Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and for other iterations of the Star Wars franchise.
Oh my goodness! This section of Jedi: Fallen Order was tense, dramatic, and incredibly exciting. I’m having a great time with the game so far, and aside from getting to drive an AT-AT last time – which is now one of my all-time favourite experiences in any Star Wars video game – this might be the best section of the game so far. From a story perspective it was a wild ride! Last time we defeated an Imperial force – including another AT-ST – on Kashyyyk and freed a number of Wookies from slavery. However, the tribal leader Cal and Cere wanted to meet was nowhere to be found – though one of his friends promised to get in touch when they located him – and after Cere picked up an Imperial transmission regarding Project Auger, Cal and the gang were about to return to Zeffo.
I haven’t talked about this before (because I hadn’t really noticed) but the game’s title screen depicts a ship that seems to be destroyed or severely damaged. I can’t tell exactly, but this looks to be some kind of Star Destroyer or similar Imperial craft. It clearly isn’t the Stinger Mantis, but I’m not 100% sure what it is. While I doubt it’s some kind of massive spoiler, I’m sure the title screen is depicting an image related to the game’s story.
Before setting off I took a moment to look around the Stinger Mantis. There are a couple of doors which don’t open, as well as a ladder that looks like it leads to a second deck below the main one, and I’m curious if we’ll ever get to explore those other rooms and areas. I know I bring up Knights of the Old Republic a lot in these playthrough posts, but in that game the player’s ship – the Ebon Hawk – was able to be fully explored.
The galaxy map offered Dathomir and Bogano as destinations, but I can’t see any point going to either of those at the moment. While the option still technically exists, Jedi: Fallen Order feels like it’s corralling me down a specific path. I don’t mind games with a linear story, but it seems as though Jedi: Fallen Order is trying to give itself the appearance of allowing more freedom of choice than it really has – in addition to the travel options we’ve seen a couple of optional conversations and a couple of conversations where dialogue choices pop up, yet none of these things really feel like they make a difference. The journey from Kashyyyk back to Zeffo was smooth; with the Empire on Cal’s tail I keep expecting the Stinger Mantis to come under attack, yet nothing transpired. The ship landed in the same spot as before, though this time Greez and Cere were standing around outside on the landing pad.
The defeated AT-ST was still on the landing pad – though not in the same place as before, but that’s probably just how the game works – so I assumed no one else had been here since the Mantis’ last visit. It isn’t very clear how much time has passed in-game – Cal was rescued from Bracca, and aside from getting some rest on the Mantis while en route to Bogano that first time, he hasn’t taken a break. That would seem to suggest the action has mostly taken place over one day, unless Cal spends hours at a time meditating at the meditation spots. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. During a conversation with Cere on the landing pad, another dialogue option popped up. As mentioned, these don’t really do much as there’s no in-game reputation system nor relationships with characters to build up.
Last time I said that the return to Zeffo could be disappointing if there was a lot of backtracking and retreading old ground, and when I saw the Mantis approach the same landing zone I thought that seemed like a bad sign. Unfortunately I was right – in order to get to the new Imperial excavation site, Cal has to follow the same paths as on his first visit. Having previously opened up a couple of shortcuts some of this wasn’t so bad, but with most of the enemies (troopers and monsters) appearing in identical spots to last time, it feels like this back-and-forth planet-hopping that Jedi: Fallen Order has us engaged in is, at least in part, a way to pad the game’s runtime. I don’t think it would have been too difficult to break up Zeffo into two or more smaller levels – most of the same assets could be reused, but in such a way as each visit would feel unique and different, with the Mantis landing at different locations each time.
While battling troopers en route to Cal’s destination, I encountered two more glitches. The first one was fairly minor – as a trooper climbed up onto a ledge he seemed for a few seconds to be standing on thin air on the wrong side of the ledge:
The second one was worse, however. Cal was engaged in a fight when all of a sudden the trooper disappeared through the floor, before shooting up a couple of seconds later way above Cal’s head in a weird kind of “rubber-band” effect. As I mentioned previously, Jedi: Fallen Order is less polished than I expected; even if these issues couldn’t be fixed before release, there have been months in which to release a patch.
Being back in the abandoned village, Cal was able to use Force push on that drawbridge we saw last time – the one with the red “aura” that I thought could be interacted with. Deploying the bridge provided an alternate (and slightly less time-consuming) route through the level. After retreading more old ground, including an ice slide, Cal had arrived at the spot on the map that he’d been pointed towards – a large Zeffo monument. This was an area we passed by last time, but armed with his new Force push, Cal was able to get inside.
At several points in Jedi: Fallen Order so far, I’ve felt that an extra line or two of dialogue explaining what was happening would have gone a long way to filling in some gaps. The story is great – but at several points now, Cal seems to be doing things for no reason other than “game says so”. Inside the monument, the objective was declared complete and the holomap updated with a new location to reach – yet none of this was even mentioned. Was there supposed to be some dialogue here that didn’t trigger because of another bug? Why is Cal suddenly supposed to make his way to a crash site? The crash site wasn’t on the map until now – did Cal even know it existed five minutes ago? It wouldn’t have even needed a cut-scene, literally a couple of lines of dialogue could have played during gameplay explaining what was going on. As it is, Cal found a workbench to upgrade BD-1 further – this had slightly more explanation, as Cal at least acknowledged he’d found a part he could install in BD-1. Obviously BD-1’s new upgrade will come in handy momentarily, which is why Cal was pushed to go to this location – yet with no acknowledgement or explanation it feels so arbitrary and not like a natural moment in the story.
I had expected that entering this area would have marked the beginning of taking a wholly new path through Zeffo, yet after climbing a short way up and defeating a handful of troopers, Cal was back outside. A zip-line took him back to the same area as before, but at least there was a meditation spot; Cal had a skill point to spend, and I chose to allocate it to increasing his maximum Force points – allowing for more uses of Force powers while in combat. With BD-1’s Scomp Link repaired, the way in to the Imperial base that was sealed on our last visit to Zeffo was accessible. It wasn’t too far from the meditation spot, so Cal and BD-1 hot-footed it there and were able to enter the base with ease.
After taking out a small group of troopers in the area immediately inside, I stopped to look around. There was an elevator that didn’t work – presumably another shortcut to unlock for later – a room that BD-1 could open with his new skill, and a staircase leading outside to an area that looked like it could be climbed. The room contained a Force echo – something about a lost artefact from the Imperial excavation – and another meditation spot, which I took advantage of to checkpoint my progress. Jedi: Fallen Order has really captured the aesthetic of Star Wars’ original trilogy perfectly, and though it’s a minor detail, I loved the look of the computer screens in this part of the Imperial base. They just seem so “Star Wars”, with their clunky ’70s design and retro-future graphics.
After leaving this area, the only way to go was to climb up on a series of ledges. Cal worked his way up to the landing pad where we saw the Project Auger ship take off the last time we were on Zeffo, and after making it to the top, one of the large ice monsters we defeated in the caves was on the platform battling a group of troopers. Rather than jump in the middle and battle two kinds of enemy I left them to it and climbed around the outside. At one point there was another visual glitch, as Cal’s body clipped through a hanging hose or cable. After climbing onto the landing platform, there was only one way to go and that was back into the base. Immediately inside the door was another group of troopers, including a couple of the more difficult variants, but they were soon taken care of.
This part of the base contained a few other troopers, and there were a couple of platforming sections and sections where Cal needed to use both of his Force powers (push and slow) in order to make it through. None of it was particularly challenging or noteworthy, until we encountered another Purge trooper! These are the specialist anti-Jedi troopers that are new to me and haven’t appeared in any other Star Wars games or films, but they didn’t debut in Jedi: Fallen Order; apparently they made their first appearance in a comic book series. The Purge trooper was a difficult mini-boss, but a well-timed use of Force push sent him falling to his demise from the bridge where he fought Cal.
The area beyond the Purge trooper was uneventful and a door led Cal back outside. A short ice slide (these keep bringing up happy memories of Super Mario 64!) led to another meditation spot, and then we arrived at the crashed ship that had been unceremoniously dumped onto the holomap earlier. It was a Venator-class ship – the kind used by the Republic in the prequel films. The sight of the crashed ship, and seeing how massive in scale it is, was comparable to seeing Rey in the Star Destroyer on Jakku in The Force Awakens, and whether intentional or not, I liked that little tie between two different parts of the franchise. These ships are massive, and exploring it will take some time. A couple of monsters near the ship were easily dispatched, and then there was a sweet moment between Cal and Greez as Cal spotted a smaller crashed vessel. He told Greez he appreciated his piloting and how he always got him safely to the surface, and it was a very wholesome conversation between the two of them. Greez has been a little standoffish at times, and seeing the characters get closer together over the course of the story is great. Hopefully this doesn’t mean something horrible is about to happen to Greez!
Other than the monsters, the main enemies Cal encountered at the crashed starship were probe droids. These floating robots debuted in The Empire Strikes Back, where one was used to find the Rebel base on Hoth, and we also saw one briefly at the beginning of the game. They made the same noise that they did in the films, and I appreciated that! I speculated early on that the probe droid may have been how the Imperial Jedi-hunters were able to find Cal so quickly after his one brief moment of Force use, and I think that seeing them here and having Cal comment about being “watched” may not 100% confirm that theory – but it certainly lends it more credibility.
The probe droids are particularly annoying enemies. They fire standard blaster bolts at Cal, which can be reflected back, but when they become damaged they go into a kind of self-destruct mode and chase after Cal in a kamikaze attack. These proved difficult to outrun and dodge, and several exploding probe droids wounded Cal in this section.
Inside the wreckage, Cal found a Force echo. This one felt very ominous, as it seemed to show a Clone trooper who was aboard the ship being killed by someone with a lightsaber. This could, of course, be something that happened during Order 66 or even earlier, particularly as a Clone trooper was mentioned, but it could also mean there’s a Sith or other Force-using opponent somewhere. Whether they’re still in the wreckage – which has presumably been here for years – is unknown. Cal made his way down a couple of zip-lines, and at the bottom BD-1 received another upgrade – this time allowing him to climb up zip-lines, opening up different areas and allowing for backtracking. This area contained two of the K2SO-type droids, which I find to be among Jedi: Fallen Order’s most difficult enemies. Taking on two at once was a challenge; Cal ended up needing to use a stim-pack.
Another Purge trooper was at the excavation site, and this fight was another tough one. These troopers are great at blocking and dodging, and often have unblockable attacks. These mean an instant button-press is required to dodge, and that can be difficult for me to get right! Occasionally, Jedi: Fallen Order shows what I guess I’d call a “finishing move” when Cal defeats an opponent. These stylised death-blows often involve acrobatic jumps or throws, killing an opponent in style – like something you might see in an old-school fighting game! I was finally able to capture one of these using the game’s photo mode, and I think it looks pretty darn cool!
This next section involved a fair amount of platforming as Cal had to jump, climb, swim, and run along the cavern walls to get further and further into the dig site. There were no troopers along the way, which was very eerie! On the way here in the cable-car, Cal said to BD-1 that he had a bad feeling about what he was going to find here, and the music in this area was perfect. It was incredibly tense and ramped up the apprehension. After arriving at a meditation spot, I wasn’t sure where to go next. There was a zip-line, but Cal couldn’t reach it, and there was a locked door. Eventually I found an elevator, and after stepping inside it began to descend. When it reached its destination the doors hissed open only to reveal… the Second Sister!
I knew Cal had a bad feeling about this second leg of his journey on Zeffo, but the fact that it was the Second Sister herself – the game’s biggest villain – was a surprise! I was expecting some kind of tomb-related enemy or perhaps to learn who wielded the lightsaber aboard the crashed ship. The Second Sister knew Cal’s full name, but more importantly she knew about Master Cordova. Cal ignited his lightsaber.
The Second Sister had been unbeatable – by design – in Cal’s first encounter with her back on Bracca, and the reason I was so surprised to see her on Zeffo at this point in the story is that she’s the game’s main villain, or at least the most significant villain so far. Defeating and/or killing her only partway into the story didn’t feel right; this had to be setting up something else! This was the toughest boss fight in Jedi: Fallen Order so far, way worse than the Tomb Guardians, Purge troopers, or even the AT-STs. The Second Sister is a powerful Force user – I assume some kind of Sith apprentice too – and wields a red lightsaber. She can perform many unblockable attacks as well as use Force powers – including the ability to leap great distances and sprint at Cal.
The duel was long, and every time Cal seemed to get the upper hand or reduce the Second Sister’s health, she’d come at him with a new attack or dodge the next one, making it hard to land more than a couple of blows on her at a time. Her health meter at the top of the screen was slowly ticking down with each strike, but by the time it was hovering around the halfway point, Cal had already used two of his three available stim-packs! I was getting nervous – this was difficult! When the Second Sister had lost a little over half of her health, she grabbed Cal using the Force in what looked like a Vader-style Force choke, before throwing him across the arena.
The transition from the duel to this scripted moment was seamless; a perfect blend of gameplay and an inevitable moment, and it seemed for a second as though she was simply using a new Force power that would make the fight more difficult! However, as Cal crashed through the side of the arena, a cut-scene triggered. The Second Sister approached, lightsaber in hand, and it seemed as though Cal was doomed! But in an instant, BD-1 saved the day by activating a forcefield between the two combatants. This undoubtedly saved Cal’s life!
With Cal safe behind the forcefield, the Second Sister opted to try to sway him and break his resolve through talking. And she had a lot to say. She’s looking for the list of names of Force-sensitive children that Master Cordova hid on Bogano. It didn’t seem possible she could know about it, until she revealed something truly shocking – she used to be Cere’s padawan! When Cere was captured by the Empire, she betrayed her padawan so she could escape, choosing to save herself instead of Trilla – the Second Sister’s real name. She removed her helmet revealing a young woman who couldn’t be much older than Cal.
Star Wars has had some great unmasking moments over the years! Seeing Darth Vader as a scarred, broken man in Return of the Jedi was an amazing moment, and the reveal of Kylo Ren as a young man in The Force Awakens was pretty good too. I liked this moment with Trilla, as it fits a pattern that goes through other Star Wars titles. As I’ve said before, these moments make Jedi: Fallen Order really feel like I’m taking part in an actual Star Wars adventure.
Unable to get past the forcefield, Trilla had a warning for Cal – beware of Cere. Not only did she choose to save herself, betraying Trilla, but she used the dark side of the Force. Though Cal seemed dismissive at first, I’m sure these accusations will stick in his mind and we’ll eventually see him confront Cere with what he knows. I’m positive she knows who the Second Sister really is – but if she doesn’t that could be a shocking revelation for her. This scene, where Trilla accused Cere of being a dark side user, reminded me of the revelation in Knights of the Old Republic II that Kreia is similarly a dark sider. Both characters have taken on similar roles – mentor figures to the protagonist – and both seem to have a dark secret. Though Trilla may not be the most reliable bearer of information, the game wouldn’t bring up something this significant only for it to turn out to be a lie. Right?
After escaping the situation, Cal was clearly very shaken. I was surprised that he didn’t immediately radio Cere and Greez – but perhaps he needs time to process what Trilla told him. Is it true about Cere? Was Trilla really her apprentice? She can’t be telling the whole unvarnished truth – there are two sides to every story, and I think we deserve to here Cere’s side. After all, if nothing else she did save Cal’s life on Bracca. Cal paused to thank BD-1 for saving his life with the forcefield, and this was a touching moment.
Escaping Trilla has led Cal to the entry to a new tomb, and there was a meditation spot nearby which I used to restore Cal to full health and replenish BD-1’s supply of stims. Though the forcefield stopped her temporarily, Trilla is still on Zeffo, and if her mission is to kill Cal I feel like we haven’t seen the last of her. There must be another way into the tomb, after all. After checkpointing my progress, I decided to step away and save the exploration of the tomb for next time.
Wow. What a wild ride it was this time! At first I was disappointed to be covering so much ground from earlier in the game – and I still feel this aspect of the game could have been handled better. But when the second mission to Zeffo got going it really got going! The crashed starship was a sight to behold, we’ve uncovered several mysterious story threads, upgraded BD-1, and then of course, the climax of this part of the story was the duel with the Second Sister.
Learning her identity was an amazing reveal, up there with Star Wars’ best. And if what she said is true, that Cere is a dark side user, then that sets up a potentially very interesting and exciting conflict later in the game. At the very least, Cere has some explaining to do! Something about the way Trilla presented herself, particularly the twinge of sympathy at learning what she’d been through – being betrayed by her Master and captured by the Empire – leads me to wonder if she has a path to redemption and a return to the light side. Whether it happens or not, the fact that the possibility seems to exist is enticing. And I absolutely love that the Second Sister wasn’t another standard evil-for-the-sake-of-it enemy. She has a story – a betrayal, a kidnapping, and a fall to darkness. All of this makes her infinitely more interesting than a lot of villains, and I hope we get to explore more of this fascinating character before the game is over.
Sorry that this part took a couple of days to write up! I hope you’ll stop by next time to see Cal investigate the second Zeffo tomb.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is out now on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the copyright of Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts. The Star Wars franchise is the copyright of Lucasfilm and Disney. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.