The problem with reviewing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is that a chunk of my experience feels less relevant now. I was cautious on progressing because I was warned that a major pre-release update could break my saves. It didn’t, but the eventual patch did make Survivor a better game…but one I haven’t had much of a chance to play. It’s a weird feeling, where the game I played (and enjoyed) had serious caveats that might no longer exist. Poof! In fact, what I can say with confidence is the review process for Survivor is sadly archetypical of modern games and the compromises they force on critics, and then by extension, you.
I don’t think I actually regularly check anywhere that still gives lettered or numbered grades, but all the discussion I’ve seen reads like folks like it at least as much as the original game, but show exasperation with the technical state of the review copy that has tempered any enthusiasm. Patrick’s pseudo-review is the prime example, but elsewhere it’s still a lot of “this might be great, if the day one patch actually fixes it”. Take Jeff Gerstmann, for example:
I know Respawn got about an additional month or so of dev time but I can’t help but wonder if folks would have gotten a more traditional review period if they’d gotten another 4-6 weeks. I have no doubt that Jedi Survivor will be good eventually; I just think it’s very weird to hand external reviewers (i.e. Patrick et. al. and not like, Hit Detection) a game that’s Obviously Not Done and tell them to use their imaginations.
The impression I’ve gotten is that it’s a less cheap-feeling do-over sequel, but was still made, in J Schreier’s words, in half the devtime of fresh AAAs with roots in a game that was rushed to coincide with a RoS’ release with a relatively modest budget. Basically like making a quick-turnaround sequel to a movie license game, n it certainly ain’t the first time SW has done that, but as usual it comes with caveats and sometimes tempered enthusiasm.
Still, FO’s baseline is very evidently (and goodly) reused here for a next-gen exclusive with only (“only”) Disney’s broader deadlines to contend with, which means they’ve gotten to fill out its feature set and scope with more crowdpleasing stuff. The first game was surprisingly slight when you got a whole view of it, Survivor looks like its whole mission is to nip that slightness at every avenue it can. I feel like them putting Kyle Katarn and Dash Rendar outfits in there is kinda making a statement about their particular intentions, yknow?
And some people really like stuff that’s just A Lot of Star Wars, but have also been getting A Lot Of Star Wars already, so I can believe the scores even if they’re not tremendously sharp or weighty 8’s and 9’s.
To add to this, it seems even day zero patches are already making big (though not unambiguous/magic) gains. So the under-the-wire “damn Disney really wants this out after Mando’s done and before TotK sucks up all the engagement air in the gaming room eh” vibes are palpable.
I think we all got a little acclimated to the COVID game drought, but this much density in major games coming out is closer to what we saw at the peak of the X1/PS4 gen. I’m sure Respawn is going to do just fine sales wise.
I really enjoyed Fallen Order, even if it did feel like a worse Star Wars branded Sekiro when it dropped, so I’m thoroughly excited for Survivor. But I agree that the release schedule for games this year feels untenable, even if it is just a return to the pre-Covid release schedule (Fires of Rubicon just announced for AUGUST!). I already put off playing Ragnarok to dive into Forbidden West and it seems like Survivor is going to lose out to Tears of the Kingdom. I guess that’s to say that by the time I get around to it, whatever tech issues will hopefully be ironed out.
Also, I assume Survivor isn’t the first “next-gen” game to cost $70 across the board, but it feels like the first time I noticed that the PC version is also $70.
I don’t pay much attention to new AAAs either but the last game I saw do that on PC was Callisto Protocol, which they even made about 92 CAD before tax over here. I wish I was joking.
It’s also Arkane, which is like a 4x multiplier for their publisher not having a fucking clue how to release or market their stuff. I think more people know about its framerate, always-online, (lack of) co-op progression and subpar IGN preview debacles than there are people who actually know what a Redfall is or why they might play it, lol.
I’ve been playing a bunch of Jedi Survivor, and while the performance stuff is all very uneven at best, I’m having a blast with the rest of the game. Exploring is way more fun and the character interactions have been really excellent. Love all the cool little aliens and droids you meet, they really went all out with the funky designs and they’re all very lovable. Respawn knows the power of a weirdo and how well it elevates a good Star Wars setting.
I’m in real danger of falling off at Koboh due to how vast it is compared to how linear the first game was. Need to hone in as I’m really bad for aimless wandering once a map opens up. It’s why Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Scarlet haven’t stuck with me.
I’m trying not to ascribe any positive or negative judgement to it, but I am pretty fascinated by how quickly it opens out when you hit Koboh, with relatively limited handholding to keep you pointed in the direction of the main story without being overwhelmed by side material.
I’m still early, but enjoying it. That said, I might decide to put a pin in it pending some of the promised patches, hoping they claw back some of the missing performance and other issues. I’m just keenly aware Zelda is coming in real soon and I’ve still got Horizon’s Burning Shores DLC to finish. Survivor grabbed me much faster than that, so it’s a real shame the technical stuff is holding it back.
The first PC patch is coming later today and the first console patch drops tomorrow. I think it’s probably worthwhile to mop up Burning Shores (it’s not very long) and see how the patches do before you come back.