This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
transfeminine frankenstein (busy working on her thesis)’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
What's up guys, Carmilla here, and wow, I just played Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and this action-packed title is a must-have for hardcore gamers. It's the next installment in the Star Wars franchise, and while the last installment alienated some fans with some clunky new mechanics, The Rise of Skywalker returns to the series' roots with everything to make a fan happy. Whether you're looking for a challenge or you're a true blue competitionist, there's loads of content to keep you satisfied, including eight different worlds to explore on the main quest.
You play as Rey, the heroine from the last two games, as she continues her fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order. This time, though, there's a bigger threat in town: Emperor Palpatine! Woah! If you're a noob then you may not remember, but retro gamers' thumbs may still be blistered from all the mashing you had to do to beat him in Return of the Jedi! The main quest of the game has you looking for a Sith Wayfinder, and you'll need to travel all across the galaxy and through more than a dozen incredible levels in order to find it. Each level is crawling with First Order stormtroopers and other goons, so you'd better come prepared! Sometimes, the game will switch from Rey to either Finn or Poe, two fan-favorite characters from the The Last Jedi whose stealth missions make for a nice change of pace from Rey's swashbuckling. Sorry gamer girls, Rose isn't playable this time around, but you can still visit her at the Rebel Base to refill your ship's supplies before each mission!
The best part about Rise of the Skywalker is the skill progression. As you advance through the game as Rey, you get more experience and can unlock brand new Force Powers like force lightning and force healing. It creates a satisfying gameplay loop where you're always getting better. The best abilities that you can learn are Force Supermoves where you call upon the power of Jedi from the past—that's right, Palpatine isn't the only character coming back! Rise of Skywalker blends modern and retro game mechanics together great, with the Supermoves being reminiscent of the Star Spirit moves from Paper Mario, which was an influential title on the original games' development.
The final boss fight against Palpatine is one of the most epic final showdowns since God of War. The fight has several phases, and you're switching back and forth between control of Rey in the battle, Poe in a dogfight, and Finn in a ground invasion against the Emperor's army! You even get to play as Kylo Ren and fight off the Emperor's guards! The diversity of gameplay styles that Rise of Skywalker weaves into its narrative is sure to please any gamer, and it delivers original action that hasn't been seen by gamers since Naughty Dog's Uncharted series.
Unfortunately, there's still some flaws that may steer away some discerning players. The game doesn't have much replay value, unless you just want to go through all of the same missions again, and while the developers invested heavily in the Force Powers system, it feels like you're not always able to use them whenever you most want to. It's probably for balance reasons, since that was why they cut Holdo maneuvers, or lightspeed ramming, this time around, too. Additionally, the stealth sections with Poe and Finn are great, but there's only a few of them compared to the big action levels, and lorehounds will be disappointed in the simplicity of the game's quests, which are all about either collecting certain items or finding certain characters. Still, Rise of the Skywalker has a ton of explosive action and some totally killer boss fights, making it the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite gamer, or yourself, this holiday season.
(my assistant walks over and whispers something in my ear)