This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.
We've seen surprisingly little of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order's gameplay to this point. Wanting perhaps to hit hardest in the final stretch before launch, EA has mostly kept Fallen Order under wraps. That changed earlier this week when a huge swath of press and influencers were invited to Anaheim to play through several early planets, including classic Expanded Universe favorite Dathomir.
No gameplay capture was allowed, but EA did provide some prepared footage, the highlights of which you can see below. They include a trek through Zefo, one of the earliest planets, a duel with an AT-ST (featuring a coup de grace I found weirdly hilarious), and a battle with the Ninth Sister—a major villain who has piqued the interest of Star Wars fans. The last bit goes the furthest toward showing off the complexities of Fallen Order's combat, which is by far its strongest asset.
Respawn has repeatedly played up the influences of Metroid Prime and Dark Souls, and sure enough, Fallen Order plays like an amalgamation of the two. The combat is perhaps most comparable to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, showcasing the beauty and grace of the lightsaber in a way that no game before it ever has. It's so fun that there's a strong temptation to start going ham on enemies because you have the baddest weapon in the universe, but it's much smarter to hang back, dodge, parry, and generally think tactically. More difficult enemies, particularly the Nightbrothers, have invincibility frames in which they can shrug off your attacks and hit really hard.
These nuances help make Fallen Order more than just another shallow hack 'n slash action game. I think the best thing I can say for Fallen Order's combat is I often found myself hoping enemies would show up and tangle with me, just because I was so eager to wheel around the field and chop them up. It's a lot like 2018's God of War in that respect.
Another way that Fallen Order resembles God of War: traversal puzzles, lots of them. Some puzzles feel very game-y with its "use the Force to stop the giant piston so you can slip through" goals. At one point you have to mess around with wind generators to get a giant boulder to roll into a designated spot. It was the only point where I actually wanted to stop playing.
Broadly speaking though, I think Fallen Order's odd mix of elements from Dark Souls, God of War, and Metroid Prime 3 (especially Metroid Prime 3) work. It was perhaps inevitable that a large developer would co-opt the Dark Souls formula, right down to the bonfires (sorry, meditation circles) regenerating enemies. Though, it also smooths away the more rough and unforgiving bits. Fallen Order isn't exactly easy—actually, it can be quite unforgiving—but it's also very generous with its save spots and its death penalty, the latter of which is basically non-existent.
In that sense, we've come full circle, from the Soulsborne genre being a rough newcomer, to a big-budget Star Wars game—the most mainstream of franchises—accepting it as a major pillar. We live in some interesting times.
In any case, you can check out the Fallen Order gameplay highlights above, and read the rest of our Jedi: Fallen Order coverage here. It'll be out on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on November 15.
Disclosure: Travel and lodging for this event was covered by EA