The story of Cal Kestis continues in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a third-person, galaxy-spanning, action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. This narratively driven, single-player title picks up five years after the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and follows Cal’s increasingly desperate fight as the galaxy descends further into darkness. Pushed to the edges of the galaxy by the Empire, Cal will find himself surrounded by threats new and familiar. As one of the last surviving Jedi Knights, Cal is driven to make a stand during the galaxy’s darkest times — but how far is he willing to go to protect himself, his crew, and the legacy of the Jedi Order?
Before we delve deeper into the review, one aspect of Jedi Survivor must be brought to the forefront – performance. I have been playing the PlayStation 5 version of the game. Like many other titles this generation, it offers two presets: Quality and Performance. I prefer to play with a high frame rate, so I have been playing on the Performance setting. Unfortunately, this is where the game could be better, positively impacting the overall experience. The low frame rate causes noticeable stuttering and lag, making the game feel unresponsive and sluggish at times; this is at its worst when there’s a transition between gameplay and cutscene.
It’s as if, during this transition, the game is switching between performance and quality modes, as there’s a higher level of visual fidelity.
While this issue only partially ruins the game, it does detract from the otherwise stellar gameplay and visuals.
Despite the performance issues that burden the overall experience, it’s important to note that this has unfortunately become commonplace in the industry over the past few years. A patch was released this week, improving the game’s stability but not fully resolving the issue. EA will likely iron out these issues further over the coming weeks.
The game’s opening act portrays an infiltration and escape from the underbelly of Coruscant. There’s a level of beauty and technical detailing which fleshes out the world; these are the environments you don’t find within the cinematic universe.
The first chapter introduces Cal Kestis and BD-11, showcasing their unique abilities. We see a continuation of their skills from the previous game, Fallen Order. It’s worth noting that the game doesn’t follow the typical Metroidvania pattern of taking away previously acquired powers. New gameplay mechanics are introduced rapidly, like the grappling hook and companion mechanics, a recurring theme throughout most of the game.
For those who haven’t played the original game, the gameplay is a polished blend of Dark Souls meets Uncharted. Combat can be challenging for those who prefer to run, as it requires a delicate balance between defence and creating opportunities against opponents. Exploration is fantastic; Cal’s movement as he climbs and shimmies through each environment feels accurate and responsive – You genuinely feel like you’re playing a Jedi and utilising his complete skill set.
The above was good in the original, perfect for the time, but Survivor raises the bar.
Once you leave Coruscant, your initial stop will be Koboh, the biggest planet for exploration. As you progress and grow your skillset, you will revisit this planet many times throughout your playthrough as more areas will become available. There are also side activities which you can unlock, which we won’t spoil here.
Let’s discuss Pyloon’s Saloon, a small establishment that has the potential to grow into a thriving hub. Your mission is to attract people to the area and transform the rundown saloon into a bustling spot. As you venture through Koboh and other planets, you can help people in need, and if you prove yourself, they will visit your saloon. This includes a DJ and other characters who can provide extra services.
Jedi Survivor is an impressive sequel that surpasses its predecessor in every way. The game delivers a truly immersive experience, allowing players to fully embrace the role of a Jedi and harness the power of the Force. While the combat system is deeply satisfying, the sound design’s attention to detail sets the game apart. The crackle of your lightsaber and the crispness of firing bolts bring the journey to life, making you feel like you are in the middle of the action. Overall, Jedi Survivor is an outstanding game that delivers on every level, offering a thrilling and unforgettable gaming experience for any fan of the Star Wars universe.
I hope they can bring Cameron Monaghan’s portrayal of Cal Kestis into the Star Wars cinematic universe in a meaningful way.