| The Good
Feels and sounds like Star Wars
Multiplayer adds to game
Force powers add depth to "run and gun"
| The Bad
Enemy A.I. can be mediocre
Cutscenes look low-res
In Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, you play as Kyle
Katarn, a mercenary under the hire of Mon Mothma. Taking place
some years after Return of the Jedi, Kyle and his partner,
Jan Ors, are sent to investigate a base for the Remnant forces
of the Empire, who are apparently experimenting on creating
crystals that can give even normal people the ability to use
the Force. Despite his distaste for the Force, the money offered
to investigate this potential problem is enough to get Kyle
and Jan on the job. After a point early in the story, Kyle
must regain his ability to use the Force to complete his mission.
The world of Jedi Outcast is a dead ringer for the
post-Return of the Jedi universe. Remnant bases hold
the level design of the movies and even look draw directly
from the Death Star and Star Destroyer sets. Fans of the movies
will find a number of familiar architectures in the levels
and even some other famous places, like Yavin and Bespin.
Along with these are some new places to visit, like Nar Shaddaa
and the Artus Mines. While in the corridors and hangar bays,
the locations feel accurate and part of a living world, some
of the more public areas feel less lived-in. The cantina in
Nar Shaddaa feels less like a cantina full of customers and
more like a Doom-style gunfight waiting to happen. Enemies
are taken directly from the Star Wars universe and include
Stormtroopers, droids, and a number of alien races familiar
to fans. You'll be pleased with the quality of detail in each
level, even if there are a few rough edges here and there.
For the most part, character models look pretty good. You
may grow tied of killing the same handful of enemy types over
and over in each stage, but at least the enemies look close
to their movie counterparts.
At its heart, Jedi Outcast is your standard first
person shooter set in a Star Wars universe. You'll be given
a series of objectives, but along the way, you'll need to
throw switches or find keys to unlock doors along your path.
Early on, you'll have a variety of weapons, including Thermal
Detonators, blasters and even a Bowcaster to shoot your way
through legions of the Empire's best troopers. Once your get
your lightsabre, equipping it will switch you into 3rd person
mode, where you can hack and slash your enemies. Also, you'll
gain the ability to use Jedi powers, which add greatly to
the depth of the game as they are necessary to complete environmental
puzzles and essential to survive battles with enemy troops
later in the game. From time to time, there are some platforming
elements and you'll be given a few puzzles to figure out,
but neither are too complicated and are only thrown in to
break up the "run and gun" aspect of the game.
The multiplayer mode, known as Jedi Arena, gives players
the ability to fight it out with friends. There are a variety
of modes, including Free For All, Capture the Flag, Duel,
Holocron FFA (you have to grab Force Powers as power-ups),
Jedi Master (kills don't count for points until the lightsabre
has been picked up) and Team FFA. Players are given a handful
of stages to fight it out, including Bespin, the Death Star
and a Star Destroyer. Being able to add computer-controlled
bots is a wonderful addition to the multiplayer that allows
for even single players to enjoy the multiplayer aspect of
the game. On top of that, there are a lot of character models
to use in the arena and even more to unlock.
Audio-wise, Jedi Outcast draws from the same pool as the
rest of the Star Wars themed games. The soundtrack is composed
of themes from the original trilogy, especially the darker
themes from Empire Strikes Back. The voice acting is
well done, but won't amaze you by any especially dramatic
portrayals. Sound effects and verbal bits during the game
really help complete the Star Wars feel to the title.
I would be remiss not to mention a few things that could
have used some polish. The enemy AI is never really all that
great. Most of the time, you'll be able to mow them down where
they stand and some times, they won't even go for cover while
you pick them off from afar. Also, the jump mechanics seem
to be less than stellar. Considering how much time you may
be spending in the platforming parts of the game, most will
find the jumping around to be frustrating at best. And, on
top of that, the cutscenes tend to look suspiciously low-resolution
in comparison to the gameplay. Luckily, the scenes don't take
up a noticeable part of the game.
Fans of Star Wars will be pleased with Jedi Outcast as
it provides good FPS action set in the Star Wars universe.
While maybe not the best game in the genre, Jedi Outcast
is better than a lot of the games and is a far cry better
than most of the Star Wars titles that have come out in recent
years. Fans should seriously look into this title.