Let's talk about Cal Kestis' weak ankles in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Image of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor with Cal Kestis falling.
Cal's infamous ankles, capable of so much (until you fall a tiny bit too far). (Image credit: Windows Central)

I have spent over 55 hours exploring the many worlds of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. I've not just completed the entirety of its emotional, epic campaign — I have 100% the game, including completing all its side content, finding all its collectibles, earning all its Achievements, and even filling out the entire Databank. In all that time, one singular, objectively minor complaint has dominated the part of my brain that insists on being negative.

Cal Kestis' ankles are too weak. He's a powerful Jedi Knight, experienced in battle and in the ways of the Force, capable of tearing through an endless list of enemies and bosses, a master of parkour... and yet falling a single inch too far results in immediate death. The Empire doesn't need to hunt down Cal in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, they can let a medium-sized hill do it for them.

Many an ankle was broken during my journey

Cal Kestis on his noble quest to explore the Galaxy (taken moments before disaster). (Image credit: Windows Central)

A large part of the gameplay in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is platforming, with Cal utilizing a vast array of different abilities and tools to navigate the confusing, broken, and hostile environments in which he finds himself. For the most part, following the lines and sticking to the trod path means you'll rarely encounter issues with this platforming, which has been improved a fair bit over the game's predecessor, Fallen Order.

Those who insist on shirking the obvious path in search of collectibles, lore, and secrets will have to find creative uses for these abilities — and will quickly encounter their limits. You see, Cal is capable of falling pretty substantial distances (at least relative to a normal human) without taking any damage at all, buttressed by his Force abilities and natural athleticism. This is all fine and dandy unless you deign to attempt a jump just a few inches beyond what Cal is used to... Then he dies. Instantly.

Gathering collectibles in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor can feel tedious and grueling, when forced to retread old paths.

The lack of fall damage in favor of instantaneous demise leads me to believe that Cal stores his vital organs in his ankles and just a little too much trauma results in acute organ failure. You're able to squeeze a little more distance out of Cal's ankles by jumping and dashing (an ability you learn later in the game) just before you hit the ground to arrest his momentum, but it's still not enough.

After I finished the game, I committed to exploring until I had seen it all and collected everything I could. This meant taking advantage of every shortcut and trick I had at my disposal, as I didn't want my 55-hour playthrough to needlessly turn into a 70-hour trudge. This also meant frequently plummeting to my sudden death because I tried to jump down and return to an area I'd already been to but found that it was apparently just barely too high of a jump for Cal to survive.

I saw a lot of this when falling to areas I had already been to. (Image credit: Windows Central)

A great example is a tortuous 30 minutes of gameplay, in which I was attempting to scale a plateau with a handful of collectibles on Koboh. In order to do so, I had to trek a sizeable distance away and take advantage of an advanced ability to scale a second, taller plateau with more collectibles on top. My real goal, however, was an area just below this. A hole in the plateau dropped into a lower area where a bird-like creature resided and I wanted to get to it so I could use this winged beast to glide to my true target.

It wasn't a far drop. I could see every detail on the surface below, and witness an enemy wandering around (presumably waiting for a snack-sized Jedi to fall from the sky). I had made similar jumps before, right? Besides, taking the "right" way to that area would take me far too long, as I'd have to go back the way I came, hike into the wilderness, and circle around the reverse side of this plateau before making the arduous climb up. Why would I do that when I could just jump down here?

Post-game Cal, with all of his awesome abilities, is still easily defeated by gravity.

Shocker, I died. Dashing before I hit the ground? Still died. I'm not sure if Cal would've rather spontaneously died than face the wrath of the angry Gorocco hanging out below (I wasn't going to mess with it, regardless) or if he was just generally done with my collectible quest, but he refused to make the jump. After numerous attempts of trying to figure this out (all of which still took considerably less time than it would've taken to go the disgustingly "correct" way), I spotted a tiny protrusion from the cliff wall bordering the hole, about a foot or two below where I was.

I jumped to the haphazard ledge, Cal barely hanging on, and then attempted to fall into the hole once again. You have got to be kidding me... It worked. That was what I needed to do? The difference between Cal surviving the fall with zero repercussions versus his ankles exploding a thousand violent deaths was a foot? I finally made it to the plateau and picked up the three collectibles stashed up there. Now to get down and get the nearby collectibles... Oh, it's just high enough that Cal instantly dies, and the only way down is another gliding creature that will take me in the opposite direction that I need to go. Great.

Struggling to find ways to criticize this brilliant game

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is an incredible game, I'm just grumpy. (Image credit: Windows Central)

I'm fully aware that I am absolutely nitpicking. To be honest, it's difficult to meaningfully criticize this game, which is going down as one of the best Xbox games of the year. Performance is not good enough in the current iteration (I experienced a multitude of crashes, dropped frames and lag, and long loading times on my Xbox Series X), but the situation is admittedly improving rapidly with post-launch patch updates.

There's also plenty of room to critique the game's movement and platforming controls, which (while improved over Fallen Order), still don't feel precise or consistent enough to justify the existence of the game's difficult, late-game Force Tear platforming challenges. I had so much fun playing this game, though, that it really is the ways in which the game arbitrarily limits you that frustrated me the most.

The emotional, endearing campaign following the journey of a weary Cal Kestis and his estranged companions, the brutal combat bolstered by countless abilities and tools, and the stunningly rendered and immaculately detailed worlds made it easy to forgive the frequent performance issues. Every time I watched Cal's lifeless body hit the ground after attempting a jump I was confident I could absolutely make, though, I felt like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was telling me I wasn't playing the right way.

I had to take the scenic route every time, even when I'd seen it all before. Reaching 100% completion felt like a chore at times because of this. In the sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, I hope Cal Kestis invests in an ankle brace to help reinforce his greatest weakness (his Achilles' Heel, if you will).

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is now available on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PS5. If you want to learn more about this epic Star Wars adventure, you can check out our Star Wars Jedi: Survivor review.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Respawn Entertainment has crafted essentially the perfect follow-up to Jedi: Fallen Order, with a ton of gameplay improvements, expanded content, and a surprisingly emotional adventure for Cal Kestis.

Buy from: Microsoft (Xbox, Standard) | Microsoft (Xbox, Deluxe) | Amazon (Physical)

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.