|Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast|
August 30, 2002 | Eddie Park
Let the Force Flow Through You!Anyone who has ever wanted to swing a lightsaber around, strangle people without touching them, and snatch weapons out of the hands of Stormtoopers will find all that and more in JK2. Though Katarn doesn’t start with his lightsaber, he acquires it early on enough to where it becomes his standard weapon. As players gain more and more combat experience with it, they will eventually learn 3 different fighting styles, which basically amount to quick/weak, medium, and slow/heavy. Besides hacking and slashing, the lightsaber can also be thrown and recalled, and can also be used to automatically deflect incoming laser fire.
Given Katarn’s mercenary roots, however, he’s just as adept at handling projectile weapons. Besides his trusty pistol, familiar weapons such as thermal detonators, Wookie bowcasters, and the ubiquitous Stormtrooper rifles will show up during play. Most weapons come with an alternate fire mode as well, which usually increases the power or rate of fire of a weapon at the expense of ammo.
Players will also have a variety of Force powers at their disposal, all of which should be familiar to all would-be Jedis out there. These include Push, Pull, Jump, Speed, Mind Trick, Heal, Grip, and Lightning. Each one of these has up to three levels of power, with each level making the power correspondingly more powerful. For example, Pull at level one can only affect one enemy, but at level three it can yank multiple enemies and their weapons towards you. The use of Force powers is not necessarily an unlimited resource either. Players will have to keep an eye on the Force meter, which refreshes quickly, but only when a Force power isn’t in use.
It's Star Wars - On Your MacThose looking to immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe won’t be disappointed. All the sights and sounds of JK2 are ripped straight from the movies and should be instantly recognizable to fans of the series. Each level, for example, uses the same familiar architecture as in the movies, including switches, catwalks, and sliding blast doors.
As for enemies, players will find themselves pitted against familiar characters such as Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers, Rodians, and even a few Imperial mechs. Believe me, no matter how awesome you think you are after slicing your way through a room of rifle-toting Stormtroopers with nary a scratch, you’ll feel very tiny indeed the first time an AT-ST comes stomping up to you with nought but a lightsaber standing between you and its very large blaster cannon.
All of the character models are well-animated and detailed. There are a variety of death animations, from the simple crumple to the always-fun “spin around several times in the air” bit. The AI is also well done – Stormtroopers will flee after taking a couple of hits and come back with a few friends when they can. Enemies will also duck behind cover and wait for you to expose yourself before taking some pot shots at you.
The sound, of course, is simply glorious. Blaster fire, the speakerphone voices of Stormtroopers, the humming of a lightsaber, and the beeps of an R2 unit are all fully realized. The musical score is all familiar John Williams stuff as well, which hopefully will appeal to even those who normally turn the music off when playing a game. I mean, come on, who can resist the main Star Wars theme when deflecting the laser fire of 20 enemies? Or infiltrating a secret base while the Imperial March plays in the background?