While many complain about the dearth of PS5 software – not sure what they expected, given the way new consoles work – I’ve been using mine to partake of some of the best games of the last few years, many of which I skipped due to indifference or poor performance on my launch PS4.
Ratchet & Clank was OK (and free!), Titanfall 2 was superb (also free!), and now I come to another Respawn Entertainment game: the awkwardly punctuated Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Fallen Order barely has an original bone in its body. The developers have borrowed freely from Metroid, Uncharted and the Souls series in particular – all classics, to be sure, but if originality is important to you, there’s not much of it here. Even Force powers don’t really do much more than The Force Unleashed did years ago, or any more recent action games with telekinetic heroes.
But, frankly, I’ve always been enough of a Star Wars fan that ‘something good but now it’s in the Star Wars universe’ is a winning formula for me, and none more so here. If I’m going to occasionally get spanked by random mooks, better a Scout Trooper or Nightbrother than some skeleton, I say. Mercifully, bonfires meditation circles are more liberally distributed here, though.
And think about those climbing sequences in Uncharted, but now it’s a crashed Venator-class Star Destroyer, and being spotted devolves into actually enjoyable combat rather than a Naughty Dog gunfight. There’s even that Shadow of the Colossus boss where you climb up his beard, only now for some reason it’s an AT-AT.
And you know how netting new abilities in Metroid unlocks new areas in previously explored zones? This does that, but new Force abilities are accompanied by flashbacks to Jedi training.
Plenty of Star Wars fan service, too, though not obnoxiously so. You get to play through a formative moment in Cal’s past and Star Wars lore, and it follows Rogue One and Rebels in its brilliantly terrifying treatment of an iconic villain. It even confirms a fan theory that links The Clone Wars and The Force Awakens.
Nostalgia isn’t all it has to lean on, though – which, frankly, is more than can be said about a lot of post-Disney Star Wars. All of these pilfered ideas are executed with quality and the same eye for the cinematic that made Titanfall 2’s campaign so impressive.
There’s a next-gen update for Fallen Order coming in June, so if you’ve so far missed out and are desperate for something to play on that new hardware, it gets my hearty recommendation.
As I begin to suffer from that frequent disease that relapses every time a Star Wars movie comes out which makes me buy every product in sight, I came home from work yesterday with a copy of the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack in tow. When it comes to Star Wars produce the soundtrack is always one of the least regrettable purchases simply because John Williams’ superb compositions are one of the few things that has been reliably good across the whole saga. As much as I disliked Attack of the Clones, I still find Across The Stars to be a wonderful piece of music.
Like the film itself, this soundtrack is the one that has to tie everything together. You have the love themes and the hinted return of the Imperial March carried over from AOTC, and then you have the first appearances of A New Hope’s themes for Luke and Darth Vader. Even the victory theme from the end of A New Hope makes an appearance. Of course, in addition to this there’s a lot of new and suitably-dark overtures for the well-known battles that are set to take place and one of them, Battle of the Heroes, which you can hear a sample of here (requires iTunes), is simply one of the best pieces of music I’ve heard in a while.
I don’t know if the themes from this one will ever be as iconic as the likes of the Imperial March, but nonetheless this one remains an excellent show from John Williams as probably the best original composer working in Hollywood today.
As an extra incentive, the CD comes bundled with a bonus DVD entitled “Star Wars: A Musical Journey”. Running at around 70 minutes (including introductions to the various pieces; an hour without) and available for your listening pleasure in Dolby Digital 5.1 or uncompressed PCM stereo, it’s basically the story condensed into an hour and told almost entirely through music with very little dialogue – probably a good thing with the prequels. It’s not as pretentious and arty-fartsy as it sounds; it’s just an interesting way to listen to a lot of the music from all six movies condensed in such a way that you can sit down for an hour and watch/listen to it.
If you’re a fan of these scores and for some reason you aren’t picking up a copy yourself, the bonus DVD is a great addition to the package. It’s only like £9.99 online (I’ve seen it for as little as £11.99 on the high street), so you don’t have an excuse not to pick it up.