Monday, November 18, 2019

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Two-hour impressions)

I have incredibly fond memories of two Star Wars games (I've played over a dozen): Super Star Wars (SNES) and Knights of the Old Republic (PC, original version). KOTOR, in particular, was a towering game, just brilliant in both design and execution, with quality everywhere.

Now that I think of it, that SNES Star Wars game was pretty fantastic, too, with a trench run at the end that was a brilliant recreation of the original.

Most of the time, though, Star Wars games are disappointments. Over-hyped, unfinished, never quite hitting the mark.

This time, though, I was hyped. Early reviews were 90+. This must be the one. And I have EA Sovereign Ruler Access or somesuch service, so I was able to play this game for "free."

I've played two hours.

Three alternative names for this game:
Uncharted: Jedi
Crash Bandicoot: Jedi Edition
Star Wars: Grate and Vine

WTF-itty-F is this?

The reviews talk about an open-world game that's mostly exploration, mixed with combat. Where is that game? The game I'm playing is an endless runner with lots of grate and vine climbing.

It also has the dramatic impact of a sponge.

I'm running and slashing and jumping and climbing, all along a pre-determined path on a train, and there are BIG MOMENTS™  coming every few minutes, but they just don't care how long it takes me. What would that feel like in real life?

Dear Father,
I am still trapped between railway cars, where I have been for the last six months. Curiously, though the enemy continues to engage in repetitive search patterns and behavior, they have been unable to find me. Perhaps they will tire one day. 

[SPOILER ALERT: That letter could not be written for reasons]

The problem with setting up BIG MOMENTS™ like this without any sense of pace is that all the bigness drains out of them. When it happens over and over again, it just feels ridiculous.

Look, I understand that it's just an introduction to the game, but why introduce the game and it's physical commands in a level that is apparently totally unlike the rest of the game? It's just cheap.

Oh, and in the Cheap Dept., how about getting caught on scenery, or how if you can't grab onto something when you jump, you just sort of bounce off? Yeah, it looks bad. Real bad.

It's not that there aren't deft moments in the first two hours. There are some terrific bits of dialogue and moments that feel natural and genuine. The game is a tremendously odd mix of deft and clumsy, often within seconds of each other.

Tomorrow: Hey, it kind of opens up! Into a slightly different endless runner.

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