Review: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a game that came out in 2019. I saw a few things about it over the years, but not enough to pique my attention. Then I watched a few videos of a let’s play of the game, saw that there was a trailer for a sequel, and found out that the game was on sale.

The plot of the game is, basically, following the notes of an old Jedi master, Eno Cordova, (who was also an archaeologist who studied the Zeffo civilization) to find a holocron that contains a list of force-sensitive children. I cared less about this and more about the archaeology part of it, because what isn’t cool about a Jedi archaeologist?

I waffled back and forth on whether I wanted to 100% the whole game, and then did it anyway. I fully explored each planet, got all databank entries, found all collectibles, unlocked all force powers, and got most of the achievements. Overall, it took around 33 hours.

First of all, some notes/thoughts on the gameplay:

  • The controls on PC are kind of wonky if you’re playing with a mouse and keyboard like I do. The game recommends you use a controller when it first starts up, and it’s probably a good idea to do that (I never did). Most of the key bindings are ok, but I had to remap doge to “V” because it was too awkward to hit initially.
  • There are a lot of force powers/upgrades you can get. I only ever used a few and forgot about the more complex ones.
  • The map is good and bad. It shows which areas you haven’t visited and which doors and pathways are available and which you can’t get through. However, everything turns the same kind of blue color after it’s been interacted with, which can make it hard to tell what you’re looking at.
  • You have the opportunity to choose an answer to questions you’re asked about…four different times. I doubt this has much of an effect on anything aside from a few lines of dialogue, so I’m wondering why it was there to begin with.
  • You can change the difficulty at any point in the game. There is no penalty for doing so, and there is nothing locked behind a certain difficulty.

I’m going to review each of the four major planets – so no Bracca, Ordo Eris, Ilum, or Nur. I honestly don’t have enough thoughts on any of those to bother writing them down.

Bogano

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This is a Bogling, one of the native species of Bogano. You can get one on your ship, but you can’t interact with it.

Bogano is the “starter” planet. It’s the smallest and easiest to get around, and aside from Oggdo Bogdo (and the regular Bogdos), there’s nothing there that’s a serious threat. I will admit that my first encounter with Oggdo Bogdo happened when I fell into the cave and died immediately. I didn’t come back to fight it until almost the end of the game.

The other planets are separated into different sections; the loading screens are disguised as things like elevators or gaps in the walls that you go through. There is none of this on Bogano. The entire planet loads at the same time – you can literally see all of it from the landing area. This did cause a little bit of lag at times.

Bogano is populated entirely by animals, both hostile and non-hostile, until the very end of the game when the Empire gets there (then there are stormtroopers). There’s stuff left over from a Jedi archaeologist who lived there for a while plenty of remnants of the ancient Zeffo civilization, and some giant animal bones.

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Overall, Bogano feels empty in a way that the other planets don’t. It’s much smaller and there aren’t nearly as many enemies as on other planets. This isn’t really a bad thing for a video game – it can be good to have a relatively safe, peaceful place to hang out in between stressful missions.

Zeffo

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There is way too much stuff on Zeffo. There are 43 chests on this planet alone, while Bogano has 16, Kashyyyk has 27, and Dathomir has 16. Zeffo also has two ancient Zeffo tombs, ice caves that connect most regions of the map (which is actually good when you want to travel from one place to another in a short amount of time), an Imperial base, and a gigantic crashed ship.

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The crashed Venator

It genuinely feels like most of the effort went into this planet. Bogano and Kashyyyk have zero tombs. Dathomir has one, but it’s used solely for a boss fight. I don’t think anything really would have been lost by moving one of the tombs to another planet.

There are a couple of areas on Zeffo – the ice caves, the Venator crash site, in particular – that are apparently easy to miss (not to me because I always explore everything) because the story doesn’t require you to go there. There really isn’t anything like this on the other planets. You’re forced to visit all or most of the areas on Kashyyyk and Dathomir.

It’s definitely a pity that the Venator is so easy to miss, since it (along with the Tomb of Miktrull) is one of the coolest parts of the planet.

Ultimately, Zeffo has way too much going on. It does, however, have some pretty cool visuals.

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Part of the Tomb of Miktrull

Kashyyyk

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Kashyyyk is…a planet. It has giant trees, giant spiders, giant fireflies, giant slugs, Wookiees, and a bunch of stormtroopers. It’s the planet that I think is most disconnected from the main plot. In the end, all you really learn is that you actually need to go to Dathomir. It feels like Kashyyyk is in the game mainly to take up space. It does show how the Empire is impacting people’s lives and how they’re rebelling, but not really much else.

You also visited Kashyyyk in Knights of the Old Republic, and much to my surprise, some of the enemies were the same. There are also tachs in the game, but thankfully they don’t make any sounds like they did in KotOR.

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This is what tachs look like now.

Dathomir

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Dathomir is very pretty, but also very intimidating at first. I went there early in the game to check it out, and ended up leaving after a couple of minutes because I realized I was quite underleveled.

“Desolate” would be a good word to describe Dathomir – if it wasn’t full of giant spiders, Nightbrothers, and eventually undead Nightsisters. It’s a pretty barren world, but feels a lot less empty than Bogano because there are actual people there, living and undead.

This planet is more annoying than the other planets, mostly because there aren’t nearly as many shortcuts as there are on the other planets. You can’t skip entire areas like on Zeffo. And dealing with the undead Nightsisters became such a pain that I had to actually lower the difficulty because I was sick of being mobbed by enemies and just wanted to get through the place.

There is a tomb on Dathomir, but it consists solely of a boss fight. After the huge detour you have to go through to get to the tomb, I’m not sure I would have liked to explore an entire area, so that’s fine with me.

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Ominous statues in the Tomb of Kujet.

Other Miscellaneous Things

The whole Ordo Eris sequence comes out of nowhere, even if you do listen to your crewmates’ conversations. It genuinely doesn’t seem like there’s enough to support that part of the game existing. It also seems pretty strange that a bounty hunter could track down and kidnap a Jedi while the entire Empire, for some reason, can’t do the same. It doesn’t really add anything to the game, either.

You have multiple crewmembers – Greeze, Cere, and eventually Merrin – but they don’t really do anything outside of cutscenes. They stand around the ship when you’re on a planet and sometimes have dialogue that relates to that particular planet. I would have liked more crewmember conversations.

In Conclusion

I liked the game! There are definitely things I would have fixed, but overall it’s pretty good. I am definitely going to play the sequel when it comes out (or, most likely, when it goes on sale) and it’s likely I’ll end up reviewing that one, too.

Some Thoughts On: Joran, the Princess of Snow and Blood

Originally, I was going to review all the episodes in this show. I wrote a full review of the first episode (it is posted on my Pillowfort account) and it ended up much longer than I thought it would be. Since I’d planned on reviewing four episodes per blog post, that was going to be a problem. Then I realized I didn’t want to do a full review of this series anyway, so one (brief) post it is.

This show…had potential. It was definitely interesting, and a lot of stuff happens, but I think that’s where the problem lies. Too many things happened in too short a period of time. Sawa Yukimura, the protagonist, has a goal – a lifelong dream – of killing the guy who killed her family. That happens at the end of episode 4. This is a 12-episode show.

Joran takes place in an alternate history Japan in the 1930s. In the background, there’s a group that’s aiming to overthrow the government. That does happen by the end of the series, but again, it is a 12-episode show. Things aren’t explored in the detail they definitely should have been. A longer season (24 or 26 episodes) would probably have fixed the pacing issues and allowed time for exploration of the characters & the world.

I will leave this post on a good thing: this show is quite pretty! I definitely like the art style, especially the sketchy style used with the changelings.

First Impressions: Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Purchased through: Origin

Hours Played: 9.5 (Therum completed)

I’ve been waiting for this remaster since it was announced! At the time, I was thinking about replaying the Mass Effect trilogy, and this was the perfect excuse for a replay. And a couple of reviews, since I’m doing that now.

First of all, the graphics are gorgeous:

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All the low-resolution textures in the original version of Mass Effect 1 are gone!

Eyes are way shinier than they used to be – to an almost distracting degree. It’s almost too pretty. Characters’ faces have actual detail to them: not just scars, but pores, freckles, and other marks on their skin. A lot of Asari and Turian NPCs have some kind of facepaint/makeup, and it’s a lot more noticeable now.

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Nelyna’s facepaint (makeup?) was not nearly as bold or noticeable in the original version of the game. Neither were her underboobs.

I used to wonder what the blurry green lines on the Volus’ suits were. Now I can see that they are actual green lines on the fabric, not part of Volus anatomy like I originally thought (I used to think the Volus were spindly plant people).

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Due to loading times being decreased, elevator dialogue starts immediately. There’s also an option to skip it entirely, but I don’t know why you would want to do that. The squad banter is pretty great.

Combat is improved in general. It’s still based on the original combat system of Mass Effect 1, but it is definitely better than it used to be.

The Mako handles a lot better. It’s not nearly as wonky as it used to be and actually feels…heavier? There’s a speed boost option now. The sound effects for the guns are different. And there isn’t an XP penalty for killing enemies from the Mako anymore!

The Bring Down the Sky DLC is part of the base game now. It was actually the first mission I did after leaving the Citadel – I had zero idea what Asteroid X57 was since I didn’t have the DLC in the original game.

Photo mode is pretty great! There are tons of options. There’s even options to remove the party members or Shepard from view. Also, the photos are saved…as bitmap files. I genuinely did not think anyone used bitmap files anymore.

And here’s some bugs I’ve encountered:

  • With dialogue, the last word or half a word gets skipped at the end of a sentence sometimes. It seems to be random.
  • The biotic & tech color bars on the party member selection screen are swapped. Tech is now blue and biotics are now purple.
  • The disappearing Turian C-Sec Officer bug is still in the Presidium Prophet sidequest.
  • My computer crashed once during the X57 mission. I have zero idea what it was caused by, but I could only exit the game by using CTRL-ALT-DELETE and trying to switch user accounts. That shut down Origin entirely.

Review: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is an RPG game by Bioware, released in 2003. I, however, didn’t know this game existed until a couple of years ago. I didn’t really get into PC gaming until mid-2019, and the first time I played KotOR was in early 2020.

I’d just finished playing Mass Effect 2, so I genuinely wasn’t impressed by the game at first. KotOR is rather clunky in comparison – since, you know, it’s from 2003 and ME2 is from 2010. It took a while for me to get used to the controls and I genuinely couldn’t get into the game. I have zero idea why, since I’ve played older games and had zero problems with them.

For some reason, in February of this year I thought about replaying KotOR. The thing is, I don’t particularly like replaying video games. If there’s achievements I’ve missed or some kind of New Game+, I’ll do it, but otherwise? There’s no justifiable reason to replay a game when I already own so many unplayed ones.

I actually considered doing a screenshot & text Let’s Play of a new KoTOR playthrough. I even wrote a blog post as a test to see what it would look like, but decided against it as it would take way too long. Something like that would take more than 10 blog posts.

So I decided on a review. Perfect justification for replaying a game.


Playthrough 1: Scout/Jedi Sentinel, Light-side male, 44 hours

Playthrough 2: Scout/Jedi Consular, Light-side female, 31.5 hours

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First things first: this game, like every game, has some bugs.

  1. When a video plays, the game window sometimes minimizes. This is much more of a problem when there are two or three videos back-to-back.
  2. Characters sometimes get stuck after combat. This is something that never happened when I played on my laptop, but happened frequently on my desktop. It’s not too much of a problem since most of the time you can just switch to another character and have them lead the party instead, but sometimes all three party characters get stuck, which is a pain. However, this isn’t too much of a bad bug because…you can save the game right there and reload the save, which makes it possible for the character to move again.
  3. Party members occasionally get stuck behind part of the geometry and have a hard time getting to you. This has resulted in me trying to exit an area only to be told that I need to gather my party, checking the map, and seeing that a character is halfway across the map. Usually, you have to wait for the character to catch up.
  4. A bug I only encountered on my laptop: the grass can cause a weird graphical glitch in the sky. This can be fixed by turning off the grass in the options menu.

For my second playthrough, I installed the Kotor 1 Community Patch, so I have no idea how many other glitches and bugs there are in the base game.

Secondly, I’m going to review each planet. I think that’s the easiest way to start things off. And I’m going to skip talking about the tutorial level (the Endar Spire), because it’s pretty much just an introduction to the game mechanics & controls.

Taris

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Taris is the first planet you end up on. I know a lot of people don’t like the planet because it takes up a lot of time and you don’t get to become a Jedi until you get to Dantooine (you usually end up at level 8 out of 20 total levels), but I personally think the planet is fine.

You get most of your party members here – Carth, Mission, Zaalbar, Bastila, T3-M4, and Canderous. You can talk to all of those party members and each of them has their own personal quest you can do…except for T3-M4. This droid is obtained for the single purpose of…opening the door to the Sith Base.

One door. You can use T3 to open all the other locked doors in the game, but there are other characters who can do that, too. T3 isn’t good in combat, has no personality, you can’t have conversations, and it has no personal mission. There is literally no reason for T3 to exist other than as an obligatory droid character. I don’t even have any screenshots of this droid.

There are a ton of sidequests on Taris, and you can help a ton of people…which ultimately ends up not mattering at all (except for the experience you get for completing them) since the planet gets destroyed when you leave it.

Dantooine

Dantooine is where you actually get to become a Jedi!

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Dantooine is also the first planet where the grass glitch pops up, since the planet is covered in grass. The planet has quite a few sidequests – mostly stuff that you’re tasked to resolve as a Jedi – and the seventh party member: Juhani.

Juhani is one of the two optional party members – rather than persuading her away from the dark side, you can straight up kill her once you meet her. I genuinely don’t know why you’d want to do this. Juhani is one of the more useful party members in combat.

There are ruins on Dantooine that are 20,000 years old, because it wouldn’t be Star Wars without lots of improbably old things. This is where you learn the main objective of the game: travel to four planets – Tattooine, Kashyyyk, Manaan, and Korriban – and use the star maps on those planets to find the Star Forge.

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This is where the game finally opens up. You can travel to any of the four planets in any order you want. You can come back to Dantooine at any time you want before you complete your third planet. You can complete a sidequest on one planet, go to another, complete a few more quests, and go back and forth without penalty – unless you include the docking fees on Manaan as a penalty.

I did actually do a little bit of that in my second playthrough, but primarily stuck to the recommended order of Tatooine -> Kashyyyk -> Manaan -> Korriban.

Tatooine

Maybe it’s because Tatooine is the first planet I chose to go to, but I think it’s the best planet in the game. Three characters have their personal quests here: Mission, Bastila, and Canderous. You can make a lot of money through swoop racing. You can get your second optional party member, HK-47. And if you do things correctly, you can learn a lot about the backstory of Tatooine.

Also, this is where you first start getting attacked by groups of Dark Jedi.

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This isn’t really a bad thing, because you get lightsabers from them. Extra lightsabers are always good to have and they sell for quite a bit of money if you don’t want to keep them.

HK-47 is the eighth party member you can obtain. He’s necessary for negotiating with the Sand People, so if you don’t plan on doing that, then it isn’t actually necessary to buy him. HK-47 doesn’t have a personal quest, but you can repair him (using your Repair skill) over the game to learn more about his backstory.

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I really have to recommend bringing HK-47 along to talk to the Sand People. You will learn a lot about the history of Tatooine and how it relates to things you learn later in the game.

Kashyyyk

For some reason, it feels like there isn’t much to do on this planet. It may be because Zaalbar’s personal quest takes place here and it’s non-optional. A lot of the sidequests here are more integrated into the main story than on other planets.

Kashyyyk is where you meet Jolee Bindo, an old Jedi who apparently doesn’t follow the dark or light side of the Force.

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Jolee is, in my opinion, the most interesting character in the game. You learn a lot about the Jedi and wars from years ago. And since he’s a grey Jedi, he can use both light and dark-side force powers without penalty. This makes Jolee – also in my opinion – another really good combat-oriented character. There’s really no reason not to bring him everywhere.

Manaan

Of all the planets, I like Manaan the least. The planet is genuinely too big – four maps for Alto City, one of the Sith base, and a couple for the Hrakert Rift (underwater) sections.

Jolee’s personal quest takes place here. His friend, Sunry, is on trial for murder and you’re asked to help prove that Sunry is innocent, because Jedi apparently do that sort of thing. I didn’t think much of it on my first playthrough, but when I looked up the possible outcomes of the trial, I realized that I had missed a lot of information. On my second playthrough, I made sure to find every piece of information I could and got an entirely different outcome from the trial.

The Hrakert Rift section of Manaan is the shortest section on the planet, but it’s the most tedious, because you move extremely slowly while wearing the environment suit.

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I think this is what most people hate about the Manaan. I definitely hated it in my first playthrough, but found it not so bad in my second.

Also, what’s kind of hilarious is that you can get attacked by Sith when you’re at the bottom of the ocean:

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Yep, you can even ask them how they got down there.

Korriban

Korriban is under control of the Sith. There’s even a Sith training academy there, which you have to get into in order to find the location of the planet’s star map.

There are also a bunch of Sith archaeologists looking through tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords, something I thought was more interesting than most things in this game. Maybe it’s because I like archaeology?

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Carth’s personal quest takes place on Korriban, and Juhani can run into an ex-Jedi (now Sith) who she used to know. This only happens if you have her in your party, so I had no idea about it until my second planthrough.

The Unknown World

So after you’ve gone to all four planets and obtained all four star maps, you find the location of the Star Forge. Then, when you try to go there, you crash-land on another planet. This planet has sidequests, and you can also get money, even though you’re past the point where you can buy anything.

I don’t want to say much about this planet because it would be going too far into spoiler territory, but it is quite a pretty place.

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Star Forge

Eventually you actually get to the Star Forge, which is the only place in the game that has respawning enemies. While there’s a cutscene where Malak says that all available troops are sent out against you, there’s no indication that this means that the waves of enemies do not end. This makes a couple of areas pretty difficult to get past.

Except, of course, if you go into solo mode and move each character from one safe area to another. That pretty much lets you bypass all the fighting. Since you’re at level 20 by the time you get to the Star Forge, there’s no actual reason to level up any longer.

Here is one frustrating thing that I did not know before going into the final boss the first time: it’s just about impossible to defeat the boss if you don’t have one out of a couple of specific force powers. In my second playthrough, I made sure I had at least one, and was actually able to defeat the boss.

Additional Things

There are plenty of ridiculous dialogue choices you can make, most of which are dark-aligned. Most of them came across as way too unreasonable for me to consider – like responding to a request for help with threatening to kill people.

You can ask each character about each planet, and all of them have a unique thing to say. You can also have conversations with each character and learn more about them as the story progresses, but the trigger is different with each character. New dialogue appears after the player character levels up, the party members level up, or after you find a new star map. There’s no way to know which applies to which character without checking a guide.

Overview

This is a pretty good role-playing game, even if the controls are rather clunky and outdated. Just look up a guide if you want to make sure you don’t miss something or build your character in the wrong way. You’ll probably want to be able to defeat the final boss on your first playthrough.

Short Review: Cat Quest

Purchased through: GOG.com

Hours played: 8.5 (level 77, main story complete)

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Cat Quest is an open-world RPG (role-playing game) where everyone is a cat. It’s really adorable and light-hearted, and it’s something I’ve been spending time on here and there on the weekends.

It’s also full of cat puns. There are so many cat puns.

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Like with other RPGs, there are enemies wandering the overworld and in instanced dungeons. There are some boss fights in the overworld – mostly dragons – and tons of sidequests. It’s very easy to get sidetracked by sidequests to the point that I’m overleveled by the time I get back to the main storyline quests, which probably makes them a bit too easy.

Not that I’m complaining! It’s super easy to level up just by doing sidequests and everything associated with them. There is essentially no grinding in this game, which is something that I am supper happy about.

There is one thing in particular that I don’t like: not being able to choose which weapon or piece of armor to upgrade. It’s completely randomized as to what item gets an upgrade and to what extent the stats are boosted.

Overall, this is a nice little game that can be completed in 6-8 hours. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a no-stress RPG to play for 30 minutes to half an hour here and there.