Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 21.05.2023

Review for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Xbox Series X/S

It's hard to believe that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was released just three and half years ago. Even now, it's a title that, love it or hate it, lingers in the memory as a standout interactive experience in the Star Wars universe. As a proof of concept, it did a great job of establishing something new in a demanding franchise. Enter its direct sequel, Jedi: Survivor — a continuation of Cal Kestis and co.'s story, and a passionately crafted product from Respawn Entertainment.

Set 5 years after the end of Jedi: Fallen Order, Jedi: Survivor begins by throwing Cal — who's grown into a competent but haunted young Jedi — into another Empire-defying adventure. Cal's story picks up with him struggling to find his place in the galaxy, and thus the stakes (and indeed a clear villain) aren't immediately apparent. It's risky footing to start on but thankfully, Jedi: Survivor's gorgeous presentation and captivating gameplay pick up the slack left by the slow-to-start tale.

As advertised, Survivor is bigger and better than Fallen Order in almost every way. As a current-gen exclusive, it's visually stunning, establishing itself as one of the best-looking titles to grace modern hardware (we'll gloss over the abysmal PC performance at launch — that's a whole other story). Regardless, it's graphically and mechanically ambitious, hitting most of the right notes in what it aims to achieve on consoles, at least.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Xbox Series X/S

If you're not familiar with the formula in these Jedi titles, it's rather straightforward, if a little difficult to envision without getting hands-on with it. Jedi: Survivor, like Jedi: Fallen Order before it, wears its Soulsborne influence on its sleeve. Meditation points (think Bonfires) serve as checkpoints across the many worlds the player visits throughout the adventure. Dying in the field of duty will cause Cal to respawn at the last one he visited, where he will have to backtrack to recover lost XP (or not, if you don't fancy reliving a particularly nasty scrap).

This is much more accessible — and certainly a darn sight easier — than your typical Soulsborne. In addition to offering multiple difficulty levels, there's also no penalty for dying repeatedly (aside from the need to recover lost XP), and enemy attacks are mostly less brutal as well. Players coming from one of From Software's titles will not have much trouble at all on Normal difficulty, but those not experienced with them will have a gentle learning curve to surmount (which can be offset by playing on easier difficulties). Furthermore, Survivor has a smoother onboarding process than Fallen Order, thanks to the expanded capabilities Cal has from the very start of the campaign.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Xbox Series X/S

To further encapsulate what Jedi: Survivor offers players, it's pretty much Fallen Order but a whole lot more. Explorable worlds are bigger, more thoughtfully structured and full of collectibles and secrets to seek out. Each planet, from the bio-diverse hub world of Koboh to the winding, cyberpunk-inspired underbelly of Coruscant, is beautifully rendered, making it very easy to get lost in, in the best way. The returning cast of oddball characters is more compelling this time around as well, even if some of the new faces aren't as engaging in comparison to the familiar comrades in Greez, Merrin and Cere. Still, they all work together to bring to life an engaging tale of good and evil, with more than a few twists and turns along the way.

Combat and exploration are both highly addictive, adding to the established formula with new traversal mechanics, mountable animals and some very, very cool combat capabilities. Cal's chimera of a lightsaber is even more versatile, with five unlockable stances and a skill tree for each. His Force powers likewise get some love, with new abilities to make encounters even more open-ended. Where Fallen Order's skill tree was rather linear and could be filled out in a single playthrough, Survivor encourages a more strategic approach to spending those precious skill points, allowing the player to build a Jedi that suits their playstyle.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Xbox Series X/S

This is developer Respawn flexing their muscles, armed with the confidence brought on by Fallen Order's success. In the hands of devs with a lesser budget, this could so easily have been a project that bit off more than it could chew, but Respawn — armed with the generous financial firepower that's come from publisher EA and its success with Apex Legends — has done a highly commendable job. As a video game, it's beautifully and lovingly crafted; as a Star Wars experience, it more than lives up to the name.

However, Jedi: Survivor is not perfect. The ambition and passion poured into it are sometimes let down by a lack of polish; glitches, texture pop-in and frame rate dips (even in Performance mode) are not uncommon. It's not unplayable, but as always it's a bit of a let-down for a AAA title of this magnitude to launch without the kinks ironed out. Two or three months more in the development oven, and this could have been released in a beautiful state; as it stands, it'll be yet another AAA patch job. Do with that information what you will, but regardless, Survivor is a deliciously playable and highly memorable Star Wars action adventure — one that both genre lovers and Star Wars fans are advised to try out.

Screenshot for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Highly addictive and impressively expansive, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is exactly what a sequel should be: bigger, better and more ambitious. Whether or not you liked Fallen Order, this is worth your time if you're a die-hard Star Wars fan or if you enjoy action-fuelled adventures that keep you on the edge of your seat. It's not perfect, but even if you assess it for its ambition alone, it's one of the standout titles of this generation so far and a really, really good Star Wars title.

Developer

Respawn

Publisher

EA

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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