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Star Wars Jedi: Survived
Like many who have graced this earth with their astral presence since the inaugural release of Star Wars: Episode IV in 1977, I grew up a fan of the multi-media giant in its games, novels, and movies. As time went on that interest only rose, growing up with Phantom Menace and then the Clone Wars into a golden era of Star Wars games, I felt and still do feel so lucky to be alive in a world where that universe is realized to its fullest extent. Come 2015 with the release of the new trilogy and the Force Awakens, I remember my eyes lighting up seeing the X-Wings first roll in. Come Episode VIII, IX, the Battlefront reboots, and the general Disnefication of the series, my interest greatly waned... resembling something of a galactic nosedive from Pluto into the Sun. One thing managed to refurbish my enjoyment for Star Wars and that jubilant youth we all eternally chase: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. While imperfect, it felt like it did the nature and magic of Star Wars correctly. The story beats were tropey in nature, as are many Star Wars origin stories, but the gameplay was fresh and Cal Kestis + his crew were a great group to experience this IP with. I came out of Fallen Order with great expectations toward its inevitable sequel, hoping Respawn could keep the ball rolling on an enjoyable, actual Jedi-Like Star Wars experience. I unfortunately didn't feel that way in the exit interview.
Survivor's PC release was marred with technical difficulty, and I figured as a later buyer that I would bypass these problems on a higher end rig. Unfortunately, performance was far below what should be considered acceptable in 2023. I had AMD's FSR feature turned on to "quality" on medium graphics for the majority of my runtime, peaking at around 70 FPS though on Koboh and certain locations dipping down into 40 or lower. When I said I wanted more Bloodborne after playing it last year, I meant I wanted more well executed Souls-likes with captivating settings, not more Souls-likes that run at sub 30 fps when movement timing is paramount. The world, the characters, the gameplay was beautiful and mostly fluid, but being able to see it at an archaic performance level was miserable. Thankfully I only crashed once and that was fittingly when adjusting settings to turn the FSR into "performance" based. I only did this for the last level or so which made the game feel like I was playing without my glasses on... just blurry all over and the lack of texturing was very offputting.
The gameplay itself was mostly the same as it was in Fallen Order, but I'm a few years and many games removed from playing that so my memory may be a tad bit foggy. You have a set of stances attached to you as Cal Kestis, only being able to use two at a time. I opted for the single saber as it felt the most "jedi" and versatile, along with the gun-saber combo you get later on because again... I'm always chasing that Bloodborne dragon. One on One combat in Survivor is a ton of fun, the lightsaber Cal uses lends itself to a mostly fluid parry and dodge based experience, and there is a plethora of encounters in which this dual fighting occurs. Where my largest issue with the combat of this game happens is in its group battles... and for every one on one, it feels like there are ten larger scale fights. This isn't the worst in theory, as most of the droids and basic stormtroopers go down in a single swing, but when special enemies and distance is added into the equation, it feels like you're being slapped one second after the next. Pretty much everything stutters Cal and I don't think there are any I-frames for being hit, at least the final boss fight proved that to be true. If you get hit/staggered by an enemy with a staff/saber, you'll sputter about for a second and get hit by another person doing the same. If you try to take one of these blade wielder's on, you'll get hit by an off-screen laser and it will stagger you again. In an event to not cry the sour grapes excuse, I don't think this is a skill issue but rather an effort of poor game design. You are greatly punished for trying to feel cool in this game when it comes to fighting more than one enemy. Jedi's are cool, I want to feel cool. Successful Souls games greatly limit such encounters as a result, you will get those multi-enemy fights, but often they allow for the duel to take place first before everybody tries to swing at you. In Survivor, I felt like I was the guy with a pack of gum and everybody wanted a piece. I will say though, the battles against non humanoids felt pretty good in this game and mostly muted in length, which is a nice touch.
The world as one would expect is beautiful and rich in detail. Respawn did a great job yet again in fulfilling one of the key tennants of Star Wars media: making it feel alive. Beginning with a cold open on the population heavy Coruscant and then cascading into the more desolate Koboh and Jedha, the world of Jedi: Survivor is colorful and teeming with flora & fauna. This was the part I expected Survivor to excel in the most and I'm glad it lived up to the billing. Traversal through these locations is again extremely Uncharted-esque and I won't say it was actively problematic or lead to a negative score, but running around felt mostly menial and like a chore.
Cal Kestis is a great protagonist but his arc in this game felt so predictable and kinda... mediocre? I think mediocre is a great way to describe a lot of the characters and their interactions with the villains in Jedi: Survivor. You meet new friends and foes, and reunite with old ones, and none of them managed to do a great job for me at creating new interesting memories. Merrin is a great character, Greez is great, Cere is Cere, but I didn't feel the magic of any of them being a fun crew like I did in Fallen Order. They join you on your mission and help you toward your end goal, but its just more of the same. I get that this journey overall is meant to be a lot more personal to Cal and his experience as a Jedi and the personal turmoil that comes with it, but part of the greatness in Star Wars stems from the interaction with the characters in the world. Maybe this is Star Wars fatigue striking me once more, but I just didn't find any reason to care for the characters of Survivor. The story just kinda happens as it happens, I had to ask myself multiple times after stopping and picking it back up about "What am I actually doing? What is my goal? Why is the villain doing this?" and having no real answer. The villains of this game also just felt weak and lacking of both clear motive and decent writing. Fallen Order didn't necessarily have a Pullitzer narrative either but I felt like the story of Survivor was generally listless.
If you're starved for Star Wars content or want a game where there's a lot of content to clear, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is your game. If you're like me and fatigued by Star Wars, don't wish to encounter sub-optimal performance, or would feel tarnished by the above, then it would probably be a title to avoid. I do not recommend Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

I can definitely see why this is considered a cult classic, and I think that if I played it while I was younger I would've been more into it, but playing it now just didn't click for me.
Having each character/chapter be a different character with their own unique spin was pretty cool, but I didn't think any of their stories were engaging (except for the 8th chapter) which I think made it hard for me to love this game. Personally, I thought most of the stories were either boring or a slog to get through (feudal Japan and final chapter I'm looking at you).
This has no bearing on the game but I'm disappointed that they redid the box art to have a cohesive art style instead of having each individual artist's take, but at the same time we got a symphonic Yoko Shimamura score so ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯

Got bored before finish initial stories. Now I know that I'd prefer a single longer story than a set of smaller ones that not all may come to my liking.

I was really looking forward to playing this, as I really love rpgs/jrpgs, tactics combat and good stories, but man this really did not do it for me. I started with Edo Japan and that level was so boring and the combat was so brainless. It’s barely tactics combat. Obviously you’re not mashing buttons (because that’s just not how the combat is set up), but the most I’ve had to do is move down one square so that the enemy couldn’t hit me (just out of their attack range) and they’d have to keep moving down one and not be able to attack - that was on Edo Japan which is supposed to be the last of the 7 that you’re supposed to play.
I love anthologies (or at least the idea of them) but the two stories that I really gave a good try (Edo Japan and then Imperial China, since the latter was supposed to be a good one to start with) were utterly boring and unfun. I don’t mean to be a meanie, but I also kinda slightly do since I saw how rude people were to someone who liked octopath traveler more (who also gave a good argument as to why they personally did). I fell asleep during imperial china! And I was looking forward to playing games all day!
I love turn based rpg combat, but I do not like how this game does that. It feels too loose and underdeveloped with the action meter thingy (which is all the combat is kinda based upon), and from what I played it never advanced upon at all. There’s also things to make it more complex like effects (paralysis, poison etc.) but they’re only there if you want to use them, there’s not an incentive to do so unless if you want to ~spice~ things up.
That is the exact opposite of a little game I like to call Fae Tactics which is SO rewardingly complex with different systems! That game is a lot longer to be fair, but it also seems like Live A Live doesn’t add anything to its combat until the very end, which is not interesting from the start (in my opinion).
I’m just bitter because I really wanted to like this game, but it’s just not doing it for me whatsoever, meanwhile people LOVE this game. I’m very happy for those people, but maybe just don’t be a jerk to people who don’t like this game who also give good reasons as to why? I probably didn’t do that, but leave those other people alone who are expressing their opinions in a honest and considerate way! (Also If you’re reading this and love tactics/rpgs, then give Fae Tactics a try - so underrated and very, very fun!).

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