In many ways, Jedi: Fallen Order is unoriginal. Featuring characters, locations, and story beats already familiar to Star Wars fans, the game risks feeling like a faithful yet formulaic imitation of its source material. Instead, Fallen Order takes advantage of its medium with a unique blend of gameplay mechanics that make it feel different and new, justifying its existence in the process. The end result is a faithful Star Wars experience that nonetheless stands apart from its source material, showing games to be a valid medium for expanding upon established properties as worthy entries in their own right.
Fallen Order’s loyalty to its source material is most apparent in its narrative and presentation. Set after the events of Revenge of the Sith, which saw the destruction of the Jedi Order by Emperor Palpatine, the game follows surviving Jedi Cal on his mission to rebuild the Order while being hunted by agents of the Empire. Star Wars fans are certainly no strangers to this setting, with the same events, characters, and locations portrayed similarly across countless other media over the years.
Likewise, the game’s presentation closely resembles that of the films and television series, with a focus on cinematic storytelling. However, the introduction of original characters such as retired Jedi Cere and Cal’s adorable droid BD-1 remain the highlights of Fallen Order’s story, making the game feel new despite its faithfulness to the series. These aspects ultimately succeed at recreating the iconic atmosphere and aesthetic of Star Wars, resulting in one of the most complete Star Wars gaming experiences yet.
Still, Fallen Order’s unique blend of gameplay mechanics borrowed from beloved titles separate the game from other Star Wars media. Between the story segments, players encounter an unlikely mix of mechanics from games such as Uncharted and Dark Souls, introducing exciting platforming and strategic combat to a franchise otherwise confined to generic gameplay. Likewise, the introduction of these and other elements provide Star Wars fans with moments never before seen in the franchise, giving players freedom to explore and experience the universe like never before.
This focus on gameplay allows the game to stand alone as a unique gaming experience as much as it is a Star Wars product, expanding on its source material by offering something different through its medium. This reflects the progress made in licensed games throughout the years as developers have become increasingly ambitious in their exploration of established properties, no longer seeking to simply recreate the source material but to meaningfully add to it.
Ultimately, Jedi: Fallen Order succeeds at being both a faithful recreation of the Star Wars property and a unique experience in itself. Despite closely resembling its source material in both style and presentation, the game utilises its medium with an unlikely mix of mechanics to deliver fans a fresh experience. As such, the game feels altogether complete, delivering a satisfying Star Wars story without sacrificing the quality of its gameplay, indicating the progress of licensed games from simple imitations to worthwhile expansions on their source material.