Jedi Survivor Review (PC) – A Beautiful Mess

One of the more anticipated games for this year for me was Jedi Survivor having a blast with Jedi Fallen Order I was hoping those memories would be precipitated with the sequel game. Now I would say for the most part this game is better than the original, but we obviously also have to address the sloppy PC port of the game too, which prevents this from being one of those perfect titles. There will be some spoilers included in this review, consider this as a warning!

Premise & Story

One of the big questions probably for starters is, do I have to play the original game? I think I would say “yes” in terms of character development, the relation between the main cast and also base game gets you used to the core mechanics and controls of the game. So Jedi Survivor takes essentially 5 years after the events of Jedi Fallen Order premise being:

Five years after obliterating the Jedi holocron, Cal Kestis, a Jedi Knight, has bid farewell to his comrades Cere Junda, Greez Dritus, and Merrin. He embarks on a new path as a resistance fighter aligned with Saw Gerrera, continuing his tireless struggle against the Empire. His most recent undertaking involves joining forces with the skilled mercenary Bode Akuna. Their objective: to infiltrate the heart of the Imperial regime, Coruscant, and abscond with crucial military intelligence possessed by Senator Daho Sejan.

When you start the game there is also a bit of a recap of the events from the first game which gets you sped up what has conspired before. The stories aren’t inherently super connected to each other they are standalone but a lot of characters from the first game are making appearances. Compared to the first game there are a lot more side quests that have their own short stories which revolve around the people living in Koboh (basically the main hub for this game and the largest of the planets that you will be visiting). From a lore point of view the world seems more interactive, lot more things to explore and that does feel in the core story too.

I did however get into a similar issue with Witcher 3 that I ended up doing so much side content than actually progressing through the main story missions, which is fine, but sometimes you get too out of focus and that may distort how you experience the story and its pacing. This time around there is a lot more inner conflict and character focus in the story than some grand plot like saving the world – which is good, it feels humane and not every single piece of the story has to be so massive.

Rewriting Of The Old Characters

I’m glad how they handled characters too like Merrin who abandoned pansexual nonsense and literally became a trad wife for Cal. There is a lot deeper progress in the relationship between Cal and Merrin than what everyone initially wanted to see in the first game. Lore wise she “traveled” and that is due to why she changed as a person, but clearly some people over at EA didn’t like that woke direction and rewrote her a bit more appealing way to a mass audience, which btw is indeed white men. So yeah there are a lot of romance segments between the two that are lovely to see. I Don’t know if they had to change her design too, but everyone went through a bit of an overhaul from the old characters so it was expected.

On a side note, there is also a Mod that allows you to play as Merrin inside the game. 

Greez stays mostly the same, which is good because clearly, he was the most entertaining and personable character from the original game that everyone probably liked. He rejoins in this game bit after the prologue and plays an increasingly larger part as the story progresses further.

Then we have¬†Cere Junda and yes I had to use this old classic meme because that’s what I always thought about her when I saw her model in the first game, the picture above may fool you but it literally looked quite bad and I’m glad they shaved her head for good. That being said I was never a fan of Cere – she was like a combination of a token black character with a glimpse of mary sue.

Cere is playing a more minor role in Jedi Survivor and I think she is a lot more likable character this time around, maybe her writing is better and surely design is a lot more Jedi-esque and sage which I would expect from many Jedi who is in a teaching role. Props to Respawn for making her more interesting and better in the sequel.

There are plenty of different new characters you are going to be meeting in Koboh that are quite cool like Turgle, Doma, Caij, and Skoova are well designed with very strong personalities that make them pop out definitely.

Lastly, Cal Kestis is perhaps less stale than he was in the first game, he still kinda is this milk toast version of Luke Skywalker in my opinion. A lot of the story is about his quest and conflict with the Empire and coming to terms with inner struggles and feelings he may have about certain people like Merrin, this is a large focus of the game – a personal journey so to speak.

I think overall the story has good pacing, one significant twist, and decent dialogue and character development compared to the first game. There is a lot of great build-up for the final game and I think in some ways I would like to see the child of Cal and Merrin which would be half Jedi and half night-sister which is quite interesting. Also, many people including the Actor Cameron Monaghan actually desire to be in Live Action at some point and I also believe that would be something that could fit really well into some of the series.

New Stuff that’s been added in Jedi Survivor

I Won’t go recapping all the features and gameplay elements of Jedi Survivor especially if you have already played the first game, it is a Souls game in terms of its genre (a more casual version for that matter, with a very good easy mode for people who want just to enjoy the story) and it’s not so much different from its predecessor in terms of the core gameplay.

There are technically 5 different planets you are going to be exploring in this game two largest ones being Koboh and Jeddah, which have plenty of sidequests and collectibles to find. Hubs are a lot larger than they were in Fallen Order and definitely feel more Open world and there is plenty to explore and collect inside this game. I had a ~46h playthrough here and I didn’t go even a full 100% run that probably would have taken maybe extra 5 hours or so. So in terms of exploration and collectibles, there is a lot more this time around.

New Gameplay Elements

  • You can learn these “skills” now which are types of Runes that will enhance some of your abilities or give you traits like life regen or force regen. You get these bit later down the game, but this offers a lot more customization for your character and playstyle.
  • There are now 5 different saber stances that differ in speed, power, and utility. These are gradually unlocked and in the beginning, you have Dual Wield, Single and Double-bladed stances. Each of them has its own skill tree so you can learn abilities in them allowing further specification into that stance. However, you can have only 2 stances equipped at once so you gotta choose a workshop which specs you are going with.
  • Cal Kestis now rides different mounts in the game which allows you to travel in the land faster and get certain special treasures only with these mounts.
  • New Parkour abilities such as Grappleshot allow you to move in the world in a more aerial way.
  • Support Characters will help you in certain areas like Bode and Merrin, who have specific abilities which you can call upon by hitting a key combination

In short, there are adjustments to your build and everything else works more or less the same as in the first game, but just more tricks in Cal’s book than before basically. This is a perfect segway to talk about one of the issues I had with this game, which had to do with the controls. According to the developers the game is designed to be played with a controller and I can see why, but this exact issue I ran into with Assasins Creed II as I did with Jedi Survivor which is at some point when you start to map so many functions in the same button it becomes very messy or you have one button to hold and then have to use another one to execute a forced move.

I inherently don’t think that’s good design and it becomes messy when fights are going like I’m trying to do one thing but because I’m inputting buttons too fast character does the function I don’t want him to, this doesn’t happen when mapping is on exclusive buttons.

There are simply too many functions for Cal in the game overall. It may sound like a very minor thing, but it’s something I don’t like when a controller is a form of a Swiss army knife with so many different key combinations. Otherwise, all other elements like gravity engine and ragdoll work pretty nicely in this game, but sometimes I wish certain enemies would be a bit easier to push over the edges and not get hit by an invisible wall close to the edge.

Holo Tactics Minigame

They also decided to throw in this cool auto battler minigame known as Holo Tactics that you get to unlock after you recruit a specific duo to Pyloon. After defeating monsters, droids, and other humanoid enemies BB8 is able to scan these enemies and you unlock them in holotactics which is cool. This is a surprisingly funny minigame despite I’ve never been big into any sort of autobattler style games in the past really. However there is around ~8 different matches only that you can play and after that, there aren’t any other matches available, it would be cool to be able to play against other players in the game for instance, one would think it wouldn’t be too high a requirement in terms of coding.

Perhaps Respawn will consider adding more matches to play with higher difficulty in some Free patches in the near future because they did add some stuff into original Jedi Fallen Order post-launch, but right now they are probably occupied fixing the game instead before adding new content. Also there is a specific monster that simply is broken and allows you to win almost every matchup with it.

Frame Rate Hell & Glitches on PC Port

Before they did their first patch for Jedi Survivor I had around stable ~45 FPS in the game, but I had significantly more issues after they dropped the first patch on PC which caused a lot more massive frame drops. After playing around with switching off anti-aliasing and trying to lower shadow quality, I didn’t really get any significant FPS improvements on the game. On Koboh especially the FPS could be dropped down to 20 in worst-case scenarios on other locations with less stuff there would be more higher FPS and during cutscenes I was seeing a 40-50 FPS average.

All things being said in terms of optimization I have to say the game is poorly done even after they got 1 month extra to finish and tune up the game. Sometimes it feels to me these guys are doing this intentionally or gaming companies are no longer doing any sort of beta tests to see how their games run on any PC’s to get proper data.

I honestly didn’t face that many massive graphical glitches or bugs myself. I had one of the people in the saloon have her head warping around like she was having a seizure or something. During my playthrough, I did have around 5-6 crashes and I’m not sure how many of those were due to me constantly alt-tabbing which I have a nasty habit of doing. There was also one side quest I was never able to complete quest stayed on the map forever even though I had opened the chest that completes the quest.

Console versions from what I’ve heard have run a lot better and have much fewer issues. But let’s not pretend that this was as bad as what went with Cyberpunk 2077, yeah there are bugs here and significant performance issues, but the rest of the stuff does work as it should.

End Verdict

It’s a great title and I probably enjoyed it more than I did the first game, even though I got a bit burned out from all the collecting inside the game. I Would wait for a couple of patches before they optimize the game a bit more before buying it, especially if you are on a lower-end PC you are not gonna have a great time unless you’re fine with playing on very low graphics. The scope of the game is ambitious, there are plenty of challenges, explorable things, puzzles, bounties, and side bosses to do.