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The saga surrounding the long development cycle leading up to EA Games’ Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is fraught with as many snares and twists as the corridors that led Ben Kenobi to the Death Star’s tractor beam. But fans who’ve long despaired that the gaming side of the Star Wars galaxy might be going the way of microtransactions and unambitious online fare appear to have a new hope. Early reviews are pouring in for the first single-player Star Wars adventure in ages — and so far, as Yoda might say, they’re (mostly) luminous.
Set in the era between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Fallen Order follows ex-Padawan Cal Kestis (voiced by Gotham's Cameron Monaghan) across the stars to rebuild the Jedi, following Emperor Palpatine’s surge to take control of the galaxy and the Jedi-targeting Order 66. EA’s commitment to making Fallen Order deliver on fans’ bantha-sized expectations extends to neat details that developer Respawn Entertainment showed off in previews, including the new canonical BD-1 droid, which perches on Cal’s shoulder and lends him a hand, as well as the return of Saw Gerrera — voiced by original Rogue One actor Forest Whitaker.
If critics’ praise for Fallen Order is anything to go by, balance may have indeed returned to the single-player Star Wars world. Reviewers lament the brevity of the game’s single-player campaign and some buggy technical annoyances, but most agree that the action is epic, the gameplay mechanics are tight, and the scope of the adventure itself is both vast and totally spot-on as a welcome new chapter in the larger Star Wars story.
The PlayStation 4 version of the game was sitting at a solid 84 percent favorable Metacritic rating at the time of this article's posting, with the Xbox One and PC versions enjoying similar aggregate scores.
Here’s a look at what the critics are saying:
"It’s been ages since we got a great single-player Star Wars action game, but Jedi: Fallen Order makes up for a lot of lost time. A strong cast sells a dark story while keeping things fun and loyal to Star Wars lore, and fast, challenging combat mixes with energetic platforming, decent puzzles, and diverse locations to explore for an all-around amazing game." — Dan Stapleton, IGN
“One doesn't necessarily expect a story about space wizards and evil empires to feel resonant, but this does, and it does so in a way that not many pieces of big-budget media do. Fallen Order is a game about confronting your past and fighting for the future when you don't know if that future is ever going to get better. That feels timely, and wrapped around that idea, the rest of the game just sings. If Fallen Order was connected to the Force, it would radiate power.” — Julie Muncy, Wired
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a fun little romp filled with likable characters spiked with plenty of drama, enjoyable combat and a dark enough story that’s unfortunately littered with bugs. With that said, it’s by far the best Star Wars game we’ve been given in some time. With a few patches, and possibly refinements for a sequel, it could grow into a venerable series that does the Star Wars franchise right. As it stands, it’s still very much worth playing, bugs and all.” — Brittany Vincent, The Hollywood Reporter
“I couldn’t put this game down, both for the thrill of exploring and wanting to see where the story took me next. The inspirations taken from Dark Souls, Uncharted, and Metroid Prime unite to create something unique that just happens to work incredibly well for this beloved license. Like most starships in this universe, Jedi: Fallen Order could use a little polish, but the rust doesn’t hold it back from roaring with excitement.” — Andrew Reiner, Game Informer
"We’ve had so many Star Wars experiences that were first-person shooters, or action games, or role-playing games, and of course all those mobile games. But this is a new idea for how Star Wars games can be structured, and shows how much room there is in this universe to experiment with new ideas of what we want to do in the land of the Jedi and the Empire…Jedi: Fallen Order is a flawed, sometimes messy game, but it’s a Star Wars experience I didn’t know I wanted. And after finishing it, I definitely want more. — Ben Kuchera, Polygon
“[G]iven the state of Star Wars games over the past decade or so, a good-but-not-amazing single-player adventure is something of a miracle. Those issues I mentioned can be frustrating, but they’re also worth putting up with given how much Fallen Order gets right: the intense and open lightsaber combat, the clever puzzles, the intricate level design, a universe just dripping with history and intrigue. This is what I want from a Star Wars game — and Fallen Order gives me just enough to satiate that long-ignored need.” — Andrew Webster, The Verge
“It's true that Fallen Order borrows liberally from other action games, but those elements work together with Respawn's combat and environment design, and a story that finds humanity in the Force and in its characters, to hone in on what makes the world of Star Wars worthy of revisiting again and again. Even with some rough edges, Fallen Order represents one of the most compelling game additions to the Star Wars franchise in years.” — Phil Hornshaw, GameSpot
“[E]ven if this isn't the most polished Star Wars game we've seen, it's also the first one in years that comes closest to capturing the magic of the series…Fallen Order, with an endearing earnestness that mirrors its heroes, gets what makes the series special. It's in the glimpses of strange worlds and cultures we want to learn more about, it's enjoying the ragtag groups who slowly learn to trust each other, and it's the fact that lightsabers are really great fun. Especially when you get them right.” — Ben Tyrer, GamesRadar+
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is one for the fans…Despite some graphical oddities and questionable traversal choices, Respawn's game offers gripping narrative, intense lightsaber combat and wonderful worlds to explore. It's an adventure worthy of George Lucas' galaxy far, far away — a new hope for the single player Star Wars gaming tradition.” — Sean Keane, C|net
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.