We finally had the question of “What does Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order look like?” answered at EA Play on Saturday. And then our own Miranda Sanchez got to see an extended version of that demo shortly thereafter. Now I can also answer the obvious follow-up question, “How does Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order play?”To set expectations up front, I didn’t see anything new that Miranda didn’t. I simply got to play the back half of the extended demo; basically, I played what EA first aired on their livestream. Read Miranda’s preview to get the full rundown of that presentation. I took the controls after warming up in a combat tutorial.
In short, Jedi Fallen Order’s combat is deeper than it looks. Combos, parries, and counters define the combat experience. For instance, deflecting the blaster shots of Stormtroopers has two parts. You can hold LB down to simply block; when you do, blaster rounds won’t hit you, but they’ll deflect away. To actually counter them and send them back at your attacker, you have to tap LB at just the right moment in order to parry the shot.
The X button handles basic attacks, but if you can land a hit and then time your successive button presses correctly, you’ll do a three-hit combo. Alternatively, if you dodge out of the way of an incoming attack with the B button and then strike, you’ll earn a counter as well. It’s even more fun if you time the LB block on an attack properly. Again, tap it just as the enemy’s attack is about to strike you and it opens them up (well, the lower-level Stormtroopers, anyway) for a finisher. The camera swivels in and around a bit and Cal will do one of a handful of finishers, such as lifting the bad guy up and then slamming him down to the ground (and his death) with your lightsaber.
Speaking of which, I was honestly disappointed that you can’t dismember bad guys with your lightsaber. It turns out you can, sort of. “We’ll use it in select cases,” senior designer Justin Perez told me, before clarifying what he meant. Basically, droids and spiders and the like can have their legs and arms (if applicable) lopped off, but not humanoids. Blame the Disney branding folks for that one, it seems.
I also got a tantalizingly brief look at the skill point menu. When you reach certain points (a glowing blue circle on the ground), you can meditate — a narrative justification for replenishing your health and saving your checkpoint. But you can also spend your skill points in these moments. I was allowed to open the menu, but not spend any time in it looking at the different trees, or using any points. It is a very large tree with many branches, however, and at a glance indicates that there will be many different playstyles to tailor your preferences to.
That Jedi Fallen Order is in fact structured like the original KOTOR — that is, with a ship you can do stuff in besides travel to other planets (like talk to your crew or do other little interactive things), noncombat areas where you can talk to NPCs, multiple dialogue options, and the freedom to go back and forth to any planets you’ve visited — only gets me more fired up to play the rest of Respawn’s single-player take on the Star Wars universe.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.SOURCE: IGN.com