Review: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – Cal Kestis Returns

The Star Wars galaxy is filled with many stories and characters across its vast history. Most of which we never get to see in the movies but have the joy of seeing them unfold in various mediums like video games. Cal Kestis is a character that many Star Wars fans have grown fond of ever since he made his first appearance in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But the scope of his story gets even bigger and more dangerous in the sequel Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. As hope for the galaxy becomes dim, Cal and his friends do what they can to keep it from fading away, taking players on a space adventure that is fun to see through, but dampened by a few frustrating bits.

The story of Star Wars: Jedi Survivor takes place about 5 years after the events of the previous game, which in the Star Wars timeline is about 10 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Cal and his friends have gone their separate ways across the galaxy, but he still fights against the reigning Galactic Empire. While Cal’s exploits haven’t fazed the overwhelming hold the Emperor has on the galaxy, word of a way to help survivors of The Purge and rebuild the Jedi Order brings Cal together again with his friends. But a new threat from the High Republic era resurfaces and threatens what could be the very last chance for Cal Kestis and the remaining Jedi to survive.

What is interesting about the story in Star Wars: Jedi Survivor is how it blends together different eras of the Star Wars timeline into the plot. Cal Kestis is still fighting Imperial forces wherever he goes, but parts of the Clone Wars and the High Republic era are littered throughout every planet. Whether it’s B-1 Battledroids, ancient High Republic tech, or newly deployed Imperial walkers; this is one of the best combinations of different Star Wars eras into one story. The game doesn’t linger long enough to display everything about each era fully, but you get a sense of history that’s played out with each era of Star Wars lore that is either hidden or put on full display.

Cameron Monaghan returns as Cal Kestis and is given a wider scope of emotions and situations to display his acting ability. Much of the story is darker than the first game, with a lot of events that push Cal and others to the brink of either falling to the dark side or questioning what was previously known. This works out great with the rest of the cast who return from Jedi Fallen Order, but also the newer characters we meet in Jedi Survivor.

While most major plot points can feel a bit predictable, there are moments during the nearly 30-hour story that is shocking and clever with how they unfold. Cal’s relationship with characters like Merrin, Greez, and a few other characters from the previous game progress in big ways that make a lot of sense. The weakest part of all this is Dagan Gera, the Jedi from the High Republic era Cal meets on his travels. Though there are some big clashes involving him, his story feels like it comes to an end all too quickly and is anti-climactic, especially with some of the big reveals toward the final portions of Jedi Survivor’s story.

The most interesting changes in Star Wars: Jedi Survivor over its predecessor are in the gameplay, specifically in the scope and quality-of-life updates. Jedi Survivor is a much bigger game than Jedi Fallen Order, allowing you to explore planets you visit and spend a lot of time away from the main story just taking in different parts of the galaxy you’ve probably never seen before. The planets look fantastic and are populated with enemies to fight, side quests to complete, hidden secrets to rediscover, and so much more. What’s neat is how you can mount a creature and travel around a planet rather than on foot, and you have access to fast travel between Meditation Points, which act as the game’s bonfire to save and recover. While not every planet is gigantic, the majority of them are big and will take you a lot of time to fully explore.

Unfortunately, the beauty of the game is dampened by a few technical hiccups that occasionally appear. Depending on the platform you play on (PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC), you might experience issues like drops in framerate, characters getting stuff in objects or structures randomly, and even texture pop-in from time to time. None of these issues are a frequent occurrence or game-breaking in most cases, but they do become a distraction and can influence some fights you get into. When enemies end up getting stuck in walls, the game doesn’t force you to defeat them before you can progress onward, and nothing of the sort appears to happen to any of the boss fights you encounter.

Speaking of which, most battles you find yourself in will test your abilities very well, regardless of what difficulty setting you choose to play with. Cal Kestis has a variety of new lightsaber forms and abilities that build upon his Jedi powers from the first game, letting you wreak havoc on enemies. Star Wars: Jedi Survivor also puts you in situations where very large groups of smaller enemies can appear, which looks fantastic and can be a lot of fun to play. But if you aren’t quick on your reflexes and falter even a bit, you’ll find Cal getting beaten up very easily. The same can be said with every boss encounter, which ranges from stronger enemies to larger foes, and even a few key battles against main characters. These fights will require you to learn patterns and be patient for when you can strike, but they can just as easily frustrate you in the worst way possible.

Like its predecessor, Star Wars: Jedi Survivor has a lot of difficulty spikes that will make you want to hurl a controller. Even if you bring down the difficulty in the menu to the lower end, some encounters will have you raging pretty hard at how challenging or tedious they can be. This is only made tougher when you can end up fighting with the controls during a battle, much like how it was in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Sometimes you’ll accidentally hit a button to attack and will be unable to dodge, forcing you to take a hit that deals massive damage or outright kills you. It’s to a point where it can feel like your button inputs seem delayed a bit or unresponsive, but that’s because another action like an attack is already happening. Being mindful of what button you press and how much you press it during a fight is a great asset for getting around the seemingly impossible fights that will test your patience and your mettle.

When you’re not having Cal complete the main story, there are so many other things to do. Side quests on every planet will take you around nearly every nook and cranny you can explore, including hidden High Republic temples that act as the game’s puzzles. These can be tedious activities because you’ll need to use all of your abilities to solve them, whether it’s using the Force to move objects or carefully time your platforming to get to a goal. They aren’t necessary to complete the main story but can yield a number of good rewards that will help you out along the way.

In addition to that, rumors you can pick up from various characters you speak to will open up more side quests and optional battles in planets like Koboh. You can even bring characters you meet on your travels to the local cantina in Koboh, which open up shops and other fun perks that can help Cal on his journey. Finding everyone and everything to fill up the cantina can be fun, especially when you don’t know what strange friend will pop up there.

Cal Kestis may be the main character of Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own flair to him. The game has many more customization options than Jedi Fallen Order, allowing you to change Cal’s overall look and the style of his weapons, including his lightsaber and blaster. Many of these options are found or unlocked as you play, with the bulk of them coming from freely exploring the planets you visit. You can even customize the look of BD-1 with a wide range of droid parts, making your version of Cal and BD-1 feel unique and stylish. None of the changes you make have any real gameplay influence other than their appearance, which may or may not be disappointing for some people. The only significant options that influence your abilities in combat are the lightsaber forms you gain over time and the Perks you can equip, which change up some properties of combat like the amount of damage you do and the EXP you can gain. They don’t always have a huge impact on combat, but some of them are definitely more helpful than others.

More than likely, you’ll be spending most of your time exploring in the post-game once you complete the story. You’ll need a lot of the new abilities Cal can obtain in order to reach new areas find new items and complete side quests. The majority of optional content is locked behind most of this, which can feel limiting for a while until you finish the main quest. You’ll often come across a spot that requires an ability you won’t gain until much later in the story, but once you have them all it feels like a whole new range of locations open up to you.

The best parts of Star Wars: Jedi Survivor are incredible highs that are great for both Star Wars fans and others who just enjoy playing action games. The various technical issues and other missteps are definitely ones that stick out when they happen, but not enough to completely drown out the better times one can have following Cal Kestis’ journey once again. You might rage a few times throughout, but there is still a lot of fun to be had in Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. A new game plus and the promise of more things to discover will definitely keep you coming back for more in this part of a galaxy far, far away.

Are you going to play Star Wars: Jedi Survivor on any platform? What is your favorite thing about Star Wars and who is your favorite character? Share your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor
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    Star Wars: Jedi Survivor - 80%


This game looks great and has a lot of places to explore. The action is fantastic and the story is interesting to follow. There are some technical issues and frustrating moments that can dampen the experience. Some difficulty spikes will be harsh as well. But the overall gameplay, customization, and plot make for a great time for anyone that loves Star Wars or action games.

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Jakejames Lugo

Jakejames Lugo is a writer and content creator that has been covering video games, movies, and various sides of entertainment for over a decade. He has published reviews and articles on many different outlets and continues to make content for different platforms. Jakejames also makes video content regularly for places like YouTube and TikTok, and share daily posts about gaming on social media.

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