After more than 24 hours of gameplay, we think Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a great sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It offers addictive gameplay, engaging level design and entertaining character dialog. Want to feel like a Jedi in combat while playing one of the best Star Wars games of all time? Get your hands on a copy now.
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What we liked about it
It’s a great sequel
Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
Dual-wield is one of five stances.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor improves upon Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in most aspects (but not all; see our “What we didn’t like about it” section below). Our skill sets — broken down into Survival, Lightsaber and Force — are bulked out considerably, for a total of 75 skills. Jedi Knight Cal Kestis’ new repertoire includes the ability to persuade beasts to thin out a cluster of stormtroopers for us, as well as learn different weapon stances. Cal’s late master may not have approved of blasters, but the game will support your uncivilized weaponry if you want to go Solo.
Another strength of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is its expanded size, which makes room for multiple side quests, collectibles, a mini game, timed challenges and more. We also receive the welcomed ability to fast-travel between meditation circles (that is, save points). Mounts help us roam the planet Koboh, our current home base, but they’re more an aid to solve puzzles than useful transport. (Although the nekko is fun to ride, the relter turns like the Ever Given.)
Along with newfound friend Bode, Cal’s old pals (Cere, Greez, Merrin and the loveable BD-1) help him thwart new enemies. It’s good to have the Mantis band back together.
Gameplay is addictive
Sure, I would love to buy some deathsticks.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an addictive experience and each area you unlock leaves you wanting more. This game hit us like a designer drug, tailored for both our Star Wars and video game pleasure. Our hands positively craved the controller, and our buddies ripped that bad boy from our hands as much as we tore it away from theirs.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor brings no new gameplay mechanics to the gaming table, but its developers have stolen from the best. Players get to enjoy the puzzles of an adventure game, the timing of a platformer, the replayability of a Metroidvania, the expansiveness of an open-world game, the progress retrieval of a Soulslike and the body count of a third-person shooter. And in some cases, the weird space-western humor of Borderlands.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’s Skoova Stev, meet Borderlands’ Grandma Flexington. You two have a lot to talk about.
You feel like a Jedi in combat
I have a bad feeling about this.
Cal eventually has access to five different fighting stances: single, double-bladed (like Darth Maul), dual-wield (like Ahsoka Tano), crossguard (like Kylo Ren) and blaster. We particularly enjoyed the double-saber stance, which lets you attack quickly and stylishly. But if you prefer power and don’t mind sacrificing speed, then crossguard is for you. Each of these stances come with both common and unique button combos, so be prepared when your crossguard’s double-jump slam makes no mark when you’ve equipped dual-wield. (D’oh!)
Enemies have a stamina bar that can absorb damage, but you can deplete this through well-timed blocks and Force pull. Depriving an enemy of stamina prevents them from using special attacks. Some attacks can’t be blocked, however, so it’s useful to master both parries and dodges to be an effective combatant.
We can slot two stances at a time and swap them out for the other three at each meditation circle. We wish we had the ability to use them all; this could be handled by simply turning the left and right D-pad buttons into a virtual scroll wheel. Alas.
Incidental dialog is entertaining as hell
Spoiler: He lets up.
Stormtroopers and droids can be overheard conversing with each other and we can listen in on some delightfully inane conversation. It’s even more entertaining when we get the jump on some outclassed enemy, for example, when we Force pushed a B1 battle droid off of a cliff. “Stop that!” it said as it plummeted to its death.
Even Cal gets in on the verbal action, pointing out one of the game’s obvious flaws when a hunter of bounty hunters glides away on her boosters. “Everybody’s got rockets,” he says sadly, “except me.”
Level design is engaging
Acrophobia: fear of heights. Agoraphobia: fear of the outdoors. Gamerphobia: fear of having to redo this level.
The game’s level designers deserve a pat on the back for navigation, which seamlessly coaxes players through each world (Coruscant, Koboh, a shattered moon, etc.) — all of which contain a surprising amount of death-defying chasms. Despite secrets scattered around multiple shadowy corners, we easily found our way back to our path.
Lost your way, anyway? The levels here are more straightforward and lack the many layers of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which makes them easier to read. That’s good, because reading a map in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was like trying to solve Hellraiser’s Lament Configuration.
Speaking of maps, completionists will appreciate the eventual ability to see collectible chests, giving you a genuine shot at 100-percenting the game. This is also made easier thanks to fast travel.
Some navigational puzzles require thinking outside the Holocron, but the game always plays fair. Although you may find yourself wondering (using four-letter words) how to navigate the environment, the answer you need is always close at hand, although some of the more obscure puzzles might benefit from a buddy’s extra set of eyes — and another pair of hands. Parkour is heavily featured here, and traversing levels is an exercise in acrobatics, that is, hair-trigger button presses. Play with a friend so you can share frustration when you each almost stick a landing for the seventh time.
What we didn’t like about it
World building is crazy-making
Seriously, we can climb this. And we have “gamer bods.”
Dudes, if we had a nickel for every time we encountered an unclimbable rock that we could actually climb in real life, we wouldn’t have to make analogies for a living. Jedi Knight Cal Kestis can fling himself across open air, but he can’t reach those outcroppings? This made us shake our heads sadly throughout large swaths of Koboh.
The levels have been designed with parkour in mind, and only someone with your special skills can traverse the territory — and no one else. These worlds weren’t built for civilization to exist in. Seriously, the subtitle for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor should be, “Screw You, Sim Gamers.”
Although we really liked the NPCs we encountered, and Greez’s bar makes a great hub, most of the worldbuilding is kind of ridiculous. The fauna we encountered include evil mouthy tumbleweeds, meaty exploding wall balloons and unholy space turkeys.
The real plot takes ages to kick in
At least Cal can rock a poncho.
The MacGuffin in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an entire secret planet, strong in the Force (kind of like a Light Side Exegol) and only reachable with a rare compass. We have to find the planet of Tanalorr — a shout-out to author Michael Moorcock’s eternal city perhaps? — before fallen Jedi Dagan Gera finds it and uses it for his nefarious purposes. Meh.
To make matters worse, Dagan has a whiny entitlement about him. We were waiting for him to say, “I don’t like sand.”
Then, over two dozen hours in, there’s a twist that reset our expectations of the story. We were genuinely impressed. But no matter how you and BD-1 slice it, the twist takes too long. And we had spent more than half of the game thinking the story was uninspiring.
There aren’t enough respawn points
Clear your mind. Forget your most recent Rancor mauling.
We hope you like meditation circles because they’re the only places to save, and thus the place you will respawn after your many inevitable deaths. We would have loved to see the ability to save our progress before some of the more challenging fights. Backtracking is sadly the price you have to pay for this much fun.
The distance between meditation circles is more frustrating than you think. After defeating a particularly difficult enemy, we had to repeat combat because we were soon killed by, for example, random bursts of steam. More than once. Dank farrik.
You can eventually unlock doors and open up ziplines, so if you progress far enough, backtracking isn’t too painful.
Healing requires real concentration
At least we have our poncho to console us.
We had real problems using the stim button to heal. It’s true that enemies can interrupt your actions, which include healing, but we repeatedly died with our fingers on the stim button. And we don’t remember having this problem in the previous game. It doesn’t help that Cal doesn’t always dodge the way you need him to, particularly when you lock in on an off-camera enemy.
Of all the button presses, this is the one you need to be the most deliberate and careful with.
Jedi Code? What Jedi Code?
At least we can’t make the flora rise up and fight for us. Yet.
Although it has enough of the look, feel and galactic history of a Star Wars experience, Jedi: Survivor sacrifices some key Star Wars characteristics in order to cater to gamers. Specifically, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor fails to adhere to the Jedi Code of Ethics: “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”
True, there’s a whole lotta killing in each and every Star Wars video game. But in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, we convince stormtroopers and humanoids to kill on our behalf. And only in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor can we Force pull an enemy toward us while they’re shooting, using them as both a murder puppet and a human shield.
Add to this the fact that Cal is out to punish the Empire for destroying the Jedi Order (that is, take revenge)…it makes us think that there’s more than one kind of slippery slope in this game. (Fortunately, sliding puzzles are kept to a minimum, unlike Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.)
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is filled with the same adventure that earned Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order multiple thumbs up, yet improves upon its predecessor in numerous ways. It’s not perfect, but its shortcomings are outweighed by its delights.
Even more virtues to extol include the ability to mix and match Cal’s lightsaber, his wardrobe — yes, even his poncho — his hair, his beard and BD-1’s frame. The sly gamer humor (four words: Rick the Door Technician). Five difficulty levels that let you play with as much ease or hair-raising stress as you enjoy.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an excellent game that falls a tiny bit short of greatness. But it’s the most fun you’ll have on this side of the galaxy. We think it’s earned its place on the list of Best Star Wars games of all time.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor: Final gameplay trailer
Want a peak of gameplay action before you buy? Respawn and EA offers a glimpse into Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’s gameplay. Check out the video below.