding that Cal does owe a lot to Uncharted and Tomb Raider.
Jedi: Fallen Order encourages replayability. This is partly because of the possibility of playing in pure Story Mode, ignoring all the side-quests and exploration to get to the canon ending, but it's also because of the way the three branches of the skill tree are set up. The player can choose to develop Cal's Force, Lightsaber Skills, or Survivability, and it seems possible to do three different run throughs, each one using a single skill.
Another fun way to discover all the secrets of the game is by making sure that no stone is left unturned in each of the planets that Cal can visit. These include Bracca, the scrapper's planet, Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's homeworld(!) and Dathomir, the blood-red hued crib of Darth Maul and the gorgeously creepy Nightsisters, one of whom appears in the trailer.
A detailed look at the trailer and the promotional images unveil a Galaxy of Easter Eggs. For instance, Rogue One's Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker,) makes a comeback, as do Emperor Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi via hologram. At least three of the promotional images feature Mortis and World Between Worlds imagery, which will be familiar to fans of The Clone Wars and Rebels, and the whole Nightsister storyline will probably tie in with Asajj Ventress.
The Second Sister first appeared in Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli's Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic. Plus, the Republic ships, painted with that Palpatinesque red stripe are being scrapped for pieces in the very first scene. And as a final wink to long-standing fans, Jedi: Fallen Order is bringing back the orange lightsaber blade for those that preorder. The orange lightsaber was a Jedi staple in Legends but was discontinued from canon when Disney bought the franchise in 2011.
There's also Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order - Dark Temple, a miniseries comic book tie-in by Matthew Rosenberg and Paolo Villanelli that expands on Cere Junda's backstory. For those fans too impatient or too curious to wait until the game comes out, the comic details her experiences when she was still learning under Jedi Knight Eno Cordova.
So what are Jedi: Fallen Order's system requirements? The game can be played on Playstation 4, Xbox, or PC. PC owners will need a minimum of 64-Bit Windows, 55 GB of hard drive space, 8GB of RAM, (although 16GB are recommended,) and a GEFORCE GTX 650 graphic card (although GEFORCE GTX 1070 or RX VEGA 56 would be ideal.)
Developed by Respawn and published by Electronic Arts, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC Nov. 15
Matthew Rosenberg and Paolo Villanelli's Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order - Dark Temple #1 went on sale this September from Marvel Comics. Issue #4 was published on November 13.