Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
was LucasArts’ first foray into a Dark Forces
game with an engine other than one built in house. Leveraging Raven Software to produce a first person Star Wars game, Jedi Outcast
was well received by various critics. LucasArts and Raven Software have now released a follow up to Jedi Knight 2
and this time around, you’re going to school.Jedi Academy
follows a young student named Jadan as he or she studies to become a Jedi knight at the Mark Hamill school for the Jedi. On the way to the academy, you become friends with a fellow student named Rosh. From there on, you’ll train and partake in missions on your way to becoming a full Jedi knight and uncovering a plot with an old enemy of Kyle Katarn.
This is the first FPS Star Wars game that doesn’t star Kyle Katarn but he’ll be training you and come along with you in a few of the missions. You start out fabricating a character of your choice choosing from race, sex, clothing, and designing your lightsaber. When you design a lightsaber, you’re given a choice of hilt and saber color. You won’t get to use the dual sabers or saberstaff until a little more than halfway through the game though. The amount of choices isn’t too bad and I’m sure someone will come out with a MOD to offer some wanted skins such as Darth Maul. Your force powers will be determined by you as you complete a mission of the game. It’s there that you can continue to mold your character with either light or dark powers.
Unlike previous games, you will be given a choice of missions to partake with the ability to increase your force powers after each mission. And you don’t have to do the missions in any particular order. The various missions range from the straight kill everyone on a level to retrieval of objects. Boba Fett makes an appearance in one of the missions to give you some trouble when trying to blow up some objectives. Wedge Antilles also shows up to lend you a hand with his X-Wing in taking down a station. In fact, a lot of characters from the movies make some cameo appearance in the game. Mission variety isn’t bad but some can be pretty frustrating. The Dune-like underground worm that will give you fits as you retrieve parts to fix your ship is one mission that, while different, was a hassle. Boba Fett being invincible no matter how many times you slice him up also annoyed me but without him being alive throughout the mission, there were no other opposition. I will say it was kind of fun to meet up with the Star Wars legend and he’ll use a variety of weapons such as rockets and a flamethrower to take you down. I do enjoy the ability to choose which mission I wanted to partake and what weapons I wanted to take along. It does seem choosing the weapons is rather moot though as you’ll most likely find all of them being used against you by someone so you can pick them up after you dispatch them. And most of the time you’ll probably be using your lightsaber to take out your foes. It’s kind of funny that with you being a Jedi, you’ll be killing so many people in these missions that you’ll probably rival the Death Star’s death count.
On some missions you’ll actually be able to pilot some vehicle or the Tauntaun on Hoth. I liked the added destruction of using some of the Empire’s own weapons against them and charging a Tauntaun headfirst into a group of Stormtroopers. The ability to pilot something was a nice addition by Raven.
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