When Dark Horse sent for review The Art of Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (read a preview here) I was very intrigued. The video game the book shows art from was a lot of fun despite its many technical and design issues, but the title’s biggest hindrance was its underwhelming story and underdeveloped characters. The Star Wars art book offered a lot of insight into the game’s development and Respawn’s original intentions for the narrative and cast.
The first thing I noticed flipping through the art book was how much more beautiful and vivid the concept art was from the final product. The characters, especially the protagonist Cal Kestis, looked much more dynamic and the settings were rich and filled with detail. Given how much raw power a game needs to run, especially on a vanilla PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, it makes sense that they weren’t able to perfectly mimic the concept art in the game itself. But that forced them to simplify and smooth out the characters’ appearances, which made Cal on particular look much more bland than intended.
The artbook is also a reminder of how much hard work was put into Jedi: Fallen Order. The game was likely rushed to be published before Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. But that affected the game developers, not the concept artists who on multiple occasions created over a dozen mockups to nail the design of a creature or character.
Some of the most beautiful pieces of art are the ones that showcase the worlds the heroes visit on their journey. The settings felt a bit underserved in the game, but the artbook more than makes up for that with full-page and double-page illustrations of environments, temples, villages, and so on.
The Art of Jedi: Fallen Order also explains how some of the areas carefully include elements of both the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy to capture how the game takes place in between them. That gave me a new appreciation for the video game, and further excites me as I anticipate a sequel.
This is worth buying even if you never plan to buy the game. In fact, you’re the ideal customer. The artbook is absolutely enrapturing for someone who’s unfamiliar with the game itself. It describes and visualizes a story that feels far more epic than the narrative of the game. In fact, experiencing it for yourself after reading this would likely lead to disappointment
I’m happy I read through the art book after finishing the Jedi: Fallen Order. The settings and characters illustrated within would have given me far too lofty expectations for the game itself. The concept artists created an incredibly beautiful world that, did to the realities of game design, had to be simplified.
This is worth buying even if you never plan to buy the video game. In fact, you might be the ideal customer. The artbook is absolutely enrapturing for someone unfamiliar with the game. It describes and visualizes a story that feels far more epic than the narrative of the game. That makes an Art of Jedi: Fallen Order review challenging because of what wildly different experiences readers will have with it. Nevertheless, for gamers and nongamers alike, this coffee table hardcover is a delight to page through that’s well worth your time and money.