E3 2019 Preview | Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Secret Demo
When we attended EA Play, we had a chance to enjoy a great demo of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. We learned a lot about the game and came away very impressed, even nominating it for one of our Best of E3 awards. That being said, we didn’t get to play the game at EA Play like some of the other media outlets. Luckily, during E3 2019, as luck would have it, we had a chance to play a completely different demo of the game. After receiving permission to publish this preview, here are our hands-on impressions.
The demo in question was of a special Gauntlet mode, where Cal Kestis would fight waves of enemies, getting progressively more difficult with each enemy wave. The mode was still in the development stages, as the arena was very basic, much like a training stage in a fighting game. There was even a gameplay mechanic that hadn’t been finished yet. While it lacked the story elements and dialogue of the Kashyyyk demo, it did have one major difference. Tons of time with the combat.
Combat in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, as many have surmised, is very much like Dark Souls, or even more accurately, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Players can target enemies, block with their lightsaber, and dodge out of the way of incoming attacks. Furthermore, elements like spacing, Force stamina, and pattern recognition all play a part of the combat. Things started out easy, having me fight against one Stormtrooper. He didn’t pose much of a threat, not even having a blaster, choosing instead to fight with a melee weapon. It didn’t end well for him.
Things escalated slowly, adding more Stormtroopers, and even eventually giving them blasters. This is where timing is a lot more crucial, as there were enemies that holding the high ground. While I may have been able to use the Force to push them, it was more beneficial to deflect their blaster shots. This involved timing it just right, as blocking shots doesn’t automatically deflect. The system works more like a parry, as players will have to block during a short timing window where shot is about to his the lightsaber. A successful block will deflect the shot, and usually take out the enemy in one blast. Taking this further, while the deflection can automatically return to sender, it can be used against other enemies too.
Enemies continued to progress in difficulty, until I eventually fought a Purge Trooper. These enemies are much more formidable, requiring a bit more attention to the battle. Parrying attacks by deflecting at the right moment will leave them open for a counter attack. If they flash red during an attack, it means it’ll be unblockable, and the player would do better to avoid it. Purge Troopers have a stamina gauge, making them have a slight defense when they defend against your attacks. You can break their defense, or you can time your attacks to strike when they’re left open. After fighting one Purge Trooper, they’ll appear with backup in later waves.
In the Kashyyyk demo, it ended with Cal taking on an Imperial KX droid, like Rogue One’s K-2SO. In my demo, I fought several, and they posed an interesting threat. With no ranged weapons, the KX droids focused more on brute strength and grabs. These droid fights were a cool change of pace, but also still in development, as there was a combat feature that was unfinished. It’s potentially possible that the feature wouldn’t make it to the final game, so I’ll just leave it at that. Like the Purge Troopers, later waves would eventually include KX droids with other enemy types.
Going into a bit more detail with the combat, this mode provided plenty of practice. I was in trouble in a few spots, even dying a couple times, but I never got defeated by the same opponent twice. The Force mechanics really give a lot of freedom, able to slow down enemies, push them into others, or even pull them toward you. I never quite grasped the ability to freeze a blaster shot, as I was far more focused on deflecting them. I’m sure with a bit more time with the game, I could master it. And that’s really the thing with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I feel like I’m mastering my skills as a Jedi, learning along the way to become a Master.
Getting to the final wave, it was against an enemy that wasn’t in the Kashyyyk demo: an AT-ST. Unlike most enemies, this large walker wouldn’t go down to traditional lightsaber attacks. Instead, it takes a combination of defense and Force powers to take it down. I didn’t quite learn this lesson my first time, completely exhausting my force powers and falling to enemy missiles. Going in for round two, I took what I learned and did much better. I did so much better that I didn’t even take damage.
The AT-ST had three attacks: a blaster shot, a missile, and some proximity mines. Keeping my distance, I only had to worry about the ranged attacks. Deflecting blaster shots is key, as the AT-ST will typically shoot a few shots at a time. This helps to whittle down its health bit by bit, but the real damage comes from the missiles. When the AT-ST launches a missile at Cal, the player must use Force Push to launch it right back, dealing massive damage. It’s a rinse and repeat process, but it’s pretty fun and makes you feel like a badass when you do well. When the walker falls, there’s a nice touch when the Stormtrooper pilot crawls out, allowing you to finish the fight.
Overall, now that I’ve had a feel for the controls, I’m even more excited for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. While it wasn’t unforgiving like Dark Souls, the familiar mechanics gave a great sense of accomplishment in fights. There may be potential for higher difficulties, so those looking for a Soulsborne challenge may want to watch the game. It’s unknown what changes may happen with the Gauntlet mode as the game gets closer to its November release, but it was a real honor to be granted the opportunity to play it. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order launches on November 15th, 2019. It’ll be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Are you looking forward to this single-player Star Wars adventure?