Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Review | The Force Is Stronger With This One

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor builds upon the groundwork established by Fallen Order while taking more strides that make it a better experience.

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Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a game that many fans of the franchise were excited for, especially considering how Fallen Order surprised many of us with just how good it turned out to be. It expanded the Star Wars universe with a story centered around a likable protagonist in the form of Cal Kestis. Playing as a Jedi on the run who’s reluctant to get back into the fight because of how traumatizing it all is was such an excellent setup. It showed just how far society has fallen and what does that mean for the people on the ground. More importantly, what did it mean for the Jedi who saw their entire religion and beliefs turn upside down? Fallen Order wasn’t just an excellent Star Wars game, it was a fantastic exploration of the franchise as a whole. 

Survivor takes nearly every gripe I had with Fallen Order and improves upon them while doubling down on what has already worked. The Star Wars franchise hosts a vast universe with infinite story possibilities. Many have succeeded, and many as well have failed. If there’s anything Respawn Entertainment has proved with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is that they should definitely continue exploring the iconic IP because I just can’t get enough of what they are doing with this one. 

Fighting the Good Fight

Star Wars Jedi: Survivors once again puts us in the shoes of Cal Kestis. When we last spent some time with him, he was a reluctant padawan that would constantly doubt himself and his abilities. The entirety of Fallen Order was spent trying to build him up to be the Jedi Knight that the rebellion needed him to be in order to fight back. Of course, canonical speaking and based on the original trilogy, we know who eventually becomes the savior of the universe but the fact that Respawn somehow made Cal’s story feel like it still mattered amidst the grand scheme of things was an impressive achievement. 

Survivor presents a much more grizzled and mature Cal. In just a few minutes, I immediately noticed the change in his demeanor to exude a much more confident and capable Jedi. It’s been a few years of fighting against the Empire and you can see the toll it takes on Cal. If the previous game was all about him discovering if it was worth stepping into the fight, to begin with, Survivor has Cal contemplating if all efforts are even worth it. He is fighting against an immovable force with all his strength. That makes for an incredibly profound narrative that continues what I loved about the character to begin with: the struggles of a Jedi trying to lead a losing rebellion. 

The previous game had a cast of characters that I liked but never really loved. I feel like they serviced their part in the story well enough but never really had many moments to shine enough to solidify themselves as top names in the Star Wars universe. Jedi: Survivor made me love every single one of the main cast including new auditions as well. 

I won’t be naming names just to preserve your experience but just know that the characterization and writing in Survivor are much more polished and focused on giving each personality something that the audience can latch onto. 

The narrative feels more significant with higher stakes. You’re no longer spending most of your time chasing after recordings of an old Jedi trying to point you in whatever direction. Cal is a more active protagonist here which in turn, makes the game a much more engaging experience for the player. 

Become a Jedi

Combat in Survivor has received a bunch of very welcome improvements. Probably one of the ones I was most excited about is the inclusion of dismemberment. Any Star Wars fan knows that the movies all have their take of limbs getting cut off. It’s like a Star Wars staple at this point. Respawn was asked by Disney to remove any form of limb dismemberment for Fallen Order and it was extremely noticeable. Imagine wielding one of the most iconic weapons ever created that is quite literally a laser sword and it can’t cut through stormtroopers like you’d expect it would.

For Survivor, dismemberment is finally here and it is shown in full glory. It’s not as sensationalized as the gore system in games like Callisto Protocol. Survivor handles combat damage to enemies in a much more tasteful manner. The execution animations are all cool and have their own flare to it that I never got sick of seeing them whenever they activate.

While human combat and one-on-one engagements are still where Survivor’s combat system is at its best, the large monster battles still feel a bit wonky. This is in large part due to how it makes the lightsaber feel more like a plastic stick being bashed onto a monster’s body compared to clashing blades with a shock trooper or another saber wielder. Thankfully, it’s all saved by absolutely fantastic sound design and player feedback. Playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on a DualSense controller is phenomenal, to say the least. The haptic feedback alongside iconic lightsaber noises all make moment-to-moment gameplay so much more satisfying. 

Once you get into a flow state with Survivor’s combat system, it becomes one of the best action games released this year. Successfully blocking blaster shots, dodging red attacks, hitting a perfect parry, and activating a slow-motion finisher all while utilizing various force powers while you run around with a lightsaber is a power fantasy I’ve always had as a kid. Survivor allows me to play around in its Star Wars sandbox to my heart’s content.

There are different stances you can choose from. There’s the usual single/double blade from Fallen Order but now there is dual wielding, crossguard, and my personal favorite, blaster stance. Each has their own pros and cons and you can easily choose between two active ones at a given time in meditation circles. Each one has its own unique animations that are of course, fantastic in their own right. I’ll just say this, if you love Bloodborne, you’ll probably love the Blaster stance. 

Part of me wished that the game allowed me to switch between all five stances without having to go to a meditation circle but the limit to 2 actually makes the enemy variety shine much better. There is a healthy variety of foes to fight through here and for the most part, they’ve all been balanced enough to feel like no stance is at a very specific disadvantage. It’s really all up to your preference.

It’s a Big Galaxy Out There

Mediation circles are still here, serving as the game’s version of bonfires. Here you can rest and replenish health stims, acquire new skills, and fast travel to different locations. Fallen Order was the lovechild between a Soulsborne game (which is my favorite genre) and Star Wars (which is my favorite franchise of all time). Survivor continues with a similar game structure that focuses on exploration, unlocking different shortcuts, and combat sequences. It’s all tied together with a much more natural and detailed level design.


The environments in Survivor look jaw-dropping at times with the amount of detail and attention given to the art style. It also helps that the lighting system makes everything feels so authentic to the Star Wars universe. Watching the backdrops of a bustling city at night with ships zooming in and out or a semi-open-world terrain filled with wildlife and hidden areas to explore really sucked me into this world.  I appreciate the fact that the game also has an extensive number of accessibility options for consoles while also including a fantastic photo mode. I lost a couple of hours playing around with shots, angles, filters, etc. Survivor is a beautiful game. Plain and simple. 

Exploring the world of Survivor rewards you with a bunch of cosmetics for Cal, BD-1, and your lightsaber. And yes, nearly each and everyone looks amazing. I appreciate some of the callbacks and references to iconic Star Wars looks. You can find different clothing, hairstyles, lightsaber parts, BD-1 body types, etc. All of it adds a little bit more personality and player expression to the experience. Sadly, I have to praise a game for this but it’s just nice to see that an EA-published title is not riddled with microtransactions. These cosmetics could’ve easily caught them a quick buck and yet they freely give it as a reward for exploration. Bravo. 

However, while the game almost feels like it’s begging you to go off the beaten path, there are a lot of areas here that are closed off and aren’t accessible until you gain particular abilities later on in the game. It does make it a little bit demoralizing given how abundant these Metroid-vania-like elements are so early on that I’d say that you should probably wait till endgame till you can go all out and fully enjoy the exploration of Survivor. 

For those who didn’t really like the puzzles of Fallen Order and felt like Respawn went a little bit too overboard on them as I did, you’ll be happy to know that Survivor has significantly dialed down on that. There are still puzzles here and there but nothing as significant as the previous title. I loved this change given that while the puzzles in Fallen Order weren’t exactly challenging, they were a significant halt to the game’s pacing which prevented me from wanting to do more repeat playthroughs as I dread the next “force push a giant ball into this area” room. 

What Survivor has a lot more though is the platforming. Cal is Mario with a lightsaber here. You’ll be jumping, climbing, and sliding a lot and while I did say that the level presentation feels a bit more natural, it does lose its sense of practicality in platforming sequences. It’ll come to a point where you just start questioning who designed these areas and why they hate normal people. Luckily, Cal’s movement does feel great to control, and other than a very awkward running animation, it does look good in motion for the most part. 

The Dark Side of it All 

As a long-time Star Wars fan, Jedi: Survivor is everything I wanted in a sequel. The narrative is much more engaging, the visuals look phenomenal, and the gameplay feels absolutely fantastic. However, the game’s performance is a massive letdown. I played on a PS5 console with day-one patches included and the game can barely keep a stable 60 FPS in performance mode. There is also some noticeable screen-tearing. 


Survivor opens with a stunning sequence on an active city filled with moving ships and night lights in motion. With all the explosions and action happening, it was a bit of a chug to go through. It’s also worth noting that there are reports that Survivor runs at a much poorer state on PC with the lack of proper optimization and reports of modern rigs struggling to reach even 40 FPS.

Final Verdict – 8.5/10

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor exemplifies the true potential of a sequel. Building upon the strong yet imperfect groundwork established by Fallen Order, the game takes bold strides forward in almost every aspect. From enhanced gameplay mechanics to refined narrative pacing, Survivor surpasses its predecessor in size, scope, and quality. It continues Cal’s journey with more structured and emotionally impactful storytelling, addressing the challenges the franchise has faced since the Disney acquisition. However, whatever momentum Survivor gains from all of its triumphs, it tragically stumbles onto itself with poor performance issues that pull me away from the immersive world Respawn has built. 

Other than the technical hiccups, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is one of the best Star Wars games ever made. It’s cinematic, emotional, high-octane, and a brilliant expansion of existing franchise lore. 


You can tell that the developers have a significant love and respect for the source material. Respawn continues to impress with the way they’ve handled such an iconic IP and I can’t wait to see more of what the studio can come up with. Whether it be more Star Wars or a completely new concept, I’m all in. 

This review was made via a PS5 game code provided by the publisher.