In this guide, we’ll teach you what we wish we’d known before we started.
It’s not an action game, so don’t play it like one
You’ll have to fight your way past local fauna and stormtroopers in each location, but you’ll spend the majority of your time in Fallen Order solving puzzles, platforming, and exploring.
We didn’t know that going in, and it made the first couple of hours confusing. Prioritize exploration. You’re bound to find something, and the game rewards your curiosity and discoveries with skill points (which are basically XP).
The controls eventually make sense
Fallen Order’s default button confirmation struck several of us as odd … because it’s odd.
It feels like a mishmash of FromSoftware-inspired bumper and trigger combat with a sprinkling of pretty much everybody else’s standard face button controls. We pressed the wrong buttons a lot for the first hour or so is what we’re saying.
Thing is, there’s a logic to the default controls. It just takes a while to reveal itself.
You’ll probably push back against some of the choices — like clicking the right thumbstick to interact with things — but give it time. After a few hours with the game, the logic behind the layout will click. Even those of us who changed the button mapping ended up changing it back.
If you’re confused, here’s mostly what to think about: X/Square is light attack, and Y/Triangle is heavy attack. Give it time.
Learn the rhythm of combat against early enemies
While Fallen Order isn’t focused on fighting, you’ll do plenty of it. You’ll battle local wildlife, Imperial jerks, and there are a few boss fights.
Generally speaking, you won’t have to worry too much about strategy and timing in the smaller fights. But that changes when you take on a boss — especially those late in the game.
The combat isn’t rhythm-based, but you do gain benefits by not mashing away on the attack button. You’ll unlock attacks that switch your stance mid-fight, unleash a high-damage combo, or manage crowds that all require intentional timing.
Let’s take this new paragraph to make that even clearer: There are very powerful skills that require you to press the attack buttons less to do more damage.
That’s about as clear an indication as any that the game’s creators really don’t want you to mash the attack button. Restraint is difficult when your life is on the line. But it’s also what most situations require in Fallen Order.
Train yourself early. Use the small early fights to hone your skills. It’s possible to button-mash your way through, but they’re also low-stakes chances for you to practice. Work on your parry timing, learn how to break through defenses, and practice dodging away from unblockable attacks.
Use the small fights to prepare you for the big ones instead of brute-forcing your way through.
Use your map to find secrets
When you’re not fighting, you’ll be working your way through elaborate levels. Fallen Order’s Metroid Prime-inspired map is invaluable.
Your map is a three-dimensional hologram, which is helpful because so many levels and paths have a lot of verticality to them. It feels like navigating like a bowl of spaghetti sometimes. You’ve got a great map. Use it.
The map’s other helpful feature: It highlights paths and doors. You can open green doors, you can find unexplored yellow paths. You can’t open red doors and paths.
Knowing those colors means you’ll always know where to explore next. And keep checking your map because those colors will change as you get new abilities.
Use the game’s visual language to plan your paths
The short version of this is: look for light and look for white.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out where you’re supposed to go — especially in the beginning of the game before you have your map.
Look for light just means that places you should investigate and the paths you’ll follow are usually well-lit. Trust the game to show you what’s important.
Look for white is a little more pragmatic. Things like ledges to grab or beams to walk along tend to have white highlights (visually, this looks like either weathering or bird poo).
Learn what to look for early, and you’ll have a much easier time spotting the ledges to climb or beams to balance along many hours later.
That said, different locations can have slightly different visual languages. All of the same features appear — ledges, climbable wall, walls you can run along — but might look a little different to match the environment they’re in.
Explore, explore, explore for rewards
There are no straight paths through areas or between them. You’ll be twisting and climbing and doubling back constantly. But there are also no real dead ends — at least not permanent ones.
Nearly every side room that doesn’t move you along the main path will have a reward for you to pick up — like a chest or a bit of lore.
That’s not to say that there is loot everywhere — there’s not. There’s only a limited number of chests and secrets to find in each region. But some of those things are in hard-to-reach or out-of-the-way places. So when the game is clearly telling you to turn right, explore the left first. Explore every path by looking for every patch of yellow on your map (see above). You’ll usually find a reward.
Find, scan, and collect everything
While you’re exploring, your droid companion BD-1 will find various interesting things to scan. This mostly just gives you something (short) to read (or not), but it also earns you XP — and XP becomes skill points that unlock new abilities.
Whenever BD hops off your shoulder, follow him and let him scan whatever fauna, flora, skeleton, or shiny rock he’s interested in.
In addition to things to scan, there are four types of collectibles in every level: chests, echoes (lore), and life and Force essences. Life and Force essences increase your life and Force gauges for every three you collect. Echoes give you lore to read (or not). Chests give you cosmetic items. All of them earn you XP as well.
Customization doesn’t make you stronger, and that’s OK
That chests are purely cosmetic is OK. You’ll get poncho colors that are like souvenirs for each place you visit. You’ll get sexy new paint jobs for your ship. You’ll get new color schemes for BD. And you’ll find a ton of lightsaber parts.
Aside from a few abilities you unlock with skill points, you don’t end the game with anything beyond what you start with. There’s no way to make your lightsaber more powerful. There’s no armor. There are no stat bonuses.
Which is kind of freeing, actually. With all the chests you’ll find and their customization contents, you only have to decide what looks the best to you — not what has the best stats.
And with so many lightsaber parts, you can make it look however you want. The only rule is what you thinks looks cool.