We’re celebrating the adventurous antics of Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi sequel. For more awards, head to our Game of the Year 2023 hub.
Robert Jones, Print Editor: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was bigger and better than Fallen Order in every way, but it was how it seemed to honour the Star Wars PC game greats of old like Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Knights of the Old Republic that got me well and truly hooked. I can take or leave the Souls-lite combat mechanics, but the dynamic movement options, rewarding exploration, as well as cinematic presentation and storytelling just delivers what I want from a Star Wars adventure. The fact I finished this game in one sitting (not being distracted by other games and needing to come back to it), speaks volumes to just how well it clicked for me. Now if we can just have dark force powers unlocked in the inevitable third game, Kyle Katarn can retire for good.
Sean Martin, Guides Writer: The funny thing is I completely bounced off Fallen Order when I first tried it, but Jedi: Survivor was so good that it made me want to experience Cal’s backstory. The game just keeps growing; adding new mechanics like bounty hunting, fishing, space chess, and all the while you’ve got these giant worlds to explore filled with fun Star Wars easter eggs and yes, more beard options than you’ll ever need. Jedi: Survivor also expands on the first game’s excellent movement mechanics. Some of the set piece free-running sequences—like escaping the giant drill machine on Jedha—are on par with the very best that even the later Uncharted games had to offer.
Morgan Park, Staff Writer: I also wasn’t the biggest Fallen Order fan, but Jedi Survivor charmed me with its slightly less tryhard combat and playful levels that felt of a kind with my favorite PlayStation 2 platformers. It should speak volumes that I was too busy having a great time double jumping, grapple hooking, and slicing up loser droids to let Jedi Survivor’s terrible PC performance at launch keep me down. It’s the sort of confident, upbeat action adventure at a scale that only Sony games can match these days. The new lightsaber stances are a small triumph. By the end, I couldn’t decide which felt cooler: the unstoppable deflection of the double-sided blade, or the overwhelming power swings of the crossguard form.
(Image credit: Respawn)
Respawn’s storytelling deserves a lot of credit too—I appreciate that Jedi: Survivor doesn’t seem burdened by the Star Wars franchise the same way the recent films and shows are, opting to lower the stakes and invest in character exploration over seismic lore revelations. Expanded Star Wars media is still needlessly obsessed with dropping familiar characters into stories they barely belong in, but even when Jedi Survivor indulges in cheesy fan service, I can’t deny the craft. With some of the darker beats of Jedi: Survivor explored toward the end of the game, Respawn has set the stage for some cool payoffs in the inevitable third game.
Robin Valentine, Senior Editor: I’m just the same Morgan—I could never click with Fallen Order, but something about Survivor really works for me. I’m still a little iffy on many of the soulslike-aping elements, but I really enjoyed how the more confident story played with Star Wars concepts and canon to find surprisingly bold new directions for Cal and friends to journey in.
Weirdly what most helps give the game a more authentically Star Wars feel for me is the enemies. Too much time in Fallen Order was spent fighting snails and giant frogs and other nonsense. Survivor not only throws you at Stormtroopers and other classic Imperial soldiers right away, it also finds a clever excuse to let you fight loads of prequel-era Battle Droids too, foes I love so much I wrote an ode to them earlier this year.