As promised, official gameplay footage was dropped at EA Play for Stars Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to start off EA’s E3 campaign. All things considered, the game looks pretty good. Not too much was revealed during the interview accompanying the gameplay. The biggest piece of information is in-fact the gameplay itself.
So, what exactly did the gameplay tell? Well, there are a few things it makes pretty clear that will give you an idea of what the final product will possibly be like. Through all the flashy combat and pretty looking graphics, there are some crucial aspects to look at. So, here are 10 facts that will give you a better sense of how the game will be.
The first thing that was put on display. The game features a fair amount of light platforming elements. Cal is equipped with both a double-jump and a wall-run. He is also able to climb on specific objects with a mesh-like pattern, balance across narrow platforms, and swing from vines. The level design seems to lend itself fairly well to these mechanics, too. There’s little reason to believe that any of these mechanics will be expanded upon any deeper than what was on display, but perhaps some of them—namely the double-jump and the wall-run—will be enhanced or augmented through some sort of upgrade path.
Speaking of upgrades, numerous times throughout gameplay a little meter would pop up at the top right corner of the screen, and occasionally a notification reading ‘Skill Point Acquired’ would pop up in the middle of the screen when that meter filled up. Upgrades were very prominent in The Force Unleashed series, so it’s good that they make a return in Fallen Order as well. It isn't made clear what these skill points will be able to purchase, but let’s hope that they will be for abilities that enhance gameplay rather than make it feel limited without them like Devil May Cry 5.
Setpieces are pretty much a staple of Star Wars in video games. One of the best things on display in the gameplay is that a lot of the set pieces were events that the player had a choice of taking part in. The world that the game was displaying had a sense of weight, and it feels like there’s more going on around you than just the objective that you’re tasked with completing. At various points, there were stormtroopers engaging your allies or engaging the wildlife of Kashyyyk.
It feels very organic, and fights never really felt like they pop-up out of the blue. This is a design choice a lot of games like this one tend to have; the player will walk into a large, empty room and then suddenly some magic barrier blocks the exit and you’re forced to fight off your opposition that appears out of thin air or through some doors. The Force Unleashed series even did this from time to time as well. The more organic approach this game takes is a very nice touch.
During the big reveal of the game back in April, one of the enemies that was mentioned was the Purge Trooper. While they do make an appearance here with Cal having a couple of tussles with some, you might have missed the giant spiders (though, how could you, really?) that also act as enemy types. From what little HUD information is put on display during gameplay, it seems that these things are called Wyyyschockk, and they look to be a newly added creature to the wildlife of Kashyyyk.
This is not only a pretty good way to expand the game’s take on the universe it’s portraying, but it also makes for a nice change of pace in enemy types. These things look to be very zoning heavy, using moves that deter your movement and even lock you in place. They also jump around all over the place, so spacing is probably key to bopping them good.
Fallen Order looks to be a pretty linear game, but that doesn't mean levels can’t have some branching pathways in them. This looks to be the case as, after the first Wyyyschockk fight, Cal takes a detour into a cave entrance that looks like it had a wall that you could run on next to it. (You’ll notice that even before the fight, the Wyyyschockk come out of that very same entrance before attacking the troopers, which is a really nice detail.)
Pathways and environments are very enclosed and focused. The Force Unleashed had more open and expansive environments for the player to explore. It seems like Fallen Order might make up for this more focused design with hidden areas to explore. It’s also worth mentioning that there looks to be another path to explore in the cave where Cal fights the third Wyyyschockk with what also looks to be a climbable ledge to get there.
Also, in the Wyyyschockk cave, there was a Force Echo which seems to be a recent memory of sorts that Cal can sense. A notification pops up with a prompt to read more after further investigation. This is more than likely supplemental reading material, possibly recorded through in-game databases, to further expand on the game’s universe. This may possibly even lead to side missions, perhaps? Wishful thinking, but there’s obviously more to the game than what was shown on-screen.
Later on, BD-1 scans an object that also seems to add it to the in-game archives. This was also briefly discussed during the interview, as well. So, it seems the little droid has more applications than just being a helping hand with puzzles.
Oh yeah, puzzles! Fallen Order’s gameplay certainly didn't display the most mind-boggling of puzzles, but some very, very light puzzle mechanics were on display through the platforming and use of BD-1, mostly to just open doors and pathways.
This will no doubt be the weakest aspect of the final product’s core mechanics for sure, taking a backseat to the combat and platforming mechanics, but that doesn't mean it still can’t be a serviceable part of the game’s overall experience. Using the force to create a platform or to stop or move an object before proceeding is something that feels right at home in a Star Wars game like this—as long as it’s used very sparingly.
Fallen Order takes the route of giving the player a health bar. While this is nothing new in games like this, the key to them is the options the game gives the player to replenish their health. Some games go the 2016's Doom route and constantly hand the player resources for health replenishment as they dispatch of their enemies. Other games like Bayonetta rely on sparsely handing out those resources upon enemy death or destroying objects and give the player consumable items.
Fallen Order takes this route with the health stims; they’re consumables that Stig Asmussen claimed you’ll be able to acquire more of as you play the game. This begs a few questions; how abundant is this resource? How is it acquired? Is there an in-game shop where you can purchase them? If that’s the case, what form of currency is used in the game to purchase them, and what other items can be purchased? These are just some of the questions the interviewer at the reveal should have been asking. Let’s just hope Respawn fixes the canned animation Cal does when using a health stim. It’s way too quick and hardly makes it look like he’s injecting a stimulus into his body.
If you've been hanging around the rumor mill for this game, then you've probably heard about this game's cinematic approach to combat. This is somewhat true. When the words cinematic and video games are used in the same sentence, the results aren't the best. Look at The Force Unleashed 2 for evidence. Fallen Order doesn't seem to go the same exact route as that game, though. There doesn't seem to be any sections that take control away from the player or put them on rails in the same way as The Force Unleashed 2, which did that many times in an attempt to make things feel more cinematic.
In fact, the combat gets about as ‘cinematic’ as Ninja Gaiden 2 just without all the blood. There’s a couple of places where a button needed to be mashed to escape an enemy, but, for the most part, the only time control looked to be out of the player’s hands was during a throw or a finisher, which looks like the player must work for both first. This will no doubt make the combat feel more satisfying.
You might have noticed at the bottom of the screen when Cal gets into an engagement that two meters appear. One is Cal’s defensive meter that decreases as he blocks attacks. This meter refills gradually over time. The meter below could then be seen as his offensive meter or, more aptly, his Force bar. This bar decreases as he uses Force intensive moves and also refills over time. Very cool and very simple, but there’s something interesting about the Force meter.
If you pay close attention, Cal actually gains a little bit of meter back each time he defeats an enemy. This is actually a super clever way to manage Force powers in this game. In previous Star Wars titles that feature a bar that controls your Force powers, the concept always felt a bit silly given the context. After all, the Force in Star Wars canon was never really seen as something a being had a limited amount of inside them. The only thing that’s limited is its strength.
Of course, this concept in video game form would probably make Cal a little overpowered. So, the solution that Fallen Order is implementing seems like a great one. Through this method, the game not only rewards the player for keeping up a tight offense and defense, but also virtually always makes the Force available to the player when using it in the correct manner. It’s such a subtle idea but makes a big difference.