|Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast|
August 30, 2002 | Eddie Park
Always Two There AreThough the multiplayer game in the JK2 beta I used for this preview wasn't quite up to snuff to get a good feel for it, I did encounter some interesting features. If the server permits, players can choose whether they want to be on the light or dark side of the Force. Choosing light gives access to Force Heal, while choosing dark gives access to Force Grip and Lightning.
While running around, players can also challenge each other to a lightsaber duel. If the challenged accepts, the game seems to isolate those two players so that they can duel freely, with outside players unable to damage the duelers, and vice-versa.
There are also several modes of play, including Free-For-All, Capture the Flag, Capture the Ysalamari, and Holocron. Capture the Ysalamari is an interesting twist on CTF, in that the player with the Ysalamari becomes immune to Force powers, though that player also loses the ability to wield them. In Holocron, players start off with no Force powers, and must find Holocron cubes in order to learn and use them.
Still Much to Learn, Young PadawanAll in all, JK2 is looking pretty sweet. Even in its beta stage, it's already managed to capture the look and feel of the Star Wars universe perfectly. All the sights and sounds are dead-on and should please even the most nit-picky fan. The story itself is also standard fare, keeping itself well within the boundaries of the Star Wars timeline and even adding material that could be used in future games or novels.
It doesn't hurt that the game itself is also a blast to play. While running around shooting things can be fun in itself, nothing can reproduce the feeling of nigh-invincibility one gets when equipped with a lightsaber and a slew of Force powers, especially when confronted with a pack of not-so-competent Stormtroopers armed with nought but some blasters.
Westlake Interactive has done a stellar job on this title so far, and I'm sure the final product will be something to see when they hand it over to Aspyr. Padawans, clear your thoughts, warm up those sword arms, and count the days as JK2 approaches its impending release.
Machine used: G4/867, 1.5 GB RAM, GeForce 3, OS 10.1.5