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Star Wars Jedi: Survivor preview: the sequel fans were hoping for

Will McCue

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Star Wars Jedi: Survivor preview: the sequel fans were hoping for

Featured Image Credit: EA / Respawn

Cal Kestis is no longer an innocent young Padawan, he’s a battle-hardened Jedi Knight with the skills to match, making Jedi Survivor infinitely more fun and replayable than its predecessor. I’ll go into more detail further down this preview but the TLDR is: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is basically a better version of Jedi: Fallen Order and that’s a very good thing indeed.

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Koboh, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Koboh, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Our three hour gameplay session takes place mainly on the planet Koboh; a grand vista of my new playground spans the horizon and I’m instantly struck with how much more open the world feels this time around. Obviously this is just one open-zone area and from what I can assume, the main hub of activity, but it’s exciting to feel a noticeable change so quickly. There are loads of weird and wonderful characters dotted around, most of whom will offer side quests if you speak to them. One led me down a cave with a really cool (and really difficult) boss battle. A poor developer from Respawn watches me die over and over again until I finally get the better of the beast, giving me a feeling that would rival any gaming accomplishment.

The game encourages you to explore and rewards you handsomely with all manner of customisation unlockables, skill points, and lore. Respawn actually made an entire team dedicated to customisation while making Jedi: Survivor and it shows. You can make your Cal Kestis, with countless haircuts, facial hair options and outfits that you’ll discover on your adventures. My Cal has a buzzcut and a beard, dual-wielding a green lightsaber. I joke with the devs that it’s literally a Jedi version of me so I’m hoping they bring me in for a motion capture session soon.

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Rancor boss, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Rancor boss, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Furthermore, the parts on BD-1 (your little robot companion) are fully interchangeable and there are almost too many options when designing your lightsaber - it almost reminded me of a Warzone loadout. I could easily spend way too much time choosing my perfect saber but I want, no, need to tour whatever else Koboh has in store for me.

While traversing the many uncharted paths, cliffs, buildings and caves I’ve noticed that Cal’s movement is a lot more streamlined. I often found myself getting frustrated in Fallen Order when climbing or jumping across chasms but now it’s so much more fluid. A few more skills such as the use of a grappling hook, features like the upgraded Holomap and much more intuitive gameplay mechanics allow you to feel like a real Jedi Master. It’s fitting that an improvement in gameplay matches up with Cal’s experience as a Jedi.

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Hairstyle customisation, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Hairstyle customisation, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

At a certain point, around two hours into my time with the game, I learn the ability to tame certain animals. Riding on Nekko mounts across the luxurious landscape or gliding through the air Breath of the Wild style, mixed with euphoric Star Wars-like music makes exploring and traversing a real breeze.

In what may be a sigh of relief to players across the world, there’s now a fast travel system between the many meditation spots, meaning you can venture off the beaten path without the worry of getting stuck like in the last game. Respawn has also designed each planet so that the Mantis is placed in the middle of the map, creating a spiderweb of adventure. A stark contrast to the more linear paths in Fallen Order. There’s still some backtracking but it’s nowhere near as frustrating as before. The developers have really taken feedback on board and have made a better version of their game, something every good sequel should do.

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Other new additions include perks that can be used to complement your specific playstyle. They’re often rewards for completing Jedi Chamber puzzle rooms. One chamber I’ve found is a parkour race but every jump changes where the safe zone is. They’re fun mini-games that offer great bonuses and create the perfect chance to take a breather from the main game.

About to glide across the map in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
About to glide across the map in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

As my play session comes to an end, we’re shown an example of what the combat could look like against an endless wave of Stormtroopers. The guy on the sticks is the combat designer so it’s impressive to watch. He goes through all of Cal’s stances: single lightsaber; double-bladed; dual-wield; crossguard and finally, blaster. His Cal uses the force to lift a wave of baddies into the air to then shoot them all with his blaster. Several seconds later and the entire wave is gone, finished by a round of applause from the audience. It kind of felt like clapping when a plane lands but it was pretty darn cool.

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These stances are yet another way that you can make your Cal fit your playstyle. Unfortunately, the blaster wasn’t in our small time with Jedi: Survivor but I can’t wait to pretend to be Han Solo when the game comes out on April 28. If the rest of the game follows suit in what I’ve played so far, we could be in for a treat.



Topics: Star Wars

Will McCue
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