Star Wars Jedi: Survivor improves upon the original game in nearly every way imaginable.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Is the Exact Sequel to Fallen Order I Hoped For

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a textbook example of the improvement I like seeing from a great sequel. I’m talking about the leap in quality, scope, and ambition that we saw from the first and second games of franchises like Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, and Infamous. In Jedi: Survivor, everything is bigger, deeper, and more entertaining than it was in Fallen Order, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time in the game so far.

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I’ve spent 12 hours in Jedi: Survivor, and it feels like I’ve only scratched the surface of Cal’s new adventure. And that’s mostly thanks to the game’s impressively massive planet design, which evolves the original’s relatively linear levels into sprawling playgrounds that feel like open worlds.

While the opening chapter set amidst the neon-drenched atmosphere-scrapers of Coruscant has its share of optional side paths littered with goodies to find, it’s the game’s first major planet of Koboh that really feels like a mission statement from EA and Respawn. Every time I feel like I’ve seen everything the planet has to offer, I stumble upon an entirely new area that just expands the scope out even further in a really impressive way.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is packed with a ton of quality-of-life improvements that have made my time with the sequel much more enjoyable. From small things like how your more readable map keeps track of your steps and displays your recent journey similar to Breath of the Wild’s Hero’s Path, to more major changes like being able to fast travel across a planet’s many, many meditation points, the game does a great job of keeping you engaged with the multitude of activities at hand while minimizing the downtime and backtracking.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor improves upon the original game in nearly every way imaginable.

These all feed into just how strongly Jedi: Survivor’s Metroidvania design has planted its hooks in me. I’m constantly taking note of areas that I couldn’t access yet, only to revisit them a few hours later once I had a new ability. So far, these have ranged from an excellent grappling hook (and as you know, all games are better with a grappling hook), to taming wild animals and using them as mounts. I’ve sprinted up steep hills on the back of the Star Wars equivalent of chocobos, flew across large gaps while hanging on the legs of a bird, and climbed a docile dinosaur while channeling my inner Shadow of the Colossus.

The rewards at the end of these side paths come in a wide variety of forms, all of which I’ve enjoyed discovering. Cosmetics are still a big thing this time around, but they’re much more varied in this sequel. Instead of just getting a different colored poncho, you can mix and match shirts, pants, and jackets to replicate some of the most iconic characters in Star Wars film, television, and video game history. And there’s something deeply dumb, yet satisfying about exploring an underwater cavern and defeating a horde of beasts only to be rewarded with a treasure chest containing a new haircut or mutton chops for Cal.

But for every new hairdo or paint job for BD-1, I was also finding items with a more practical use, like permanent stat boosts and new perks of different costs that can be equipped in limited slots like in Hollow Knight. I’m continually encouraged to go off the beaten path not only for these extrinsic rewards, but for the intrinsic joy I feel by just exploring the world.

While the worlds here are much larger, more open, and more intricately laid out than Fallen Order’s, it’s the amount of life found in them that really stands out to me. There are so many more characters littered about the planets that can use your assistance in sidequests, clue you in to points of interest in the form of “Rumors,” or be persuaded to head back to your burgeoning hub town of Rambler’s Reach.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor improves upon the original game in nearly every way imaginable.

It’s that last one that has really stuck out to me, as when you first come upon the backwater settlement, it feels utterly devoid of life. But the more you explore and help folks, the more populated it becomes. Not only does this open up new quests, shops, and opportunities, but it also allows Cal to create a sense of community that he hasn’t had since Order 66 wiped out the Jedi Order.

Perhaps my favorite part of bringing life back to town comes in the form of seeing how Pyloon’s Saloon, the dive bar that Greez owns, evolves throughout the adventure. By the time I crossed the 10-hour mark, the once-empty establishment now had live music, various merchants, games of skill, a massive fish tank, and a rooftop garden that I could tend to. I’m a big fan of bars in video games, and Pyloon’s Saloon is my favorite digital watering hole in quite some time.

But not only has the world in this game seen an improvement, but Cal himself has as well. There’s no Metroid Prime suit malfunction or Symphony of the Night moment where Death strips away your abilities – you’re every bit the Jedi Knight that you were at the end of the last game. This comes across well in the traversal, which feels even faster and more fluid than it did in the original. Chaining together combos of wall runs, double jumps, and improved swinging makes it feel more familiar to Respawn’s top-tier movement found in games like Titanfall 2 and Apex Legends.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor improves upon the original game in nearly every way imaginable.

That said, while combat itself is fun, it still feels like it’s trying to find its footing somewhere between the offensive bombast of a spectacle fighter and the methodical dance of a Soulslike. But I know from previews and trailers that there are still some major elements of battle that I haven’t unlocked yet, so perhaps some new wrinkles will appear as I progress further.

There’s so much crammed into Star Wars Jedi: Survivor that it’s hard to find space to talk about it. I love stumbling upon and solving the new Meditation Chambers, which are the Star Wars equivalent of Breath of the Wild’s Shrines. Enemy banter is incredible, and I often find myself holding off on instigating combat just so I can listen to a group of Battle Droids engage in an inane and entertaining conversation. And holy moly, some of the vistas on display here are breathtaking. And while the frame rate on PlayStation 5 has occasionally taken a dip in some of the more densely populated regions, there’s a day-one patch on the way, so I’ll reserve any concrete judgment until then.

After my dozen hours in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what Respawn and EA have created in this sequel. The improvements from the original are evident in nearly every facet of the design, and its core gameplay loop has really sunk its teeth into me. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds and whether the rest of the game can maintain this high bar set by the opening act. If it can, then it might just become a sequel worthy of the company of those classics mentioned at the top.


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Author
Marty Sliva
Marty Sliva was the Deputy Editor of The Escapist. He's been writing and hosting videos about games, movies, television, and popular culture since 2011, and was with The Escapist from 2019 until 2023. In a perfect world, he'd be covering Zelda, Persona, and the hit TV series Lost on a daily basis.