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080780
04-08-2002, 02:15 PM
JEDI KNIGHT II REVIEW (OR WHY I LOVE IT) BY 080780
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To introduce myself to explain my views, I've been a massive fan of Star Wars since I can remember (about 1981). I was the one in the playground at primary school playing pretend lightsaber fights with my friends, the one spending endless hours in toy shops drooling at the Star Wars toys, the one who's first star wars game experience was Star Wars on the Acorn Electron.

So yep I'm aging now, but my love for Star wars has kept strong. It has been wiltered slightly with some of the games Lucas Arts made, like ROTJ arcade, and Super Star Wars on the SNES. However things started to get promising with the release of X-wing & Tie-fighter and then back in 1994, a very promising game arrived:

DARK FORCES, the original Jedi Knight game. This game was the one to turn my fantasies of a pure star wars experience into reality. At the time it was a masterpiece, it was based on the Doom engine but you could look up and down, a point a lot of pseudo-3d fps games decided to follow. The atmosphere, the characters (albeit a bit blocky), were all spot on. The story and plot (which surprisingly a lot of 3d games didn't have) was incredibly cinematical, all in all I spent every minute on it, going back and back for more.

This was what I was hoping for in Jedi Knight I + II.

Jedi Knight I i thought personally wasn't as good as Dark Forces in some aspects, but It gave me the chance to finally wield my lightsaber, slicing stormtroopers, using force powers it was a dream come true, the levels were intense, well laid out and the AI of the characters and graphics had been dramatically improved.

But then silence for a long time other than the Mystery Of The Sith Expansion.....
There was countless console games featuring the Star Wars brand, on the N64 and Playstation consoles. Episode I at the cinema, but nothing really for the serious PC gamer.

A few flight-sims, a very critic slated strategy (Force Commander) and a slightly dodgy Age Of Empires version.

Then a couple of weeks ago my prayers had been answered at last:

JEDI KNIGHT II : Jedi Outcast.

At first play it's a gorgeous game, beautiful graphics, and effects (the first time you see the famous red laser you'll know what i mean. Raven have really utilised the Quake 3 engine perfectly adding more to it. The textures are perfect, reflective floors, wall damage with blasters and lightsabers are great leaving burn marks and slices. The sound effects are also incredibly atmospheric with exceptional stereo imaging.

To begin with Jedi Knight II's first levels are a very enjoyable fps weapons fest with usual puzzle elements. Then you notice the AI of the stormtroopers, they group, flank, cover each other and retreat in some cases. You hear them talking to each other about where they're next stationed all these little things provide a serious amount of atmosphere lacking in so many games.

And then you realise this is an amazing game when you get to one of those defining moments; the first time you see an AT-ST walking towards you.
First reaction is "Oh cr#p!" when you realise your standard issue blaster is not going to help you here, but then it's "Wow look at that thing, it's massive!" you desperately scour for cover ion cannons blasting away at the sky, the famous John Williams music, to those who have never seen this point in the game, it has to be seen to be believed it is the first time I ever felt like a game matches the excitement of the movie.

And it gets better...

The real reason many people will like this game is the point of Kyle returning to a Jedi. After the trials of Yavin you get to use your lightsaber again and expand your force powers from the standard force push to the exceptional force lightning. The Jedi battles are brilliant, almost Matrix-y in some slow-mo death scenes. Perfect film like moves to learn featuring back stabs, half circle sweeps, jumping attacks all adding to the important user interest and interaction. The lightsaber battles are nigh on perfection. The plot twists more time than a helter-skelter, yet is coherent and true to the original trilogy's brilliance. The battles get more intense, and the need to think twice as fast becomes more apparent.

All the original characters are there (I apologise if i don't know their exact species but I remember their names from the original films); Ree-Yees with the deadly thermal-detenators, Greedo's with a seriously powerful laser gun (in it's charged up form), and Wee-Quee's. Imperial Commanders, Storm Troopers (no Dark Troopers from the original Dark Forces which I thought might have made a come back), droids and many new characters that do not look out of place, and a return to the protaganistic evil Darth Vader character with Dessan. All time favourite characters also make a welcomed return, Luke Skywalker & Lando, and a pair of famous looking droids. A great point of Jedi Knight II is the team element of the SP, with Jan helping out at first and Lando later on.
Plus the MP elements are rivalling such games as Unreal Tournament, with Capture the Flag, Capture the Ysalamiri (harking back to Mysteries of The Sith) with a great tag game, Deathmatch, King of the Hill, most of my friends and colleagues who don't like the Star Wars universe and are sworn Quake and UT fans are starting turn to JEdi Knight II and have been on the MP maps over our LAN non stop for the last week!
As far as performance on machines goes, anything that can run Quake 3 can run Jedi Knight II. I've tested it on all our machines from a Pentium II 400Mhz with 64Mb ram and 32Mb Geforce 2 Mx (it ran a bit jerky but with all little decals, and resolution taken down ran fine) to our AMD Athlon XP 2Ghz with 700Mb Ram and 64Mb Geforce 3 Titanium (this is where it really shines!). So maybe it's time to upgrade for the people out there with old Pentiums and Riva TNT graphics cards who really want to play this game, it's well worth it if you have the cash.


This is the game I've been waiting for, sheer brilliance in all aspects, the only faults that I have with the game is that it's a bit short in SP mode, but I'm sure Lucas Arts will release some amazing add-ons and not to mention the fans here, with the mod options in Jedi Knight II a great possibility is that we can finally make our own story/levels into reality. I am really looking forward to see what the net community can do.

As far as a rating goes this is what I have awarded it: (out of 10)

GRAPHICS = 9 SOUND = 10 GAMEPLAY = 10 LONGITIVITY = 7 (ADDONS and MP not included) OVERALL = 9.5