reviews\ Nov 26, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - XB - Review

Star Wars has acquired a very faithful following throughout its many years of existence. Since it has such great action scenes, many games have been developed trying to reproduce the feelings people get when they watched the movie. Sadly, very few games capture the movie’s essence, and the rest end up being sub par. Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is an excellent game that feels like it should be made into its own movie. It has a wonderful plotline, great action, and makes the Star Wars universe come alive to the players!

Players will control the character Kyle Katarn, who has been on both sides of the force. He has been a farmer, a Special Ops in the Imperial Army, a Rebel Alliance mercenary, and a Jedi Knight, an impressive resume needless to say. He started off life as a farmer, like his father, but had great ambitions and joined the Imperial Army. While training at the Academy he was told that his father was killed when a group of Rebels attacked his farm. Hatred filled every pore in his body, so he hurriedly finished his training and joined the Imperial Army. After seeing the ways the Emperor goes about doing his business, Kyle became disgusted and decided to leave. While escaping, he decided to help Jan Ors escape from her prison cell.

Kyle and Jan then become allies while working for the Rebel Alliance as mercenaries. On one of their missions, he found out that his father was actually killed by a Dark Jedi named Jerec. From that point on he made it a point to become a Jedi Knight. He succeeded in doing so, but the Force powers took a toll on him and he almost fell completely into the dark side. Fearful of the Force, he gave his light saber to Luke Skywalker and returned to being a mercenary. The question remains, will the force call upon him again, and will he be able to take up light saber once more? The answer to that question lies upon the gamers hands.

Players have a wide variety of weapons to use in this game; they have access to stun batons, pistols, rifles, cannons, grenades, mines, and even light sabers! This game introduces different fighting styles with the light saber: medium, fast, and strong. Medium is the classic combat style, and the one you begin with. It has medium speed and range, does decent damage, and players can link up to five combos with it. Fast style is fast and very efficient, but it has a limited range. This style is best used when you are surrounded by enemies, as layers can link together tons of combos. The last style, strong, is used to break though the enemy’s defenses, but it leave you open for attack. Players will use this type when they are fighting another person with a light saber.

Everybody wishes they had force powers don’t they? Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast offers you both light, and some dark Jedi powers. The powers available to use are force jump, push, pull, speed, heal, grip, Jedi mind trick, light saber throw, defense, and offense. When advancing though the game Kyle becomes familiar with these powers once again, but he will have to be balanced when choosing what powers to upgrade, so he will be most effective in combat.

There are a few different multiplayer modes to choose from in this game: Free for All, Holocron Free for All, Jedi Master, Duel, Team Free for All, and Capture the Flag. Free for All is where everyone is for themselves in an all out death match, Team Free for All is set in a team setting. In Holocron Free for All, players start off with no Force powers, but scattered throughout each level are cubes which grant Force powers to whoever picks it up. Jedi Master is where a light saber is in the middle of the map. Players start with default weapons, and the goal is to get the light saber. Once they do they get every force power as high as it can go, and only use the light saber as their weapon. In Duel only 2 people can fight at once, and others wait for their turn, it is kind of like a king of the hill type game. Capture the Flag is where the players try to capture the enemy’s flag and bring it back to their base to score points.

The controls for this game utilize everyone of the Xbox’s controller. The left analog stick is used to move the character around, and the right is use to look around. Pressing the left analog stick will activate a force power and pressing the right analog stick will make Kyle crouch. Pressing up on the D-pad will toggle the next force power, down will select the next choice in your inventory, and left and right will choose between the different weapons. The right trigger is the weapons primary firing mode, and if the weapon has a secondary firing mode, players will press the left trigger to use it. The Y button will activate the thing players have selected in their inventory. B button will activate whatever melee weapon players have. Pressing the A button will make Kyle jump. X button is the active button, which means when anything can be interacted with, this is the button to press. Players can assign any specific force power to the white and black buttons. Finally pressing the back button will bring up the mission info.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is rated T for Teen for violence.

Gameplay: 9.3
The game offers smooth controls that take complete advantage of the Xbox controller. It might take a few minutes to get adjusted to the controls, but once you do you will be fighting like a Jedi in no time. The game is part first-person shooter and third-person action. In the beginning Kyle doesn’t have any Jedi powers, he has to rely on any gun he may come across to complete his missions. As the game progresses, he gets re-acquainted with his Jedi ways, including handling a light saber again. The thing is, once players have the light saber, they will be reluctant to use convention firearms again. Light sabers will not only kill enemies, but also deflect any shots fired at you. The force powers that players will get to use are really awesome and taken directly from the movies as well. The game plays like a dream, and lets players be in the shoes of a Jedi Knight, how much better can it get?

Graphics: 8.9
Jedi Knight II sports some good-looking graphics, from the character models to the environments. The developers paid close attention to each of the enemies and the hero so that nothing gets left out. The storm troops still sport that shiny white armor, and it looks just as good as if the player was watching the actual movie. Kyle is also well detailed and has a nice set of animations, from his running, jumping, and finally to his light saber actions. When using this weapon, the game goes into third-person view, so players will be more effective while fighting with this deadly weapon.

The environments and players look like they were directly taken from the movie! Many players might recognize some of the familiar places taken directly from the first trilogy. The most eerie environment recreation is going through a Star Destroyer, as it looks like it is almost like a photocopy of the ships in the movies. Players who are fans of the movies will defiantly appreciate this game!

The only thing bad about the entire graphics is in multiplayer, at times there seems to be a bit of slow down, when fighting against another player. This is not good, when you are in the heat of battle, and the game is barley moving, as people can die by a stupid mistake, not knowing what is happening because of the slowness. Other than this simple gripe, the game looks really good!

Sound: 9.2
LucasArts has access to the entire Star Wars sound library, and they show it off with this game. At times players will feel that they might be watching a movie, since it sounds just like something you would except in a movie theater. All of the blaster, light saber, and everything else sounds exactly like its movie counterpart! The voice acting of all the characters is also well done, and brings the player more immersed into this game. If you have a good sound set up, this game will put it to the test because you will get the entire Star Wars feeling while playing it!

Difficulty: Medium
The game is not really difficult, but players will have to use their brains at times. Sometimes it is best not to go into an area with your guns blazing, but for a more silent but deadly approach, such as throwing a bomb in the room instead. The game starts off easy, than ramps up in its difficulty level, helping players become the best Jedi Knight they can become. Also the AI in the game never gets to the point where they are cheap, just smarter. At times it can be confusing on what to do next, but players will always need to remember that they can hit the select button and bring up your mission objectives.

Concept: 8.8
The concept is hardly original in any sense, as the Star Wars franchise has sprung up many movies and games. This would not be a bad thing, if the game is not bad. Lucky for us, the game is really good and uses its license to help further present the Star Wars legacy further! Jedi Outcast continues the role of Kyle Katarn, and throws a lot of twists and turns in its story, and provides a very well done game.

Multiplayer: 8.8
Players can go head-to-head with one of their friends in this game, with many different game modes to choose from. What I want to know is since the Xbox Live has finally been launched, why Vicarious Visions decided not to support it. This would have been a great game to play online with people from around the world! The game offers a multitude of modes that scream for online support like Capture the Flag. This is a huge disappointment, and that is why the score is lower than it should be. The ability to add bots into the games is ok, but they will never replace playing with another human.

Overall: 9.2
This is one game that definitely belongs in your Xbox collection! Please forget any memory that you may have of the other Star Wars game, Obi-Wan. Besides having a wonderful storyline, the game offers wonderful multiplayer options, but why is it missing Xbox Live support?? The price of this game is definitely worth it. If you love anything Star Wars related, or are a fan of games that are fun to play, check out Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, because you will not regret it!


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