Respawn Entertainment’s return to Cal Kestis with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is one of the best storylines we’ve ever seen out of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Taking place five years after Kestis’ debut appearance in Fallen Order, Jedi: Survivor is a dark middle tale in Respawn’s eventual trilogy. After destroying the Jedi holocron at the end of the last game, Cal spends every second of his life fighting the Empire, and it isn’t making a dent.
Cal Kestis’ journey in Jedi: Survivor makes perfect sense for the era the game is set in. As fans of the series, we know that Cal’s efforts are fruitless; he can never beat the Empire before Luke Skywalker does in Return of the Jedi and Cal — just like fans — questions the point of even fighting.
Just like Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi, Respawn’s latest game is a deeply introspective take on its own characters. At times it’s crushingly dour as it reminds you of the futility of Cal’s goals. On the flip side, it’s also refreshingly fun, dripping in the charm and — most importantly — hope that the Star Wars series does so well.
For as much as I enjoyed Fallen Order, there were times where it felt like it wasn’t necessarily Cal’s story. The hunt for Force Sensitives to rebuild the Jedi Order felt far more important to Cere, the Master of Padawan-turned-Inquisitor Trilla, the main villain of the story.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is undeniably Cal’s story. On a basic level, it’s about a torn fighter reconnecting with his family. On a broader sense, it’s about finding purpose in despair, and it’s thoroughly engaging throughout.
Even when you distance yourself from its themes, as certain Star Wars fans are often want to do, Jedi: Survivor is a thrilling entry in George Lucas’ iconic sci-fi/fantasy franchise.
From the opening moments as a captive on Coruscant to the explosive set pieces of desert planet Jedha, Respawn’s tale is perfectly paced, knowing exactly where to place its action, humour and oftentimes shocking drama.
Across my 30-hours with the game — finished story, 68% overall completion — Jedi: Survivor managed to make me laugh, cry and even gasp at some of the game’s twistiest revelations.
At the risk of sounding cliché, at the end of everything, Jedi: Survivor is about family. Not only does our protagonist desperately want to reunite his found family and keep them safe, but even the main villain has their own twisted views on the matter.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is everything the series is supposed to be. On a basic level, it’s a boisterous space adventure, but it’s also more than that. It’s not just a story created in the style of Star Wars, or one that simply regurgitates the building blocks of the series, but one that uses its obvious adoration of the franchise to evolve into one of its best stories.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you owe it yourself to play Respawn’s latest, or at least watch a playthrough. With the game only available on next-gen consoles, with an awful PC port, some fans will be unable to play through Cal’s second adventure, but if you can, it’s worth it.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the best Star Wars story we’ve seen in years, and it’s certainly the best story ever man Star Wars video game. While games like The Force Unleashed were awesome pop fiction, Jedi: Survivor feels like a real entry in the series, and we’re so excited to see what happens next.