Published on April 27th, 2023 | by Andrew Paul



Summary: Star Wars Jedi Survivor is pure Jedi mind games at its best!


Jedi mind games!

With the final episode of The Mandalorian Season 3 just airing (April 19th) and with May the Fourth (May 4th) just around the corner in a “galaxy far far away”, the timing of STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR is truly impeccable as players return to one of the best Star Wars inspired gaming stories of this universe with Jedi Knight Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan).

… this is the way

As fans of the original game know, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order perfectly captured the essence of Star Wars and more importantly continued its universe-building by introducing new worlds and characters that never felt out of place. Gamers were introduced to the young Jedi protagonist, Cal Kestis who was on the run from the Jedi purge (Order 66). He was also learning his place in this force sensitive universe as was the player which made for a great combination.

For context (and purists), the latest game takes place 10-years after Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and at its core, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an action adventure that is set in the third person perspective with plenty of exploration, combat, lightsabre duels and puzzles to be solved along the way… not to mention the mystery that surrounds the main story. On top of that, Respawn Entertainment address some of the inconsistencies from the original game, including expanding their narrative.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor the Review

This sequel is is set five years after the original game and our hero (who is more hardened) once again finds himself shadowed by the Empire as they tighten their deadly grip on the galaxy. Unfortunately Cal is running out of options, however with his trusty droid sidekick BD-1 and his allies, he uncovers something on a forgotten planet that could potentially challenge and change the status quo… welcome to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor!

While previous knowledge of the first game helps, it is not mandatory and kudos should be given to Respawn who ensure that it is still very accessible to newcomers. Before you are reunited with Cal, there is a brief video recap on the events of the previous game which is a great reminder of what happened in Star Wars Jedi: Fall Order.

The story of Survivor begins with a group of hunters who are delivering you (Cal Kestis) to Imperial Senator Sejan who wishes to hand you over personally to Emperor Palpatine himself. This scene also serves as a brief tutorial which familiarises you with the controls and gaming mechanics, including your force powers and as Obi-Wan Kenobi so eloquently described the lightsabre once…  “This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age”, so once you are wielding your lightsabre, it’s like coming home again. In terms of gameplay length, this is dependent on how much you want to explore and engage in side quests and for me, a good 30 or so hours which was me focusing on the main missions. There is quite a bit of exploring and at times, I thought I was playing Star Wars Cartographer but for the most part, this was very Zen-like… well, Jedi.

One of the main planets in the game is the outer rim planet of Koboh that not only holds its own secrets but acts as a waypoint between missions, not to mention a proving ground for Cal. You end up on this planet as you escape from Coruscant and unfortunately your ship, the Mantis becomes damaged. It is on Koboh where your old friend Greez can hopefully repair the Mantis for you, including giving you some very heartfelt advice. Without spoiling the story of Survivor, Koboh also holds an old droid with the secrets of the Jedi Order. Just watch out for the native aliens and those pesky Bedlam Raiders!

Apart from travelling in space with The Mantis, Cal has access to mounts on planets that supports with travel. Areas that you have previously visited will open up to fast travel. Meditation points are used to “level-up”, train and rest, including becoming save points. Additionally the holomap is a very useful item that helps with reaching specific places, including setting markers and depending on difficulty level, there are in-game hints. The jumping and climbing mechanics have been improved and refined which makes exploring the various environments a breeze. Just be warned that there will be plenty of falling to your doom moments, particularly with wall runs or mistiming those jumps.

As you explore, you will uncover work benches that allows you to fine-tune your lightsabre, including your droid BD-1 which makes a fun distraction. While you explore the various areas, you find chests that contain bonuses, including aesthetics such as clothes, armour and hairstyles… yes the mullet is back. To help with the narratives, you can use the force (aka Batman Arkham Asylum) to learn what happened in a particular area which adds to the story on a more personal level.

Controls are well placed on the DualShock controller and nothing feels out of place when the action or challenges intensifies. As a result, the combat in this game feels very refined as you attack and defend. The primary weapon is of course your lightsabre that really allows you to become your own Jedi Knight and if some of the enemies or bosses become too difficult, you can reduce the difficulty level. Companions are also integral to your battles and can sometimes be the difference between defeat and victory. Speaking of companions, including your non-talking binary droid BD-1, they play an import part to Cal’s story and are considerably more fleshed out than the previous title an the back story to both Bode Akuna and Merrin is great.

The overall combat of Jedi Survivor is great and Respawn Entertainment truly embrace the various Jedi powers which makes mixing and matching both the offensive and defensive skills a joy. Further, the various stances and force powers adds to the overall gameplay mechanics and whether you want to concentrate on a single-blade or dual-blade, both fighting styles are quite unique.

While this is a single-player experience, the developers have included a new game mode once you have completed the title called the New Game Plus mode. It basically unlocks all stances, skill points and cosmetics, including some new perks and lightsabre colours. For example, one perk called purity increases the damage that a lightsabre can do and as a result, makes you a formidable foe. Given that some of the boss battles are spectacular and whether that’s a sister or a Rancor (yes, there is a Rancor), they are again oozing with Star Wars mythology, especially the cinematic take-downs. Of course nothing is more satisfying then pulling an opponent towards you, then using your sabre to end their violence towards you. It feels very Vader-like!

Graphics & Audio

On both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the game supports a performance (60 FPS) and quality mode (4K / 30 FPS), including HDR plus the option of fine tuning the display for either a TV or monitor. Graphically, Survivor is a true Star Wars celebration on the PlayStation 5 that celebrates this diverse 46-year old sci-fi franchise perfectly. Whether it’s the buildings, costumes or alien planets, they all have this Star Wars theme to them. Given that, the various planets that you visit from sprawling cities to alien planets all feel how they should, firmly set in the Star Wars universe.

The different lightsabre lighting is also maximised to its potential, particularly in those darker areas, even when you have a torch. In terms of world building and level design, Respawn Entertainment is spot on and some of the areas are quite cleverly built that also give the player some unparalleled freedom. Complementing the graphics is the voice acting, particularly Cameron Monaghan as Cal and Daniel Roebuck as Greez who are perfectly cast. Also, sound effects and music just enhance the overall gaming experience, so again kudos to Respawn!

Final Thoughts?

As a Star Wars game, Survivor has some very big boots to fill and given the lore contained in this universe and fan expectations, I can safely report that it successfully expands on the first game and on the PlayStation 5 delivers a true next-gen experience. Sure there are a few slight gameplay glitches here and there, however as a whole it is a very polished game from its fine-tuned gaming mechanics, Star Wars inspired graphics, wonderful narrative and characters, including the music, sound effects and voice acting, In the end, Respawn Entertainment efficaciously draw you into the character of Cal Kestis as you fight the good fight to keep the “dark side” at bay.

As a long-time Star Wars fan, this is the droid game you’re looking for… and yes Jedi mind tricks are totally part of the game!

Brilliant stuff!

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