"Trivial opposition… Unproductive human… Valueless… Unessential''. The security droids in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order do not hold back from sassing me in combat. I mean, damn. The trash talk sounds like it's inspired by my own mind during a particularly bad bout of low self-esteem. Unexpectedly, though, put-downs from enemies become a powerful motivator that makes me determined to succeed and push on. I'll show you trivial opposition, I think to myself. Taking swings with Cal's lightsaber, each blow I land feels like a small victory. All the while, I'm dodging and diving every which way so as to avoid the droid as it charges at me with its arms outstretched. When I evade its arched fist, it seizes me by the neck and throws me down on the ground. "Incompetent", the humanoid machine jibes, adding yet more fuel to the increasingly blazing fire that is my resolve.
Getting back up, I realise I'm not just fighting the Imperial KX-Series robot at this moment. I'm also striking back against my own neuroses and trying to gain a hold on my evaporating confidence. Enemies can call me an "Inferior Jedi" all they like – I'm proving to them, and, crucially, myself that I can do this. I can win this fight against the droid, and any other that lies ahead for that matter.
Being at one with the Force
As a big Star Wars fan, Fallen Order has always held an appeal for me. I'll be the first to admit, though, that I'm not the best player in the galaxy when it comes to action-focused adventures with Soulslike elements hinged on your reaction times. Still, the chance to wield a lightsaber will always outweigh my trepidation – and now with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor perched on the horizon, now feels like as good a time as any to take on Fallen Order proper. And with settings that ease me into the experience, Fallen Order has actually made me reevaluate my own abilities as a player and its enemies – while not always being easy to defeat – encourage me to keep trying thanks to their bravado and dismissive comments.
It was on one very stressful day, for instance, that I reached the first encounter with the Second Sister. While you only have to take down half her health before BD-1 puts up a barrier between you, her goading insults really rubbed me the wrong way. This is very out of character for me. I'm usually pretty good at keeping my cool unless a game is particularly frustrating. But there's just something about the cutting words of enemies and bosses in Fallen Order that taps into this desire to prove I can rise above them and be the Jedi Cal was always meant to be. "Very well, you won't dodge the next," the Second Sister taunts as I roll away from one of her hits. This one really gets me. I've already confessed to being a little slow with my reaction times these days, and her icy words coupled with the stresses of the day make me sit upright, holding the controller firmly as if my grip will help me steady myself against the incoming swings of her red lightsaber. Oh really, you want to bet?
I don't quite manage to evade all of her hits the first time around, and after one too many blows, I fail to defeat her. Instead of being dejected, though, my resolution is only bolstered and I deplete enough health to see the battle out. "You're learning", the Second Sister says to Cal in their first proper confrontation after the fight. But those words really feel like they're directed at me. As Cal, I am learning: learning to be better, learning to be persistent. Learning to believe I can do it.
In some ways, my experience playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order mirrored Cal's journey throughout the story. After being in hiding for so long, Cal begins to relearn the ways of the Force. Just as he steadily progresses to regain his abilities and his confidence as a Jedi, I too began to develop my own sense of self-belief in his shoes. As much as Cal's enemies try to beat him and dismiss his worth as a Jedi, he perseveres. And I persevere too. Now, whenever I see another security droid, their words won't hit quite so hard. Away from Fallen Order itself, I might even have introduced myself to a whole genre of gaming I once felt shut out of. Trivial opposition no more, right? Let's go.
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