Back at Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago, I attended EA’s panel on its new third-person action/adventure game Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order, and was impressed and intrigued by the preview I saw. And this past weekend at EA PLAY 2019 in Los Angeles, I got an extended taste of the game that’s been receiving a lot of buzz among Star Wars fans.

Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order is set years after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with the Jedi Order having been almost entire wiped out by Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66. On the run from the Galactic Empire, Jedi Knight Cal Kestis (voiced by actor Cameron Monaghan of Gotham) must traverse the galaxy to evade detection and eventually confront those who would track him down.

Watch Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order Official E3 Trailer:

At EA PLAY 2019 (hosted in the parking lot of Hollywood’s Palladium theater), attendees were herded into a pop-up tent where developers of Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order demoed a chunk of the gameplay set on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk. The demo was essentially an extended version of the footage streamed early Saturday morning on the official EA Star Wars YouTube channel.

Starting a couple scenes earlier than the stream, the gameplay demo began with Cal swimming in one of Kashyyyk’s bodies of water pursuing an Imperial AT-AT Walker (as seen briefly in the E3 trailer above). The Jedi approaches the four-legged vessel, which itself is immersed knee-high in the swampy water, climbs its hull, and enters through the top in an attempt to gain control of the vehicle. The jumping, hanging, and sidling maneuvers used in this sequence reminded me a lot of the recent Tomb Raider games from Square Enix. In fact, I would compare many of the game’s mechanics favorably to those excellent titles, right down to the Jedi meditation state that replicates Lara Croft’s use of campsites to upgrade her weapons and abilities.

Watch Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order Official EA PLAY 2019 Gameplay Demo:

The big surprise for me in the demo was the appearance of Rebel freedom fighter Saw Gerrera (played by esteemed actor Forest Whitaker, reprising his role from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Rebels) as I had been avoiding the morning’s trailer news before waiting in line to enter the tent at EA PLAY. Saw seems to play the role of Kestis’s guide for parts of the game, though our protagonist is helped much more regularly along the way by the lovable new droid BD-1.

BD-1 perches on Cal’s shoulder for what appears to be the game’s entirety, acting as a personal scanning device, lockpicker, and all-around trusty companion. The adorable droid is sure to become the breakout star of Fallen Order, though there are other appealing characters, both new and returning from other entries in the Star Wars saga.

Beyond the usual Star Wars video game enemies like your standard Imperial Stormtroopers and various indigenous creatures, during the demo I saw Cal face off against the newly created Purge Troopers, tasked with hunting down and destroying the Jedi alongside the Sith Inquisitors. Speaking of which, we’ll meet a new Inquisitor in this game, the mysterious Second Sister, but EA isn’t giving us very much info about her just yet. The demo ended on an exciting cliffhanger of Kestis going toe-to-toe with a KX-seres Imperial security droid (remember K2-SO from Rogue One? Think him, but still evil.)

Though the visuals are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and the sound design perfectly replicates the theatrical Star Wars moviegoing experience in video game form, the highlight of the gameplay I saw was undoubtedly Cal Kestis’s Jedi fighting capabilities. As the character traversed the jungles of Kashyyyk and encountered a variety of enemies, it was a thrill to see him confront them in so many different ways. Force pushes, lightsaber throws, hand-to-hand combat, and even an amazing move where he slows down time after a Stormtrooper fires his weapon, then pulls the oblivious trooper into the path of his own blaster bolt all had me chomping at the bit to get my hands on the game this fall.

Watch Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order Official Reveal Trailer:

Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order is scheduled to be released on Friday, November 15 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and XBox One.



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