This Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order article contains spoilers.
Respawn Entertainment’s latest game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, took fans on a pretty big journey. Travelling between planets and traversing tricky tombs, players picked up new skills regularly as they worked their way towards an action-packing ending. And as conclusions go, coming face to face with Darth Vader is a pretty cool way to wrap things up, especially for a game that otherwise felt quite peripheral to the Star Wars galaxy.
Fans of the wider lore of the franchise, especially those that had seen the Star Wars Rebels animated series, would’ve known from the start that Cal was only a few degrees of separation away from Anakin Skywalker. After all, the Inquisitors (here represented by the Second Sister and the Ninth Sister) have long been established as Vader’s Jedi-hunting minions. But still, unless you’d had this revelation spoiled for you, few players could’ve known for sure that Vader was going to turn up.
Even before the Vader confrontation, Jedi: Fallen Order‘s final level is a thrilling undertaking. In classic “last mission in a video game” fashion, the infiltration of the Inquisitor HQ requires every trick that players has picked up along the way – there are walls to run along, interactive items to Force push/pull, underwater segments to contend with, doors to slice, and enemies to dice. As the conclusion to the game’s learning curve, this mission allows players to use all of their powers and feel like a proper Jedi on an important mission. But it isn’t long before shit hits the fan.
Before things really careen off the rails, though, it’s time for Cal to have a final face-off with the Second Sister. This villain is at the heart of the game’s most emotionally powerful storyline. Under that sinister mask, of course, is Trilla Suduri, the abandoned Padawan that had been in the care of Cere Junda when the Republic fell. Although Cere (a former Jedi) takes Cal under her wing over the course of the game, learning about the dark chapters of her history – mainly Cere leaving Trilla unprotected, which allowed the Empire to catch Trilla and turn her to the dark side – causes something of a rift between Cal and his new mentor.
After discovering the sad secrets of Trilla’s downfall, the player is forced into a battle with her – letting Trilla go, and allowing the list of Force-sensitive kids to fall into the Emperor’s hands, literally isn’t an option. This duel is one of the longest and most challenging in the game, which, once again, allows the player to show off all the skills that they’ve learned and double down on that “I’m a real Jedi now” feeling. Whichever difficulty level you’re playing on, this battle has a real sense of importance and challenge to it.
But just when you’ve defeated Trilla, and possibly even tempted her back to the light side, it’s time for a cameo appearance from a true Dark Lord of the Sith – Darth Vader crashes the party and plunges his lightsaber through Trilla. She’s disappointed him and pays the ultimate price. The chances of Trilla surviving into the sequel and possibly becoming a goodie, perhaps even a playable character, are suddenly reduced to nought. The stakes of the game, meanwhile, seem a lot higher.
And then, with Vader appearing to kill Cere as well (by throwing her into some sort of pit), you shift from a cutscene straight back into a playable moment. Confusion and fear set in. Are you meant to fight Vader? Apparently not, because he will very quickly kill you if you try. The only option, then, is to run. Back you go into the area you just came from, which Vader quickly rips to shreds with his uber-powerful Force powers. As you leg it away, full of dread but trying to remember all the relevant controls (feeling a bit like those doomed Rebel soldiers from the end of Rogue One), you might take a second to notice that this is one of the most visually impressive moments in the entire game.
It’s not long, though, before Vader catches up to you. Just when all hope seems to be lost, and it feels like Vader might actually nab the Holocron that lists all those vulnerable Jedi children, Cere finds her way back to you. She’s clearly not dead, and the game doubles down on her most interesting personal struggle – Cere seems to be tempted by the dark side, yet again, as she tries to crush Vader to death using the Force. Again, much like it did Trilla’s final moments, Jedi: Fallen Order is cramming emotion and intrigue into its final boss battle.
But before we can see who would win in a fight between Vader and Cere, Cal smashes up a glass wall to send water flooding into the area. As Vader holds back the flood, Cal and Cere are rescued by Nightsister Merrin, who swims into the scene like she’s Han in the Millenium Falcon shooting up Vader’s TIE fighter to save Luke during the original Death Star trench run in A New Hope. It’s a similarly fist-pumping moment, because, although we would’ve loved to have seen more of that Vader fight, getting away feels like a victory in and of itself. And so does destroying that Jedi Holocron, saving untold numbers of Force-sensitive children from falling into Vader’s deadly path.
This final chunk of the main campaign, basically, is a great mixture of disparate elements: you get to use all of your skills, have a massive duel, experience these final emotional beats, feel pure fear, face off against an iconic pop culture villain, and ultimately punch the air before saving a bunch of kids. It’s like a whole movie has been squeezed into one level.
It’ll be interesting to see how a Jedi: Fallen Order sequel, if one does happen, will follow on from that. We’ve got some ideas, and we’re sure the team at Respawn does too. Until then, we’ll always be able to cherish this awesome ending.