Here is our review for Jedi: Survivor. We discuss combat, exploration, story and the open-world. Spoiler alert: we were largely unimpressed.
If you want the Jedi Survivor review in just one sentence: this is a mediocre Action RPG that achieves a few things very well but is largely overshadowed by terrible performance issues. For a number out of 10, Survivor would probably be in the 6.6-6.9 range if it weren't for all the performance issues, but with those glaring issues taken into consideration, we can't fairly rate the game any higher than a 6.
So should you buy Jedi Survivor? A lot of that will come down to your own personal sensitivity towards resolution and frame rate. But if those things are important to you, we absolutely advise against buying the game right now (and we tested it on a high-end PC and a PS5, both had profound issues). However, if you're still happy to play games that basically look like they're from the previous generation, keep reading.
Note: In this Jedi Survivor review we're going to assume you all know the game has performance issues, and so we'll instead focus entirely on how it plays when everything is running properly. Here is some further reading, if you want to know more about the issues on PC and PS5 respectively.
Jedi Survivor Review: Combat
On paper, the combat looks like a step-forward from Fallen Order, with a greater variety of playstyles on offer. But in actuality, the combat feels worse. A lot of the problems can be blamed on the weirdly-punishing skill point system. The way the system has been implemented means that although there are five stances to choose from, the vast majority of players will just pick two and stick with them the entire game (you have to pay in skill points to respec, so you effectively become weaker whenever you want to change your playstyle).
But even if we had access to all five stances and we were encouraged to use them, the fights themselves lack any real variety. There aren't many enemy types and they don't force you to change your tactics much at all. And if you thought the bosses would be much better, you'd be mistaken. The bosses do not have complicated movesets, and are all easy to beat once you've mastered parrying.
One positive aspect of the combat that’s worth mentioning is the integration of Force abilities. These can be very satisfying to use thanks to how weighty they feel, and they do a lot of the groundwork in helping you enjoy the fantasy of becoming a Jedi Master. The Force abilities aren’t very complicated (lots of Force Push/Pull) but that’s more to blame on the source material than it is this game.
Jedi Survivor Review: Exploration
While the combat is poor, exploration and traversal are a highlight, and this is what you'll spend most of your time doing as you play. You gradually unlock more and more ways to move around the map as you get further into the game, but even from the prologue you get a fun variety of wall-running, "Jedi Flipping" and even a grappling hook to play around with. And by the time you have all the movement abilities unlocked, you can get really creative.
All of these traversal options are necessary because so much of the game's level design is focused on Tomb Raider-style environmental puzzles. The solution to each puzzle is sadly quite obvious, but performing the right combo of acrobatics is no less enjoyable.
Jedi Survivor Review: Story
The characters are great; they're well written and fantastically voice-acted. But besides the character work, the story is just "okay". In an Action RPG like this most fans aren't expecting anything sensational, but all the same, it feels like a step-down from Fallen Order.
The story moves from location to location in a formulaic way, without ever hitting a great crescendo or moment of tragedy. Although, there are two exceptions to this: one great twist at the end, and a few scenes of Cal and the crew enjoying some downtime (as corny as it sounds, the game does a wonderful job at capturing the magic of a group of friends sticking it out against the world).
Jedi Survivor Review: The World
Sometimes Jedi Survivor hits you with a genuinely cinematic and breathtaking vista. Some of the interior spaces are also very impressive, with the level of detail being testament to just how much these devs love the franchise. But those great moments punctuate an otherwise underwhelming experience of the Star Wars universe.
We get six planets in total, but only one of them feels like the kind of open-world environment RPG fans will expect. And even that planet, Kobho, is relatively empty. There aren't many secrets or activities to happen upon, the main settlement is basically just one shop and one pub, and the side-quests are uninspired. Honestly, one of the few really fun things to do on Kobho is hunt for stupid haircuts.
It would also have been an improvement to see a greater variety of natural climates. We get a ton of desert locations, but nothing verdant like Endor, or snowy like Hoth. In defense of Respawn, the desert locations are done very well, and they do capture that distinctly Star Wars aesthetic of the scrapyard frontier town, but we were left wanting more.
Jedi Survivor Review: Verdict
We were very excited by the prospect of Respawn pushing the Jedi games away from linear action and towards expansive RPG territory. Unfortunately, Survivor clearly needed a few more years in development to pull this trick off (and we’re not just talking about the subpar technical performances). There are new systems in place to add further replayability and customization, but they lack any real depth. And by moving away from the linear model, it feels like Respawn have really lost something from a story-telling perspective.
But as negative as all that sounds, there are some great ideas in Jedi: Survivor that we hope to see properly developed later in the franchise. This studio clearly understands the tone of the universe and they know the kind of galaxy-hopping fantasy that fans are after, even if they weren't able to execute it perfectly here.
If you want to see what some of these RPG systems look like in-game:
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