How Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Breaks the Metroidvania Mold
As soon as you step back into Cal Kestis’ dusty boots in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, it’s clear that you’re returning to play as a formidable character who isn’t messing around. Cal hasn’t woken up in a strange place unable to use his abilities for some reason, he’s had time and space to hone them, and he’s got things to do. In the history of Metroidvania games – games built around a steady acquisition of abilities that help you discover more of the world – this is not how things usually go. Most of these games (including the previous Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order) have you begin weak and become strong. Jedi: Survivor is very conscious about trying something new, and it’s a very welcome change to the formula.
Jedi: Survivor kicks off in the middle of a job, which sees Cal swiping some important intel from the Empire on behalf of Saw Gerrera. The mission quickly goes awry, and it’s evident that the stakes in Cal’s life have grown ever higher as he’s leaned into the Jedi lifestyle over the last few years.
But here’s the exciting thing: Cal is inherently more powerful than he was at the end of his previous adventure, and you feel it from the first swing of his Lightsaber. Cal’s abilities are potent starting points that make him feel excellent to control, but they’re merely an introduction to a robust set of mechanics that can be shaped depending on how you choose to play. It’s not just giving Cal the tools and skills that he needs to progress; but giving you the flexibility to fight through foes in whichever way you prefer. It’s not always about doing what’s best in any given situation, but doing what feels more badass… because you are a badass.
There are five different combat stances to choose from as soon as you begin, each offering unique edges against the myriad of foes you’ll encounter. The Single stance is your standard set of attacks, which offers a balanced, if basic playstyle to get started with. Double-bladed sees your ‘saber extended with a second blade, allowing you to deal fast damage to clusters of baddies with ease and flair.
There’s dual-wield, which lets Cal hold half the Lightsaber in each hand for some vigorous, stylish slashing, and crossguard, which delivers high damage attacks at the cost of speed, perfect for large, lumbering creatures with tons of health. Finally, there’s Blaster, which as the name suggests, lets Cal take a gun to a gunfight and deliver devastating shots at range.
Each stance has its own skill tree, which allows Cal to unlock new offensive and defensive abilities to use with each. There are also myriad finishers which feel cool as heck; there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing Cal backflip over a Storm Trooper and deftly ram his blade through their sternum after a series of well-executed attacks. The message is clear: this time around, Cal isn’t learning to be a Jedi – he already is one, and your part in all this is to show just how devastating that can be for those that’d try to sway the galaxy towards the Dark Side.
As you’d expect, then, it’s not just Lightsaber combat that Cal excels in; his Force capabilities are just as potent. He can still wield Force Push and Force Pull, used to drag enemies in for a beating or send them cascading over a ledge to their death, which never gets old. Cal can also use his Jedi mind tricks for an advantage on the battlefield. During a brawl, he can take control of a specific enemy and have them turn on their allies, or he can temporarily enlist the help of the local wildlife to help batter the Empire’s goons.
The galaxy’s wild inhabitants are also good for more than stabbing and adding to a compendium this time round too. Cal’s a certified nature whisperer, able to tame and utilise creatures where needed. Belters are pointy winged creatures that Cal can use to glide great distances, while Nekkos can be used as mounts to quickly traverse long distances and scurry up hills and creeks.
This breadth of options, from Cal’s extensive roster of Lightsaber skills to his revised Force powers, means that the world can be approached confidently, while not removing the challenge from Jedi: Survivor’s more traditional Metroidvania elements. There are still limited save points, respawning enemies and extremely tough battles, but there is also an air of approachability. Cal is so purposely powerful because that’s who he’s become, but not so much that he breezes through situations without a struggle. Those bigger challenges are inviting, because there’s more than one way to go at them, and the more you progress, the cooler and more colorful each and every ability becomes.
It makes for a game that not only feels like the Jedi simulator you want, but a genuinely interesting new take on a genre we’re extremely familiar with – a beautifully unexpected fusion of narrative and mechanical invention that we’ve rarely seen before in a AAA production.
Now it’s up to you how to choose to wield Cal’s exhaustive roster of powers to create your own ultimate Jedi fantasy, when Star Wars: Jedi Survivor launches on April 28 for Xbox Series X|S.
STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor™ Standard Edition
• The “Hermit” Lightsaber Set
• The “Combustion” Blaster Set The story of Cal Kestis continues in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor™, a third person galaxy-spanning action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. This narratively-driven, single player title picks up five years after the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™ and follows Cal’s increasingly desperate fight as the galaxy descends further into darkness. Pushed to the edges of the galaxy by the Empire, Cal will find himself surrounded by threats new and familiar. • Continue Cal’s Journey – No longer a Padawan, Cal has come into his own and grown into a powerful Jedi Knight. The Dark Times are closing in – with enemies new and familiar surrounding him, Cal will need to decide how far he’s willing to go to save those closest to him. • Go Beyond Your Training – The cinematic combat system returns with additional Force abilities and new lightsaber fighting styles. Creatively leverage all these abilities and weapons to strategically take on an expanded host of enemies, sizing up strengths and weaknesses while cleverly utilizing your training to overcome your opponents and solve the mysteries that lay in your path. • Explore an Untamed Galaxy – Discover new planets and familiar frontiers in the Star Wars galaxy, each with unique biomes, challenges, and enemies. Master new skills, equipment, and abilities that will augment the ways you explore, fight, and roam. With larger areas to explore and more to discover off the beaten path, players who adventure beyond the horizon will find hidden rewards. *Conditions & restrictions apply. See https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/jedi/jedi-survivor/disclaimers for details.
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