Game of the Month – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

PLATFORMS Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC
RELEASE DATE 04.28.2023

Four years ago, on consoles one generation away, Respawn Entertainment and EA released one of the best Star Wars games in recent memory. Not only did Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order nail the vibe of George Lucas’s sprawling space opera universe, tell a compelling story as a part of the official franchise canon, and deliver a memorable hero in Padawan-turned-fugitive Cal Kestis, it also delivered all the scope and polish of a modern big, budget action game.

Now, Cal’s back in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Like its predecessor, the sequel blends familiar elements from other action games into something that feels distinct, borrowing the best ideas and mechanics from beloved series like Dark Souls, Metroid, and even Respawn’s own Titanfall, using them to fashion something new.

The game picks up five years after the events of the first game, with Cal now a full-fledged Jedi fighting against the evil Galactic Empire. Without venturing too deep into spoiler territory, we’ll just say that quite a few familiar faces return, alongside new friends and foes and a handful of excellent cameos. Intriguingly, Jedi: Survivor also ties in heavily to a new era in the canon that Disney is exploring: the High Republic, which existed for a few centuries before the events of Episode I.

In terms of gameplay, one of the most compelling aspects of Jedi: Survivor is that Cal keeps the abilities he unlocked over the course of the last game—no Samus-gets-EMP-blasted-and-loses-everything moment here. Instead, Respawn has layered additional Force abilities on top of Cal’s previously gained powers. One highlight? He can now use the Jedi mind trick to tame animals and compel bad guys to (temporarily) fight on his side.

Cal also gains access to five different lightsaber stances, including one that lets him use a blaster, and another that lights up a crossguard on his saber (reminiscent of Kylo Ren’s) and makes it feel like a heavy broadsword. The sheer variety of tactics at your disposal by the end of the adventure are impressive. If you wanted to, you could practically fight every single battle a different way.

If there’s anywhere that Jedi: Survivor comes short, it’s only in comparison with its predecessor. While some of the planets Cal explores in the new game are much, much bigger than anything in Jedi: Fallen Order, there are fewer of them overall, so you spend a lot more time heading back to worlds you’ve already visited. The story also feels a touch less impactful—though it’s still packed with exhilarating moments.

Still, in every other aspect, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor outshines the first game. With any luck, the series will continue—and continue to get even better. The Force is strong with this one.

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