Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

released on Apr 28, 2023

The story of Cal Kestis continues in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a third-person, galaxy-spanning, action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. This narratively driven, single-player title picks up five years after the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and follows Cal’s increasingly desperate fight as the galaxy descends further into darkness. Pushed to the edges of the galaxy by the Empire, Cal will find himself surrounded by threats new and familiar. As one of the last surviving Jedi Knights, Cal is driven to make a stand during the galaxy’s darkest times — but how far is he willing to go to protect himself, his crew, and the legacy of the Jedi Order?

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The last hour or so of Jedi Survivor was excellent and I'm eager to see where the series goes from here storywise.
The game still feels unpolished almost a year after it initially released. Lots of strange graphical and model bugs peppered through the entire experience that really took me out of the game.
The conbat felt very off too. Theres kind of a Sekiro feel to the game where you're meant to parry enemy attacks to lower their block bar before you can do any real damage. The issue I had throughout the entire game is that you would completely drain an enemy's block bar and when you'd strike the enemy with your lightsaber, the enemy would get pushed back so dealing damage never really felt satisfying. You'd get one or two good strikes in but the rest of your attacks would just whiff and you were left starting back at having to lower their block bar again. I don't think I ever really got to use a full combo string on any enemy in the entire game.

The best non-FromSoftware soulsike I've played yet and a step up from the previous entry in every aspect. Respawn just gets what makes Star Wars fun.

Me and some of the homies jumped Turgle in Pontoon's Saloon and nobody did shit about it. Skoova pulled me aside the next day, said it was the most violent beatdown he ever saw, shook my god damn hand. We all hate Turgle around here.
Jedi: Fallen Order was an eclectic mix of Metroid style exploration, Uncharted traversal (see: climbing and environmental puzzles), and a smattering of Sekiro/Souls elements that came together pretty well. A 3.5/5 game, some would say. Had a good time with it for like, five dollars. That's practically a steal when you consider how much Greez you get for the price point, and the game was pretty good, too!
Survivor is about what you'd expect from a sequel. Rough edges have been smoothed over, the world is larger in scale and scope, and you can now make Cal look like some dweeb that does karate behind his trailer in a dirty old gi, yellow belt flopping around as he administers Akido-style justice to a hanging tire. Look, I'm not going to complain, Fallen Order's cosmetic options were dire and mostly amounted to ponchos that looked like total garbage, I'll happily take the massive volume of terrible 70's hairstyles they introduced in Survivor if it means getting at some good jackets and pants. Even Greez is getting in on the action, looking like a greaseball disco sex fiend with his popped buttons and gold pendant. The point is, Survivor is bigger and better in the ways I hoped it would be!
A major way in which Survivor expands on the first game is by introducing large hub areas to two of its worlds, which gives the game a sort of Uncharted: Lost Legacy rhythm. You can poke around, solve puzzles, find secrets, and then move on to more linear stretches of gameplay that move the story forward. Koboh serves as your primary base of operations, and in true Souls fashion, you can recruit various characters in the open world and have them join you at Pontoon's Saloon, where they can offer services, quests, or be Turgle (absolutely useless and in fact detrimental!) I really enjoyed the character writing of the first game, so I found it nice spending time building a whole community of weird alien buddies to hang out with. Grab a few drinks, listen to some jizz... Oh I'm sorry, it's 'jatz' now because we can't have anything nice. I won't stand for this jizz erasure.......
It took a while for the open world sections to grow on me, though. You just lack too many Force powers in the early game, which causes exploration to devolve into this frustrating start-and-stop when Cal inevitably gets roadblocked by some big red glowing object that he cannot pass. Sometimes you're given side quests far earlier than you can complete them, which is really irritating, too. I pushed most of my exploration back to the last third of the game and had a much better time with it, but as a consequence, a lot of cosmetic options, quests, and characters did not reveal themselves until very late in the game, and I feel like all of this could've been better balanced.
At least the new Force powers are great and make traversal a lot of fun, and although the grind for skill points means you should probably just pick two stances early and build them (I went with the blaster and vanguard stances), even a Cal that is well under max level can do some pretty crazy stuff in combat. Survivor excels at making you feel like some incredibly powerful Jedi. I do think a few too many bosses veer into Dark Souls 2 "another guy with a sword" territory, though it is also very funny to me that the most powerful boss in the game is a gigantic frog with a one-hit kill move, and all you get for this is a dirty poncho and the judgmental stare of a smaller, presumably more powerful frog.
I once again need to preach the virtues of waiting to buy a AAA game until several months of patches smooth out bugs and performance problems. Nothing ever quite excelled to the same heights as what my friend Larry Davis experienced. I had no crashes, no soft locks, and only a small handful of freezes that resolved pretty quickly. I thankfully never encountered any memory leaks, or anything else that could be considered game breaking. This is of course the benefit of waiting over six months to enjoy a AAA EA release - half the cost and half the technical problems.
However, I still had a lot of performance issues that disrupted the experience both in quality and performance modes. Lighting effects strobing wildly, textures loading in too slowly, frame drops and micro-freezes when moving between certain rooms... Screen tearing was a common issue, and NPCs on the Mantis would t-pose anytime they weren't seated prior to me selecting the next world to travel to. Load times are bad in general, often taking a good 15-20 seconds which in the modern age of SSD's is an eternity but becomes especially burdensome if you want to follow the bounty hunter questline, which has you darting between worlds, which in itself is a whole process.
As Larry points out, the first game's issues were never fully addressed, and he had little expectation that Survivor's would be. Vindicated. It must be a burden being so consistently right. He told me to say that, said he'd toss me to the giant frog on Koboh if I didn't, but he's got a point. At least Survivor is not in such a volatile state now that you'll be as prone to losing progress as he was. I think. It's hard to say whether that's the case or if I just won the EA lottery.
While fun overall, Jedi: Survivor still has more Problems than you'd want to see in a 70$ product, and some elements of its open world exploration can make the early game tedious and frustrating. It's got Greez, though. Greez is the greeziest character we've ever had, if only we can get Jedi: Survivor working...

Visuals are muddy and performance is not great, but enjoying it otherwise.

An amazing game that is unfortunately an unoptimized mess. Though patches have made the game look and run better, it's still not where it should be. If you're not a Star Wars fan, don't bother with this one.