24

Fifty Shades Of Meh

November 18, 2019 by Tim

Jedi: Fallen Order may be the best Star Wars game since KOTOR. Amazingly realized and a great blend of challenging combat and Metroid/Uncharted style level design, with lots of re-traversing with new powers that continually change the tactics and paths available to you. As a game, it’s fantastic, and as a look at the period immediately following the Empire’s rise, it’s a really cool story.

So it’s disappointing to find that the game’s “collectibles” aspect is so… boring. The act of collecting is awesome, because locating chests often involves creative puzzle solving or out-of-the-box thinking. So the reward is in the doing… which is good because the prizes at the end are often lackluster.

When I think “Star Wars”, I think of many of the cool, iconic outfits and armors we’ve seen the characters wear. Cal, on the other hand, has chosen a poncho as his primary attire. A poncho. A big, frumpy horse-blanket, covering nearly all of his other clothing, is his primary fashion statement, and thus all of your “unlockable” cosmetic options boil down to ponchos, or rather, the same poncho in a variety of colors (sometimes with stripes!). Cal’s outfit customization is so unexciting that I can only rationalize it as some sort of revenge play by EA’s higher-ups, for rebuking their microtransactions so hard.

Likewise his outfits, his droid and his ship are similarly restricted to palette swaps as the extent of their customization. So while there are a good number of things to collect, the excitement wears off after your eighth slightly-different-shade-of-brown poncho.

Your lightsaber stands apart in this regard, in that you can collect and customize a TON of parts that drastically alter the appearance of your primary weapon. You can mix and match emitters, switches, sleeves and alloys to your heart’s content to create a super cool looking lightsaber… that is then almost so small on Cal’s whirling-and-twirling person in the third-person gameplay that it makes no difference what it looks like.

The game is so well-crafted that this complaint, the cosmetic side of things, barely registers against the overall quality of the game. They could have left it out completely, to absolutely no detriment to the game’s other accomplishments. So I’m glad we got anything at all in that regard, I guess.

But I will confess, I am having such a good time with the game that ironically, despite championing the single-player-only, fully-contained approach to the game, I find myself wishing I could shell out a dollar or two if it meant clothing Cal in traditional Jedi robes, or perhaps some cool discarded bits of Clone Trooper armor (stuff that would require extra work for custom meshes, as opposed to strictly textural work). Being able to change up Cal’s look more drastically would be the icing on an already delicious cake.

Go figure. EA finally makes a Star Wars game that isn’t stained by so much as a whiff of microtransactions, and it’s so good I would happily spend a few extra bucks for cosmetics.


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DrakeStarkiller
DrakeStarkiller
1 year ago

I wholly agree with you the combat is challenging and fun the exploration is fun…….. but he just looks so drab and boring lol

Bramble
Bramble
1 year ago

If the gameplay is good, who cares about the looks?
I never cared for bling bling but found the lack of good games a lot worse.

Besides, you can’t have it all. They need to cut back somewhere.

Mattikus
Mattikus
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

There’s also something to be said about the price of games not having changed since the 90s. Having well implemented microtransactions, like the ones in Path of Exile, can help make up the difference. Fact is these single player triple A epics are considered a loss unless DLC or microtransactions or *something* is added to the base price. Being able to spend money on frivolous items helps ensure future houses get quality walls, instead of cutting corners like everything built in the 70s.

Garitheous
Garitheous
1 year ago
Reply to  Mattikus

I may be dating myself, but computer games have had their price jacked a lot since the 90’s. I was getting games at $30. I remember getting pissed when they raised the average cost for computer games to $40, and now they are averaging $60. So yes, the cost of games has doubled since the 90’s. I never played console games much, so I have no reference there.

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago
Reply to  Mattikus

You forget that the price of making games has decreased in some factors as well. I.E. you don’t need to make disks and boxes for them anymore really so that saves a ton of money.

Also, companies saying they aren’t making money off them are the ones spending way too much money on advertising so that they would have to sell way more copies of the game than possible.

Unagiman
Unagiman
1 year ago
Reply to  Urazz

Except that distribution on digital platforms isn’t magically free. Particularly if you’re distributing on Steam. Even if it was completely free, it’s not like saving that cost balances out the massive increase in costs of developing games.

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago
Reply to  Unagiman

Has the cost of making video games gone up? Not as much as you think. It only gets really expensive when you try to go top of the line/bleeding edge in quality which a lot of Triple A developers do constantly. Also, it doesn’t help that a lot of Triple A companies feel the need to release a new version of their games every year pretty much (COD, Battlefield, and sports games are prime examples). When these game companies could do expansions to the game that will cost less to develop since they don’t have to build a new game… Read more »

Dan
Dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Mattikus

Games definitely cost more than since the 90s where I live…

Chris
Chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan

Now sure how that’s possible very much. The USA at least has seen even in teh last 30 years considerable inflation, and I remember VERY well that PC games in the 90s still cost roughly $50. Now, while special editions cost 70+ the average is still around $50, so in truth, the cost has actually gone DOWN in relative cost. Think about it: A coke at a coke machine was roughly $.50 in the 90s, now they’re usually $1.00. Following coke economics (yes I made that up) a PC game should be $80-$100 for a base game.

Bramble
Bramble
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

Sure, but as far as I’m aware, prices (for games) have been more or less the same in the last 15-20 years. And anything over HD is overkill in my eyes, purely because you stop looking at the beauty of a game once you really start gaming. You’re drooling over how beautiful everything is the first 30 minutes, and then you no longer pay attention to it. (Same with painted walls 😉 ) I have an Xbone and a decent PC, but in the end, it doesn’t give me more joy than my NES does, or any other console I… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
1 year ago
Reply to  Bramble

“If the gameplay is good, who cares about the looks?”

You, sir, must not have owned a PS4 or XBox One for too long, and someone must have forgotten to give you the pamphlets. I’ve got some here. “4K And You,” “Why Sub-60fps Is Garbage,” and “All Hail Digital Foundry.” I’ve also included a neat guide with common insults to throw at the opposing fanboys.

Karnasis
Karnasis
1 year ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

I dunno, I find myself pining for 60 fps, but 4k is almost wholly unnecessary. I have decent 1080 p monitors and enjoy what the PS4 (base) looks like and runs at. Hell I’m playing Diablo 2 on those same monitors and the game is 25 FPS Locked. It’s all a matter of perspective.

However the only reason I DON’T have a gaming PC boils down to money and the fact that the old…. but still decent hardware costs as much as a PS4 still (looking at GTX 960 cards for example)

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago
Reply to  Karnasis

Yeah, I prefer my games to run smooth and with as few bugs as possible.

MasterofBalance
MasterofBalance
5 months ago
Reply to  Bramble

Full-on agree Bramble

Foxhood
Foxhood
1 year ago

Well the game seems to come over a tiny bit rushed in regards of the “Extras” such as extensive QA and surprisingly indeed cosmetics. I say surprisingly cause it indicates that the Cosmetic collecting is more of an afterthought than a focal point. Something unheard of in this day and age and is definitely more preferable than being the other way around of Cosmetics and monetization being planned before the game itself is even halfway into development. Or it might just be cause this is Respawn. Looking at Titanfall and Apex it seems that custom mesh cosmetic stuff is kind… Read more »

Evilleet
Evilleet
1 year ago

Dont do it Tim! Videogame companies need to stop listening to people agreeing to pay more for a product than its actually worth. I agree with you, that maybe its a ploy to make us think that without microtransactions, games are gonna look boring, but dont settle for that, we know it is not true. There are so many games that did not have microtransactions where everything from the story to their graphics was great and where any form of microtransactions would made the game worse. Case and point the Command and Conquer series (you can actually see how microtransactions… Read more »

Trevor
Trevor
1 year ago

It’s a testament to how good a job Respawn did that you’re willing to give a bit to make the experiance and time you spend in the game just a touch more personalized. For myself Cal’s appearance fits the tone of the game. He’s just got enough of an interesting outfit to feel unique; not too flashy as to stand out in a crowd, but different enough that, if I knew him, I could locate him easily. That fits with his story as well, he was hiding from the Empire right under their nose, pretty much. Jokingly; Cal’s a Jedi… Read more »

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor

It’s not even about having the time to go shopping for clothes. He’s pretty much a jedi in hiding so running around in jedi robes or combat armor isn’t exactly allowing him to hide.

TuffMelon
TuffMelon
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor

You ain’t wrong, but if we’re going to suspend disbelief to imagine these parts/clothes are in random boxes in illogical locations, might as well go a bit further and consider the idea that maybe he’s willing to change his attire.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Trevor

I wore his base outfit the whole time. It looks better without the ponchos and it made sense: BD-1 has something to hold on to on the back with his base outfit.

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
1 year ago

Guess what, EA? We also don’t want to be forced to use your crappy Origin software, even if we buy it from Steam. So until that requirement is removed, you still haven’t done well enough to earn my money.

Same goes for you, Rockstar.

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago

I’m still going to get the game because this is to show EA that this is the way to go in developing a game but I do agree that we shouldn’t be required to download Origin to play it if we bought the game on Steam.

Also, Origin isn’t that bad compared to a lot of other in-game stores/launchers. The Rockstar launcher and the Epic Games launcher come to mind.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Urazz

I still don’t understand the point of said launchers. Do they think I’ll be doing game shopping through their 3rd party program? Ironically I was reminded I own BF2142 when I ran this launcher, and now I’m temptedto get into the modding community to play the version of THAT that’s still being run by fans.

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago

So you are actually willing to spend a few dollars on cosmetics Tim? That just shows how they ingrained the willingness to spend a money on cool stuff even if it is microtransactions.

Personally, in a single player game like this, I’m not going to care about the cosmetics really.

LuckyFalkor
LuckyFalkor
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

cosmetic micro transactions are fine in a single player only game, but in multiplayer (especially multiplayer only) games, there are studies that seem to suggest that kids are being pressured to buy cosmetics to feel like they are in the “in crowd”; so with that affect on children (and adults with spending addictions, etc.) that is where i feel Micro transactions really rub me the wrong way. maybe if only your friends on a friend list could see your cosmetics, then there might be less pressure. on the other hand some games will be for free and include bonus extras… Read more »

Nextgener
Nextgener
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

I agree on that point. The problem is the gaming industry has No restraint when it comes to self-regulation. It literally take’s an outcry from Other industry’s for them to listen. Until we can get an independent view from a system that Isn’t in the pocket’s of a corporation (ESRB), whenever we give them an inch, they Will take a mile, and just keep Going. Also, the main issue shouldn’t be “I want to spend more money because I don’t like what’s in game”. That’s the mentality they want people to have, and is the easiest to exploit. It should… Read more »

Dan
Dan
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

“microtransactions should be better regulated.”

Any regulation would do at his point, then we can ask about better once we have some in place to improve!

Robert Loughrey
Robert Loughrey
1 year ago
Reply to  LuckyFalkor

Thats true of real life clothes too, as every parent of a teenager who wants 400 dollar shoes will tell you.

Prime_pm
Prime_pm
1 year ago

Apparently that deal with Moschino doesn’t extend to galaxies far far away beyond Sims.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

Enticing them much? 😉

Seems like there have been plenty of room for an intern animator / blender artist to toss in a unique cosmetic for relative little effort, seeing as the animations and rigging is already done.

wbranch80
wbranch80
1 year ago

“I have altered the sartorial deal. Pray that I do not alter it further”

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

I’ve never heard Metroid and Uncharted used to describe the same kind of quality in level design.

Him.
Him.
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim

So, it’s Castlevania.

Leon
Leon
1 year ago

What’s the catch? Cash

Dan
Dan
1 year ago

I wish “Fallen Order” had included the features from Jedi Academy that made the game so AWESOME! Specifically: Mod support. The Console. The built in console was awesome! You could turn on “Realistic Lightsaber combat”, which turned on severed limbs/bodyparts and made lightsabers more dangerous for all sides. You could spawn in enemies, or even vehicles into the game (some which were never used in the base game). You could play as “Luke”, with extra force powers. Or you could set your player model to anyone in the game. My favorite was playing as a jedi Jawa, who all npcs… Read more »

TuffMelon
TuffMelon
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan

If Respawn could make a new Jedi Knight game, that would be sweet. They’ve already got the experience in making fast, fluid and smooth movement, and with Jedi Order being a hit, they’ve got the reputation and trust from EA.

(also, don’t forget the mind trick level 4 cheat, which makes it mind control :D)

TuffMelon
TuffMelon
1 year ago

I’ve been having a blast with this game on the Jedi Grandmaster difficulty. Took a bit to get used to some of the jankier movements (Most of the stuff you do seems to be pretty locked into a specific motion, making things feel clunky at the worst of times) but once i did, i started flattening just about everything that gets in my way. Ill probably try it again on a lower difficulty once im done with this run, but it feels damn well designed for the highest. The best part of the exploration is that most things are actually… Read more »

TomB
TomB
1 year ago

I always felt that a Borderlands style approach where you could expand the game with DLC that would add missions/maps was there along with one presumes a new mechanic here or there, but there were also some minor cosmetic (or class specific) tweaks and that was okay because *the base game was a complete game* and the other purchases just added to the base game. And honestly, I never cared much about the skinning of my character and there were a bajillion weapons likely built by an algorithm (or loosely so) and the real issue was where your character build… Read more »

Merendel
Merendel
1 year ago

Only reason its that good is they didn’t gut it so they could sell bits of it peicemeal. Main reason the last decade of shit from them has been so bad is they chop the game up to send bits of it too you for 2.99 a pop. That just leads to broken, unfun games even if you spend the $300 to buy all the pieces.

Joel
Joel
1 year ago

I’m actually having the opposite reaction. I’ve had the same discussion with some friends who love the game in ways that I don’t. I don’t think gameplay is amazing. I find I’m frequently jumping off cliffs by accident or bumping into things that want to kill me “by surprise”. Not to mention the things that I can’t possibly kill until later when I’m more powerful (unless I want to spend 45 minutes rolling and dodging until the thing dies – hard pass). It’s also really thin on story from my viewpoint. It looks like it relies on a ton of… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
1 year ago

I was totally, 100% with you until that very last sentence.

Tim, any way you could edit out that bit about “few extra bucks”? I swear, there’s probably EA goons zipping all around the Internet looking to see if there’s anywhere they might be able to dip their toe back in, and if they ever make Fallen Order 2, I don’t want to be opening boxes and boxes of ponchos, but could purchase a Darth Vader helmet for $10 on the shop.

Urazz
Urazz
1 year ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Yeah, that’s the thing. He doesn’t realize that the Video Games industry can’t really regulate itself right now and you give them an inch like he did and they’ll go a mile with it.

Killiak
Killiak
1 year ago

Apparently we get to choose between the developer spending time and money on a big micro-transaction system within a game, and less so on the quality of the game OR making a good game.

Can’t be a hard choice, right?

Doomsday31415
Doomsday31415
1 year ago

So what you’re saying is EA has polluted your mentality so much that paying extra for cosmetic items in a single player game is something you’d prefer.

I just want that to sink in.

MarthKoopa
MarthKoopa
1 year ago

LITERALLY complaining about there being no microtransactions. WHAT. THE. FUCK THE EXACT REASON they are doing this the way they did IS TO GET YOU TO THINK THIS WAY, TIM. “Oh, I can only get fancy cosmetics if I PAY for them? Bring them back! It’s OK if the game is GOOD!” NO Fucking NO Do not accept any form of microtransaction WHATSOEVER. Gamers FINALLY have an example to show EA how to properly make games and you IMMEDIATELY bring out “microtransactions are OK in some forms!” DO. NOT. DO. THIS. The next Star Wars game you’ll be paying out… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
1 year ago
Reply to  MarthKoopa

From a less stark-raving-mad perspective, I agree. I see Tim’s point – costs of game-making have gone up, game prices have not. And yet, when the complaint is “The things I earn seem worthless,” the problem is game-design based, not art based. Tim’s description of chests in this game reminds me of grubs in Hollow Knight. Each grub is fun to track down and find, but individually doesn’t do much. Yet not only do they give you something slightly useful (Geo, which is plentiful), they also work towards a larger goal, and give bonuses along the way.

Enclave
Enclave
1 year ago

I’ve not played it just yet, I intend to in the near future so take what I’m saying at a grain of salt of somebody who has just viewed gameplay rather than actually played it. The combat looks slow, I think I’d probably prefer something a bit faster paced, not as methodical. Admittedly slow methodical combat is more fitting when compared to the original trilogy but I do prefer the more recent lightsaber combat in the movies than the old lightsaber combat, it’s about the only thing I prefer but point stands, I think faster paced combat would have been… Read more »

The Legacy
The Legacy
1 year ago

Tim! TIM!!! SHUT UP! BEFORE EA HEARS YOU! 😛

Kasaix
Kasaix
1 year ago

Yeah, the cosmetics in this game are pretty meh. I don’t even wear the poncho.

Unagiman
Unagiman
1 year ago

While I did read this and think to myself “well isn’t he on the run/hiding/blending in?” but then I remembered one of my favorite moments from one of the Dead Rising games where I had donned a leisure suit and lego-guy head so during all the super dramatic cutscenes my character was just absurd and I couldn’t have loved it more.

John
John
1 year ago

That last sentence explains quite well why the several years of slow change has angered people so much. It isnt JUST buying extras, Halo 3 had atleast one paid dlc and iirc it was a few, expansions have been common. South Park said it quite well, although exaggerated as usual for them, that the problem was when you needed to spend money to make the game fun, or stay fun after a short time rather than after a great journey, adding a little bit more for a small cost. Plus if you make a really great game it kinda makes… Read more »

Boris Grigorov
Boris Grigorov
1 year ago

Don’t fall down that trap – it’s exactly what they want!
Remember, we used to have just ONE, UNCHANGING character model for the entirety of pretty much all our games. Customizing your appearance mid-game – the AAA industry has spoiled our brains (and, in a way, forced us) into thinking this is normal and into liking it.

The moment they see us wanting some micro-transactions back, they’re gonna use that and put them all back in. Fuck. That. Shit.

Waerolvirin
Waerolvirin
1 year ago

Glory. Excitement. Snazzy outfits. A Jedi craves not these things.

Soag
Soag
1 year ago

– Lieutenant, how’s our conditioning going? – Very well, General. They are eating all of those mtx’s like crazy. – Good, good, 1st stage complete. – General, I don’t know what’s going on, small groups are starting to revolt! And it’s spreading! – Get a grip, Lieutenant! They already had a taste, our job here is done. Now prepare our defenses, it’s just the beginning. We need to get through it to see our plan flourish. – General, they are at our gates, we have nowhere to go… What do we do now? – Oh, quite simple, Lieutenant. We surrender… Read more »

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

While the gameplay is pretty good, the story is obscenely lackluster. At several points I said to myself “Well, at this rate X is going to happen.” And by golly X happened in the EXACT manner I predicted. A few more unique force moves would have made things truly unique too, the final boss fight culminates down to parry, dodge, and twin-saber flurry over and over and that’s it. And from a game DESIGN standpoint…holy crap they did a horrific job. You cant explore the mantis at ALL, when you have to jump to lightspeed, characters magically warp to spots… Read more »

Him.
Him.
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

It’s Star Wars. I don’t think you need to figure out the last two points, kind of like how you don’t need to know how the phasers work (or how they would be upgraded) in Star Trek.

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

Hahahahaha i saw some bugs and stuff,, glad too see EA still being Bad as always…..but atleast is not pokemon sword and shield, that i didnt like at all >< I will always recommend NIOH as the better alternative for soulsbornekiro.

Rakshiir
Rakshiir
1 year ago

To be honest: The ponchos aren’t that great, true. The lightsaber customization though isn’t bad. I actually feel like you can get some interesting stuff to create one you like. Different colours only come later into the game but still, you get some to use. I will take this level of customization in a game every day of the week if I get a single player game like Fallen Order around it. The game is good. Combat feels good, the story is at least good enough to keep you playing (at least, it was the case for me). Not every… Read more »