As a kid, I wanted to be a Jedi. As a fan of Star Wars, why wouldn’t I? I wasn’t alone — I had many friends who also bought toy lightsabers and rewatched the movies ad nauseam. But as a gamer, the hit-and-miss quality of Star Wars games made me dream of something better. That dream was realized in Respawn Entertainment’s 2019 title Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The Star Wars Soulslike is the best Jedi game ever made. Better still, and during the month of January, it is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
I am one with the force — Before Disney bought Star Wars, the canon of the universe was a mess, to put it kindly. Stretched out over decades of films, books, comics, and video games, nothing was quite clear or set in stone. It felt like each story took place in the creator's own little imagination of the Star Wars universe without making larger connections that tied everything together.
With Disney in control that has been streamlined and now the canon is clearer than ever and stories in different mediums still feel related. Fallen Order is the first Star Wars Video Game that feels like it truly lives inside the same world that Luke, Leia, and Han inhabited. Cal Kestis, while having a milque toast personality, exists within the grander universe in tangible ways.
His story begins in direct fallout of Star Wars Episode III and over the course of the game we encounter characters and groups that fans recognize on sight from other properties. One example is the rebel leader Saw Gerrara, who appears in Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels.
This extends to the game’s world, which lets players explore in detail places we have only seen on movie screens. One of the game’s main settings is the Wookiee home world of Kashyyyk, which is a joy to explore with its lush foliage.
When fans discuss the many Disney+ Star Wars shows or Fallen Order’s upcoming sequel, Jedi: Survivor, there are always theories of how Cal could show up in an Obi-Wan Kenobi season 2 or how Obi-Wan could appear in the games. This is all because Respawn made the world of Fallen Order feel like Star Wars to its very core.
And the force is with me — Playing Jedi: Fallen Order is to live the fantasy of becoming a Jedi Knight... with a catch. Cal Kestis is not a Jedi Knight; he never completed his training before Order 66 wiped out the majority of the Jedi order. So, the road to becoming a knight is a long arduous task for Cal, a journey that is reflected in the tough gameplay the player must surmount.
FromSoftware’s Soulsborne series of games have become a cultural phenomenon in the past decade, culminating in the release of 2022’s Elden Ring. Known for their tough-as-nails combat and the expectation that you will fail countless times in attempting to complete their games, Soulslike is now a genre. While not quite as difficult as FromSoftware’s titles, Jedi: Fallen Order takes many mechanical ideas from the series and uses them to realize the Jedi’s journey to Knighthood.
While Star Wars fans might expect to be flipping around and swinging a lightsaber with ease from the start, Fallen Order is not that power fantasy. The player will perish many times on their journey to being a Jedi, learning the ins and outs of how to use a lightsaber, and studying the movements of enemies. By the end, the player has become just as much of a learned expert as Cal has over the game's narrative. The Jedi is born.
Even if the journey is a little tougher than I imagined as a kid it is well worth it. For anybody who has ever wanted to live the fantasy of a Jedi knight, Jedi: Fallen Order is a can’t-miss experience.
Jedi: Fallen Order is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers to download during January.