EA’s biggest new game led the way for the first big E3 reveal. We finally know what the gameplay of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be like.
The 14 minute gameplay demo, introduced by game director Stig Amussen and Respawn CEO Vince Zampella, took us about three hours into the game and through one of the early main missions as the game’s protagonist, Cal, joins up with Saw Gerrera’s early rebellion to free the Wookies on Kashyyyk.
As well as Respawn’s favourite trick – wall running – Cal’s also got a fairly wide range of true Jedi powers to take on challenges in the game. Those challenges also include more than just taking out Stormtroopers. Cal uses his lightsaber to illuminate dark caves, force powers to blast open doors, pull vines towards him to swing on and even stop time – much like Kylo Ren does in his introduction in The Force Awakens – to get past fast spinning fans and moving platforms.
There’s plenty of surprisingly un-Jedi like violence to go around, though. Despite an insistence from Stig Amussen that the game doesn’t feature any kind of morality choice between the light and dark side, we see Cal dispatching foes with almost excessive attacks. Pulling troopers close to stab them in the heart like they’re Harrison Ford or even letting them get off a shot only to stop time, force-pull the trooper towards himself and then hold the trooper out just to take the brunt of their own lazer blast. The force powers in the game aren’t as wild as the physics-powered mayhem of The Force Unleashed, but Cal really doesn’t seem to be embodying the trademark restraint of a Jedi in his combat.
The combat itself has already been compared to Sekiro, but the only thing it seems to really share is that it’s somewhat slow and considered, rather than a straight-up hack-n-slash as you’d perhaps really expect from putting a lightsaber in a game protagonist’s hands. The combat against standard troopers is still a simple one-strike kill as you’d largely expect, but there are a number of more advanced enemies in the game – including the same style of droid as made famous by Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO in Star Wars Rogue One – and these will take a bit more time and effort. You’ll have to adapt to them countering specific attacks and approach them in different ways.
It’s perhaps not unfair to say that the game so far looks exactly as you’d expect it to. If you could somehow feed the words “Star Wars Third Person Action Adventure” into an automatic AAA game generator, the result would surely have been pretty close to what we’ve seen today. There’s a significant familiarity between Fallen Order and other AAA action games – not to mention the 2012 demo of the doomed Star Wars 1313. The struggle it’s taken to actually get to the point where EA can deliver on a single player Star Wars experience – a cavalcade of dead games and studios laying in Fallen Order’s wake – is perhaps part of why the game seems so safe so far. Hopefully the narrative of the game itself can ultimately elevate the somewhat over-familiar gameplay.