2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order felt like a late coming-out party for EA’s Star Wars games. After shaky launches, canceled projects and predatory monetization practices, Fallen Order was the game many Star Wars fans had been wishing for since Disney acquired the property almost 10 years ago. For others, though, it just barely missed the mark. Despite its satisfying lightsaber combat, surprisingly solid platforming and smart world design, some thought the game suffered under its overloaded, unfocused narrative and wealth of bugs at launch. With Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a sequel arriving in April, EA and the developers at Respawn have an opportunity to win over anybody who wasn’t fully sold on Fallen Order. Even just a few changes and additions could propel Jedi: Survivor into rarified air among the greatest Star Wars games. Here are some recommendations we have for making the new game the best it can be.
Greater Boss and Enemy Variety
Star Wars is one of the most lively, well-realized, sprawling fictional worlds put to screen—interactive or otherwise. Desert planets and lush forest moons alike are brought to life by their inhabitants. From flora and fauna to locals, droids or occupying Imperial forces, Fallen Order’s commitment to immersion and worldbuilding within the Star Wars universe clashed with its lack of enemy variety: from bosses and Stormtroopers to same-y monsters, combat often felt limited not only by Cal’s abilities (more on that later) but by the enemies he fought.
As fun as it is to slice through space fascists like a hot knife through butter, leaving Kashyykk for Dathomir, only to fight enemies with very similar movesets as those populating the previous planet, cheapened so much of Fallen Order’s sci-fi fantasy charm. The same goes for the game’s boss fights, many of which bleed together in my memory even though I played it for the first time just three months ago.
A More Focused Story
Fallen Order felt like an incomplete puzzle with an overbearing focus on lore and worldbuilding. The game constantly strives to answer questions even the hardest of hardcore fans such as myself didn’t need answered. I was frustrated by how frequently Fallen Order went off the beaten path with a confusing diversion or cryptic holographic message rather than focusing on the characters in the story at hand.
Don’t get me wrong; I adore it when Star Wars media gets weird and embraces arcane, fantastic elements of its world. Whenever characters went to Dathomir in Clone Wars or Rebels, I knew I was in for a treat. In Fallen Order, visiting Dathomir completely derails its narrative momentum, padding the moments surrounding a well-executed, personal moment for Cal with witchy nonsensical confusion that forces the third act to take on too much dead weight with not enough time to tie off and account for each individual loose end. Hopefully Jedi: Survivor tightens it up a bit.
Play as BD-1
One look was all it took. From the first bleep-bloop, I’ve wanted to play as BD-1, Cal’s pint-sized droid companion. Evoking the likes of Clank from Ratchet and Clank, just looking at BD-1 makes me want to run through labyrinthine air ducts and solve puzzles. Fallen Order’s puzzle-solving was one of its more solid and consistent aspects, but adding sections that blend platforming and puzzle-solving with a different moveset and scale could really help break up some of the game’s slower exploration and puzzle-solving sections.
A Smoother Launch
Every videogame that actually comes to market is a miracle. Beyond the difficulties of making games in a vacuum, the financial and corporate constraints of AAA development often result in troubled development cycles. Seemingly a victim of these realities, Fallen Order was riddled with bugs at launch. While it was patched later on, the game was unplayable for many at launch. Recently, Jedi: Survivor was delayed into late April, indicating that Respawn Entertainment may be taking a more cautious approach to its launch.
Better Progression and Customization
Fallen Order’s customization and progression presented players with some baffling decisions. As an RPG that incorporated elements of Souls-like games and focused squarely on deep combat, there just wasn’t enough to start with, forcing combat for the first third of the game into a very narrow loop. Things eventually opened up in satisfying, interesting ways but many of the options introduced later on in the game felt like they were filling in pieces that were missing, rather than adding to an already strong structure.
Customization felt the same way; when the game presents you with its first workbench, it teases you with a rainbow of different lightsaber colors, only to keep most of them out of reach until the end of the game. It’s a small but frustrating choice that never fails to confuse. This is something we’re all but guaranteed to see change, as Cal unlocked the new colors as part of a major story beat.
Even Cal’s lightsaber stances felt undercooked in Fallen Order, with only a few options for combat styles that were drip-fed throughout the game, including one that required resources mid-combat to even use. That’s an understandable decision from a narrative standpoint, but it ultimately wound up feeling limiting in-game.
More Force Visions and Flashbacks
Force visions have always provided some of Star Wars’ most gripping, mystical moments. From introspective moments highlighting a character’s struggle to foreshadowing a looming twist, force visions can offer an exciting departure from the norm while embellishing a narrative beat. We saw them used to great effect in Fallen Order as vehicles for both tutorials and character moments. But Cal’s repaired his connection to the Force. While this could mean we might not see him learn any new moves, that doesn’t mean Force visions should go the way of the dodo.
Better Genre Representation
Fallen Order had the unenviable task of blending Souls-like combat with Metroid-style exploration and the cinematic platforming found in games like Uncharted. Like a lot of Fallen Order’s individual parts, these pieces fit together well enough but don’t stand out as special or particularly interesting within their own genres aside from a few memorable sequences. But now that Respawn’s managed to pull off this cocktail of mechanics, the studio’s poised to improve on granular aspects that can (and would) prop up Jedi: Survivor as a standout in the genres it draws from.
On its freshman outing in the Star Wars galaxy, Respawn got a lot right, nailing not only the vibe but the ideas of what makes a great Star Wars game. But while Jedi: Fallen Order was a good game in its own right, it felt limited—both by fictional and real-world constraints. With new hardware, a bigger budget and the first game’s success to appease the often risk-averse EA, Jedi: Survivor’s almost sure to address some of Fallen Order’s greatest shortcomings.
Charlie Wacholz is a freelance writer and college student. When he’s not playing the latest and greatest indie games, competing in Smash tournaments or working on a new cocktail recipe, you can find him on Twitter at @chas_mke.