TLDR: Tomb Raider in the Star Wars universe with XP & exploration character progression.
This is set during/after Order 66, but before A New Hope.
You are Cal Kestis, played by Cameron Monaghan (and designed to look like him...so much so that one of my kids who has seen Shameless recognized him immediately), a scrapper working on some backwater planet. The Imperials come searching for a possible Jedi. Spoiler! It's you. Duh. You are a former padawan and last surviving member of the Jedi Order. (This is what the people in this story believe, but it is not true per canon. For example: We all know Yoda and Obi Wan are alive.) You escape, a very fun part of the game, and are aided by a former Jedi that has severed her link to the Force and an alien ship captain. The ship is the Mantis and it's pretty cool. The former Jedi, Cere Junda, recruits you on her quest to rebuild the Jedi order. Now the three of you are off to a planet with a Jedi vault in search of a holocron filled with the names of Force sensitive younglings. Along the way you will meet a new bestie (every Jedi has one...) and one other crew member whose role I will discuss under a spoiler tag.
The story is pretty good. By far it is the game's strength. It feels and looks like a SW story. If you never play the game, but can find a video of just the story parts on YouTube...IF you're a big SW fan of course...I would recommend it.
The gameplay itself I'll break down into three parts:
1. The on rails action scenes are a blast. The early story escape scene is one of these. Kind of like playing Dragon's Lair, but less punishing and your timing doesn't have to be that perfect.
2. Exploration. Like I said, it's Tomb Raider, you're in a 3D world exploring sort of compact, linear worlds that are "open", but not. The devs get the most out of the levels by making certain areas, chests, and so on inaccessible until you had the proper skills/items. Let me 'splain: There are 7 worlds you will visit. The one you start on that you will not explore, but instead start the story and then do the escape scene. The final world that plays like the first (story and on the rails action scene), then 5 you can explore (Chewie's home planet, Darth Maul's home planet...I think..., an icy planet that's pretty tiny (you'll explore 95% the first time you land and it won't take you long at all), and one other that fits this universe. The exploration amounts to following paths, opening doors, finding hidden areas (not many at all), finding chests, killing enemies (either Imperials or the local wildlife), swimming, climbing, swinging on ropes/vines, etc. It's all fine, but can get repetitive. Although, that's probably only true IF you're like me and trying to find all the stuff. My biggest gripe about the planets is they're a bit compact in design, so it gets a bit confusing to find your way around, especially because the map function is in 3D and kind of tough to use and read.
3. Fighting is both awesome and not. You will definitely have a lot of satisfying moments and feel that Jedi power, but you're going to also be very frustrated by how the game was designed to nerf those powers and your lightsaber. Many enemies are "lightsaber resistant", which is hilariously stupid, but I get it. A lightsaber should be like a cheat code, but they need the game to be challenging. Still, when I'm fighting rats, crabs, frogs, and so on it should not take multiple lightsaber hits to finish them. Still, I can forgive that because they had to add "lightsaber resistant" to the actual lore of the game, so they were aware of it. However, what I cannot forgive is the most frustrating part of the game and what really removes the "I AM a Jedi" factor are the animation timings for your character versus your enemies. If Cal's animations are normal speed, then the bosses you fight have their animations playing at double speed. Some of the lesser enemies are going at time and a half. To compound this, some enemies completely ignore your attacks too and will continue with their attack right through you HITTING THEM WITH A FUCKING LIGHTSABER. Yes, they're taking damage, but so are you. This is particularly a massive kick in the ass with some of the beasts you fight. It didn't keep me from enjoying the game and completing it, but it definitely never allowed me to have that kick ass moment where you fought an amazing battle using all the Jedi stuff you know. The fights just see you on the defensive and only attacking at extremely opportune moments.
Character progression has you learning new Jedi powers like push, pull, lightsaber throw, etc. via XP gained from fights and exploration. I had extra skill points to spend by the end and nothing to spend it on.
The map feature does track your exploration percentage, chests available/found, and secrets available/found, not just per map, but also per section. So it is easier to figure out where you missed one.
So what's in those chests? Skins for your outfit, skins for the Mantis, and skins for ______. The lightsaber parts allow you to really customize your lightsaber exactly how you want it. Do any of these skins alter anything at all? YES!!!! They actually appear in cutscenes! Other than that, no, they don't do shit. Ok, but the lightsaber parts probably improve the attack power, deflecting ability, illumination, or something, right? Nope! Not a damn thing. It just makes the minute details of the lightsaber, that you cannot see unless you're on the screen customizing your saber, customizable. Thankfully, you get XP for finding those chests or what's the point? They're not all bad though. There are 10 chests different from all the rest and actually contain something your character can and will use in the game.
Is this game worth it? If you're a big SW fan, yes. The story is very good and fits the universe. If you're a big fan of Tomb Raider, this is the same game, but with a SW theme. If you're neither, then skip it.
FYI, a sequel is being developed.
Mostly PC, but console and mobile too
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