Thursday, April 27, 2023

Early Game Review: 'Star Wars Jedi: Survivor'

While "Star Wars" has gotten more fulfilling game adaptations than most other film franchises, there has yet to be a game that fully captures the essence of some of the saga's top-tier storytelling. 

"Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" -- due out Friday -- is the closest attempt yet to nailing the wonder and majesty of some of the series' most legendary character arcs.

The sequel to the criminally overlooked 2019 game "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order," "Survivor" follows the exploits of Cal, one of the few remaining Jedi spared the scourge of Order 66, as he tries to stay a step ahead of the Empire's clutches.

The dev team at Respawn Entertainment takes the bones of that game and launches them into the stratosphere for the franchise's current-gen debut.

Back are the intoxicating Force powers, which you can tweak, upgrade and trick out as you advance through the story. As with the likes of "Elden Ring," "God of War" and "Deathloop" -- some of the greatest narrative triumphs this generation -- the key is consistent, blisteringly intense writing. The yarn told in the game can match up with the better Disney+ series offerings.

While the main thread is compelling enough, there are bountiful side quests to distract you, including bounty hunter pursuits and puzzles in Jedi shrines. There is always plenty to see, do and explore. Most importantly, the sense of giddy fun always abounds. The game has a consistent way of making you feel like you're a little kid pretending to be a Jedi in your backyard.

Exuberant and energetic while also somber and emotionally resonant enough to stay grounded, "Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" is an impressive accomplishment that will no doubt stand as one of the marquee games of the year, as well as a shining light of what's possible in a story-driven "Star Wars" game.

Publisher provided review code.

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