Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

In a market saturated in StarWars games it’s hard for a game to distinguish itself from every other light saber toting wannabe that Lucas Arts allowed to use the license. Thankfully Jedi Knight is nether a wannabe or a wasted license.

May the force be with you
The games story line follows an ex-Jedi called Kyle Katarn and his partner Jan Ors as they are called into duty for the New Republic when a message is intercepted between members of the Remnant (Imperials). The message leads them into checking out an abandoned outpost thought to house a small amount of Remnant soldiers from there your in the deep end, along the course of the game you will run into Luke Skywalker on more than one occasion, and even have a fight with him against some Remnant, even Lando makes a return.

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The ways of the force
From get the get go the game doesn’t really let up. The first level I was expecting to fight a few AI-less opponents stretched over a barren building, instead I got thrown with a fear amount of Storm troopers all set on scalping me or whatever Storm troopers do once they actually get their hands on you. So from the first level I thought I was in for something special, but after about an hour into the game I started to become worried with it and wasn’t sure if I should keep playing because it seemed to just repeat itself and I hadn’t had any new weapons for along while. But I persevered. I am glad I did, the first couple of levels of the game are good, but you have no force powers and you have no light saber, what you have is a few guns and a few bombs, not much fun.

At the end of the first level you run into a very ugly scaly guy who posses the force, when you encounter him he steals Jan your partner and has her taken to his ship, been the good friend you are you dash forward to save her, just to get wasted from this scaly fool with the force. You then get to fight him, but lose, and he just laughs and orders Jan to be murdered.

After Jan is killed the game really opens up as Kyle returns to the Valley of the Jedi to use the vacuum there to quickly regain his force powers, then he returns to the Jedi Academy where you meet Luke Skywalker and have to undergo some minor tests to ensure you are ready to wield your light saber again.

Slice ‘em Dice ‘em just don’t be nice to ‘em
For a lot of the game you will be slicing up Storm Troopers who now work for the aforementioned Mr Scaly. There AI is pretty sketchy some of the time and at one point a Storm Trooper actually plunged to his death as he was strafing around trying to shoot me, now I don’t think this was because he knew my light saber was going to make him pay I think it was dodgy AI.

Also the enemy always wants to “Get behind him”. Over the course of the game you will here that so much it will drive you crazy, but I don’t see the sense in this as they have guns and you have guns, standing behind me isn’t going to be very easy. This is worse in large areas or long areas as sometimes the enemy will not attack you at all but run towards you and then finally attack when they are within inches of you or when they have successfully gotten behind you. Also if you turn around to look at them they sometimes continue running until they are out of sight.

The game throws a lot of men at you at once so you usually wont notice these little problems unless you are fighting a small amount of enemies and don’t actually shoot back but having them there at all is a serious let down.

Level me this
The games overall flow is a bit harsh, I found myself reloading the game about 20 times per area, this may be due to my own lack of skill but it was annoying and shouldn’t really happen. Also the pace of the levels is broken up by mindless puzzles which left me running around shooting and hacking anything that looks breakable in hopes of continuing the level. Once you figure the puzzle you will get to kill another 5-10 enemy before you are hit by another puzzle that leaves you running around for 5 minutes before continuing. In a fast paced shooter these kinds of things can really bring down the experience because of its stop and go styled play.

But overall the level designs are really well done with quite a lot going on, there are also a number of scripted events that made me think the developers actually cared.

At the beginning of one level you are faced with an AT-ST quickly closing ground while overhead Ion cannons fire volleys into the distance as Tie-Fighters screech past over head and behind you a group of Rebels are fighting for survive as the Remnant have them pinned against the wall. Things like this really made me go, wow. But they were few and far between much to my displeasure.

To the darkside
During the course for the game you get force powers, but you have no control over which ones you get and how when to upgrade them, this was most likely done to ensure you had certain force powers to deal with certain puzzles but a little bit of leeway with how you upgrade them would have been very nice. Overall the force powers are very enjoyable to use, there’s nothing like death gripping a storm trooper from behind then flinging him into a chasm, and trust me there’s a lot of chasm’s in this game.

Some force powers I never bothered to use more than once or twice or when the game forced me to use them for puzzles like Pull or Lightning, because they weren’t as fun as the other moves. Pushing an enemy rapidly over a cliff is fun, pulling their gun from their hand isn’t so much.

The weapons over the course of the game are pretty varied but mostly useless once you obtain your light saber. Also I found a lot of the weapons in the game weren’t really designed for the indoor areas of game as they usually exploded into your own face killing you and the enemy, so I usually ending up using basic weapons and my light saber most of the time unless I was fighting some really nasty.

The game features plenty of Light Saber wielding nastie’s, so don’t think you will be running through the entire game slashing down gun wielding enemies as there are plenty of Reborn soldiers (Soldiers artificially infused with the force). So there will be plenty of light saber to light saber combat which is very fun.

Speaking of saber to saber
From get the get go the game doesn’t really let up. The first level I was expecting to fight a few AI-less opponents stretched over a barren building, instead I got thrown with a fear amount of Storm troopers all set on scalping me or whatever Storm troopers do once they actually get their hands on you.

The games multiplayer mode is its selling point, based off the Quake 3 engine the game plays extremely fast paced and hectic, which when thrown into the mix with force powers and light sabers means one hell of a ride. There’s not many games where you can death grip your friend, while he death grips someone else (very funny looking as well). The game has a bunch of options like turning off the Force, turning off guns so you’re only busting light sabers and the expected capture the flags and death matches.

Playing against other human players is a joy as all kinds of tactics come into the mix, also in multiplayer you a free to map your force powers as you see fit. Also you can be dark or light side giving you different powers, the light side for example has a move that makes them almost impenetrable to any kinds of damage where as the Darkside gets moves like Absorb which allows the Dark player to steal life from other players to refill their own.

Nice teeth
The games graphics are a mixed bunch, the overall model designs are very nice and fluid, with pretty good use of rag doll physics upon slaughtering them. But some of the games textures are just plain nasty. The first outdoor area of the game I looked as the dirt and wondered what happened to the art department, then I looked at the ridge and guess they were on vacation because I was fronted with jagged edges of brown mesh that didn’t appeal at all.

Another thing is the characters teeth in cinematic’s are nasty, each tooth is separate from the rest and look plain disturbing, I didn’t know people could grow teeth in that manner, but everyone in this game shares the same teeth growth. Also there is some distortion of colour between the front of the face and the sides which also leads too a sad looking character.

That said overall the game is pleasant looking but there are too many inconsistencies and when looking close at most things they tend to look quite ugly which is sad given the overall quality of the title.

dum dum dumm dummm
The sound is great, through the game you will have blearing remix’s of the StarWars theme music and other music from throughout the movies. These remix’s sound a little strange when the Imperial Theme stars pumping while you are crawling through a vent.

All the gun fire is captured pretty nicely and very reminiscent of the films which is great, but the best sound is light sabers. Pulling out your light saber you are treated to a slur of sound as it extends outwards like the protruding brilliance that it is. Hacking away at enemies your light saber will begin to purr as it slices the flesh if anyone stupid enough to run into you.

The voices are done pretty well, with the storm troopers been the most hilarious, at one stage I was outside a door and I heard two storm troopers talking, one was recalling to the other how he once killed two Jedi with one shot of his blaster, I busted in and killed both of them before they even got a shot off. How sad. Anyway the voices are great, Luke Skywalker isn’t done by Mark Hamill but no one cares anyone, Lando is done by his actual actor though which is a nice touch.

System Requirements - Operating System: Windows 95 OSR2/98/ME/2000/XP Computer: 100% DirectX compatible computer required. CPU: Pentium II or Athlon class 350 MHz or faster CPU required. Memory: 64MB required. 128 MB RAM required for Windows 2000 and XP. Graphics Card:16 MB OpenGL compatible PCI or AGP 3D Hardware Accelerator required. Sound Card: 16-bit DirectX 8.x compatible sound card required. CD-ROM: Quad Speed IDE or SCSI CD-ROM drive required. Input Device: Keyboard or mouse required. Joystick supported.
DirectX: Microsoft DirectX 8.0a NOTE: Your system may require the "latest" drivers for your particular hardware. Installation: 665 MB of free hard drive space required. Additional free space required after game installation for Windows swap file and save games. Multiplayer Support:
Pentium II or Athlon class 400 MHz or faster recommended for Multiplayer. Local Area Network Play: Supports up to 32 players via Local Area Network. Internet Play: Supports up to 16+ players via 56Kbps or faster connection to the Internet. Dedicated Server: DSL/Cable Modem required for Internet hosting.

"A solid Star Wars title that will have you jumping for joy."
- Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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Comments Comments (1)

Posted by KravenMore
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 9:10 AM
This one still stands out as a classic. Almost all of the original Jedi Knight titles were for that matter!