View Full Version : The Jedi Academy = shallow water or... (full version *SPOILERS*)

09-18-2003, 11:36 AM
the story of another missed oportunity!


This is a review of Jedi Academys single player experience but however since this is only my opinion feel free to have another and don t bash me for mine thank you!

As you can see by the topic I have more criticism to say then praise to sing, but there are good things as well and I will honestly state what they are.

I was as everyone else very excited about the upcoming release of Jedi Academy however I was suspicious as well and it proved to be right there for I didn t buy JA but borrowed it from a nearby media store which surpisingly got the game so early.

Ok enough foreword lets get to the game. Lets start with the very first thing the character creation. Here we choose which race our char is and how he will look in the game. What I immediately noticed is that there are not both sexes for every race. Twillek are only female, Rodians only male and 2 other races with only male or female. If I remember it right the guy that led Luke to his audience with Jabba was indeed a male Twillek so the Twillek got males too. Now this is not a big issue at all but I just dont understand while the male or female counterparts to the races are not in. Now about the selection of looks. This goes from wide to narrow. Very narrow if you select the human female head. If you change this head all that changes is the hairstyle the face always remains the same.

Ok after that we select a light saber hilt and a color pretty nice. Nothing you can do about the saber stance sadly. I do not see a reason why you cannot select another starting stance. Another OK clicked and here we go, the typical Star Wars introduction, good so far.

The game starts we have to get to the Academy grounds by foot since our shuttle got shot down by an onknown enemy. OH NO what do I see? My char got his light saber in his hands a few swings prove I allready am an super expert on yellow stance. Is this supposed to make me feel I am a fledgling force knower? I dont think so. I can even throw it. At least I got no force powers yet. What about my partner Rosh we come across a switch which we cant reach with our hands NO PROBLEM he says and force pulls like a pro not one bit of exertion! I would have liked to see it like this: Rosh says Wait if I concentrate I maybe able to pull it with my will...switch slowly moves...phew that was hard lets get going. Woudnt that be much better? The leves climax is to fight a dark Jedi in a light saber battle. Well what kind of super newbie am I??? As you see I do not agree with that starting level one bit. You shouldnt be able to use the light saber as a weapon a blaster would have been so much better. The tree cutting [if absolutely neccesary] could have been pulled of with ingame cutscenes.

Another cutszene switching to a Lambda shuttle. I knew instantly when I heard the voice that it is Tavion. I thought well well what a surprise Tavions back for more as the main bad gal suprise surprise.

Cutszene on Academy grounds. Luke welcomes the new students to the Academy now directly from. Here you will be trained in the ways of the force. You will learn how to defend yourself with a light saber [what do I need to learn I m allready fighting like I did nothing else in my life], diplomacy [sounds good] and history [sounds good too]. You and Rosh get assigned to Kyle Katarn and are off to the training grounds. Now what kind of training is that? You enter the course and immediately got four force powers at your hand uhh great the question rises immediately again what kind of newbie am I? After you are through the course [which is pretty similar to the one you run as Kyle in JO] you are ready for real missions. Wow imho this part is really screwed up. It never gave me the feeling Im new to this how it should be. I mean hell you are a combat ready Padawan in not even twenty minutes and in the time of the Old Republic the Jedi were trained for 6 to 7 years before they were picked by a Master. I allready told you how I think the first level should have looked like now I will add what I think the Academy should have been like. Since you wouldnt have had any experience with the light saber in my version there would have been actual saber training could be done playable could be done as a cutscene. I would have liked to have history lessons about the Jedi as a cutscene. Luke promised them to me but I got none. Make this skipable for the action junkie if need be but I want to have them same for diplomacy. Nothing in there oh for christs sake why not? And than after you took some of this lessons there would be a cut that tells you "five years later" and you take that training course as a final test. Wouldn't that be MUCH better, wouldn't that be MUCH more believable? That would have given depth to the whole experience.

Ok Im off to the first mission I chose Droid Recovery since it is on Tatooin and there is mention of diplomacy maybe.... No I can't tell you how disappointed I was. No diplomacy only a sandpeople hack fest *sigh!

Ok thats it for the detailed part Im going to general now. Let's talk about missions. Aside from very few exceptions the missions are all about hacking, slashing, shooting enemy. I would have liked to have some real side quests in which you do what Jedi where known for. Being judge, bodyguard etc... you get the picture. Sadly they are not there only missions that deal with the disciples of Ragnos and they are about what I wrote first.

The story is very nice indeed. I might haven't played the game to the end if I not really wanted to know how it ends. And there are nice things in the missions as well. You can ride a taun taun on Hoth, you can ride a speeder bike [altough I think the controls are really bad for it], you can shoot a few Tie Fighters out of space onboard a big cruiser, you encounter two Rankors and you fight Boba Fett [that I liked alot] all of that adds alot to the Star Wars feel. The settings and architecture are very nice too. There is zero repetition every world gots it own look so you wont get sick of seeing the same textures again and again.

Now for sounds. The sounds are solid to good. One can't believe that they used the old boring hums from JO for JA again. Seriously they work for LucasArts and I don't believe that they are unable to get those juicy movie sounds. For example there are no dual swing sounds for the light staff [the ones everybody loved in EP1]. On the other hand I always hated all of the force sounds and it got no better. Aside from the force push Maul used against Obiwan force was always a silent thing and seriously if I had to hear all of this crap in my head for every force power I use I definately would stop thinking about becoming a Jedi. I mean that swoosh sound for every jump really adds nothing its just nerving but that maybe just me.

Graphics and Animation. Graphics do look nice for Quake 3 engine but I do not need hyper optics anyway they are nice but only add when the gameplay is right. All of the Animations [aside from the ones that had to be created] are reused from JO.

Now comes one of my favourite parts. Light saber combat. Well it is back the most hilarious and stupid thing about sword fighting. Running light saber combat!!!! I hardly believe that it is STILL like this but it is. I don't understand this Raven guys did you see anytime a movie in which sword fighting was a part Star Wars perhaps or an old pirate movie, cloak and dagger? Do the fighting ppl run at anytime when they cross blades? No? Why is that? Because you cannot fight with swords like this it is impossible but here we have it again back with Jedi Academy *sighs heavily. I once wrote a big post of what force use and saber fighting should be like. If you are interested here is the link http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=54463&highlight=Flashblade
it deals with multiplayer saber combat but ideas I and others had could [and should] have been put into single player as well [Stamina for example]. well the saber combat got only a slight if any rework and mostly addition. If you want to end a saber fight quickly in the early game just use a kata it is almost a guaranteed death for the opposing dark Jedi [way overpowered]. In the late game saber fighting turns to mindless hack and slash while that was still kind of fun to watch in JO it turned rather old now. Victory is about luck not about skill. You will rarely have the time to pull of some of the special moves as well. I wonder if there will be ever a game that reflects sword fighting as it is . I don't know if any of you played Enter the Matrix, while not a great game [though I liked it alot] it deserves high praise for its mocap kungfu fighting system. When you pressed that block button you got an actual counter move to an attack move not like in JO or JA where you have that impenetrable light saber wall that is as old as 2d beat em ups. I think a similar system than the one in ETM would be needed to create real sword fighting. I hope someone will create this at a certain point.

To sum it up JA is a nice action game sadly cos it could have been so much more than that. It lacks the indepth experience it could have had and especially the training part at the academy is HIGHLY unbelievable. To be honest since it builds up on JO and uses nearly all of JOs content for me it is nothing but an expansion maybe a big sized expansion but an expansion none the less. I wouldn't pay full price for it if I was you but that is your decision in the end.

That is the end of my review feel free to comment!

09-18-2003, 12:06 PM
Allow me to sum it up simply with this.

1. Do you HONESTLY believe we want to spend 5 years playing a simulated padawan training session because it's more 'REALISTIC'? One of the major complaints about JO by many gaming sites and players was that you didn't get the sabre from the start. 'Wait maybe if I concentrate'...we'd be here for years, and have a boring game to play.

2. It's a first/third person shooter hybrid. I can't think of ANY game other than ones such as Civilisation that have any form of diplomacy. This is an action adventure game.

3. I think the fact that you can jump about as high as a wheelchair-bound jawa and can barely pull a blaster from someone is enough 'I am new to the force' for me, thanks. If I had to spend a bunch of levels being unable to do anything but turn on my sabre and swing it in one direction, I'd give up the game.

4. There are many new animations; the walk, acrobatics, etc.

5. I agree on the sounds for the most part. But if the force powers didn't have sounds it'd get incredibly boring to use them.

6. Lightsabre combat. You've spent som much time complaining about the 'realism' of the game. Notice in Episode I and II that the Jedi don't just stand in one place when they are sabre duelling? JA is close enough to the movies as it should be.

7. While you can probably play through it just hacking and slashing, I've found in the demo at least, that's the fastest way to get killed.

09-18-2003, 01:08 PM
You took the words right out of my mouth, defalc :)

09-18-2003, 01:10 PM
1. Never wrote that you should reread that part I talked about having SOME training sessions and lessons playable or as an ingame cutscene [even skipable for the action junkie]. After that a cut that tells you five years or so went by and then you take that course you actually have at the academy as a final test of your abilities.

2. JA clearly tries to incorporate roleplaying. Since I am a roleplayer that step was not taken far enough for my liking. If how JA is is fine for you good enjoy.

3. That would have been enough for me as soon as you left the academy as well but it was way to much before you entered it.

4. Sure there are new animations I never said that there aren't but alot were simply reused. That the walking with a light saber doesn't look anymore like you are out for a walk to the park is a big plus indeed.

5. Since force sounds nerve me I disagree.

6. I never said that sword fighting is done standing. I only said that it is impossible to be done running. Maybe you take a look at the movies again EP1, 2, 5 or 6 come to mind? [not EP4 since old Obiwan vs Vader looks kind of funny today] or any other movie which has sword fighting in it.

7. Late ingame combat degrades to mindless hack and slash especially when there are the group battles. To change that the whole combat system would need an absolute rework that of course will never happen!

09-18-2003, 01:23 PM
The 2 handed saber reminds me of episode 1.... they were doing some running... and fighting, sure they stood still, but they were moving a whole lot also... like maul doing the katas simular to the ones in JA...

I read somewhere that Jaden was very strong in the force... so maybe thats why he was good in the beginning. Anyways, the best way to learn is through experience, going out in the feild and learning would help him better than the ones who stayed in the acadamy training... in the feild you have to fight or die, the instructors in the acadamy wont kill you :)

General Theros
09-18-2003, 01:36 PM
Originally posted by Flashblade
2. JA clearly tries to incorporate roleplaying.

hmm maybe it's just me... but I'm not really seeing clear implications of roleplaying. I see choices so that the game is less linear.... I see storyline... but neither of those equal roleplaying. You say you are a roleplayer... but you fail to grasp the fundamental concept of roleplaying. Roleplaying is not something that is enforced by game mechanics... roleplaying is something done solely by the player of the game.

09-18-2003, 01:38 PM
I totally agree with Flashblade.

The first level is a jumble of scenes thrown together with no connecting theme besides the fact that you get to learn the moves a bit before getting into real combat.

Use of Force powers before entering the academy?
Use of life or death combat with Saber before entering Academy?
A 2 minute level here, a cutscene that looks thrown in, another 2 minute level there.

Plus why is the game called "Jedi Academy"? when we learn so little about how the academy works. The academy acts as little more than a central hub to return to when you complete 5 levels.

I expected a game that dealt with the time spent living at the academy and learning in a logical way the use of saber and force. Or maybe even a level where you didn't just go out and kill everything you see.

It's a good game, don't get me wrong, but like Flashblade said, it's shallow water.

09-18-2003, 01:38 PM
I wonder if anyone will get my point. Sure there can be fast movement during a sword battle. BUT when blades are being crossed, blows are being parry and exchanged the move speed doesn't exceed walking or when it is really fast jogging speed. It doesn't work while running. I say again look at any movie including sword play you will see it!

Your second point is a pretty weak one. Anakin Skywalker was the strongest in the force ever [that was registered] but he needed to be trained as well for a couple of years. Not any of this makes the start of JA anymore believable!

The choice of a race and looks of a character you play is clearly something that belongs to roleplay. To take the light or dark path [by choosing your abilities] is something roleplay that is Star Wars specific. So the try to incorporate roleplay is clearly there and as I said it goes not far enough for me!

09-18-2003, 02:00 PM
You don't like the game. Fair enough.

09-18-2003, 02:08 PM
Another wrong assumption. I like JA for being a nice action game with a strong storyline. I m just sad about the fact that if Raven would have taken the right steps, would have put some more [for me really obvious] thought into this it could have been so much more then that a real classic like Half Life :(

09-18-2003, 04:37 PM
I must say i do agree with you on the opening mission. Your suggestion could possibly have made the game more realistic and yet does not force you to play like JO does at the beginning. However on the saber combat part, having played through most part of the game on JK diff, i find that saber staff can be properly controlled without resorting to button smashing. The left and right swings can be used to block off most advancing attacks and the KATA when used at the right time does wonders and gives you a spectacular finishing at times :). Sadly i could not say the same for duals. I would probably need more practise on it as i find that trying to control this stance proved to be alot harder then the other two stances and it could get pretty messy at times.

Overall, i found the saber combat in JA alot more engaging than JO(not that it wasn't in JO) and it really absorbs you into the fight. One could almost feel the exact same exhilaration as if you were the one fighting. This was most obvious when fighting the bosses.

Cheers :)

09-18-2003, 04:39 PM
The [SPOILER] tag is your friend... oh well. I edited it for you (this time).

When I saw the title I honestly thought this was going to be a thread about the swimming in JA.

After playing the first level in SP I was disappointed that the water acts the same as it did in JK2 SP.

I was hoping for the (much better) swimming featured in JK1/MotS.

Ah well, the rest of the game seems pretty great, equal to or better than JK2.

09-18-2003, 06:20 PM
Hmm I see Kurgan I can't say that I agree with you to put a whole Review of that size in spoiler tags but since you are the admin I wont argue with you about it.

As for your little statement. Sure Jedi Academy is better than JO with the added content but it is nothing but a big addon to the JO experience and some ppl should remove the fanboy glasses for once and see that this is the truth!

09-18-2003, 06:57 PM
thx kurgan for your amusing post after all this serious babble about this poor game.

Flashblade...oh boy where do i start...STOPP that!
i didn't read your entire post, just fragments to confirm that you are still in the boundaries of "frustrated rpg" fan. dude calm down!

think about the developer raven, think about their boss lucas arts and so on. hell, even think about the whole SW franchise! if you do that you'll even find out that JA and JO are actually better products than the films! the films get totaly bashed by fans and critics. the games are well recieved by critics and gamers(don't mind the bashing at the release start).
ok now i am not realy informed about what is going on at the highest throne in lucas arts tower of doom, but here is a version i think is quite realistic, heh:

minion: JO was a huge succes my lord! but there are voices who demand more rpg elements and better...

boss_anonymous: NONSENSE! the crowds do not know what they want. just send a small amount of credits we call "budget" to raven. they know how to squeeze the last bits out of the traditional engine.

minion: but sir, the people will not be satisfied with the same product over and over...

boss_anonymous: SILENCE! we have this star wars gallaxies for the online role playing masses. those servers won't pay themselves...so we heat'em up real good and then they have to go for the monthly payed SWG rather than playing this old quake3 mod online.

i would agree with you on many points, but it makes no sense talking about it here. ofcourse JO and JA could be all time classics, which millions of people would play online like counter strike and the likes. but it all depends on many factors. do you know how long it would take to make such a game you described there? have you been playing any other games from raven than just JO and JA? yes? then you should know what they are capable of.

the marketing plan is set:

1. SWG for the mmorpg fans (huge potential, think of everquest)

2. Knights of the Old Republic (single player rpg, developed by the baldur's gate makers black isle)

3. JK2-3 (short singleplayer&multiplayer for the 3d action freaks that have mainly skill in twitching their mouse and complaining about everything online...)

the game you and me would like to see has no chance. it would take 3 years and would cost alot.

09-19-2003, 11:45 PM
Phew it is really pretty hard to get access to this board most of the time. So I only got back just yet. NITEMARE I am calm believe me and yes your little dialog is close to reality unfortunately. Yes I have played uh let me think SOF2 as well which is a nice shooter but nothing more than the ordinary either. It just saddens me that such a huge potential is wasted like this. You know Half Life itself (not the mods) is no classic for its multiplayer part it is a classic for its single player experience. What I am really looking for is an actual representation of swordplay. That is why I brought up Enter the Matrix. The game itself might not be that great but the mocap Kung Fu system is awesome. What you would need to represent actual sword fighting would be real countermoves. When you make an attack move in Enter the Matrix the opponent really makes a move that blocks the attack. That is what I really really would like to see for sword combat. And that is also the reason why I only briefly tried JO Multiplayer when it was fresh back than. What you have in JO or JA has nothing to do with sword fighting as long as the block consists of an unpenetrable light saber wall in ready position ok not really unpenetrable since you not even know when your defence will not hold and the enemy scores a hit.

And the absolut climax of stupidity is still in the game too the heavy stance with its slow swings which are supposed to do more damage. How unbelievable can something get? A slow swing can hardly be powerful since you need power to be fast so this is reversed logic. Nobody in reality would be even thinking about swinging like this! The joke about it is the heavy kata is where the single light saber is being moved with the greatest speed! :rolleyes:

09-20-2003, 12:48 AM
Originally posted by Flashblade
I wonder if anyone will get my point. Sure there can be fast movement during a sword battle. BUT when blades are being crossed, blows are being parry and exchanged the move speed doesn't exceed walking or when it is really fast jogging speed. It doesn't work while running. I say again look at any movie including sword play you will see it!

1. You start with a saber that you built... obviously you have some skill and are only going to the academy for fine tuning...

2. on saber combat... a lightsaber blade weighs NOTHING... This grossly impacts fighting style wherase all other blade weapons have mass in their blade. This means that, although there is drag, you are holding an almost weightless weapon.. meaning you will be able to move faster.

3. On sounds and movement... I totally agree that a lot was copied from JO. But there is a lot of cool moves added... and this makes up for it...

4. The story line is awesome in that it gives you a choice. I've only seen 2 other FPSs that gives you a choice in plotline.

5. With a lightsaber, slow swings are more powerfull in that more damage is done to the other person while the lightsaber cuts, cauterizes and burns...

Finally, Obviously, you have a point... and since JO/JA lightsaber fighting is so unrealistic, you might have realised that it was NEVER meant to be realistic... Just a thought

09-20-2003, 02:24 AM
Define realism: Film sextant involving spaceships, aliens, and magic powers....

Boy, is the Jedi Knight series way off!

09-20-2003, 05:30 AM
there are alot of things, i would do differently. but i would have to back off before shouting out loud, because it's a real big piece of work making a real good and realistic melee combat simulator. actually it is a wonder what raven accomplished wih JO and JA. they normaly make mods or better say TCs for id game engines like heretic, hexen, sof, eliteforce and so on. but the sabercombat in JO already is the best on the market. no other game can compete with that. don't mention "die by the sword" since it was realy hard to master and buggy and unsuported/abandoned and it didn't have fancy moves...

so you want to have a morrowind like starwars game? forget it. never going to happen. hm mabe in 5 or 10 years, but that depends on how the market changes or...how succesfull i am going to be...heh.

09-20-2003, 08:49 AM
masterpayin: so everybody who comes to Lukes Academy is allready half Jedi and all of them learned saber combat by themself? I ask again how unbelievable can something get?

Yep thats right the blade got zero weight what that has to do with the movement speed in a sword fight escapes me though. Do me a favor will ya? Start JO or JA find a dark Jedi fight him the normal way so running around after that find another dark Jedi and fight him with the walking key pressed than come back and tell me which way did the blades connect more often!!! You bring up another point though with your mention of the zero weight. I read in the ANHA Book that only a Jedi can use a light saber due to the fact that the blade weighs nothing. Anybody without the power to control the force would most likely cut of his own limbs trying to wield it. So the Jedi constantly uses the force in the light saber fight something that is not shown at all!

Sorry but no? Does it make a difference if I cut of your arm fast or slow other than that slow will be alot more painful for you? The heavy stance is a bad joke with the slow moves. I would say nothing if the swings had somewhat normal speed!

Sure the Star Wars Saga is about the fantastic but it portrays physics and the likes realistic and explains how the magic things are possible. If it hadn't done that it would be nowhere near as popular as it is now.

No NITEMARE I do not want a sword combat simulator that would probably be tiresome alot. What I m looking for is an action game that simulates sword fighting acurately without me doing anything about it. I don't know have you played Enter the Matrix? If not I urge you to try it out. Find a boss char there and fight him with Kung Fu (without Bullet Time I must add) on a high difficulty level. You will understand what I would like to see. No and the game mustn't be necessarily Star Wars but it would be great since the force spices up things a lot!

09-20-2003, 09:08 AM
Dude, chill out, enjoy the game, have fun.
No need to be so bloody analy retentive =\.