In the last ten years I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve had a mind blowing video game experience, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is one of those.
Since beating it’s predecessor, Jedi: Fallen Order, this was absolutely one of my top anticipated Star Wars projects (which can be a dangerous thing). So from here I’ll give my thoughts on the game through the detailed experience that Jamie and I had.
The release date of April 28 was fast approaching and we were fortunate enough to have preordered the deluxe edition of the game through Limited Run. My main concern was that the game wouldn’t come in time for the Friday release but to our surprise the tracking number projected for it to come A DAY EARLY! When Thursday rolled around I came home from work expecting the box to be on my doorstep, it was like Christmas morning as a kid. Upon arriving home I see a note from UPS stating that “the business was closed, we’ll try again tomorrow”. A bit of darkside rage flowed through me. Business? Closed? Clearly UPS dropped the ball here. So I calmly collected myself, like Qui Gon in that red shield hallway in The Phantom Menace, and gave UPS customer service a call. Long story short they would hold the package for me to pick up from their facility that evening. So Jamie and I journeyed down there on a misty spring Thursday night, two Jedi on a mission.
We happily obtained our treasure and returned home to open it up. The Deluxe edition came with a gorgeous exclusive Cal Kestis lightsaber (one of the Disney Parks Legacy style ones), a steelbook case, a letter of authenticity, the game itself, and a very cool magnetic box that it all came in. We were too excited and just enjoying the moment that we forgot to record an unboxing video.
Anyways, you came here to hear my thoughts about the game. With that there will of course be TONS of spoilers ahead.
Off the bat I was blown away, seeing Coruscant and the Imperial Palace! The dread on Cal’s face as he sees the former Jedi Temple now drowned in fascism. Coming into the game I feel like we knew very little about the game (which I love), we knew we’d be seeing Coruscant but I didn’t expect it off the start. So that was a very pleasant surprise.
Once the combat of the game began it definitely felt more heavy. Each lightsaber strike felt more noticeable more impactful than they did in Fallen Order. From there the “platforming” of the game was just like Fallen Order but on steroids. Wall runs would be longer and more epic and Cal now had a grappling hook to give the running/jumping even more of a Spider-Man feel. It was a blast making our way through Coruscant with our new pal Bode.
Speaking of Bode, all of Survivor’s newly added characters were just dynamite. From the ones who lasted just minutes (Gabs and the gang) to all of Koboh’s regulars. Respawn absolutely nailed every character in this game, I could make a blog post about each one and maybe I just will. I found myself constantly saying “this game is just so Star Wars” throughout the game.
Fifteen minutes into exploring Koboh, the main planet of the game, Jamie and I decided it was already one of our favorite Star Wars planets. A very Batuu feel with a space western twist, just unbelievable. Something I really wanted after Fallen Order was being able to see a bit more civilization and we got just that in this game. Being able to recruit people to come to the Pyloon’s Saloon (Greez’s cantina), including a DJ droid and producer to jam out, was a dream come true. Every single patron that hung out at the saloon was family, especially Skoova Stev. Meeting Skoova Stev (the tiny fisherman alien) may have been one of the best things ever added to a Star Wars game. He is just all around genius and it’s such a cool way to be able to add fish to the humongous fish tank behind the bar. Pyloon’s Saloon is just the place to be in a galaxy far, far away.
Something that was surreal to me was the amount of High Republic content in this game. From the trailers we knew there would be an inclusion as Dagan Gera dawned High Republic robes but MAN I didn’t expect as much as we got. Exploring High Republic ruins, finding ancient droids, mentions from the novels, flashbacks to the era itself. Just mind blowing as a big fan of the High Republic. The story of Dagan and his Gen’Dai sidekick Rayvis was pretty compelling as they were trying to make their way back to the hidden planet Tanalorr. It was quite interesting seeing Dagan’s reaction to awakening from a multi-hundred year slumber and hearing that the Jedi have fallen and an empire had taken over. We then realize that Dagan was locked away because he had started to turn, Cal realized this once a red kyber crystal is in his face. Another angry Jedi boy with long hair, where have we seen this before?
In all seriousness though I really liked Dagan’s character and wish we got just a little more out of him. It was great seeing his flashback scenes with fellow Jedi Sentari Khri and seeing his mental downfall over time. Rayvis on the other hand was very underused in my opinion. Maybe my only blemish on the whole game was that he wasn’t fleshed out a bit more. I get that he’s just the beefy henchman in the story but with him being a Gen’Dai (the same species as the badass Durge) I would’ve like a LITTLE more. He was the Ninth Sister to Dagan’s Second Sister in this story for the most part.
Alright it’s time to talk about Jedha. First off, the fact we got to go to Jedha was just epic. When they mentioned that’s where Cere was and that we were headed there my mind was spinning. Shortly after arriving there we’re reunited with Merrin, who has been exploring the galaxy since the events of Fallen Order. Fighting alongside Merrin was a highlight in the game for me between just the pure badass action and the banter between her and Cal. That’s not all that there was between them either as a full on romance develops in the game. We all saw it coming but it was awesome to see it actually unfold.
Two of my favorite sequences in the entire game took place on Jedha and I’ve wanted to restart the game back up just to play those parts. The first is “the portal sequence” where Cal and Merrin smooch right before diving into dozens of Nightsister magic portals in order to dodge and take down a giant metal squid being used to excavate Jedha. Hands down one of the most creative and fun sequences I’ve played in a game in quite a while. The second came shortly after tragedy struck, where Cal chases down Bode for betraying the group and killing Eno Cordova. When Cal catches up to Bode we find out he’s also a “Jedi survivor” (get it??)…once again…mind blown. Bode kicks Cal’s butt, gets away, and the screen fades to black (uhh did we lose?). Nope, that was supposed to happen and now we’re playing as Cere. THIS is the part I loved.
As much as I love Cal, playing as Cere was ten times as epic. She was so powerful and badass yet so calm and collected. Chaos is around us as the Empire is invading the base, trying to destroy everything Cere and the Anchorites built up. It felt like the Star Wars version of the Battle of Helms Deep with Merrin fighting alongside Cere. Then…Darth Vader showed up. Ding ding, it was round two of Cere v Vader and it was a spectacle. Cere held her own once again as she had Vader on the ropes doing his asthma breathing thing while being half burnt. She went in for the kill and…Vader bested her.
When Cal finally gets back to base he finds Cere and holds her in his arms as she passes. Her last words were “Trilla…”. Jamie and I were speechless on our couch. What a moment.
From there the game had a great conclusion of finding out Bode is working with the ISB, Cal going undercover as an Imperial, tapping into the darkside, getting to Tanalorr, seeing it’s beautiful landscape, and confronting Bode for a final duel.
I loved how Merrin and Cal really tried to reason with Bode and not take the route of violence but he was too selfish and far gone, even if it was to help his daughter. The final cutscenes after defeating Bode are beautiful with the three bodies of Cordova, Cere, and Bode wrapped up for a funeral ceremony with the breathtaking views of Tanalorr behind them.
From here Cal and the gang decide to continue Cere’s work of helping The Path, the very same Path we see in Kenobi. Whether we get some sort of DLC or we just have to wait until a third game, that is going to be quite the story. IGN had a review for Survivor a couple weeks ago and they mentioned that after a third installment these games could go down as possibly the best trilogy in Star Wars…well I have to agree with that. I’m absolutely in love with this story and these characters and I need to know where it goes next.
Conclusion: Survivor took what Fallen Order had and turned it up several notches. More open world, more creativity, more characters, all surrounding an original story. This game was a true melting pot of Star Wars with prequel era battle droids, High Republic Jedi, an ISB base, Jedha, and Vader and his Inquisitorius chasing you down. All of this mixed with great gameplay and some of the best lightsaber action in gaming yet. 10/10