The Fallen Order is made by the developers Respawn the makers of Titanfall and Apex Legends. There are a few similarities to a few games that combined have a recipe for success. The combat/game style is very much like the Darksouls series, the climbing and running resembles the Uncharted series. This is two of the best games to take some influence from but also why some might be left disappointed.
The story is set 5 years after the Revenge of the Sith and you play as Cal Kestis one of the few remaining Jedi who survived the Order 66. Cal is a scrapper working for the Empire until you are forced to reveal you are a Jedi due to circumstances out of your control.
You join up with an ex-Jedi and her pilot when they save you from events on the planet of Bracca. Cere is an ex-Jedi who are on the run from Imperial Inquisitors looking to rebuild the Order.
You know the basics of the force and lightsaber mastery but you have forgotten or have a disconnection to the force stopping you from using all of your abilities. To rebuild the order Cere shows you a message informing you of a Jedi Holocron which has a list of Force-sensitive children on. The game has temples that resemble the temples of Zelda but with simpler mechanics making them fairly quick experiences but also shows off some of the Jedi's abilities.
The story itself lacks real depth and urgency. You have an end goal but some of the story content can come few and far between when you are in certain area's you can forget what happened before you started.
The Fallen Orders similarities to the Soulsborne games comes Meditation spots resembling the campfires from Bloodborne and If you heal it also respawns all the enemies, which does not make sense in Star Wars reality but it works with this type of game. The combat also draws similarities to the bloodborne games with the use of light and heavy attacks to create your combo's whilst relying on parrying and countering to get you into advantageous positions. Lightsaber fights are few and far between but are a delight when you experience them.
You are forced to play smarter picking your targets and working out the best way to take them down rather then just hacking and slashing your way through enemies.
The platforming takes its inspiration from the Uncharted games and is very clean and well thought out. Although there are some puzzles like the temples it only takes a keen eye to spot where you need to go or when to use your force abilities. If you ever get stuck you can use BD-1 "your helpful little droid to point you in the right direction" and to Respawns credit this is a nice addition.
As you go through area's and complete sections you will earn Exp and this will eventually turn into skill points for every level you hit. You can use the skill points to improve in three skill slots, The Force, Lightsaber and Survivability. There does not seem to be any right or wrong order to this and it does not act as a character build as once you hit max level most of these are available to you. The skills are more of picking what you need at the time to help you progress further in the game.
The game offers four difficulty modes to play the game at ranging from Story, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master to Jedi Grandmaster. Jedi Master gives you a truer feel of the way the game was meant to play but can be punishing when making a mistake whereas Story is too easy but handy if you are stuck at an area for long periods.
As you play through the game you unlock Shortcuts and when unlocked they are harder to spot on the all blue multi-level maps they have created. If they stayed highlighted in the yellow when you first discover them it would make for a smoother experience. Although the shortcuts are nice addition they do not make an overall difference to travel time when re-visiting planets, with the awe of the new environments wearing off the lack of fast travel points becomes a real slog due to having 15/20 minutes of gameplay that serves no purpose to the story progression.
The game has a clean UI with a simple health bar in the bottom left and indicators on your character to represent this and other small features. BD-1 also shows your health and stocks your health stims when you need extra health. This allows the game to focus you on the combat environments creating some unique moments. The game itself has stunning settings with Zeffo being one of the most beautiful. Zeffo has an abundance of lore on the planet that are in the shape of scannable items.
Overall, the game's core is satisfying - the more you play it the more you will want to continue slicing your way through the empire using your lightsaber or even throwing them off ledges with the Force.
The graphics are wonderful creating some unique experiences and sense of wonder when first exploring the planets. Unfortunately, the game falls short with the depth of its characters, and BD-1 droid who does not talk is the most memorable character.
Compounded with the complex map, level layout and lack of travel points lead to a lot of downtimes or repetitive play when you are trying to progress the story.