|Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
May 30, 2002 | Andy Largent
The game shifts between first and third person views depending on your current weapon, and Jedi Knight II is one of the first times where the technique has been pulled off successfully. Of course the Quake 3 engine can do first person shooters, so using the guns and grenades is natural for any FPS fan. The third person view is for light saber fighting, and this is where the game's animation starts to shine.
As Kyle develops his Jedi skills again, the moves for the light saber fights get truly impressive. It's great fun to watch him gracefully roll forward into a stabbing motion or push sideways off of a wall in an extraordinary side flip to get around an enemy.
The light saber fights themselves are visual splendor, with great lighting as the powerful weapons collide. Particles and light flares are used well, and even the sabers swinging through the air show a great aura. For fun, the sabers will leave temporary marks on surfaces as they 'burn' through them, though for the most part this isn't used in the gameplay itself.
Music and Blasters and Old Jedi MastersThe music and sounds are classic Star Wars. John Williams' score is used in chunks throughout the game to give it an authentic feel. The aliens sound just like you remember from the movies, as well as the droning banter of the Storm Troopers.
The most fun comes from getting to cut these guys apart. While it may sound demented, in Jedi Knight II, you don't have to worry about straying to the Dark Side (in the storyline at least). You will find it tremendously amusing to use your force powers in not-so-nice ways. Don't be surprised when you disarm a poor Storm Trooper with the flick of your wrist, pulling him to the ground for an easy kill or pushing him out over a ledge.
This combination of earthly weapons and magical powers is intoxicating; though don't expect them to work on every enemy. The tougher bosses won't be so weak minded as to fall for your mind tricks, and they can even overpower you at times with a lightning bolt or choke hold.
Long after you're done playing through the singleplayer, a whole world of multiplayer options will be available for your Jedi enjoyment. Seven new force powers are available online, as well as six different game types. Some of the fun modes include Jedi Master (where only one person has force powers), Capture the Ysalamiri (imagine playing tag, only you lose force powers the longer you're 'it'), and Holocron (find the force powers).
Also included are standard deathmatch and capture the flag, though the most interesting and popular seems to be the duel mode where you go one on one with light sabers blazing. Many may make a comparison to Rune's sword-based multiplayer, though the addition of force powers really adds another level of complexity and fun to the online play.
Westlake Interactive has been again tapped to produce a port of Jedi Knight II for Aspyr, and we expect to see great things. While no time line is ever for sure, stay tuned to IMG as more on the Mac version of the game is revealed.