Jedi Fallen Order Part 8: Dathomir Souls

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 1, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 96 comments

We arrive on the spook-world of Dathomir. In the past I’ve said that SWJFO has a little Dark Souls in its veins. This place is the most Dark Soulsian location in the whole game. The enemies here are a little trickier and a little less forgiving in their attack patterns. The place is all mournful ruins, knotted roots, giant spiders, bones, and dust. Also the place is wall-to-wall with empty pottery that you can smash for no reason.

Does this look a bit Soulsian to you? It does to me, but I dunno.
Does this look a bit Soulsian to you? It does to me, but I dunno.

I’m not saying this part of the game plays exactly like Dark Souls. I’m just saying this is as close as it gets, in terms of trickier foes, the atmosphere, and general pacing.

So let’s talk a little more about the combat in this game. And to do that, let me introduce you to…

This Friggin’ Guy

Screw this guy.
Screw this guy.

This guy. This guy is a total bastard. 

I wasn’t particularly comfortable with the combat in this game. Aside from my fondness for the Batman series, I don’t really play many games focused around third-person melee combat. I kinda missed the whole God of War craze, I didn’t play For Honor, and as I’ve said before I haven’t played more than an hour or so of Dark Souls.

I’m more of a shooter guy. Which means I don’t really have a broad perspective on this style of game and I can’t judge the execution of SWJFO as it compares to its contemporaries. So below is my reaction as someone who is still getting a feel for this genre.

I thought I had this game pretty well figured out by the time I reached Dathomir. Enemies tend to block head-on attacks. If you’re opening the fight, then you’ve got a few options for various lunge or leap attacks that don’t get blocked. If your target is a low-tier foe then this will usually kill them outright. However, you’re usually fighting groups of people. So once you’ve landed that first big hit for free, you need to settle down and duel your foes properly.

The game is not subtle. When you nail the parry timing, you get a big fireworks show like this, and an insta-kill. (If you're fighting a low-tier foe.)
The game is not subtle. When you nail the parry timing, you get a big fireworks show like this, and an insta-kill. (If you're fighting a low-tier foe.)

Since everyone is always holding the block button, your best option is to wait for your foe to attack and then block them. If you get the timing juuust rightOr if you’re playing on easy and you’ve lightly brushed the block button at sometime in the last three minutes., then you’ll parry their attack. This will cause them to visibly stagger for a second, allowing you to riposte. If you feel greedy, then maybe you’ll throw in a few extra hits on the end of that while their guard is down. 

In any case, that’s the general rhythm: Wait to be attacked, parry, riposteAgainst storm troopers, a riposte is usually an insta-kill with a fancy finishing animation., and move on to the next enemy. If they use a power attackThey helpfully glow red during the wind-up to telegraph this. then you need to move out of the way or – if you’re feeling greedy – try to finish them before the attack lands. Try to maneuver around so you don’t get surrounded, and if your health gets low then dodge away and take a healing stim. As I understand it, this is all pretty standard for the genre.

So I figured this was a game about well-timed counterattacks. 

Until I met this freak.

He's staggard, down on all fours, and facing away from me. It looks like his flank is open for an insta-kill. But no. If you press the attack button now, you WILL take a massive claw to the face and end up on your back.
He's staggard, down on all fours, and facing away from me. It looks like his flank is open for an insta-kill. But no. If you press the attack button now, you WILL take a massive claw to the face and end up on your back.

When you parry him, he seems to get staggered very hard. His arm bounces off of your lightsaberShrug. Whatever. and he even turns his back to you for a moment. Based on everything the game had taught me up to this point, I figure the game was saying, “NOW. STAB HIM IN THE BACK!” It seemed kinda obvious.

But then I’d hit the attack button and instead of hitting him, he’d hit ME.

What? What is this bullshit? I hit the attack button! I know I did!

I figured maybe I was too slow. So I tried again, and again, and again, changing up the timing and trying to figure out why hitting the attack button on a stunned enemy got me knocked on my ass. 

A split second after knocking him down, he's moving towards you at high speed. There's literally not enough time for you to attack, even though it feels like there is.
A split second after knocking him down, he's moving towards you at high speed. There's literally not enough time for you to attack, even though it feels like there is.

This guy packs a huge punch. Unless you’ve been stacking health upgrades, this guy can kill you in two hits. I eventually gave up on that and tried rolling away, but his reach is so long that he’d often tag me anyway. This was infuriating. I’d parry him, and my reward was getting slammed with a (seemingly) unavoidable follow-up.

I spent a long time getting pancaked by this guy and swearing at my monitor. Mercifully, he’s right outside of your ship, so you don’t have a long hike for a rematch.

Shamus! You don’t even need to fight him. You can just run past him!

Yes, I did realize that. But then what if it turns out I have to fight one of these guys later on? What if I end up facing a boss version of this thing? Skipping hard fights seems unwise because the game is probably having you fight this thing for a reason.

I tried to attack a stunned foe. How foolish of me.
I tried to attack a stunned foe. How foolish of me.

Eventually I realized that you just can’t attack in these situations. Despite him being ostensibly staggered and having his back to you, and despite the rest of the game teaching you to attack staggered foes, that’s not what you do here. His “stagger” animation is apparently an uninterruptible wind-up for an even bigger attack. If you parry the second oneThe timing is different from the first, so it takes a little trial-and-error to discover and master the timing., then he does it yet again. If you parry the third one, then you get a quicktime prompt to insta-kill him. 

So he feels like he’s cheating according to the rules of the game thus far, but once you know the trick he becomes completely trivial.

(The other way to beat him is to play hit-and-run. Lunge at him, nail him once, and then dive away from his counter-attack. This is very slow, a bit fiddly, and his long reach means you’ll probably take a couple big hits in the process. It’ll cost you a stim or two, but you’ll get him eventually.)

At least his leap attack is well-telegraphed. Although his range is incredible.
At least his leap attack is well-telegraphed. Although his range is incredible.

Maybe this sort of thing is normal in these kinds of games, but as a newcomer I found it frustrating, bewildering, and unfair. If the run-back to this guy had been longer, I would have ditched the game right here and never touched it again. Even with the short-ish run-back, I was boiling mad by the time I figured it out. And even then, I never got any satisfaction out of beating him. To me it feels like he cheats until I can beat him with an exploit. The whole thing was a miserable ordeal.

It doesn’t help that this thing is just massively more powerful than all of the other non-bosses in the game. He’s faster. He hits harder. His range is immense. His attack pattern is visually misleading and counter-intuitive. I feel like maybe some of these advantages could have been spread around a bit to the other foes, rather than stacking them all on a single guy.

Aside from this thing and a couple of other rare enemies, I eventually got to the point where I enjoyed the SWJFO combat. Nailing the parry timing feels pretty great. Getting through a me vs. 5 fight without taking a scratch was always good for a blast of dopamine. I loved fighting the various flavors of purge troopers, and the whole thing looks very sleek. 

But still. Foes like this are what keeps me from really enjoying this genre. It feels unfair when he interrupts my counterattack, and it feels like I’m cheating when I use the intended strategy to beat him.

Trespasser

Before we fight, can you please explain if you're a Drow, a vampire, or just a regular asshole?
Before we fight, can you please explain if you're a Drow, a vampire, or just a regular asshole?

Dathomir is apparently run by the Nightsisters. They use the Force, but they’re not Jedi or Sith. Stylistically, their magic feels more like witchcraft than the Force, but whatever. The head Nightsister shows up and tells Cal to leave. He tries to explain, but she interrupts his pitch by summoning a couple of mooks. This conflict is mostly her fault for not listening, but I really want to dump a little of the blame on Cal for being so bad at explaining himself.

In any case, I feel like Cal was being a dick for sticking around once it became clear he was trespassing. She gave him ample time to back off. He could have accepted “no” for an answer and returned to the ship to make new plans with the others. But instead he sort of shrugs and begins carving his way through the locals.

See, this is where I just can’t stand the goofball morality of the Nu Force. Doing something while you’re angry is apparently this terrible sin, but trespassing and killing the locals who try to stop you is apparently fine. In my thinking, this ought to be an extremely Dark Side move, but nobody involved seems to regard it as such. According to the morality of Nu Star Wars, Cal would fall to the Dark Side if he were to throttle a Stormtrooper in a fit of rage, but chopping up natives defending their property is apparently okay as long as you don’t get too angry about it?

Yeah, yeah. It’s more about emotion and less about morality. I get it. But then people act like using the Dark Side is an act of unmitigated evil. This entire interpretation muddles the elemental good vs. evil idea the originals were based on. I know a lot of folks find the original moral simplicity to be off-puttingFans of KOTOR II in particular appreciate that title’s more nuanced view of the Force but I don’t think this moral incoherence is better than the black and white simplicity of the original. 

I’ll pull at this thread again later in the story. For now let’s skip past the next stretch of parkour and murders to get to the end…

Darth Hobo

Okay. Everything seems great here. I have no further questions, creepy old dude.
Okay. Everything seems great here. I have no further questions, creepy old dude.

We meet a wild-eyed guy in a dark robe. He looks like a Sith Lord by way of Charls Manson, he’s got a creepy half-crazed hobo laugh, and he speaks in riddles. I don’t know if the writer could make him more obviously evil without just giving him a T-shirt that says, “ASK ME ABOUT THE DARK SIDE.” We have a little conversation with him that goes nowhere, and then Cal decides to ignore him.

Hobo guy mentions the Nightsister Cal met earlier. He says she was only a child “…when the war came to this world.” But wait, the purge was only 5 years ago, and the Nightsister is clearly more than 5 years out of childhood. Is this guy talking about the Clone Wars, or is this another case of the writer getting confused about how much time has passed between Order 66 and now? I suppose he could be talking about the Clone Wars. I know I’m often missing bits of context because I never watched the animated Clone Wars series.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that we’ll encounter this guy again later in the story. For now let’s move on…

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Quit

Seriously, this is the top of his jump. He's really close!
Seriously, this is the top of his jump. He's really close!

We’re clearly supposed to cross a large bridge to the ruin in the distance, but there are gaps where parts of the bridge are missing. At this point in the game Cal can’t quite make the jumpThere’s a platform below the bridge, so you don’t plummet into the abyss when you come up short., so he shrugs and decides they’ll have to look elsewhere.

This is hilarious. Like, he’s less than a meter short. I understand that he’s lost some of his connection to the Force, but he supposedly knows how to use ROPE, right? A box? Maybe see if Darth Hobo will give you a boost? No? You flew across the galaxy to see this place but you’re going to give up because you’re half a meter short?

Of course, this sort of thing is incredibly common in Metroidvania games. I think the reason it sticks out here is because:

  1. The game is fairly photorealistic. This feels more like a movie than a cartoon, so having a planet-hopping hero give up because they’re a half meter short seems absurd. Dude! You came here in a SPACESHIP and we’ve already established you can jump out and survive arbitrarily long falls. Crossing a gap is not an obstacle for you!
  2. We already know we need to cross this gap. In other games, it’s not a big deal that you can’t enter the Red Castle until you find the Red Key, because you don’t currently need anything (that you know of) in the Red Castle. Batman unlocks gear when he needs it according to the story, and it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to lug around extra gear if he doesn’t currently need it. But here we clearly need to cross the bridge, and it seems like overcoming this obstacle ought to be fairly trivial for Cal. 

It’s not a big deal. I just found it amusing when juxtaposed with his earlier tenacity. His mission is so important that he can’t give up, even if it means cutting down a few dozen natives, but then there’s a big gap and he just shrugs and quits.

Anyway, that’s all we can do on Dathomir for now. Next up we’re heading back to Zeffo.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Or if you’re playing on easy and you’ve lightly brushed the block button at sometime in the last three minutes.

[2] Against storm troopers, a riposte is usually an insta-kill with a fancy finishing animation.

[3] They helpfully glow red during the wind-up to telegraph this.

[4] Shrug. Whatever.

[5] The timing is different from the first, so it takes a little trial-and-error to discover and master the timing.

[6] Fans of KOTOR II in particular appreciate that title’s more nuanced view of the Force

[7] There’s a platform below the bridge, so you don’t plummet into the abyss when you come up short.



From The Archives:
 

96 thoughts on “Jedi Fallen Order Part 8: Dathomir Souls

  1. Ralph says:

    Don’t forget to nab the double lightsaber before you leave!

  2. Joe says:

    There don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules about what the Force can do. Each bit of lore contains something new. Not just telepathy, telekinesis, and enhanced body. There’s alchemy, teleportation, time travel, you name it. If it’s essentially magic, you call it the Force.

    Do the nightsisters ride rancors these days? Or was that retconned away?

    1. Shamus says:

      “Do the nightsisters ride rancors these days? Or was that retconned away?”

      Holy shit. I am missing some wild stuff from the rest of the EU!

      Yeah, there’s nothing like that in this game. Although I do notice the monster I complained about looks like a scaled-down rancor. That’s probably deliberate.

      1. Joe says:

        When I was 15 or so, I liked Courtship of Princess Leia. The early days of the New Republic, it still needs a lot of work. Leia is planning a political marriage to a Human noble. Han is jealous of what this noble can bring to the table, so he sets out to win a series of increasingly high stakes sabacc games until he wins a planet. He nabs Leia and drags her to said planet, which is full of rancor-riding Force witches.

        The Empire turns up. The portrayal of Luke’s power is inconsistent with the next book, Heir to the Empire. At one point, a rancor scales a cliff with passengers on its back. Leia commits to Han. Honestly, I can’t remember the whole thing. But I’ve probably just spoiled the highlights for you. :)

      2. ElementalAlchemist says:

        Yeah the Nightsisters were completely retconned by the Clone Wars and other prequel stuff. Even though the original novel they got fleshed out in was super goofy, they used to be a lot cooler. You are correct in your witchcraft analogy – “witches of Dathomir” is was one of their in-universe titles. There were some similar sorts of Force use amongst Sith, although there it was referred to as sorcery.

      3. Storm says:

        Yeah, that was from the expansion to the Empire at War strategy game, which also introduced a lot of the less common/iconic spaceships in the universe

        And unless I’m missing an earlier work, it’s also what introduced the Lightsaber Whip, which happened to be used by a nightsister! (though not one of the rancor-riding ones, sadly)

      4. Mersadeon says:

        Oh man, i just got a flashback to Shadow of Mordor where I got seriously confused and a bit upset that they apparently invented “Carrigors” purely because they didn’t want to use Wargs for some reason. It still kinda makes me mad – Wargs already filled this exact role, they’re perfect for this, literally the only reason they didn’t do it is because they couldn’t be arsed to have wargriders in the game so they needed a mount that hasn’t been tamed by orcs.

    2. John says:

      Argh. If it’s essentially magic, it isn’t the Force. Alchemy, teleportation, time travel, and such have no place in Star Wars. The Force isn’t or at the very least shouldn’t be a list of arbitrary and essentially magical powers. The Force is or at the very least should be mysterious and more than a little vague. The best Star Wars stories keep it that way. All too many of the spinoffs don’t. The thought that the Force could, in theory, accomplish anything is compelling. The knowledge that the Force can, in practice, do whatever random crap some writer happens to think is cool is irritating beyond my capacity express in mere words.

      1. Khwarezm says:

        I don’t think the Force was ever really well defined enough in the original movies for this to be worth the bother. Even within the original series it has a wide variety of very vaguely related powers (telekinesis, hyper fast reactions, mind control, the ability to commune with the dead, monitoring your friends or even the entire universe for major events, frying fools with lightning), the fact that it is vague makes it difficult to not just use it for whatever purpose is most useful for the story, and this has been the case since day 1. Its almost a little bit refreshing that some elements of Star Wars just stops beating around the bush and admits it basically is just magic that can be used for essentially anything you want.

        1. John says:

          Eh, the way I see it, you can boil all the uses of the Force in the original trilogy down to two, maybe three basic things. The first is improved physical performance (run fast, jump good). The second is generalized 1970s psychic-ness. If you want, you can break the psychic-ness down into telekinesis (lift rocks, shoot lightning) and clairvoyance (everything else). It’s true that the exact limits of these categories are poorly defined, but, as I suggested earlier, the vagueness adds to a sense of mystery and wonder that’s core to the appeal of the franchise. When the Force can be anything and everything at the writer’s whim, it stops being mysterious and interesting and becomes just another lazy plot device.

          1. Khwarezm says:

            Its strange to me that ‘psychic’ powers have become an acceptable part of a lot of Sci-fi in the way straight up magic isn’t, in stuff from Star Wars, to Star Trek, to Mass Effect to Dune and beyond mind reading, mind control, seeing the future and telekinesis is considered ok to put into a story but, like, transmogrification is not acceptable. I’ll probably put this down to the fad for psychic stuff a few decades ago and how we kind of pretended it had more to it than regular old magic.

            For me, its the force lightning that Palpatine uses in ROTJ that essentially just makes the Force magic, it doesn’t really line up with any of the other stereotypical psychic abilities but sure does seem like the kind of thing to give an archetypical Dark Wizard kind of character. I feel like you could fudge the assumed pre-existing stuff with the force to explain some of wackier things you see in stuff like Fallen Order, like there’s clearly some connection between the force and the life-force of both the dead and the living (hence the force ghosts and ‘I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced’). From that you could probably extrapolate that the Night Sisters learned to control and manipulate the life force of the dead for their own purposes, hence why zombies are now a thing in Star Wars. I do find it silly, but you can probably make an argument about how this works in star wars.

            1. John says:

              The difference between magic and psychic powers is to a great extent in the presentation. There’s usually some kind of formula or ritual to performing magic. The formula could be chanting magic words, waving a magic wand, or even conducting some kind of ritual sacrifice, but it’s almost always there. Psychic powers usually lack a formula. If a psychic scrunches his eyes closed or puts a couple of fingers to his forehead, then it’s not because he has to. It’s just something he does to help himself concentrate. (In a visual medium, it’s also a handy way to indicate to the audience that he’s using his powers.) Lightning or no lightning, the presentation of the Force is much more consistent with the presentation of psychic powers than it is with the presentation of magic.

              The Emperor totally is an evil old wizard archetype, I can’t dispute that, but he’s not an actual wizard any more than Yoda, who is totally a wise old kung fu master archetype, is actually a kung fu master.

              1. Duoae says:

                The Emperor totally is an evil old wizard archetype, I can’t dispute that, but he’s not an actual wizard any more than Yoda, who is totally a wise old kung fu master archetype, is actually a kung fu master.

                I take it you didn’t watch Attack of the clones?

            2. Biggus Rickus says:

              Dune was making an interesting commentary on the curse of knowing the future at least…in the first two novels. By the fourth book, it’s just the author putting his thoughts in the mind of a god, which is pompous, to say the least.

            3. Joe Informatico says:

              Most of the writers of Golden Age Science Fiction (~1940s-1960s) thought psychic powers were bullshit or at least were highly skeptical of them. But John W. Campbell, the editor who was publishing most of them, in addition to his virulent racism also believed in a lot of pseudoscientific hokum like ESP, and according to Isaac Asimov a lot of SF writers indulged him to sell stories. (The one notable “true believer” among them was L. Ron Hubbard, unsurprisingly.)

              Interestingly, I have read a couple essays by current-day SF authors suggesting that if in the near-future we’re moving towards brain implants that can interact with wireless networks and perhaps each other, that presents a mechanism for something resembling psychic powers in new stories.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          frying fools with lightning

          Ahh, the ancient and mystical Force power first used by Mr T…

      2. Corsair says:

        The Force is Magic. It always has been.

  3. Rariow says:

    Because I’m a Souls guy I… Completely avoided the big annoying guy. Never even realized you’re meant to chain blocks on him, I got hit after the first parry, died, and never fought it again. In FromSoft games it’s pretty common for there to be dangerous enemies early on that you’re meant to run away from until you’ve levelled a bit (unless you’re good enough to take on them early and get a midgame or even lategame piece of gear way earlier than usual), so I’ve been taught to not take on foes I think will give me excesive trouble unless neccesary. Since this game makes it clear early on that all you get from enemies is exp that you spend on abilities that frankly aren’t that useful (for the most part), I never felt properly incentivized to fight hard optional foes. I think it also goes back to the optional frog boss on Bogano. I threw myself at it over and over for an hour on my first visit, expecting to get a reward that would make the early game easier… And I got… nothing? Maybe a third of a force upgrade? The game basically taught me not to bother with optional tough enemies.

    1. Addie says:

      The Dark Souls series gets its reputation for being tough-but-fair partly on account of their consistency. They are all completable at SL1, and if you’re playing like that, then you can’t equip most of the late-game armour and weaponry anyway – some of the late-game rings are really nice to have, but they’re not essential for progress. Parries and backstabs do big damage, but again, you can finish the games without them. Some of the enemies have near-critical weakspots, but you can defeat all of them with any weapon. They generally shy away from tricks, and prefer that you conquer them with patience, observation and mastery.

      But I think the point I’m really wanting to make is, running past the big guys? Have you seen the video of LobosJr defeating the Rotten with the broken ladle – took him hours to completely wear his health down? That’s the Dark Souls way. And it doesn’t stop you from doing completely ridiculous challenge runs if you want to try, either.

      1. Rariow says:

        Oh, you CAN obviously do stuff like challenge runs where you use nothing but a ladle, or there’s the one guy on YouTube slowly beating Dark Souls 2 using nothing but thrown consumables, but I don’t think you’re really meant to take on tough enemies immediately on your first playthrough. Through obsessive replaying of those games a lot of us have gotten good enough that we can take on the dark knight in Undead Burgh as we’re going through, and we know the trick for the Boar in Undead Parish, and we can fight the sleeping white knight in Forest of Fallen Giants in DS2, or that really big guy with the cleaver and the werewolves in Central Yarnham, but I remember getting my ass kicked trying to fight them at low levels on my first one or two playthroughs. Hell, I doubt many people have killed Asylum Demon before running away from it as intended, and I’m not even sure you CAN properly “fight” the dragon on the bridge. Maybe “running away” from them isn’t quite what you do in the sense that a lot of these enemies aren’t hostile or are tucked out of the way, but the game is built so you avoid them until you’re confident you can take them, whether it’s because you’ve gotten better or because your character has.

        1. Ruethus says:

          I can report that the Hellkite drake on the bridge is a pain, but can absolutely be fought in a “normal” (as far as Dark Souls goes) way. The cheesy way is to bow and arrow him, but I’ve killed him with a Zweihander-toting character by getting him to come down, landing a hit or two, and then getting out of the way of his big AoE sweeps. It’s kinda awkward to try and do a sustained fight without the peekaboo elements, though, because sometimes he’ll get stuck in a “carpet bomb the bridge until the heat death of the universe” loop that’s not fun to contend with. Coop seems to increase the likelihood of his getting stuck in that loop, but also leads to hilarity so mixed results there.

          Generally though? Not worth the 10k souls, to be quite honest.

      2. Decius says:

        The “fair” in “Tough but fair” means different things to different people.
        To you, apparently, it means that it’s never strictly necessary to grind or to have advance knowledge about the Special Weakness of the upcoming boss.

        To me, and apparently others, it means “When the animation indicates that an enemy has a certain state, they have that state and a reasonable person who has not memorized that particular enemy will generally be able to identify what their condition is, what they are about to do, and generally what the best counters are, and with fast enough reaction times input the commands to implement those actions”.

        Melee action games generally fail at being fair by my usage- generally speaking there’s little correlation between what an opponent appears to be doing and what they are actually doing, the player’s actions take so long that a literally negative reaction time is generally required in order to counter most of the common things (but the scripting is such that with memorizing the script it is often possible to preact well enough to pull it off), but most egregiously all of them have ‘gotcha’ moments where all the things that you used to know are inverted- not because there is a particularly intelligent opponent who knows how to feint and pretends to be staggered, but because the animator or designer had an off day and wrote half of a opponent intending to finish it later, and then for whatever reason nobody ever noticed that the opponent’s stagger trigger was linked to their wind-up instead.

    2. Thomas says:

      I figured I was meant to run away from the guy, and potentially something later in the game would make me fight him. I’m glad I never even tried to attack him, because I don’t think I would have discovered the three-parry thing. He’s so big I figured parries wouldn’t work.

      1. lethal_guitar says:

        > He’s so big I figured parries wouldn’t work.

        Same for me. Non-humanoid enemies are typically not parryable in Dark Souls (although this has changed a bit with Bloodborne and Sekiro), so it didn’t even occur to me to try parrying that thing.

        This was one of those enemies though where the “dodge and get in attacks when you can” approach, which is also a staple of Dark Souls, worked quite well for me. I’m not 100% sure anymore, but I think I also had the sword throw ability at this point and it helped quite a bit as well.

  4. Broc27 says:

    One of the reasons I really disliked this game is that I never got used to that timing thing, which made me look like the weakest and most pathetic fighter ever. Probably not because I couldn’t get it right, but mostly because I felt this is not how a Jedi SHOULD fight.

    So combat felt ridiculous. You get these small rats that look like mooks that are made to plow through but that instantly dodge and hit back when you just try to hit them with your lightsaber instead of parrying. I laughed a few times as my « Jedi » was put to the ground by rats or stormtroopers with small sticks that could somehow stop all my attacks. Cal to me felt like one of those stupid Jedi falling to the brittle battle droids in the arena battle in Attack of the Clones.

  5. Dev Null says:

    The whole “emotion is bad” BS makes me so incoherently angry (Dark Side for me, I guess) that I never make it as far as being irritated by their lame justifications for mass-murder. That bit, at least, I can mostly ignore as necessary to make the gameplay possible. The Jedi are, by their own admission, an organized body of sociopaths. Between them and the Vulcans, SF has told a whole lot of naturally anti-social geeks that it is cool and virtuous to not care about anyone. Great; thanks for that.

    I still love the movies. I even tolerated the newer ones. But they’re entertainment, not philosophy.

    1. Thomas says:

      That’s a major branch of an ancient philosophy and a tenet of a major real world religion. It’s not some hokey idea invented for Star Wars.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      You kind of said it – it’s a pretty clear case of Ludonarrative Dissonance, I think.
      It happens in films as well as games, and it’s in no way restricted to Star Wars – how many random minions does your average action hero murder, after all?
      (Often BEFORE then refusing to kill the minions’ boss – in order to prove that they’re NOT a murderer! This has always annoyed me.)

      Still, I think ‘eschew all emotion’ is not actually what an ideal Jedi does. As Shamus said, there ARE more nuanced takes on the Force, it’s just that this simplistic and bad interpretations have become prevalent.
      (Also, be fair. The Jedi – at least in the Prequel trilogy – aren’t sociopaths at all. They’re idiots.)

      Between them and the Vulcans, SF has told a whole lot of naturally anti-social geeks that it is cool and virtuous to not care about anyone. Great; thanks for that.

      I think you have it backwards…anti-social people have gravitated towards this particular interpretation of the Jedi and/or Vulcans because it validates them.
      – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    3. Dreadjaws says:

      Between them and the Vulcans, SF has told a whole lot of naturally anti-social geeks that it is cool and virtuous to not care about anyone.

      You’d have more of a point if this was the only thing Sci-Fi has taught in these universes, but it isn’t. Other characters are shown as cool and virtuous while also engaging into personal relationships, and they tend to be the protagonists. Hell, I’d argue that this “teaching” was precisely what caused the fall of the Jedi, as Darth Vader was created by taking it to its logical conclussion, while Luke saved everyone precisely by caring.

    4. John says:

      Where is it established that the Jedi think emotion is bad? I don’t know where you’re getting this from. It’s not the original trilogy, that’s for sure. The official Jedi line in The Empire Strikes Back is “try to stay calm when making important decisions or using the Force”, which is very much not “emotion is bad” and which also sounds like fairly reasonable advice. The official Jedi line in the prequels . . . would require me to go re-watch Revenge of the Sith, which I am not inclined to do. Still, I bet it’s something similar and that whatever it is it’s been exaggerated and mis-characterized by fans and spinoff writers until Yoda would barely recognize it.

    5. Khwarezm says:

      I think the Vulcan’s ideology is meant to be a bit more complex in its use in the story, its meant to be a bit more grey whether or not this is a commendable way to live, and not denying oneself crucial experiences in chase of a Sisyphean ideal.

      Its actually something I really dislike about nu-trek (since the Abrams movies) in that they really don’t threat the Vulcan’s and their ideology as being serious at all and paint them as cranks who should stop bottling it up and act normal because they (or at least Spock) keeps snapping and getting real angry and emotional constantly.

      1. Biggus Rickus says:

        There’s also a context for it. They nearly destroyed themselves and decided on detachment as a solution. Perhaps more importantly, its whole reason to be is to push id vs. ego debates between Bones and Spock.

    6. Sartharina says:

      There are only a few emotions that try to get shunned from what I’ve seen – attachment, which leads to myopia, rage, which leads to violence, and hatred, which leads to a pursuit of destruction. Combined with the power of the Force, and you’ve got a recipe for genocidal tyranny.

      Most RPGs have characters being way too supportive of the “main” character, and only game mechanics and those artificial NPC reactions keep the protagonists from being recognized as villains.

    7. Mephane says:

      May I refer you to my favourite critique of Star Wars in this regard.

      Excerpt:

      The Jedi mumble Taoist-derived platitudes to prove that they’re on the side of Light but they are really a fusion of a rupture cult and a multinational corporation. To become “worthy”, prospective Jedi must suspend their own judgment and unquestioningly obey an authority whose teachings consist of silly psychobabble, endless hazing rituals and the sense of entitlement that comes from carrying arms. In the Jedi order, all normal mental or emotional responses are met either with the galactic version of the Amish Shunning (“You’ll be expelled!” screams Obi-Wan when Anakin tries to rescue Padmé during a battle) or with instructions to take cold baths (“Mourn do not!” intones Yoda when Anakin comes to him twisted with anxiety from having nightmares about Padmé dying). Anakin is supposedly not just the most powerful wielder of the Force but also a pivot, yet the Jedi treat him like a passive asset or an unruly horse. At least the Sith are frank about what they want and how they go about getting it.

      1. Geebs says:

        Revenge of the Sith was a bit shit, but that misses the mark by a clear mile. It assumes that Lucas approves of the Jedi as depicted in the prequels, which is a reach, and the author thinks that it’s Anakin’s love for Padme which causes him to fall to the dark side when it’s obviously his fear of loss twisted into toxic possessiveness – which is the main theme of the film. And that’s just in the first page!

        RotS is a weird film made by a rich kook who isn’t as clever as he thinks he is, the performances largely suck and the plot falls to pieces in the most disappointing way possible, but at least it’s trying to be about something in a way that, say, the MCU does everything it can to avoid. This critic was too busy showboating (“a scientist, a reader of Sophocles in the original”…gag me with a spoon) to notice.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          [The above article] assumes that Lucas approves of the Jedi as depicted in the prequels, which is a reach

          …is it? I’m not convinced. I feel like if Lucas truly intended us to question or mistrust the Jedi Order in the prequels, he would have had fan-favorite characters Yoda (or Obi-Wan) say something, at the very least. Instead, Yoda’s pretty much the poster boy for the Jedi’s complacence.

          I mean, the scene where Palpatine ‘seduces’ Anakin to the Dark Side (including conception imagery!) seems to be as ‘subtle’ and ‘clever’ as the film gets. Mace Windu’s attempted arrest/assassination of Palpatine is played completely straight, as well.

          It’s ultimately my opinion, but if you asked me if the prequel films were capable of that level of nuance and subtlety you’re implying, there’s only one answer I could possibly give

          1. John says:

            Of course you’re supposed to question the Jedi. Questioning the Jedi is a longstanding Star Wars tradition dating all the way back to 1980. The Empire Strikes Back clearly established that the Jedi do not in fact know everything and are not in fact right all the time. They’re the good guys, more or less, but they’ve never been perfect and that’s been an explicit theme of every film in the both original and prequel trilogies except possibly for A New Hope.

          2. Daimbert says:

            Considering that the prequel trilogy documents the fall of the Jedi, I think it pretty safe to assume that you’re supposed to think that the Jedi did things wrong, which is what led to that fall and the badness of the Empire, leading to Luke’s reviving them at the end of RotJ by overcoming those flaws. Arguably, not allowing or understanding emotion and connection was the fatal Jedi flaw that led to Anakin’s fall and it’s only when Luke plays on that connection that Anakin is, in the end, redeemed, and the evil defeated.

  6. Echo Tango says:

    I have to agree with your assessment of that one monster; In a game all about telegraphed combat and timing windows, that was a bad fight. If they’d had other enemies where you could learn that they had “fake” stagger animations, and he was a later enemy, I think it would have been acceptable. Here though, he just seems like someone goofed. :)

    1. Fizban says:

      I also agree, that fight sounds like some bullshit. I’ve played DS 1-3 and none of them ever had multi-parry requirement enemies- in fact, no enemy in Dark Souls *requires* a parry. I doubt Bloodbourne has any either. Hell, I’m not even sure there were any multi-parries in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (the one that’s mostly God of War-ish)- maybe a boss there?

      The only game I’ve played where I’m sure I can recall multiple parries was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, of all things- it added a parry mechanic for the first time, and since I didn’t figure out the gimmick on the final boss immediately, I spent half an hour parrying every hit of its 8-combo attack while dealing chip damage. And I think, probably, there was an enemy earlier in the game which involved multiple parries to gave me the idea that it would work there- and this being Skyward Sword, the game would have straight up told you upon meeting a multi-parry enemy that you would need to multi-parry them.

      1. Gautsu says:

        Advent Rising had two, I spent 45 minutes beating the shit out of them normally before I realized they we’re each waiting for a specific ability to be used at a specific time (the bounty hunter and the giant rock throwing creature)

      2. Khwarezm says:

        From my experience, Jedi: Fallen Order’s combat is actually a lot closer to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice than Dark Souls or Bloodborne, I’m surprised this hasn’t come up.

        The reason I mention it is because in Sekiro parrying works differently than Dark Souls, you don’t parry attacks with a long wind up move, you deflect them in a split second, when you deflect you damage the enemy’s stamina meter, but they can still attack right after (unlike a successful parry in Dark Souls), until that meter is completely broken through which creates an opening to perform a deathblow. Fallen Order’s combat works very, very similarly, and in both games there are enemies where you are expected to deflect attacks that come in quick succession to break their guard and open them up for massive damage. Fallen Order even has an on screen indicator for how much stamina the enemy still has that you need to break through by keeping the pressure on with either direct attacks or perfect parries, again just like Sekiro.

        You can run through Dark Souls without a problem without ever parrying at all, but in Sekiro you really need to learn to get those deflects consistently or else the game will be much more painful. Fallen Order is closer to Sekiro, though more forgiving overall.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Does the game have different telegraphs for the differenly-parryable enemies? From Shamus’ description, it sounds like other enemies act like Dark Souls, if this guy is Sekiro.

          1. Khwarezm says:

            I mean you kind of just learn it? Higher level enemies usually don’t go down with only a few parries, and honestly I didn’t find the guys Shamus talks about here as being too bad because I felt that they were working with the same principles as had already been established by enemies like the Purge Troopers, who also have attacks that must be parried in quick succession, but then I think I encountered them earlier in my playthrough since I left Dathomir for last.

            The things I found annoying about these jerks is that their animations can make it difficult to tell when an attack chain is actually over, though usually they end it with an unblockable that must be dodged but leaves them open for a good while.

            In Sekiro its usually best to assume that an enemy isn’t done until you break its guard and that you should be prepared to react fast for the next blow, some of the enemies and bosses can have really long chain attacks like the Corrupted Monk who has this whirlwind that can hit up to 6 or 7 times. I suppose the same principle can apply here.

            1. Geebs says:

              Sekiro’s combat is, however, about a thousand times tighter and less stiff than Fallen Order, and it doesn’t often resort to cheap tricks like enemies that don’t telegraph the need to be parried three times. If anything things are the other way round; there are far more opportunities for the player to cheese the bosses than vice versa.

              1. Duoae says:

                This enemy doesn’t *need* or *require* multiple parries to kill it. In fact i managed to complete the game twice before i even found out you could do that.

                As Shamus mentions in the blog, most non-humanoid enemies require dodging, not parrying. This enemy is no different, they just included an optional parry-based way to deal with them.

  7. Dreadjaws says:

    Eventually I realized that you just can’t attack in these situations. Despite him being ostensibly staggered and having his back to you, and despite the rest of the game teaching you to attack staggered foes, that’s not what you do here. His “stagger” animation is apparently an uninterruptible wind-up for an even bigger attack. If you parry the second one, then he does it yet again. If you parry the third one, then you get a quicktime prompt to insta-kill him.

    Every time you defeat a new enemy you get an option to scan it with BD-1, giving you a codex entry. The entry starts with a brief description of the foe and ends with some history, while in the middle there’s an advanced hint of strategy on how to deal with them. In the case of this guy, it says that staggering him several consecutive times is the way to go, though it doesn’t say how many times.

    The problem with this, of course, is that you only get access to this info after you’ve defeated them, which feels kind of pointless at the moment. Yes, it’s useful knowledge for future fights, but right after a hard fight you end up wishing for some sort of stealth system where you trade safe distance for the chance to get near to enemies and scan them from behind while they’re distracted.

    Yeah, yeah. It’s more about emotion and less about morality. I get it. But then people act like using the Dark Side is an act of unmitigated evil.

    You know, reading this I spent a long amount of time trying to figure out which Star Wars story had a hero’s mentor secretly using the dark side of the Force to help their goal, a feat that would later end up being discussed as the mentor made the point that using evil tools doesn’t necessarily mean you’re evil and I thought it was an interesting argument in this whole discussion about light vs dark in this universe… up until the moment I realized I wasn’t thinking about Star Wars, but about the Doctor Strange movie. Sigh. Well, at least you know Disney is aware of the subject.

    1. John says:

      I don’t think that it makes sense to talk about “using evil tools” in the context of the Force or Force powers. I don’t think that there are any evil tools. More specifically, I don’t think that there are intrinsically Light or intrinsically Dark powers in the Star Wars films. That’s just a video game construct. (As is breaking up the Force into discrete and independent powers.) Yoda says that the difference between the Light Side and the Dark Side is in the mental state of the user. We see Luke use telekinesis for good–levitating droids so as to non-violently avoid being roasted and eaten–and Vader use telekinesis for evil–choking people who have failed him for the last time to death. Logically, if you could think of a use for Force lightning that didn’t involve being angry or wanting to make people suffer, you could use Force lightning without calling on the Dark Side.

      Any Force-user who tells you that he’s “using evil tools to do good” is either deeply confused or is, y’know, actually evil and trying to rationalize it after the fact.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        You’re taking my words too literally. By “evil tools” I meant “evil ways” or, in this case, “dark side ways”.

        1. John says:

          Using “Dark Side ways” is just plain using the Dark Side. If you meant something else, you’re going to have to say so. Using the Dark Side means acting out of anger or fear and generally involves hurting people. Anyone who’s doing that on a regular basis and doesn’t think he’s evil should probably think again.

          1. Syal says:

            My take continues to be that the LIght Side is people trying to move in tandem with the Force and the Dark Side is people manipulating the Force to move in tandem with themselves. Using the Dark Side for Light Side goals would effectively be what the Jedi do in the movies; tiny mind manipulations, telekinesis, high jumps. Those are justified as putting the Force back on track after the Dark Siders derailed it.

            Actual Light Side powers would pretty much exclusively be talking to Force ghosts, talking to people across distances, and letting the Force tell you when to shoot or where to block.

          2. Daimbert says:

            It would be using negative emotions to do good deeds. So one example not from Star Wars would be Bruce Banner deliberately letting himself get angry so that he can turn into the Hulk to stop a huge threat. He’s using anger, sure, but in a way that allows him to do good and only when he knows that that is the only or by far the best way to do that. A Jedi could argue that tapping into negative emotions or even strong emotions is at times necessary to do good and isn’t a risk of corruption. Of course, the counter could well be that they’re fooling themselves.

            1. Syal says:

              Literally the only thing Vader and the Emperor wanted out of Luke was for him to attack them in anger, because that’s all it takes to become Vader.

              1. Daimbert says:

                And yet, Luke DID attack both him and Vader and anger, and turned away at the end of it all. And the anger they were trying to invoke was spontaneous and unaware anger. They really wanted him to lose control, hoping that after that he wouldn’t want to be controlled any longer. And in the end, it failed.

                The Light Sider using the Dark Side would be advocating for controlled use: invoking the darker or negative emotions to perform deeds and certain powers knowingly and directly for a purpose, and bringing them back in line once their purpose was served. A argument can indeed be made that as long as they were “mindful” of what they were doing and why that it wouldn’t cause them to fall to the dark side.

                1. John says:

                  I don’t understand what it is that you think the Dark Side can do that the Light Side can’t and thus why someone might need or want to resort to it in the first place when they’re trying to do good deeds.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    Well, most of the EU material and even some of the canon material — like the games — says that different powers are triggered by different emotions. So, for example, most of that material suggests that Light Side users can’t use Force Lightning, because it’s triggered by a darker emotion. This is consistent with the OT and PT because no Jedi uses Force Lightning while the Sith do. So, then, the material you’d be referencing would be highlighting that for them to be able to use Dark Side powers which entails them using Dark Side emotions when those powers would be useful. Even in keeping with ideas of aggression, it would be using aggression, fear and hate to motivate actions, where the “positive” emotions couldn’t motivate that action (striking in parlay, for example). Also, there’s the fact that emotions themselves suggest actions at times, and often instantaneously. It can be argued that allowing free reign of even the darker emotions allows for instantaneous spurring of specific actions — yes, generally more aggressive and darker ones — that are sometimes necessary.

                    In canon, Mace Windu uses a lightsaber style called Vaapad that leans on the dark side by relying on the user enjoying the fight, so that is also an example of a canonical use of dark side emotions for a light side purpose.

                    1. John says:

                      Well, most of the EU material and even some of the canon material — like the games — says that different powers are triggered by different emotions.

                      It does? Really? That’s bizarre. I don’t think that’s consistent with the films at all.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      Every time you defeat a new enemy you get an option to scan it with BD-1, giving you a codex entry. The entry starts with a brief description of the foe and ends with some history, while in the middle there’s an advanced hint of strategy on how to deal with them. In the case of this guy, it says that staggering him several consecutive times is the way to go, though it doesn’t say how many times.

      If I had defeated it with the hit-and-run method, reading that would make me so mad! That’s good to know after fighting it!

  8. Dreadjaws says:

    So, this is going to drive me insane. I could swear that in one of your articles in this website you had mentioned the optional Oongo-Bongo fight in Bogano, making a point of saying that it was optional but still was easy to find and might confuse players by having such a hard fight right at the start.

    But I can’t find the article anywhere here. Was it not you, then? I can’t have imagined it, because I recognized the fight the moment I ran into it, since I had seen the pictures. If it wasn’t you, who was it then? WHO? NNNNNGGGGGGAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

    1. Shamus says:

      I do not remember this. Perhaps it was a comment someone left under an article?

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Well. My internet history says nothing, so I guess I’m gonna die with the doubt. It can’t have been a comment, because it had pictures, so it might have been a link put in the comments, but I haven’t found anything yet.

        1. Ander says:

          “Oongo-Bongo fight in Bogano”

          That is a great combination of words.
          I appreciated having a fight I was not skilled enough to beat yet.

    2. Kenny says:

      Rock Paper Shotgun?

    3. Philadelphus says:

      I know your pain! I had something like this a few weeks ago, where I was listening to Schubert’s final piano sonata for the first time. I got to the third movement, and instantly recognized it from a CD my parents had over a decade ago which had samples of music from something like 40 famous classical composers. So that was neat, then I get to the fourth movement…and recognize a particular, achingly beautiful motif in it which gets repeated a few times. Yet I definitely can’t have heard the whole sonata before, because I would’ve recognized the third movement…so now I’m left to wonder eternally, how/where did I hear the fourth one? (I don’t listen to the radio, or any streaming service on autoplay.)

      1. Syal says:

        I have no knowledge of Schubert, but Wikipedia says “Fantasia” and “Milo and Otis” both use his music, among others.

        …now, if anyone knows a heavily instrumental song with a chorus of “I don’t mean to bother you but there’s something on my mind”, you would be well rewarded grudgingly thanked.

        1. Gautsu says:

          Also, Schubert’s used in Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows (The Trout), and I swear I heard his Die Erlkonnig used in a car commercial relatively recently

          1. Philadelphus says:

            Interesting! Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks, both—maybe I heard it somewhere without realizing.

    4. Duoae says:

      Are you sure it was with pictures? I think Shamus mentioned that Bogano encounter on a diecast because what you’re saying is triggering my memory too and i specifically don’t remember any pictures of the place/ encounter. In fact i expected him to have one in the bogano entry.

  9. Christopher says:

    That enemy sounds annoying for sure. I won’t pass any more judgment on it than that since I haven’t played it, but it’s worth remembering this is the Titanfall people’s first try at 3rd person melee combat as well, at least as far as I know. The combat seems good for a first go, but it’s probably a few style switches away from Devil May Cry(or a couple estus chugs away from Dark Souls, as it were).

  10. Matt says:

    His arm bounces off of your lightsaber

    Like Wolverine, they obviously have cortosis fused into their bones and claws.

  11. Karma The Alligator says:

    The screenshot of Cal getting slapped upside the head is really well timed and funny. To watch, at least, probably not as funny to play.

  12. zackoid says:

    There is war, of a sort, on Dathomir in the Clone Wars tv show. But looking it up on wookiepedia, that happens only 6 years prior to the start of the game.

    The nightsisters in the show are also way more alien looking; I wonder if the change is just different art style or if they’re setting the character up to be more sympathetic.

  13. Smosh says:

    One of the most egregious “half a meter short” issues was in fact in Dark Souls 2. To get to the final area, you have to open a shrine door, so you can proceed to the castle through that shrine’s back exit. To open that door, you have to go and kill the three main bosses of the three main areas. Which means that 80% or more of the whole game is based on the quest to open that door.

    But that shrine is not actually blocking the path. The path goes past the shrine, and some rubble blocks the path, forcing you to detour onto the nearby hill, through the shrine with the locker door, and down the same hill again, back onto that very same path, on the other side of that rubble. You can actually see past the rubble. You can shoot arrows over it. It’s like six rocks, tops. Waist high at best. It’s a blockage so insignificant a six year old boy could get over it.

    But no, our protagonist needs to go fight hundreds of zombies and demons, kills dozens of bosses, a king of the giants, and a dragon, to be able to open a door that’s not even on the way.

    Dark Souls 2 has a lot of problems, and this kind of shoddy world design is a prime example.

    1. Dalisclock says:

      Dark Souls 2 shows a lot of evidence of having been initially designed one way and then about halfway through development, the project lead was replaced(unclear if he was fired or quit) and the game was reworked significantly, resulting in the game we have now.

      People looking in the code have found entire areas not used in game and existant areas have exits that either don’t connect to anything and/or can’t be reached. It probably explains why there are shortcuts that don’t matter because of the bonfire warping and why the branches are so linear.

  14. John says:

    When you parry him, he seems to get staggered very hard. His arm bounces off of your lightsaber and he even turns his back to you for a moment. Based on everything the game had taught me up to this point, I figure the game was saying, “NOW. STAB HIM IN THE BACK!” It seemed kinda obvious.

    But then I’d hit the attack button and instead of hitting him, he’d hit ME.

    Games really ought to provide some kind of indication when they’re about to subvert their own rules. Usually, they do. I mean, I hated the Deathstroke fight in Arkham Origins, which is similar in that Deathstroke will interrupt attack sequences that would work on normal enemies, but at least Deathstroke is very obviously a boss rather than just another enemy type. The cutscene preceding the fight is a big honking clue that the normal rules don’t apply to Deathstroke. Does Fallen Order do anything unusual when it introduces this monster, or do you just sort of stumble on it without any fanfare? Is the fact that it’s a monster rather than some sort of humanoid supposed to be the clue?

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      The game has a bunch of creatures just roaming around in every area, and this one is no exception. There’s no special cutscene or anything. You just climb from the side of the cliff and it’s just walking around calmly. It’s not even an enclosed area, like most boss fights are.

      1. Thomas says:

        The path as you come towards the monster goes underneath him for a bit, which makes it look like you’re avoiding him. And then the map is designed so you’re looking towards a little path to the right which leads away from the monster when you get at the plateau.

        I’m sure they’re intentional cues, but that’s Uncharted ‘get them to follow the single path’ style stuff rather than an adequate sign for a hack and slash.

      2. Abnaxis says:

        The game builds him up quite a bit. The controller rumbles, the camera pans to him as you climb below him, and Cal says something along the lines of “that looks like something I don’t want to mess with” (paraphrased). There’s nothing that tells you his attacks work different or that you can kill him with a triple parry, but the game definitely conveys that he’s a different weight class of enemy, though not boss-level

  15. Retsam says:

    See, this is where I just can’t stand the goofball morality of the Nu Force. Doing something while you’re angry is apparently this terrible sin, but trespassing and killing the locals who try to stop you is apparently fine.

    Is this really an issue with the post-OT continuity, or just the game adaptations in particular? It feels a bit more like the latter to me. Like I never got the impression that Anakin murdering all the Tusken Raiders would have been okay if he had only been less angry while doing it. And I don’t really remember any other cases where the prequels or sequels really give the Jedi any free passes on unethical behavior.

    I suspect a big part of this is just the cutscene/gameplay segregation thats so common in these sort of games – like how all the people Nathan Drake kills in the gameplay of the Uncharted games doesn’t really fit in with the actual plot line.

    1. Christopher says:

      I’ve been saving the question till it comes up in a blog post, but I’m kinda confused on the whole dark side thing. Like I thought it was supposed to be a designation for jedi who commit evil deeds. Not that if you lose yourself in anger once you’re corrupted or whatever.

      1. Daimbert says:

        The Dark Side of the Force is driven by the supposedly negative emotions, the ones that can overwhelm you and encourage you to strike out at others or use them for your own ends. So it isn’t the case that if you lose yourself in anger once you’re completely irredeemable, but if you get angry and use the Force you get feelings from that. And as we all know, often lashing out in anger feels GOOD. So if you get angry and use the Force, you might like that feeling of power and convince yourself that it’s okay to do that in order to feel that more. Eventually, you rationalize using the Force that way and are totally lost.

        So perhaps the Dark Side is more like an addiction to drugs than something specifically moral, but what that addiction pushes you to do are generally evil things.

        1. Gethsemani says:

          I think ESB already sort of answers this with the scene in which Luke enters the hollow. Yoda tells him that he won’t needs his lightsaber but Luke brings it anyway. In it he faces what appears to be Darth Vader and in anger quickly strikes him down, only for the helmet to explode and reveal Luke’s own face. The take away is very much that the Jedi solution to facing an enemy isn’t to strike them down with your force powers. RotJ then reinforces this, with Luke having learned his lesson and trying to not succumb to the temptation to kill Vader and the Emperor. He gets angry at the Emperor’s taunting, but when he sees Vader crippled and defeated like he himself was at Bespin, Luke calms himself and thus stays on the light side.

          I think Lucas, even in the prequels, was pretty clear with the idea that using the force while feeling negative emotions (rage, fear, sorrow etc.) is what’s corruptive, which fits with the Buddhism analogy in the Jedi teachings. Whether it is the emotions or the force that’s corrupting you is sort of beside the point, because the entire thing is obviously a religious and moral analogy about the need for a calm mind and positive emotions. Luke wins because he feels compassion and love and can calm himself. Anakin looses (and becomes evil) because he feels fear and anger and lets it get the better of him.

    2. Thomas says:

      Or action media in general. When you’ve got a double digit body count, you’ve got to wonder if there was a better way.

      As a total aside, John Wick lost me somewhere in the second and third film over this. Killing a bunch of people for revenge over a dog? Standard Hollywood morality. But revenge over someone destroying your car? That’s bad manners.

  16. The Rocketeer says:

    I wish at some point Cal and Sere had linked up with a real Jedi for a short segment, so that they could work in this exchange:

    Jedi: “Why do you have your lightsaber on, like, 4% power?”
    Cal: “what”
    Real, Actual Jedi: “Oh, you must have left it on your training setting. Sometimes I forget to turn the set-screw back to max, too.”
    Cal:
    Not a Fraud Jedi: “Ha, I hate taking a swing at a frog or something and realizing, ‘Oops! This’ll take like fifteen swipes!'”
    Cal:
    Jedi Who Legit Completed Training: “Whoa! Do you feel that huge surge of the Dark Side?”

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Every now and then we do need a button on this side to acknowledge a great comment without having to type a post.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Took the words right outta my mouth. Well, out of my brain? Away from my fingers?

      2. Henson says:

        It’s good to know the Rocketeer is still around. His FFX posts are the stuff of legends.

  17. ccesarano says:

    Maybe this sort of thing is normal in these kinds of games, but as a newcomer I found it frustrating, bewildering, and unfair.

    Yes and no. The funny thing about third person action games is that even the ones with a lot in common are also very, very different. You’d think Devil May Cry and Bayonetta would play alike, and to an extent they do, but I have a preference for the former for a reason. It’s not uncommon for games to introduce foes that will not just build on prior tactics, but also curtail your standard strategies in order to get you out of your comfort zone.

    This big burly fellow is a combination of that mentality while also trying to pull a Soulsborne sort of surprise. The immediate smack-back after you parry is intended to get you thinking “Oh, that won’t work! Let’s try something different” by using a very Soulsborne animation/punishment approach. Negative reinforcement, basically.

    As I’ve said plenty of times before, though, I don’t think this game does these sorts of fusions well. Not as well as other games, at least. I think I figured it out really quick that the typical parry wasn’t going to work. However, I’m also aware of multi-parries being an action game thing for a while. One of the biggest moments in competitive fighting games is… well, often called “The Moment”, or “The Daigo Parry”, where player Daigo was down to a sliver of health and successfully parried each of Chun-Li’s lightning kicks. Fortunately most action games do not demand that extent of precision, but there are many that are designed to capitalize on players developing more advanced techniques, awareness, and precision as they play.

    That’s the thing, though. They’re designed for it, but don’t always count on it and therefore leave the requirement for such skill levels on higher difficulties. Soulsborne games excepted, but as plenty of discussion has indicated, those games don’t require players to use the optimal strategies, even if the optimal strategies make things easier/more possible.

    1. Decius says:

      Not a nitpick:
      Negative reinforcement is the action of removing a stimulus. An example of negative reinforcement would be stopping the music or sound. Any operant condition that adds something is a positive reinforcement.

      Many people confuse the positive/negative type of reinforcement with the reward/punishment types; positive and negative reinforcements can be rewards or punishments (and sometimes neither)

      Using a smack-back animation to remove control of the character from the player is a positive punishment.

  18. ChrisANG says:

    According to the Clone Wars cartoon, the Nightsisters got wiped out by the (other) bad guys a bit before the third prequel movie (Revenge of the Sith). This Nightsister is about the same age as Cal, so she would have been about the same age as flashback-Padawan Cal at the time.

  19. Abnaxis says:

    In any case, that’s the general rhythm: Wait to be attacked, parry, riposte, and move on to the next enemy

    On higher difficulty, this never worked for me on most enemies. You have to have extremely precise timing to party, and if you’re even a little bit off even the minor enemies take off a massive chunk of health.

    The REAL easy made way to do it is to maneuver so all the enemies are in front of you, then just wail in the closest one. Unlike Dark Souls, swinging your saber doesn’t cost stamina only blocking does, so you drain their stamina while keeping an eye on their flank-happy allies.

    After three or four swings, your victim will get tired of turtling, push you back, and take a telegraphed counter-swing that always has the same parry timing so it’s easy to learn. All your have to do is parry and keep swinging. Even a lot of bosses work this way!

    Many Cals died for this information, running Dathomir first after Bogano on Jedi Grandmaster.

  20. CloverMan-88 says:

    …I finished the game twice, and didn’t realise you could “tripple parry” this monster. I always just blocked his attacks and hit him a couple of times when he was done with his combo, and then dodged away to regain my stamina.

  21. Tomas says:

    I don’t know if the writer could make him more obviously evil without just giving him a T-shirt that says, “ASK ME ABOUT THE DARK SIDE.”

    That made me laugh out load! =)

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