Star Wars: Jedi Survivor is a lot of fun, and it’s forcing me to become a better gamer

star wars jedi survivor cal kestis headshot with blue lightsaber and bd-1
(Image credit: Respawn/EA)
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When newly-released video games cost $70 a pop, and I have a backlog of games several miles long, it goes without saying that buying a video game close to launch is a rare occurrence for me. But thanks to some generous discounts that have continued into the new year, I’ve been able to sink my teeth into Star Wars Jedi Survivor a little earlier than I expected.

Set 9 years before Episode 4 and 5 years after the events of the previous game, Jedi Survivor puts you back in the shoes of Jedi Knight Cal Kestis — now actively engaged in rebel activity against the Empire. Also Cal’s alone this time, having slowly lost his crew through the years, leaving the adorable warbles of BD-1 as his only long-term companion. 

I’ve long held the opinion that Star Wars video games have been in a pretty poor state since Disney took over. Not that the LucasArts era produced classic after classic, mind, just that Disney has completely failed to capitalize on the demand for Star Wars video games over the past few years. 

Thankfully the games we have had are pretty good quality, and Fallen Order was arguably the best post-Disney video game that didn’t have the word “Lego” in its name. A solid single player campaign, set in a very interesting part of the Star Wars timeline, and without all the usual money-grabbing nonsense publisher EA is infamous for employing. And, so far, Jedi Survivor is proving to be a pretty worthy successor.

Button mashing isn't a style fit for a Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

I just wish I was better at it, because I am well and truly sick of fudging up my combat and dying at the hands of whatever alien beastie I’m up against. Admittedly, it’s been a couple of years since I played Jedi Fallen Order but I do not remember the combat requiring quite so much finesse. 

Maybe it’s because I spent a spell playing The Force Unleashed last year, which is very much a button-mashing hack-and-slash type combat system. But Jedi Survivor has made it quite clear that the block button is not a suggestion. If you don’t know how to parry, you’re going to have a very bad time — even on middling difficulty levels. 

The combat is definitely different this time, thanks to the new stance system. It’s not just a choice between single and double-bladed combat anymore, and while I still don’t know which one is my favorite it opens up a lot of different ways to play — and strategizing since you’re only allowed two stances at any given time.

There’s even a choice to use a blaster in this game, which seems like a very un-Jedi thing to do. But it does help mix up the fights a little bit, and it’s nice to have proper ranged attacks that don’t rely on flinging your lightsaber and draining your force energy. But this ain’t a shooter, and that ammunition is very limited.

And hey if it worked for Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, it's good enough for Cal.

I’ve still got a lot of leveling up to do

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

I’ve made some solid progress in Jedi Survivor, but I’ve no idea quite how much of the story is still to do. But judging from my skill trees I’m only scratching the surface of what Cal is capable of this time round. And I’ve been mostly focussed on boosting my health and force meters to try and give myself a slight advantage over the legions of enemies that are somehow resistant to both lightsabers and force attacks. 

So it stands to reason that my combat skills are pretty lacking right now, and I’ll need to spend some of those hard-earned skill points on better fighting techniques. Which is easier said than done, because the progression bar is noticeably slower to fill right now.

But it does seem to be working, albeit slowly. I’m picking up new combat tricks all the time, and I seem to be dying considerably less. Usually when I do it’s down to my own stupidity, or the fact I’m miles away from any meditation points, rather than a serious lack of skill.

I just wish I could defeat the darn Oggdo Bogdo a little more easily. Somehow I think they made that mini boss even harder than the one in the first game — which also caused me plenty of problems.

Jedi Survivor’s story is good, but Star Wars needs more variety

Star Wars Jedi Survivor screenshot

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

While I’m enjoying Jedi Survivor’s story, it’s kind of annoying to have yet another Star Wars story set between Episodes 3 and 4 — during the time of the Empire. It’s an interesting period, but it’s also an era of the Star Wars timeline that’s been done so much over the past 10-plus years. 

Less so in the few games we’ve had in the new canon, but comics, books, movies and TV shows have done so much that it feels like this era has been done to death. While I’d like to see at least one more Jedi game to round out a trilogy, we need future Star Wars games to spread out a bit. 

After all, the best Star Wars game ever made was set thousands of years before the Prequels, and while the KOTOR remake might be stuck in development hell, fans’ passion for the era has not waned. But hey, at least we’re getting the High Republic in the form of Quantic Dream’s Star Wars: Eclipse. Who knows when, but it’ll probably arrive before we see the Old Republic in any form…

So, Disney, if you’re reading this, we need more Star Wars games and a better variety of them. Just make sure that the single-player mode is more like Jedi Survivor and less like Battlefront II.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.