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yoda_alex
09-25-2003, 10:30 AM
Does anyone else think that the game feels as if it was just thrown together?

Some of the teir missions are real filler missions ie. they're just there to make up the numbers. I am thinking specifically of the one where you have to scavenge bits from the merchant ship, the speeder bike level, the mutant rancor level and to some extent the "lose all your weapons" level (although the level design was good, the level "plot" was a bit obvious).

The overall plot was really obvious as well, in that it was extremely similar to JO. They had a great character in Tavion but I feel as if she was wasted.

The light side dark side choice was a bit poor as well. I don't think you should have had a conscious choice. It would have been a lot cooler if it was like how it was in JK - the decision is out of your hands and when you do choose all your stars get swept to one side of the force. It just feels as if Raven said "We want alternative endings, but we don't want to do too much extra work".

What does everyone else think?

rut-wa jodar
09-25-2003, 10:51 AM
I found that JA had some nice level design in SP/MP maps but overall I was dissapointed at how weak multiplayer game seemed. Poor hit detection,slight saber balance problems and a few animation issues let this game down. I have also noticed that mp bots are worse at navigating in JA than in JO and spark effects during dismemberment are a massive framerate issue.

Hopefully Raven will address these minor issues in a "much needed" patch.

DeTRiTiC-iQ
09-25-2003, 02:56 PM
I was frankly bored playing through JA, I completed it the day I got it and I feel cheated out of my money despite the huge discount (£26.99).

As yoda_alex said, the tier missions were just filler, in all honesty they were far too short and simple. You read the mission briefing then arrive to do something completely different and in general more straightforward.

The story missions were more impressive, two of them were immense enough to allow me to ponder editing possibilities (the tomb place and the lava world / trying to find Rosh).

The ending (light side) was anti-climatic, much like MotS and JO (we've won, lets go home), I don't really feel inclined to try the dark path just yet.

Tavion was more interesting than Desann, but her presence just helped solidify the feeling that I was playing an expansion rather than a new game.

I was also disappointed in how useless the new acrobatics were except for a few compulsory (I counted 3) uses of long-jump, not once was I required to use the wall-grab. This is a shame since I was looking forward to a more force-jump based game than JO.

The saber combat feels weaker and less involving, and being given wave upon wave of enemy force users got boring fast. I've tried both dual sabers and double-bladed and returned to the good old fashioned single saber. JK managed to get by with only 7 Dark Jedi, each of whom were unique and interesting, which shows more is not better.

BloodRiot
09-25-2003, 03:07 PM
I will only comment on the 7 dark jedi from JK vs countless waves of reborn/cultists.

Of course the 7 dark jedi are more interesting and unique. I've stated that way back, but people said no... we want more saber users... I've also stated that I never really did like the reborn concept. Lot's of force junkies that get pumped full of force and have a lightsaber.

Anyway... it's not a matter to be discussed now. It's a matter of waiting for good modder made SP missions with more interesting storyline. Either way I must say that JA is both better and worse than JO in my book.

yoda_alex
09-25-2003, 03:40 PM
I really agree with detritic-iq's point about hoards of cultists. In JO, the reborn were used sparingly through most of the game which made the romp through the acadamy pretty fun. But the last two levels of JA were infuriating because I'd already fought_so_many_cultists. They cropped up in really random places as well - like the dude in the control room on the tatooine mission.

In fact, the last two levels of JO and JA were pretty much identical which was a real shame. It made the climax of JAa chore instead of a pleasure.

sights0d
09-25-2003, 03:41 PM
My wife bought the game for me because she knew I'd want it right away. She was surprised that I finished the game so quickly. I loved the force users! I loved throwing them off chasms and smacking them all over the place!

It would have been nice, though, for them to have more "boss" type jedis with distinctive styles.

The prob with JK was that saber combat wasn't really real. There were basically two attacks, as I recall... It didn't seem to make a darned bit of difference what you really did, as long as you struck when they weren't blocking. How boring! JKO was a VAST improvement. I'm sure there's yet another step to make it more realistic. I'm wondering if they'll stick with the Quake engine for #4. Hmm.

DeTRiTiC-iQ
09-25-2003, 03:55 PM
Funny, when I was playing SP I never got a chance to throw the force-users off ledges, they managed it well enough by themselves. Heck, on occasion they kill each other by standing next to each other with ignited double-bladed sabers.

What's worse is that you could take 75 damage in a fight, so you just had to walk around a corner and wait for your mana to recharge so you could heal, then rejoin the fight.

I was terrible at fighting force-users, i'm a rubbish saberist and the game was still stupidly easy.

Now I know what PC Gamer UK meant about terrible AI.

RSloan76
09-25-2003, 07:49 PM
I completely agree. Both JO, and JA feel rushed an unpolished. Both games are rather weak. They could have been so much better with just some subtle improvements. The games are just Quake III with sabers. The maps are like Quake III shoot-em-ups and don't really feel like Star Wars.

On the other hand I still enjoyed the 10 hours I got out of them. Its kinda like this. We all love Star Wars right? Well where can we get our Jedi action fix? Raven! They're the only place that's providing something like that for us. I wish they, or Activision would take the time to make a great StarWars Jedi game like KOTOR. Action-based of course. JK1 was a fantastic game that felt very starwars. Raven doesn't seem to have a sense of style with their games. All they are are kill kill kill, games using the obligatory FPS environments, and obligatory FPS weapons.

I actually wrote my little opinion thread here. Check it out


http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=112663

DeTRiTiC-iQ
09-25-2003, 08:06 PM
My view is that multiplayer (with the exception of siege) should be Quake with Sabers and Force, simple no-nonsense kill-or-be-killed type action. Singleplayer on the other hand should be involving and maybe a bit more of the investigative side of being a Jedi rather than the non-stop action.

The manual specifically says that a fight is the last thing a Jedi wants, yet the game never lets us pick the diplomacy option. Even The Phantom Menace game offered more freedom than JA.

Assault3000
09-25-2003, 08:18 PM
Jedi Academy is short, yes, but I found it to be much better than Jedi Outcast. I was never too fond of Raven, I know Lucasarts in-house hasn't been top-notch like they used to be, but Im sure even THEY could create a more Star Warish game than Raven has. Get Nihlinth (Spelling?) to make the next game instead of Raven Lucasarts, that team consists mostly of people who worked on Jedi Knight and Mysteries of the Sith.

yoda_alex
09-25-2003, 08:21 PM
DOes anyone else feel Raven are relying on the RPG aspect of the game (different endings, different sabres, different clothes) to make up for the game being a bit on the the short side?

RSloan76
09-25-2003, 09:51 PM
DOes anyone else feel Raven are relying on the RPG aspect of the game (different endings, different sabres, different clothes) to make up for the game being a bit on the the short side?

Yes I agree to some extent. But Raven has to know that that won't cut it. I bet Activision shoved that in there and said, "do this. It will make it cool." "Just make sure it's done by sept 17!"

Overall, every attempt to improve on JO was a weak effort. It's better, yes, but still unpolished, and bland. -And certainly not at all StarWars-like.

StormHammer
09-25-2003, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by yoda_alex
DOes anyone else feel Raven are relying on the RPG aspect of the game (different endings, different sabres, different clothes) to make up for the game being a bit on the the short side?

Not at all. Those are pretty shallow 'RPG' elements when all is said and done. Take a look at Deus Ex, one of the best action/RPG hybrids out there, to see what I mean.

As to the key point of the topic...I think I have to agree to an extent that the game doesn't feel 'complete'. I enjoyed the 'core' missions at the end of each tier far more than the tiered missions themselves.

The underlying problem here is that they tried to offer far greater choice of locales, and some mixed variety in the gameplay - which is all very welcome - but they essentially tried to do too much.

Each of the mini-missions just did not have enough of a backstory, and was not compelling enough in terms of ongoing narrative. Much of the game simply became about entering a location and 'cleaning it out' - which as stated above is not really very much like a 'Jedi'. I remember two instances with NPCs you could help (the prisoners vs Rancor, and the Jawas), and it simply was not enough.

As also mentioned...Luke spouts about diplomacy, but you don't get to practice it. Why? Because you can't really use stealth, and there are no NPCs to talk to.

I honestly feel that some of the tiered missions could have been glued together as 2- or 3-level missions with a more cohesive sub-story. The Tatooine levels and the 'swoop' level could have gone together well, and formed one mission. The Coruscant 'crime lord' and the Corellia 'tram' levels could have been bonded together to make a more interesting pursuit of the Crime lord. There is nothing wrong at all with the concept of 'mini-missions', but with more thought, more creative sub-plots and better level design, they could have been much, much better.

I also felt very disappointed with the Blenjeel (merchant ship in distress) level, because it could have been so much better. Having to free trapped survivors from the wreckage, and then make a safe path for them back to your own ship, would have been a far more compelling scenario - especially if the 'worms' were battering at the sides of the two vessels all of the time. And for even more interest on that level...why not simply have an entire graveyard of ships that also fell prey to this Interdictor Star Destroyer?

There was so much more that could have been done - but when you bring in the constraints of time, then yes, the game does feel as if it was rushed. If they'd had another year of development time...maybe a lot of these mini-missions could have been better fleshed out, and more engaging, and we'd have seen less of the 'locked door' syndrome, and perhaps a return of the 'moral choice' dictated by your actions, rather than a simple 'Yes' or 'No'.

I also agree that there were far too many 'dark jedi' this time around. Jedi Knight managed with 7 opponents, in this regard, and to be honest it felt more 'real'. JA hinted at what could have been possible when you encountered Alora...and she managed to escape, for you to fight her another day. If this kind of scenario had been engaged for a handful of dark Jedi with considerable power, then it could have been a far more compelling experience.

As it is, Jedi Academy languishes in 3rd place behind Jedi Outcast (2nd) and Jedi Knight (1st).

RSloan76
09-25-2003, 10:42 PM
I agree with you SH. Also your ranking is spot on. JK1 had great level design, and a great story. I wish someone would do a JK1 total conversion with JO, or JA. Now that would be cool. Also make sure to bring over the full-motion-video cutscenes. They were great! :p

I was thinking about how Episode 1 Obi-Wan played for the Xbox. It got horrible reviews, and for the most part I agree. The textures were awefull. But you know what? The level design has JO, and JA beat any day. -Mostly. Obi-Wan had areas where you had to jump up and hang from ledges, and wait for the bad guys to pass by, then Bam! jump and a get it on!

That's the other thing. The enemy AI in that game was always partrolling, and doing something. -Another way to bring the world to life. In QIII games including like JO, JA, and EF2 which I worked on a bit, the enemy AI are statues waiting for the player character to trigger them. In fact, I mentioned this at an EF2 design meeting. They all agreed and said that the enemy AI should be patrolling or doing something. I don't remember if they added it though.

The other good thing about Obi-Wan is you had areas that seemed to be explorable. Even though they too, had locked doors, there were so many avenues and paths to take through a level that you felt like you were in that location, instead of being dragged through it. The Theed levels, and the early Trade Federation Ship levels are a good example.

Look at JK1 from Baron's Hed to the top of the Palace where you faced Yun. You always felt like you were going somewhere, and the enemies were trying to stop you. in JO, and JA you feel like it's your job to suck as much fun out of killing everything in each room. Now I'm all for the killing of bad guys, but JK1 and MOTS just felt more meaningful. Every level in both of those games had you trying to reach or stop another major character, i.e the 7 Dark Jedi, Kapaa the Hutt, Kaeroboni, and Kyle in MOTS. That keeps the player wondering what's going to happen, and where will the story go next once I meet this character. It fills the game with a purpose, and makes it feel more like an adventure and less like a video game.

In JO, and JA, it's kill everything, and then go on to the next killing environemnt. I often reload encounters with the Cultists just to play with the dueling again and again. After all, there is nothing tense or thrilling about running them down in the full game. It's like each room is a little level in and of itself where you kill bad guys and move on. JO, and JA have no flow what-so-ever

The more I think about it, the more irritated I get with JO, and JA.
I still play them and will still buy it even if Raven does the next one. After all, this is the only action game around that lets you play as a Jedi.

Dart Zaidyer
09-26-2003, 12:36 AM
In my opinion, Jedi Academy is the game Jedi Outcast should have been. It lives up more readily to JK as far as how you can play the game.

Unfortunately, the scale has not been duplicated.

Now, the problem with Jedi Outcast is that it did have that certain scale, but everywhere I went felt like the wrong way because it looked like it was an afterthought. (Especially the one area in Cairn where you're in the huge room and have to jump from fixture to fixture once a rocket trooper shoots down your tram. Through that particular area I just get this feeling of "You made a wrong turn. Look how crappy it is in here!")

Academy has the opposite problem: Everything looks like I would have expected it to in the previous game, but it's left to languish in such a tiny world.
I'm not averse to that kind of mission set-up, but there should have been more of it in between the required missions.

Since, however, it will be easier to create Single Player missions than it was in Jedi Outcast, I'm sure the 3rd party will have no trouble filling the void.

StormHammer
09-26-2003, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by RSloan76
I agree with you SH. Also your ranking is spot on. JK1 had great level design, and a great story. I wish someone would do a JK1 total conversion with JO, or JA. Now that would be cool. Also make sure to bring over the full-motion-video cutscenes. They were great!

There is already a Mod in the works (and has been for a while) called Dark Forces 2 Enhanced. Their aim is not only to recreate the original JK, but to try and improve on it by adding extra elements to the level design. They've recently moved to being hosted at Jediknight.net - and they're just waiting for the web designer to complete the site and get it up. The last time I checked on the project (a couple of months ago), they were making good progress on some of the maps, like Nar Shaddaa.

That's the other thing. The enemy AI in that game was always partrolling, and doing something. -Another way to bring the world to life.

I totally agree. The best game I played in this regard was No One Lives Forever 2 - particularly the Siberia mission, where you had to avoid the Russian soldiers. Although their actions were scripted, the soldiers would go to the toilet, sneak a quick smoke, fall asleep in a corner when they should have been on duty - and it just made them all seem more alive. And of course if you alerted them to your presence, they hunted you down, went to raise the alarm or fetch comrades... The other reason why it all worked so well was because the 'stealth' element was there. And I think some optional stealth (with the ability to 'knock out' rather than kill your enemies) could have made both JO and JA much better gaming experiences, and made you feel more like a 'Jedi'.

You know, when you think about it, the movies are full of 'stealth' and 'diplomacy' along with all the epic battles. Obi-Wan in ANH (aboard the Deathstar), both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in TPM when they reach Naboo, Luke making his way through Cloud City, are prime examples of Jedi using stealth to achieve their aim, rather than brute force. And in terms of diplomacy - Luke tries to barter for Han's life first, rather than simply clear out Jabba's Palace. It's a shame these elements did not make it into this series of games, because it would have added a great deal more depth.

Imagine, for example, on the Nar Kreeta mission if you had first had to go and visit the Hutt, to try a diplomatic solution to freeing the prisoners. The Hutt has none of it, and warns you not to interfere. Then you have to use subterfuge to find out where the prisoners are being kept, and sneak in to try and free them. At that point you have the 'option' to start killing everyone - or trying to sneak past them to find the first control to release the first batch of prisoners. Then all hell breaks loose. That would have played far better, to my mind.

Grrrrr...it's just frustrating that I can't get my hands dirty and start messing around with all of the missions to add the elements I can see that are missing, which would improve them.

Look at JK1 from Baron's Hed to the top of the Palace where you faced Yun. You always felt like you were going somewhere, and the enemies were trying to stop you. in JO, and JA you feel like it's your job to suck as much fun out of killing everything in each room. Now I'm all for the killing of bad guys, but JK1 and MOTS just felt more meaningful. Every level in both of those games had you trying to reach or stop another major character, i.e the 7 Dark Jedi, Kapaa the Hutt, Kaeroboni, and Kyle in MOTS. That keeps the player wondering what's going to happen, and where will the story go next once I meet this character. It fills the game with a purpose, and makes it feel more like an adventure and less like a video game.

I totally agree with your point. In JK, you didn't have to kill all of the enemies in order to proceed - just leave them far enough behind. In JA, on some of the missions, you have to kill everyone - like in Mos Eisley, the death of the last enemy in an area triggers the cut scene. That just felt wrong to me. It placed the emphasis on killing, and removed it from the key objective.

In JA it would have been nice to have Kyle show you the ropes more...particularly in the first tier of missions. As you accompany him through the levels, he should have been pointing out different things, doing things and explaining the reason behind that method, rather than another. Again...it comes back to depth.

I really have to hope that for any future titles in the series they start to consider these issues in the proper context of becoming a 'Jedi' rather than a Force-powered killing machine on a wild rampage.

RSloan76
09-26-2003, 01:25 PM
You what though? I fear that most people who play this game are either not really concerned about SP, or think it's fine the way it is.

It would take a complete re-work of how these JK games are made to really capture the Jedi/StarWars feel.

For starters if they make levels like JK1, and MOTS, and make the goals more appealing, that would make a world of difference.

On the other hand I do wish that some developer would really capture everything to being a Jedi. Like most of the stuff you mentioned Storm Hammer. It seems like if that happend, you'd get a bunch of people bitching about the return of the JO, JA-style shooter.

As I said I agree with you Storm H. We should have some stealth, and some diplomacy. Raven should never have had Luke say you would learn history, and especially not have had Kyle say "now your gonna test you're diplomacy skills." (or whatever) That was just wrong, and completely misleading. It was a tease. Not that diplomacy is the coolest video game element out there. But still. Bad move.

The problem with stealth though, is that there has to be a reason to sneak instead of kill. Upholding the Jedi code, and having the mission fail if you kill would be the wrong way to go. -Maybe 1 or 2 missions where kill=fail might be good, like Splinter Cell. The way to make good stealth, has to do with being outnumbered, or outguned. Now Jedi are baddass uber-warriors, but in order to impliment some stealth, your Jedi must be at risk in order to "want" to sneak around.

Once again look at E1 Obi Wan. Not much stealth, but I'll tell ya. When one battle droid went for the alarm panel, I went right after him. I knew that I couldn't face that many battle droids. Part of the reason that is so, is b/c you had active blocking. Could I block every bolt coming in? Yes, but with the more battle droids the harder it got to hit that block button at the right moment. Plus the battle droids were able to surround you, so I really couldn't just stand there and block everything. I had to move and plan.

Look at the Phantom Menace. Obi, and Qui-Gon could never had re-taken the city if they just sent them in sabers-blazing. -Which is exaclty what Raven would have you do. In the movie, and in some parts, the game, you chose your battles. And watched the patrolls, and waited for the right time to attack.

Diplomacy on the other hand would be tough to impliment too. To really give it a purpose, the player should want to try to work things out, instead of turn violent. Take that Hutt example Storm Hammer mentioned. Would we really want "all hell" not to break loose? No, we want to be able to jump into the action. So what can we do? Well make the "all hell breaking loose" option an impossible fight. No that won't work. To make it work, there has to be multiple out comes a la KOTOR. That's gonna take a helluva lot of lines of speach, and several different senarios. It's do-able, but unfortunately nobody, these days, wants to impliment it.

I'll tell ya. What it all boils down to, a near perfect Jedi game would be 3rd person action version of KOTOR. Less speech of course, and more action, and more environmental exploration too, but very similar.

I like to speak my mind about this stuff, but I hate to post such long ones. I know sometimes I don't want to bother reading all that. I hope somebody does.

PS I know about the Enhanced JK1 mod. What are the odds they'll finish though? I'm not holding my breath. Maybe I'll lend my modeling services.

frogbeastegg
09-26-2003, 03:38 PM
Please allow me to contribute my 2 pence on what I feel has been missing from the last two Dark Forces games. Firstly a little background: I have been playing this series since the original Dark Forces. I have finished all of the games (except academy, I only got it yesterday) multiple times and I have enjoyed all of them. However I do have some memorable moments from these games that illustrate nicely what is missing now.

Moment 1. Yun's death when you are on the light side. DFII
I really liked the characters in DFII and Yun was my favourite dark Jedi so imagine how shocked I was when he died saving Kyle’s life, defying his master (er mistress) in the process. I attacked Sariss with rage in my heart and a desire for vengeance (and got my behind handed to me!) because this event has such an impact.

What this moment illustrates: An interest and care towards the NPCs - I liked Yun and I liked Sariss and this death affected me more than any event in DFIII and DFIV. The characters had depth that is missing from todays games.

Moment 2. Choosing your path in DFII.
The battle and cutscene where your fate was decided in DFII was unforgettable. The cutscene was very well acted and the dialogue was well written. Few people could blame Kyle if he submitted to temptation and avenged his fathers’ death. Few people could blame Kyle if he let a murderer live.

What this moment illustrates: Firstly the existence of a choice and secondly that the choice was determined by your actions and choices. If you acted like a dark Jedi or were careless around civilians you would go dark, if you cared and were careful you would go light. You earned your path and could blame only yourself if you fell to the darkside.

Moment 3. Gromas mines DFI
Ah the mines - a dusty red level with a haze blocking your view and an eery atmosphere. You knew that there was evil present, you knew you would meet heavy resistance, you knew that the Dark Troopers would appear soon, and you knew how devastating the Dark Troopers were as you had seen their massacres on other levels. After making your way through the level as tense as anything you started to relax. You reached the end and sabotaged the mines and then you hear a door open as you start to leave. Nervously you look around and you see a skeletal metal figure with burning eyes and a sword sprint out of the gloom - your first Dark Trooper! After a titanic fight you win and you spend the rest of the game scared of the Dark Troopers.

What this moment illustrates: An enemy you could fear - something you imagined in the dark corners and blind spots that you found on every level. You always expected a Dark Trooper to be around the next corner but there seldom was. And yet you never lost the fear, instead it grew, as each Dark Trooper was more deadly than the last. DF should not be about fear but there should be something to fear, the sabre wielding reborn do not fit the gap left by the Troopers - nothing has because DFII was missing this element too.

Moment 4. The end boss in Mysteries of the Sith.
You have fought your way through a Sith temple and finally you have found Kyle. Your suspicions are confirmed - he has gone to the Dark Side and will try to kill you. As you step onto the last lift you sink down into the darkness and your force power leaves you - you are helpless. Kyle awaits you stood on another lift, there is a small platform between you and a bottomless pit surrounds the lift. He taunts you and demands you join him or die. It is a real choice - if you join him the mission will fail (you think) as you too will fall to the dark side, if you jump off the platform you will die. You make your choice, if it is the right one (falling off) you will see through the illusion and begin to duel Kyle in a small chamber dotted with power ups. Choosing the dark side sent you falling to your death. The trial continued as Kyle was invulnerable and you could find no way to kill him. In a fit of despair and frustration you put your sabre away and stood unarmed - and this was the answer. To save your friend and teacher you must refuse to fight.

What this moment illustrates: A ingenuity and a genuinely different ending. For once you did not kill the boss and you had to choose the options that never worked before in a game. You had to stick to your Jedi principles if you wanted to win. It was beautiful. This innovation didn't require masses of extra work or fancy technology, only a willingness to think of something different to the norm. You had to lose to Desann the first time you met and it was a good thing, sadly there has been no more innovation like that.


Away from these moments here are some things I feel are missing or wrong.
*The sabre duels - firstly there are too many duels with low skill enemies. Secondly the areas where you duel are often badly laid out for this kind of fighting. Tripping over lights and banging into columns is not fun and it gets in the way of a good fight. The area where you fight the first saberist in DFIV is an excellent example - he just drops out the sky and you fight him in a small cluttered hollow with barely any space to move. I am in favour of more duels than DFII had - seven just isn't enough but In DFIV I am tripping over sabre users every few seconds and they are no longer special.

*The clichés - There is always a Nar Shadda type level (big, boxy grey city hovering in the sky with many death drops and alien thugs), there are always Grans and they always use blaster rifles and thermal detonators, there are always evil Imperials swarming everywhere despite the fact you have killed them several times before, there is always a level set on a star ship and so on and so forth. I know that a lot of this is because it is Star Wars (have to have Stormies) but surely they can mix it up a little and add new enemies in larger numbers. The moment Courescant loaded I knew I would find Weequay with bowcasters, Rodians with Tenlosses and Gran with detonators, along with many annoying jumps and a lot of grey. And I was right, the droids were the only surprise and they were mentioned in the briefing.

*The deadness of the universe - this has already been mentioned in depth so I will keep it short. Quite simply you get dropped into a level and have to run through killing everything. There is only one path, everyone is hostile and most of the areas are roped off. The conversations help (you can eavesdrop on the AI) but much more is needed.

There are some things the last two games have got right:
*Kyle's personality - his in game comments are funny and break the action up a little. "There's never a key - that would be too easy" made me laugh.

*The force reliant puzzles - I love having to use the force to move things, trick people and so on. DFII could be finished without the force and this was my biggest criticism of the game.

*Sabre construction - Finally I can choose my sabre! I hated having a green sabre in DFII and I was always glad to get Yun's because it was a nice, different colour. I cheated to change the blue sabre or yellow, orange or purple in DFIII. Quite simply blue and green are dull, everyone has them and I don't really like the colours much anyway. Now we can choose everyone is happy except those who want red.

After all let me state that I do like the two new games and I will continue to play the series unless they go solely multiplayer (I don't do multiplayer) or become really bad. I am trying to be constructive in my criticism so future games can improve.

RSloan76
09-26-2003, 04:59 PM
Good points. I agree with those memorable moments. From DF, JK, and MOTS.

Lets see, what was memorable about JO, and JA?
Oh yeah, nothing. It was fun, but there's nothing to talk about.

I have very few friends that are actualy gamers, and sometimes I forget who I'm talking to. If were to describe JO, and JA, it would be unappealing. "You're a jedi in training at Lukes Jedi Academy and you're trying to stop the imperials and this dark jedi cult from taking over the galaxy, you learn how use a lightsaber, and force powers. It's fun trust me."

JK1: "Your a mercenary who discovers his ties to the force. You later find a lightsaber, and start using the force. Your actions determine which way you will align yourself, dark or light. You are trying to stop 7 Dark Jedi from amassing incredible power."

MOTS: "You start out as Kyle, and you're a jedi master. You then switch to Mara Jade, and you learn the force. You have to track down various characters and get them to cooperate. They sometimes send you on their own missions in order to get what you want. You later find that Kyle is tempted by the dark side, and you have to try to bring him back"

BTW MOTS was a very good example of the take a few various missions idea that JA attempted. The missions were deep, and branched off. That's how JA should have done it.

I tried to give each game it's fair description, with/out being too bland with JO, and JA. But just look at that. This thread makes me wanna go back and play JK1, and MOTS. I tried once but it asked for DirectX 5, and I couldn't get around it. Does anybody know how BTW?

I wonder though. DF was the first SW FPS, so instant appeal. JK1 was the first Jedi FPS, so instant appeal. MOTS was Mara Jade, and more Jedi FPS, so instant appeal. JO was the first Jedi FPS in like 6 years, so instant appeal. -That faded with that appeal of much more polished games out there. JA is the more of unmemorable JO, and just as weak. -Blah. The point is, I wonder if it's sorta too late to re-create those memorable moments from the early DF/JK games. Of course we can say, "yes, use your imagination, and thers's plenty of room to expand and make better." But seriously it seems like the series has lost steam. JA, in my opion, was a rushed out cash cow. There was no innovation or desire to make a good game. Once again, just look at the Coruscant level. It's like they were'nt even trying.

LIke I've said before, give the series to a developer that really wants to do it. Like Bioware did with KOTOR. That game was no hold barred great. With other games out there like Metroid Prime, Zelda, Splinter Cell, Halo, and probably HL2, there is no reason why the developer of the JK series should crap out. This happens a lot though. There are tons of games that get shoved out the door and suck. I just wish that it didn't have to happen to such a great series.

StormHammer
09-26-2003, 05:32 PM
You made a lot of good points in your post, frogbeastegg, and I agree with most of them. :thumbsup:

As for clichés, I don't mind some of them. I like the long drops into oblivion on some of the maps - because SW environments are known for their vertical, as well as horizontal, scale.

And I agree too that the level design (and indeed level scale) in MotS carried off the 'mini-mission' format better than some of those in JA.

The other thing that made JK and MotS work was the fact that we already had a good backstory to the characters. In JA, Jaden Korr's past is simply glossed over, probably partly due to the 'customisable aspect' of the character. You can pretty much make up your own past for the character - and perhaps that is what was intended. However, by doing so...you sacrifice the chance to weave the back-story into the ongoing narrative, and so the character ends up being weak. You're told at the start that you've made a lightsaber on your own...but you never get to learn how or why. You have no personal quest to fulfil, other than becoming a Jedi Knight. The picture is incomplete, and the narrative not as compelling.

frogbeastegg
09-26-2003, 07:35 PM
There was one memorable moment for me in JO (better start using this sites abbreviations) - the first reborn you met. You are jumping up the insides of Cloud City with a tingling feeling at the back of your neck; you know that the sabre-wielding enemies will appear soon. About half way up a figure in red jumps at you shouting a challenge, you quickly realise he is a Jedi too. Sadly the first time I saw this the AI let the set piece down and the reborn fell to his death before I could fight him!

A comfortable compromise between back story and customised characters would be an extension of what is in JA. Your character is named and their past is set in stone, for example they are called Jaden and from the planet Blahblah etc. However you can choose their appearance and lightsabre in the same way you can now. You would still be able to have a non-human character since aliens live on most worlds in the SW universe, if Coruscant is the home world you would be able to have almost any species. Would it really ruin the customisation if we knew that Jaden had a friend called Aperson who died protecting him from an Imperial raid? In my eyes it would enhance the game significantly.

It is never too late to return to the previous highs of memorable moments, in many ways it is quite simple as long as the designers are willing (and allowed) to exercise their ingenuity. All a level needs to be memorable is something new and well executed or something incredibly cool. The items on my original list are all very simple when you look at them - a well-written plot, a good enemy and something very different to the FPS standard. They all tie into the games overall plot and I think that is the real key - would we have cared about Yun and the Choice in JK if the plot was bad? Would we have surrendered to Kyle if the plot didn't call for his redemption? Would the Dark Troopers have struck terror into our hearts if the plot hadn't included them?

Now that Kyle's story is finished (he has gone from a mercenary to a Jedi to a fallen Jedi to a Jedi master, what else is left for him?) perhaps the series should move far away from this setting. Perhaps something set during the republic or the Clone Wars would do - you would have a new setting, new characters and a new era with plenty of opportunities to explore. One possibility is a game set just before the Clone Wars, you could play a Padawan learner who trains alongside Anakin Skywalker (you have done several training exercises with him and have met him around the temple). You would slowly grow in force powers and lightsabre skill as you get older (say one mission consisting of several levels for each year of your training from the age of 20 - 24) until you graduate as a knight. You then go on several more missions comprising of several levels each until the battle of Genosis takes place. At this point you are sent on various missions to help the Clones Wars until Episode III takes place and the final battle is held. The last level could include Anakin Skywalker (or more likely Darth Vader) as a boss in a fight you cannot win - the game ends with your tragic death fighting for your Jedi principles against your old comrade and training partner. To make it challenging you could have to survive for a certain amount of time while some refugees you are protecting escape. If you die before the time is up you fail, if you survive for long enough your mission is complete and you can die well. An unconventional ending but anyone who has played Way of the Samurai will tell you that tragic endings can be very satisfying. You couldn't make this game until after episode III though.

One thing I have noticed about JA so far is the uneven distribution of health and shield power. I always get tons of health power ups but I never need them. It is rare to find shield power ups and they would be useful. In addition they always put the shield power ups together in a clump where you don't need them, when you do get battered by a mob of stormtroopers or several reborn there are no shields. The distribution is just plain wrong and it has been wrong on every level so far (I'm up to the mutant rancor level playing them in the order they are listed). I know that it is a fine balancing act between difficulty and over doing the power ups but who thought of putting two shield generators and a large shield power pack with in six rooms of each other!?! Likewise why is there no shield power after you fight three reborns simultaneously in Chandrila? You immediately face a reborn with dual sabres followed by another reborn before you get a large shield booster. Shortly after this shield booster there is another one, which you don't really need because there has been no major fighting.

As a side note why is the series a first person shooter? DF was a shooter because there was no lightsabre. All the games after that have centred on lightsabres and Jedi principles so why hasn't the series evolved to suit this? A few conversation options, a way to avoid killing everyone, a moral balance where every action is properly weighed up (killing enemies you have disarmed is evil and yet light Jedi get away with it all the time) and bingo - you have a more suitable game.

yoda_alex
09-27-2003, 10:24 AM
I don't think we'll see that many games set in the prequel era for quite a long time. On of the best things about the original trilogy was that the universe seemed alive and real, whereas the prequel trilogy's setting isn't as compelling.

But back to_this_game, I just don't think it seemed "Star wars" enough. Raven made an effort by putting in loads of familiar locations andcharacters but ultimately failed in terms of atmosphere. For example, on the mos eisley mission. In ANH, the city was swarming with civilians while there were hardly any in JA. The same goes for Coruscant.

In the tram level, terrorists have taken over the tram so it would be nice to see a few dead bodies around (I know it was a cargo tram but there would be some live people on it).

I disagree with frogbeastegg about the Nar Saddaa type levels - I thought they were cool (In fact the first levels of JK were my favourite of the whole game) but JA screws the Coruscant level up because it is basically a flat level just set high up. In JO, the first NS level was a truely 3D map and that was what made it interesting.

However I do agree that the storyline in JA was poor. There were interesting points in JO (like Jan's "death", going to the valley, kyles nightmare on the Lady Luck) but nothing in JA stuck in my memory.

frogbeastegg
09-27-2003, 11:54 AM
Personally speaking I like the clean and polished look of the prequels as much as the used universe of the classics, but I recognise that it is a matter of taste. Sadly the appearance of the prequels marked the end of the Star Wars gaming golden age, so we have never really seen what they can do in a good game.

My beef with the Nar Shadda levels isn't the concept; rather it is that way the exact same level has been regurgitated in all five games with no real alterations. If they altered the colour scheme a little and used a different set of enemies there would be no problem. Earlier in this thread yoda_alex said that the last levels of JO and JA were so similar it made playing JAs version a chore, this endless repeat of the big, grey city with aliens has the same effect on me. I would agree that JKs Nar Shadda was the best version, the addition of NPCs in the bars did liven it up considerably.

yoda_alex you are spot on with the tram level - it was a fun level but it just needed that little bit extra. Dead bodies would have finished it and given it a more 'real' feeling. We know that they can add dead bodies to the levels because there were some on Bakura. Two bodies would have enough to show what happened to the crew.

Did anyone else like the Tatooine sandcrawler level? The Jawas added a considerable amount to the level and the area seemed a lot more 'alive' than most of the other levels. It was just a pity that the Jawas didn't do anything except cower in fear after you saved them from the Tusken raiders.

RSloan76
09-27-2003, 01:03 PM
Good points all around. I wish there was some way to get this to Lucas Arts, or Raven. Oh well.

You're right though. Jawas did make the level come alive. Just a few more moisture farmers, and maybe some little scurrying creatures would have made that level nice. Even still, to me that level felt like we were going into someones big back yard, or their immense property. I don'tknow why, it just did. The best thing would have been to make the other Tattooine level come first, then have the swoop bike through the dessert, then have the sandcrawler level. That would have made the levels come to life better.

Also that first Tattoine level, seemed a bit cramped to me. All it was was two circular arenas a a little bit of interior rooms. MOTS had so many cantinas that Mara actually says, "Not another cantina!" -Not a single one in JA. Ok well the Hutt's little bar sorta counts I guess.

Do you guys remember in MOTS in those several space port levels how there where lots of NPCs running around? Well that, of course, made the level pop, but you know what else did? The ambient sound sounded like a crouded street! Even though the NPCs were sparse, that sound effect helped to trick us. When you went into the many cantinas, there was a bar/drinking sounding ambience.

Every time I come back to this thread and my other one:
http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=112829

-it makes me really wanna try to fix up Academy with subtle additions like that. I just wish I knew more than just modeling and textureing. I need QIII engine knowledge! Plus, it seems that it that JK series is going to have another hiatus (sp?) and we won't see another title for quite a while. On one hand that might be good, as Lucas Arts can go back to doing it themselves, or finding a worth developer. On the other hand, I don't wanna wait 4 years!!!

Keep this thread alive, I love hearing about this stuff. Plus it makes me really nostalgic for JK1, and MOTS.

BTW does anyone know how to play those two games without having to install DirectX 5.0? It doesn't let me around that option when I try to start the game. -Please tell me!

frogbeastegg
09-27-2003, 01:29 PM
Originally posted by RSloan76
BTW does anyone know how to play those two games without having to install DirectX 5.0? It doesn't let me around that option when I try to start the game. -Please tell me!

I got JK working on windows XP last year; I couldn't get MOTS to work. If I remember correctly all I had to do was install it with compatibility mode set to Windows 95 (right click setup.exe or what ever it is called, select properties then compatibility) and refuse to install DX5.0. After the game installed I had to try all the compatibility settings for the game (same as above but this time with JK.exe) and I think windows 98 worked best for playing the game. Overall it worked quite well but it could be unstable and was full of oddities, for example all the force fields were blocks of colour instead of being transparent. It also ran too fast so I had to god mode it :(

Thinking back to JK/MOTS reminds me of another aspect of the two recent games which has changed significantly - swimming! In JK/MOTS you could swim properly and jump out of the water. Now you are confined to the surface and getting out of the water can be very tricky. There is nothing like the where you got your lightsabre in JK, that level was one massive water theme park. Water doesn't play a large part in the newer games so the new swimming system is mostly understandable but it is an example of a feature that made JK different from it's contemporaries and didn't carry over into the new engine.

Emon
09-27-2003, 01:38 PM
I can't think of any area where JO is better than JA, JA is like what JO should have been.

The level design is way better, I couldn't stand JO's, especially the Doom Comm level, that was ridiculous! The AI is a lot better, I don't see what's so horrible. My main problem is that grunts like stormtroopers stand there while I smite them with my saber, I had no problems with the Jedi AI. They fall off sometimes, but they're supposed to, I notice it happens a lot less on the harder difficulty levels, because AI scales with difficulty in both games.

I sort of agree about the filler feel of the tier missions, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it could have been, and a lot of them were just plain fun. I don't think JO had a single level better than most of JA's.

I haven't played much MP yet, but I used the new Force stuff all the time. Edit: Detty explained the hit detection error to me, I misunderstood people's posts.

Edit: Oh, and I do think it was somewhat rushed, but I blame LEC again. Raven's other games never had the same problems JO/JA does, problems yes, but not the same ones. SoFII I found to be mostly bugless after the patches, it was really solid. I think Raven can fix most of the issues in a patch or too, I just hope LEC doesn't pull the plug on us like they did last time.

yoda_alex
09-27-2003, 01:48 PM
Good point rSloan76 about chaining the tier levels together to produce a more cohesive stroyline. I think someone else mentioned that you could do the same thing with the tram level/coruscant level. I'm sure you could do the same to other levels (with sitable modifactions).

I personally wouldn't mind a bit of a gap between JA and the next game in the series. With all the new engines about to come out (Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and Unreal 2 already out) I think developers will have to get to grips with the new technology before they can turn it to the Star Wars universe.

This could actually be the problem with JA. It came out only a year after JO so I think Raven were rushing to get it out before games like Half-life 2 hit the stores and made the Q3 engine look obselete. But of course waiting would have put JA back by at_least_a couple of years and probably 3-4 years.



btw, how do you quote other people's text?

rageman
09-27-2003, 02:49 PM
I've sat and read all the comments in this thread and there are some really good points made. The game is fun, but I too was dissappointed in "kill em all" focus of the game. But im pretty upbeat about this, I see a single player system here that allows mission selection, therefore we can create more "realistic" Jedi adventures, similar to those performed by the Jedi in the new prequals. Its true that the customisation makes it difficult to add a back story to the character, but it can be overcome. Get a gripping story line that revolves around the fate of a planet, or race or whatever and you have a minicampaign ready to go. Implement whatever puzzles and plot lines into the missions and we'll have something we can get our teeth into, all in the line of duty for the Knights of the New Republic. This game is infinatly expandable, we just need to get some guys together with the talent to do it. And there are already peaple out there doing that. If you have a good idea for a mini campaign, write it down, post it up somewhere. If you have good ideas for puzzles write them down and let the map makers know. You dont need 3D and level design skills to make the game better, if you have talent pass it on to those who can implement them.

dem2k
09-27-2003, 04:47 PM
I agree with most what has been said. I think one of the key factors is what has been stated. The go in a room kill everything style is old now. A much refurbish aproach is needed.

They need to focus on what being a Jedi is about from George Lucas point of view. They weren't just a powerhouse, able to handle everything that was thrown at them. They handled situations on what they thought was right. Just for a random example out of my head. picture a hanger full of stormtroopers guarding a Jedi's only escape route. Going in guns blazing is an option. Or would a Jedi take a more inovated more wise choice? By finding something to distract or draw the attention of the guards?

From what i gather from the movies. Jedi are put in extreme or average situations in which they can handle. I would not expect to see Obi-wan take on the entire clone army in one big battleground.

As for the Reborn. Ok it was a good idea it worked well for Jedi Outcast. But its getting old very fast, they were probably only added to fill in a hole. Fighting Reborn after Reborn isn't the way to go imho. There needs to be more unique sith characters involed. Ones with a background, unique fighting style as what has been said. When you're fighting jerec on JK you just know that you are fighting one badass Sith. When you finally cleave off his head you feel good that you just killed one badass, all adding to the experiance.

Overall:

A bit more realism is what the Jedi Knight series needs. It would be very hard to achieve on a Quake3 based engine.

Deastin
09-27-2003, 05:24 PM
I agree with the majority of the people here....JA is unpolished, and not filled.

I managed to finish it in about 10 hours....and honestly, I felt jipped. Fights were too easy, the AI is just retarded (let's run off the side of the ramp into a hot pool of lava!), and some of the levels are just pointless.

That being said, there are a number of levels I do like:

BOTH Rancor levels
The Jawa Level
Most of the story levels with the exception of Hoth.

However....the number of bugs also highly irritates me....the door on the level where you have to disarm all those bombs in the power facility....at the end when you're trying to get out....IT DOESN'T WORK!!!%@!$#!

Anyway....I'll stop ranting now and wait for the patch.

Emon
09-27-2003, 05:33 PM
What I don't get is how the game has so many very nice, professional touches and then some parts manage to suck.

The dust effects when you threw someone into a wall or landed the right way were really cool, and the walking sounds were very nice. Ignoring the buginess of the dynamic glow (almost certantly will be patched, it's an OpenGL kind of issue, not entirely Raven's fault), was very well done in terms of both visual quality and speed, at least on my system. The new distortion effects like on push/pull and the cloaked guys just blew me away, that was totally unexpected for me. Many of the levels are designed really well, and most all of them, while not being a marvel of Q3 mapping, just look and feel simply good. Not incredible, but they are just good. Same goes with the new per-pixel dynamic lighting effect, that shocked me, it's so incredibly cool!

Then there's some stuff that's just half-assed. I don't get it at all. The ragdoll needs work (patch we can hope). I like it as it is, over none at all, because I personally think a bad death position without the ragdoll would be even worse. It's also really cool the way bodies can by shot and can move through the air being totally limp. I mean, we aren't, or I'm not, asking for too much on this. Just get rid of the bugs. Fix the collision problems, fix the bone constraint problems, and make it so a body doesn't hold onto a ledge with a fingernail.

Then there's the various MP gameplay issues, which, when you think about it, is rather understandable, many games experience the same thing, and many times they are patched to perfection. Will JA? Maybe. We have to see. If not, the game is much better than JO for modding, it offers developers a greater base, so I expect to see the game leave a good while at least with mods.

Darth Stryke
09-27-2003, 06:03 PM
I agree with many of the points that have been said. However, I really liked every aspect of Jedi Outcast and I thought that was just as worthy of an addition as the first 3. With that said, Jedi Academy just did not feel right. As soon as I finished the SP game, I didn't care about it anymore. I found it more enjoyable to load up different sp and mp levels and remove all npcs with the npc kill function and then place my own enemies and neutral npcs so that I could have it more like the other games. I also, for some reason, prefer to play as kyle rather than Jaden. But it is also fun to make levels where you play as an imperial or a dark jedi or Boba Fett and place good npcs to fight. The biggest 2 problems with JA are the lack of neutral npcs like civilians and the extremely poor distribution of enemies. At most, there should be perhaps 1 or 2 saber-wielding enemies in a level. No more.

Emon
09-27-2003, 06:09 PM
The character customization is cool in that you can be anyone you want, which is fitting for a game based around the Jedi Academy.

For some reason, I didn't get the same feeling I did in JO when I encountered dark Jedi. In JO, I was like, "whoa...", because it felt special and sort of rare when you found them. But that's probably because I'm so used to it.

RSloan76
09-27-2003, 09:07 PM
They need to focus on what being a Jedi is about from George Lucas point of view. They weren't just a powerhouse, able to handle everything that was thrown at them. They handled situations on what they thought was right. Just for a random example out of my head. picture a hanger full of stormtroopers guarding a Jedi's only escape route. Going in guns blazing is an option. Or would a Jedi take a more inovated more wise choice? By finding something to distract or draw the attention of the guards?

I agree completely. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I think that powers like lighning should be removed from the game.

I rarely use it b/c it's not fun to use. It's just a force field of death.
I don't want my character to be a Jedi Master. I want to play as a Jedi Knight. A warrior. I think that to produce force lightning takes serious concentration (and anger i.e. darkside). You shouldn't be able to just whip it out while in a duel. I would like to see the next game have some stealthier elements, or really just a need for the player to plan their attack. In JO and JA, there's no stopping you. You are by far the most powerful character in the game. Stormtroopers, and most other enemies are worthless to you. They pose no threat at all. Even the reborn are kinda weak, although I do enjoy dueling against them. I want to be able to be overwhelmed by the enemy even if I am a Jedi. Give me a good reason to avoid combat b/c it's too dangerous. It makes the action all that more enticing.

Look at it from a lightside standpoint. The lightsaber is not a weapon with which to deal out death, and leave stormtrooper parts in your wake. It's a defensive weapon. The only time you whip it out is to block laser bolts, or to duel with other saber-weilders. Now I'm not suggesting we cut out the killing of stormtroopers. All I'm saying is make the lightsabers' uses more enticing. I want to have to put it down, and run, jump, sneak, and plan. Then when the time is right, ignite that thing and go to town. Thats why the duel btw Obi-wan and Darth Vader in ANH was so great. Now we see what these lightsabers are for! Same thing in the Phatom Menace. You get a taste for its power through out the movie when they wack away at droids, then they tease you with the short duel with Maul and Qui-Gon in the dessert. Then in the end it all comes down to the big duel.
Re-creating that feeling would be very important.

Recall playing JK1 If you chose lightside, you had to be a bit more carefull in combat against mulitple foes. You didn't really have much of an offense, but you had great defence with the lightsaber. As a darksider, you had force throw -which we need to have back!! lightning, destruction, deadly sight. You were a death-dealing uber warrior. But when it came down to the duels with the 7 Dark Jedi, you were matched up pretty evenly. You had force powers to counter each other. It felt great!

So in the ideal dream game, there would be overwheming odds for the player to successfully go in guns blazing, and it can be done by both light and dark side. But dark side would have a much easier time with it. A lightsider, would be more prone to taking the less destructive and more rightious path around all the bad guys.

"The dark side is quicker, more seductive" -Yoda. So make it like that damnit! The game would have so much fullfilling reaplayabilility. Just like in JK, the restrictions of lightside, and darkside powers, made playing each side of the force a completely different game! JA was supposed to give you that darkside/lightside choice. Well Raven. You wanna know why LEC put that in the original JK? For replayability! You guys just put it in there for no reason at all. It's only 2 levels away from the end. The replayability is only a matter of loading up that level and playing the last hour again. Woo Hoo! great fun. It's almost insulting to us how ill-concieved that implimentation was. It was just about worthless.

Simply put, you give the player a choice btw two sets of weapons(force powers), one set very destructive and offensive, and another set very passive and defensive -stealthy. Restrict the player to one set of those weapons at some point not too far into the game. -Whal la! Two games in one! Is that so hard?

-Ok sorry, that was harsh, I just got a little carried away. But I don't think I'm wrong here.

we just need to get some guys together with the talent to do it. And there are already peaple out there doing that. If you have a good idea for a mini campaign, write it down, post it up somewhere. If you have good ideas for puzzles write them down and let the map makers know. You dont need 3D and level design skills to make the game better, if you have talent pass it on to those who can implement them.

In another post that I started about modding JA along these aforementioned lines, I did post a design document that outlines the way the Hutt level should have been. Anybody wanna impliment this? Check it out, it's the really long post by me.

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=112829

StormHammer
10-01-2003, 01:58 AM
Originally posted by yoda_alex
btw, how do you quote other people's text?

That's simple...just click on the http://www.lucasforums.com/images/quote.gif button attached to someone's post. Like I just did. ;)

And in the interests of keeping this important thread alive...I've read all the other posts. Excellent points raised again, and I can see many of us are discerning gameplayers. We know what we like, and what we don't like.

Jedi Academy really suffers in a major way from giving us lots of different environments to explore...but then it fails to show us the native flora and fauna, and the variety of aliens even among the enemies you fight is considerably sparse. What do you mean? I can hear you ask. There are quite a few different aliens in Jedi Academy. But the simple fact is that we've seen most of them before.

In Every Dark Forces/Jedi Knight game so far, we always meet these...

Imperials (from Stormtroopers to officers)
Grans
Rodians
Trandoshans
Tusken Raiders (Grave Tuskens in JK/MotS, standard Tuskens in JA)
Probe Droids
Interrogation Droids

...in every single game - and they are always enemies (except for a couple of Rodian Padawans in JA who helped you in the last few levels).

In Jedi Outcast and now Jedi Academy, we have Weequays (which did also appear in MotS), but most of the other antagonists (apart from the brief appearance by the Noghri and Assassin Droids) are simply human. All of the Dark Jedi, with the exception of Alora (and Desann in JO), are human.

The Jawas offer some very welcome variety in the NPC lineup, but at the end of the day, they only appear on one level.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture in light of all the SW races we know about. There is probably, in fact, more variety of alien in the Mos Eisley Cantina in ANH, than we've seen in this whole series of games.

For any future Jedi Knight games, that simply has to change. If I see the same line-up of enemies in another sequel, I'll probably throw a fit. The ingredients have gone stale, and we need something fresh.

Even MotS managed to introduce some Ithorians, Noghri (again, not much like their actual description), Vornskrs, Swamp Wampas etc., even poisonous flowers, as enemies.

Where are the Mon Calamari, the Quarren, the Bith, the Talz, Sullustans, Devaronians...and all the others? And that's just from the Original Trilogy - there is a wealth of other races depicted in the Prequel Trilogy.

Why can't we have Wookiee bandits associated with underhanded Bith and a questionable Mon Cal? Why no Bothan spies, some working for their own ends, who might offer some assistance?

The more I think about it, the more I wish they would simply wipe the slate clean. Forget the Imperial Remnant altogether and focus on a huge crime syndicate bent on some outlandish scheme, that may not necessarily involve the fate of the known universe, but would have a major impact on a few key planets.

But I digress, and I'm probably rambling...

Going back to Jedi Academy, and what it already contains in terms of levels and enemies...it would have been far more interesting (to me at least) if the Imperial Remnant had also been actively trying to work against the Cultists, rather than with them. When you think about it, most of the Imperials were leary of the Force, and would much rather have focused on the next big super-weapon, rather than subject themselves to the rule of yet another Sith Lord wannabe...

The mercenary/smuggler/Crime Lord angle could have been worked into a far more compelling sub-plot - and how good it would have been to simply have to follow their trail in the early stages of the game to find out what they were stealing, why and for whom... They make a far better ally for the Cultists, while the Imperials should have been working against them.

How refreshing it would have been for you to encounter an Imperial agent, and teaming up with them to work against a common foe...and then you are simply betrayed and clapped in irons, and have to fight your way free of the Imperials too. What if that man on Dosuun (the nutter with the conc. rifle) had actually been an ambitious Imperial General fighting the cultists - but who holds just as much hate for any Force user... He reaches out from his stronghold to try and curb the cultists wherever he finds them. And what if he'd outfitted his troops with cortosis armour, and Ysalamiri to protect them against the Force-wielding menaces of the universe?

Then the idea of an Interdictor Cruiser taking down merchant ships seems more in context. Grounding a cultist supply ship...or a ship suspected of carrying Jedi...

The tiered missions could have been strengthened so much by interweaving strong sub-plots, and given a 'theme' for each tier. A smuggler/crime theme for one tier, a Remnant theme for a second tier...and the Cultist menace for the third tier. And clues dotted around each of the levels, that hint at what will come to light in the other levels. Like learning about a Rancor stolen some time ago from one of the locations...and it turns up as the mutant freak in another level in the same tier.

I just feel like taking the jumbled jigsaw puzzle of JA and shaking it up, and watching all the pieces fall into place so I can see the full picture in all it's glory. Instead, I'm looking at a jigsaw with a few pieces missing - and that's damned annoying. :/

Emon
10-01-2003, 02:05 AM
Great post. I think you're right, about everything.

I've always wanted to do a single player project for one of the JK games, and do something really good, like what you're talking about. I'm focusing on MP for JA, because I just can't do what I want for SP, comparing the engine to stuff like Source.

Which reminds me, does anyone know if Raven would mind the ripping of textures/models/sounds for HL2? Myself and a friend of mine both think it would be sweet to do an SW project on HL2's Source engine, but I wouldn't get anywhere without the media. And more specifically, I wouldn't want like LEC sueing me or anything.

StormHammer
10-01-2003, 02:21 AM
Originally posted by Emon
Which reminds me, does anyone know if Raven would mind the ripping of textures/models/sounds for HL2? Myself and a friend of mine both think it would be sweet to do an SW project on HL2's Source engine, but I wouldn't get anywhere without the media. And more specifically, I wouldn't want like LEC sueing me or anything.

I think they would mind a great deal. That's not to say that there is no possibility of a Star Wars mod in another engine though.

You only have to look at the 'Troopers' Star Wars mod for the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine, which to my mind has now set a precedent. They went to Lucasarts, and asked for their permission to recreate Star Wars assets that would be used in the mod - and they were granted permission to do so.

Whether this has anything to do with the fact Lucasarts is itself using Unreal tech to make a Star Wars game, I don't know - but I would imagine that is a strong possibility.

So in those terms, I think it might be more feasible for you to look at the Unreal tech as a platform for developing an original Star Wars concept, because when Republic Commando is released, people are going to be modding Star Wars stuff out of their ears for it.

So you never know...asking sometimes reaps great rewards... ;)

Emon
10-01-2003, 02:25 AM
Originally posted by StormHammer
I think they would mind a great deal.

I feel there's a fairly high chance they might not, because I know they don't have any problem with using Raven assets in Raven games, but I am not aware of anything outside of that scope.

StormHammer
10-01-2003, 02:37 AM
Originally posted by Emon
I feel there's a fairly high chance they might not, because I know they don't have any problem with using Raven assets in Raven games, but I am not aware of anything outside of that scope.

But you are forgetting the fundamental issue. Jedi Academy is Lucasarts' game - Raven simply developed it on their behalf.

To Lucasarts you must look for answers, yes...mmmm... :yoda:

And I think we've taken this a little too far off topic now...

Emon
10-01-2003, 03:05 AM
Right, I would have to ask LEC. I'm not sure if LEC actually claims rights on the entire game and all its contents, or just gets to publish it and a few other bogus legal rights. The artwork may very well belong to Raven.

Archonon
10-01-2003, 03:57 AM
So I've been reading as much of these posts as I can to more or less get a feel for what many people feel was a strength or weakness in JA and I suppose I will put in my own opinion.

I'm going to focus primarily on SP since this is what I bought the game for and frankly what I have the most experience with. I've played all of the games in the DF/JK series, I like all of them and completed all except for the original. Now despite there being some elements which I preferred in games that came before, as a whole I have found JA to be my favorite.

About what I would have liked to have seen in JA I can pretty much only mention what countless others mentioned here. After playing STV: Elite Force I loved the format of squad based missions and friendly/neutral npcs which not only conversed with you but you could interact and affect in the story itself. In EF1 members of your squad could be killed randomly in missions, affected by your gameplay (except a few scripted exceptions). I also enjoyed how the character would go back to the ship in between missions and could walk around, talk and learn more about his/her companions. This is something I felt that JA had the perfect opportunity of integrating due to its mission-tier system. I would have liked to see more depth to the character of Jaden in his relationships with fellow students/teachers as well as growth as a person/Jedi. And I would have loved to have seen friendships and even a romatic relationship developed into the main plot or sub-plot to show different dimensions to the character. I know JA is primarily a FPS but EF managed to pull this off at least to an extent which could have been expanded upon in JA.

Level design I liked much more than its predecessors. I can't really say I did not like any of the levels really, only that I found some of them too small and confined. Of course the perfect example for me here is Mos Eisley and my fave SW world, Coruscant. I'm grateful they made the effort to put in this place at all, but my two concerns that made the level not feel as it should was the architecture looked nothing like Coruscant and that it was confined only to a very small section of ledge jumping. I would have wanted to see areas such as the old Jedi Temple (which I always thought should have been reimplemented as the Jedi home as opposed to Yavin), the Senate or in the very least just ground level similar to AOTC and have only a fraction of it in the high area instead of it all. Still in the most part I did like the levels, even the little of Coruscant there is, pretty much. I was glad to see partially dynamic levels such as the sand burrower, rancors, Boba Fett, and the few others which were more than only hack, shoot and slash. Still, in comparing with those that came before I really like the new ones better. I never liked the Nar Shaddaa levels in the previous games, I hated running around catwalks and buillding ledges when you're supposed to be in a massive metropolis it just felt wrong to me unlike what I have seen from Taris in KOTOR, even the old Ep1 game gave me a greater sense of a city in the Mos Espa mission than any one of the JK games with Nar Shaddaa. The old games also focused way too much in Imperial bases, trash compactors and starship levels for me; I suppose my like for ruins, temples and citadels is to be blamed on LOTR since I associate the Jedi more with those types of characters than space warriors.

I will also go against the tide in the storyline. While I do think that JA's storyline should have been more detailed and have more depth, I liked it far more than the previous ones with DF a close second. DF I liked in the manner that was simple and to the point, mercenary helping Rebellion against Empire and its new secret weapon and meets Jabba along the way. I am not however too fond of JK1 and JO's story because they implement the Force as something someone can just pick and insert into someone else or themselves. The whole Valley of the Jedi thing was really disappointing to me and of course the same thing applies for the Reborn and even more the Shadowtroopers. Though I disliked this as it was started in JK1, by JO I had just accepted it which is why by JA it doesn't really bother as much as before. I do liked the idea of the scepter that could resucitate Marka Ragnos and the revival the Sith Empire, I suppose because of the light parallel to the Ring and Sauron in LOTR, I found it much more interesting than Jerec wanting a Valley with Force power or Desann's experiments to create the perfect dark force user. And I'll also admit that I enjoyed fighting the Sith Warriors in JA all the time because that is precisely what I wanted in this game. I was interested in fighting as a Jedi against opponents of equal and greater ability. I've always loved the idea of having a Sith army in modern eras in SW to counter the new Jedi, even in the movies themselves I've never felt there was a real opponent to the Jedi except the occassional Sith Lord; despite being good to fight sometimes stormtroopers, mercs and droids just seem too uneven a match. But then again the way I would have wanted it is an actual Jedi army vs Sith army, not Jedi player vs Sith army, but again that's just me.

The villains in JK as a whole have been generally disappointing for me. I have no idea who the villain was in DF since I never finished it, I think some Imperial commander; but I really hate Jerec and his group. The characters were way too over the top for my taste, the Twi'Lek character just made me laugh at how stupid he was than frighten as an enemy, Yun was a character I also dislike a lot he reminds me of Rosh, Maw was terrible a guy still alive sliced in half? Come on, I bet Maul wished he'd have that guy's doctor, Sariss and Tavion had about the same effect for me, I just wish Tavion was not dressed like an indian. Desann I did not like either but more mainly because of being a T-Rex, that was just not right. Jerec was ok, but he was not menacing and for me mostly lame. JA's was not much better in this department either but I found Marka Ragnos a potentially good villain, especially having to duel in his tomb with his statue and stuff, but only if Marka had been resucitated into physical form instead of going into Tavion would have this worked for me. I look forward to seeing Malak and Bandon in KOTOR to see if they turned out more as I'd hoped for SW villains. As to seeing mostly humans as villains, I partially agree but for the most part in the movies the majority of the villains were human, outside of Jabba's group, and at least I found more variety in creatures in JA such as the Rancor, Wampa, Sand Borrower, Howlers, etc still I know what you mean.

MP wise all I will say is that I wish there had been a similar system as Forcemod 2. I wish Jedi were strictly that with sabers and Force powers while other classes such as soldiers and mercs didn't have Force but had gadgets and blasters and such, or in the very least have an option to have something like that in MP, I hate seeing Stormtroopers and Boba Fett with Force powers and sabers.

I apologize for such a long post but I had plenty of catching up to do with so many other comments in this thread.

StormHammer
10-01-2003, 07:16 AM
Originally posted by Archonon
I apologize for such a long post but I had plenty of catching up to do with so many other comments in this thread.

No need to apologise. ;) This is the home of the Force Long Post - and unless you've been here a while, you haven't seen a true FLP as posted by Kurgan, or Kurt whatsisname, or myself. :D

And it's refreshing to see an alternative perspective on the preceding games in the series. I'm glad you found JA to be more rewarding for you. :)

As for your comments about some of the characters in JK...I agree to an extent. Boc was definitely overdone, especially in the cut scenes. Jerec was a bit 'campy' in parts, too - I almost expected him to walk that funny walk and draw his cape up over his face in the grand old silent villain tradition...

I liked Maw, it has to be said. He had a unique appearance and abilities which helped to define him. I liked most of the other characters too, but as you say, they were overdone in parts, which detracted slightly from the whole.

yoda_alex
10-01-2003, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by Archonon
I really hate Jerec and his group. The characters were way too over the top for my taste.

Fair point but a lot of Star Wars characters are over the top e.g. Darth Vader and the Emporer (maybe its a dark jedi thing?).

I think the reason people say they'd prefer JK-type characters is due to the overall absence of character in JA.

Luke, Kyle - I thought these two characters worked well, probably because we are most used to them. They weren't annoying or over the top. (I_do_think it would have been cool to see them on their own a bit more in a sort of private "council of war" as it would have given the discussions a bit more gravitas. Imagine the cutscene, Jaden is telling Luke and Kyle about his encounter with ROsh. Then Luke asks Jaden to leave them while they discuss the situation. It would really have emphasised the importance of Tavion's return)

Tavion - I really didn't care that she had come back. You only actually meet her 2 or 3 times so she is more of a cameo. They could have made so much more of her and how she is on a revenge kick against Katarn. Instead she had a few rather mundane appearances that didn't really have any affect on me.

Rosh - He didn't get on my nerves too much. I liked that he was really excitable and competative; you just knew he was going to turn to the Dark side. They did not need to include the cutscene about 2 missions in to tier 1 (where Rosh says that Kyle isn't "fostering his talents" and that he's "holding him back").

Alora - Tavion from JO as a Twilek only eithou the backstory to make you dislike her. She was just a slightly more skilled cultist.

Jaden - A bit too clean cut and goody two-shoes but OK overall. I didn't think her conversion to the dark side was beliavable mainly because I didn't consider Rosh to be Jaden's friend. They only have a few cutscenes together and the only missions they are both in either have them in different sections (the training level) or beating the s**t out of one another. Jaden and Rosh should have had some missions where they fought side by side. These could also have demonstrated how headstrong Rosh is if, say, he charged into a room of enemies on his own without you support.


Most of these point relate to the story of JA. It was just unpolished. One of the most dramatic scenes (Rosh igniting his red sabre) was riuned because you don't know what colour his original sabre was. If you knew it was gren ( and had actually seen it!) him igniting a red one would have been quite powerful - but it was not to be.

I think most of us agree that the problem with SP is not the level design per se, but the FEEL of the levels and interwoven cutscenes. They just don't feel like star wars. The locations don't feel like those in the film or those we've read about. The characters are bland and the enemies repetative. Levels are not teeming with civilians but are packed solely with hostiles. And put simply, the plot is poor; which is a far cry from the star wars trilogy on which the game is based.

Archonon
10-01-2003, 09:27 PM
Stormhammer: LOL on the Jerec comment.:D Jerec was still better than Desann imo but he was just too "fake" to appear menacing for me. But that Twi'Lek dude was just too much for me everyone else was cheesy but I grant watchable. I just like my villains to be more like Maul, from my perspective he was menacing and his gaze was unsettling, had he been real, you know. Vader was at his peek in ESB, always cool and scaring the hell out of anyone in his presence, that's the type of villain I look for in SW games. But don't think I didn't like the previous games, far from it, I just like seeing more Knightly based locales than those garbage compactors and zillion imperial bases.;)

yoda_alex: I agree completely that the JA story should have had more depth in its realization, I hope that came across in what I wrote before, I only mentioned that I enjoyed the premise which the story was based upon more than the previous ones, a fully fleshed out and detailed storyline with exploration into the personalities and development of the characters of JA would have been the best it could reach. This is the reason why, for storyline purposes, I like RPGs better than other game types because they truly explore these types of issues. Imagine if the JA storyline had been developed like KOTOR, for me it would have been the best because I really like seeing games which the player can get into the story aside from just playing. Aliens Vs. Predator 2 had a top notch SP storyline which I really enjoyed apart from all the shooting, hunting and wall crawling, the Wing Commander series did the same for me in space sims, they are like watching movies run along aside the game itself.

I mentioned the levels as part of my complete impression of JA not in regards to any comments made by anyone in particular. As to the feel of the game, I also agreed there should have been npcs both neutral and friendly running about in different places for different reasons. But I have not seen many pure FPS that have constant npcs at all or more than a few people here and there, even in JK1 there were only occassional npcs in the Nar Shaddaa level that I could remeber, not many after that. Still, believe me I also was disappointed at the lack of friendly/neutral characters. Though I agree the locations felt as if in a void for only having enemies, I did not really felt the game lacked the SW essence all that much, for me at least the overall feel of the games was very similar to JK1 and JO but everyone gets something different from the movies anyways so this is all quite subjective to each individual.:)