Fallen Order’s Surprise DLC is the Perfect Reason to Replay one of the Best Star Wars Stories in Years
May the Fourth 2020, also known as Star Wars day, brought the usual celebration of the Star Wars franchise, but for Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, a game released in November 2019, it delivered some surprise downloadable content. And although the additional content is only cosmetic items and play modes rather than anything story-based, Fallen Order’s Surprise DLC is the Perfect Reason to Replay one of the Best Star Wars Stories in Years
As a game Fallen Order balanced being a great video game in its own right alongside being a top-quality Star Wars adventure even better than the Jedi managed to balance the Force. The gameplay revolved around Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan who escaped Order 66, slowly reconnecting with the Force and re-learning his abilities.
The slow burn of learning Cal’s Force powers coupled with some difficult but rewarding lightsaber combat totalled to a great feeling Star Wars game. But through the story is where the game truly shines. Fallen Order details Cal’s journey five years after the Jedi Purge, showing him assisting early rebellion efforts with the likes of Saw Gerrera, uncovering the secret history of the Force, and searching for a Holocron that could help create the next generation of Jedi.
The story manages to introduce several new and compelling characters while telling a story that blends both the prequel and original trilogies, but most importantly puts a new spin on the now very familiar trope of ‘here is another Jedi who survived Order 66’.
The first and perhaps most requested form of DLC, given that it was announced early on there would be no story-based DLC for Fallen Order, is some form of New Game +. Common in many games, New Game + modes allows the player to start a new game with much of the abilities, weapons, gear and collectables from their first play through carrying over.
Fallen Order’s “New Journey +” takes a different approach, given that Cal’s slow re-learning of his Force powers is to key to the game and its story. Respawn instead opted to simply carry over cosmetic collectables for Cal, BD-1, The Mantis, and of course Cal’s lightsaber.
Although it would be cool to start the game with all of the abilities and powers unlocked in a previous playthrough, Respawn’s argument of it affecting the game too much makes sense. A large part of Fallen Order’s gameplay revolves around the Metroidvania element of returning to a planet you’ve already been to, but with a new ability so you can access a new area, and so taking that away would result in a very disjointed story.
Exclusive to the New Journey + mode of the game (as It gives away some spoilers for later in the story) is Cal’s Sith Inquisitor outfit and a red lightsaber to go with it. The red crystal, outfit, and lightsaber parts are unlocked immediately at the start of a New Journey + playthrough.
The other part of the update is a series of Combat challenges called “Meditation Training”, which earn the player new appearances for BD-1. Accessible through the Meditation points throughout the game, there are twelve combat challenges. Each trial is graded on three stars, and the player gets the first star just for finishing, the second for finishing the trial without healing, and the third for completing the trail without taking any damage.
The challenges take place across various arenas based on areas from the game as well as a unique meditation arena. The challenges see Cal take on waves of varying enemies and later challenges like the Fortress Inquisitorious is successive waves of the games lightsaber bosses, and the final Shadowlands challenge pits Cal against the Second and Ninth sister at the same time.
As well as the pre-made challenges, there is also a new Battle Grid system, which allows players to make challenges from scratch. The player can choose the location, difficulty and enemies, including Bounty Hunters, Sith Inquisitors and even Cal’s master Jaro Tapal, and the Sith Inquisitor version of Cal himself. The battle grid allows for some considerable variation, with a range of modifiers that change thing like Cal’s ability for infinite block or infinite Force powers. The size of the grid is adjustable, and whether or not the enemies are hostile to each other.
Battle Grid also has a spectator mode where the player can set up an arena and simply walk around as the enemies fight each other. The AI isn’t perfect on some of these encounters, but it’s still a cool feature, and can even help give some tips on how to take on certain enemies.
Similar to the New Journey +, although the challenge modes and battle grids took a while to arrive, it just adds more value to the game, given that they came at no extra cost, and makes for a great place to practice Cal’s technique or against specific enemy types.
Overall the free update adds even more value to an already incredible game and Star Wars story. The first part of Cal Kestis’ journey as someone fighting against the Empire is one of the best Star Wars stories in years, and hopefully paves the way for even more story-based, immersive and lore-filled video games in the Star Wars universe.