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Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Review - A New Fandom Favorite

EDITORS' RATING : 9 / 10
Pros
  • Dynamic combat provides thrilling combat
  • Star Wars universe creates rich lore and strong narrative
  • Combo and multi-step controls create an engaging challenge
  • Gorgeous environment design lives up to the hype
  • Fast travel finally added to game
Cons
  • As with first game, map is a bit of a nuisance

A PS5 review code was provided to Zaaz for this review. "Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" is out now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PS5.

The fantastical dream to brandish a light saber and traipse the galaxy at hyperspeed is deeply rooted in many adults' brains after first laying eyes on "Star Wars" as impressionable children. This breathtakingly massive fictional universe has always and likely will always withstand the test of time. From the time the first "Star Wars" book, "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker," hit shelves in 1976, to the release of the newest "Star Wars game" just a week ago, there have been countless tokens to the legacy George Lucas created — including toy light sabers to the iconic Millennium Falcon Lego set to innumerable references throughout culture, the "I am your father" line exchanged between Buzz Lightyear and Emperor Zurg in "Toy Story" being among our favorite. 

But back to that game just released last week — that's "Star Wars Jedi: Survivor." And because Padawans never grow old, Star Wars fans have been anticipating this game for years. This sequel follows a "Star Wars" game that received tons of approval and set a benchmark for modern-era video games within the franchise. Does "Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" fill the shoes? Short answer: absolutely.

The last Jedi's fight for survival

"Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" is the sequel to 2019's "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order." In this second installment, we continue to follow protagonist and renegade Jedi-cide survivor Cal Kestis, who dodges imprisonment from the Empire and goes on the run. We control Cal in this single-player action adventure, and are tasked with outrunning Imperial adversaries and linking up with friendlies that want to see the Jedi Order reinvigorated. 

The campaign will take about 20 hours to complete at leisurely pace. There's mystery, a heart-wrenching betrayal, bloodshed, and hope. We discover some new friends and plenty of new enemies — and lose a lot of both along the way. The game makes heavy use of foreshadowing, so you are likely to see some of the major plot twists coming, but the ending is climactic and emotional, with a sudden antagonist in the later part of the game. 

Key differences from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

"Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" players can rejoice in the fact that fast travel, which was absent from the 2019 game, was added to "Survivor." While the maps were definitely expanded on in scope and detail, the map is still one of the least user friendly game maps from a major title that we've ever encountered. The 3D view approach, combined with the close-quarters and blocky multi-tiered layout of the game environments, made making use of the map difficult at times, a complaint that we shared about "Fallen Order."

However, if you enjoyed the light saber combat in "Fallen Order," you will equally enjoy it in "Survivor," if not more thanks to the more sophisticated fighting mechanics. The use of light sabers and the Force in combat heavily relies on a willingness to use combo controls, parrying, and dodging to be successful, but it's an immersive thrill that was mastered in the first game and only improved upon in "Survivor." 

PS5 performance is exceptional

Longtime "Star Wars" fans will probably find "Survivor" to be another all-time favorite game — especially if played on PS5, but perhaps not so much if played on a PC. Our testing was performed on the Sony console, but several of our PC-using friends reported incredibly poor optimization for computer-based play. On PS5, gameplay is smooth and graphics are crisp and clean, audio is always in line with characters in the cinematics, and there are no issues with collision detection or other bugs. EA and the devs really pulled out all the stops to foster a stunning backdrop to the campaign.

On a PC, however, users say you should expect catastrophically low frame rates, even on more than capable hardware. There were also a number of bugs impacting PC play of the game — particularly in door rendering and audio lapses during cutscenes — but a patch may have already fixed that problem. Hopefully, developers Respawn Entertainment are already fast at work behind the curtain remedying this frame rate issue.

I will survive

"Star Wars Jedi: Survivor" and its predecessor are some of those few games that honors the franchise from which it stems, while also using enough imagination to create something interesting for fans. The map can still be frustrating. Some chapter maps use such dark shades that making out the map shape is difficult, and the 3D layout approach is often more annoying than it is useful. Other than that, though, "Survivor" is extremely well crafted and mostly improves on what dissatisfied players in the first installment, notably the addition of fast travel, which would have significantly improved the gameplay enjoyment of "Fallen Order."

"Survivor" isn't a perfect game, but the title's strengths far outweigh its flaws that to give it any less of a ranking than a 9 out of 10 is just splitting hairs. The combat is engaging, the environment is perfect, and the lore does "Star Wars" justice. 

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