One of the biggest surprises in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, out today from developer Respawn, is how much its approach to combat takes cues from the blueprint established by FromSoftware’s action role-playing games. If you’ve played Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you know what to expect: Melee fights that require a degree of finesse, with careful dodging and necessity to learn the attack patterns of even the most trivial foes.
Or at least, that’s the experience you get sometimes. Fallen Order’s combat is an attempt to make the intimidating-yet-rewarding FromSoftware approach more accessible, and it does this by telling you exactly how it handles difficulty. Before you start a game, you can pick your difficulty, which has four tiers: Story, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, and Jedi Grandmaster. Each difficulty level adjusts three sliders: Parry timing leniency, damage received, and enemy aggression. (The first one is lowered on higher difficulty settings, while the latter two are increased.)
If you’ve played and enjoyed any games in the Souls oeuvre, or if you want to get the most out of Fallen Order’s combat system, I recommend you go with Jedi Master, which is the game’s version of hard mode.
There’s no need to worry much about my calling it “hard.” For most of the game, even in Jedi Master mode, combat scenarios are not that difficult; they just require some attention and a healthy amount of dodging. They can be actually hard if you take a seemingly-easy creature for granted (Listen: you’re gonna find some rams in this game. Respect those goddamn rams.) but most foes can’t take much punishment. The ones that can will frustrate you until you remember that your Force powers are there for a reason, and then they become easier.
One caveat though: The difficulty curve in Fallen Order is not a smooth one. There are some fights that are, frankly, bullshit. If you ever stop having fun, just bump the difficulty down—Fallen Order lets you adjust at any time.
Also, don’t get too caught up on the game being compared to Dark Souls. The comparison is definitely apt, but if that turns you off know that most of the fun in Fallen Order is in exploration. Think Metroid instead, and you’ll be fine.