Star Wars Jedi: Survivor continues the story of Cal Kestis as he carries on fighting back against the Empire, in a galaxy that becomes more dangerous each and every day. It’s five years since the events of Fallen Order and in that time Cal has grown to be more capable in his Jedi abilities, and having made new allies and friends along the way. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor opens on Coruscant with Cal in the clutches of the Empire, and the original crew of the Mantis split up, all off doing their own thing. However, not everything is at it seems.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor really embraces the different eras of the Star Wars lore, from the time of the Empire, back to the Clone Wars, and even further into the past as the game acts as a bridge to the High Republic era as well. The events of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor are rooted in the High Republic, with an ancient conflict impacting Cal’s mission. The story is one of hope and betrayal, but some of it was quite predictable quite early on, treading familiar paths that other stories of this kind and in this franchise often do.
After the opening on Coruscant, Cal heads to Koboh, a frontier planet where the local town has a small community that is under constant threat from the raiders camp nearby, as well as an Imperial presence. You could just go from mission to mission just following the main story, but Koboh has the feel of a broader hub world and has lots to offer for those that like to explore off the beaten path. Given how large an area this is, it’s great to see how much better the world map is to help you navigate.
Leading you to some of its secrets are rumours, side missions that you can pick up from characters you run into. These missions could be as simple as retrieving an item to exploring ancient tombs, or finding out what happened to a group of prospectors. It is worth speaking to every NPC you see, as you never know who will give you a mission.
Just like Fallen Order, Survivor has Metroidvania and Souls-like elements to it. Areas will be locked off to Cal until he has found the right tool or learned the right skill to navigate the area. While Cal has access to a lot of Force abilities from the start, he is still learning and he will gain new skills as the story progresses, such as raising and lowering platforms. He also has access to more fighting stances, allowing you to approach combat in different ways.
The first stance is the standard single lightsaber style which will be suitable for most encounters, while the double blade is great for taking on groups of enemies. You can also dual-wield two lightsabers for faster attacks, but it was a stance that I very rarely used. Then there’s the Crossguard stance which turns the lightsaber into a blade similar to Kylo Ren’s, acting as a heavy sword, slower to wield but causes more damage, and a thoroughly unconventional blaster and lightsaber combo, allowing Cal to attack enemies from range. The blaster has to be charged up to use, with the charge coming from lightsaber attacks in this stance. It’s great having these more creative options, but for the majority of the game the single wield and double blade were more than sufficient to get through.
The combat for the most part is good, solid lightsaber action, occasionally spiced up when companions drop in for certain sections, though it can get a bit finicky at times – an issue that is a bit of a holdover from the first game. There is also the issue of the platforming. There’s some new tricks for getting around the world, including a grappling hook that is an integral new tool and the later ability to ride animals, but the fundamental platforming is sometimes let down by Cal feeling very floaty in some instances and simply not grabbing ledges at times, making him plummet to the ground. It can be frustrating since the majority of the time in Survivor is spent navigating large environments with paths that requiring quick thinking and precise timing. I’m sure that Respawn will tighten this up with patches.
Cal will earn skill points to unlock abilities which are now split into three categories: Lightsaber, Force, and Survivor. The first allows you to unlock skills for the different combat stances, Force unlocks new moves and improves current moves, while Survivor is all about improving Cal’s health and resilience. Survivor is the category you will want to focus on first. Skill points are primarily earned through combat, but you can also find Force crystals that also grant experience in the wild.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order looks fantastic as it throws off the limitations of the last generation to focus on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series and PC, but more importantly every world has a distinct look. Koboh has a number of different biomes from desert to swamps and mountains, while the planet of Jedah is a vast desert planet, but regardless of the location, there’s often things to explore and find. The only slight disappointment here is that, while Coruscant is present, you will see most of it in the opening section of the game and it’s nowhere near the size of Koboh or Jedah.