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Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Lucas Arts
Developer: Raven
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 32
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Built with the same engine that produced ID Software's monolith, Quake III, there is not much you could say about these visuals. The realism of every shape, landscape and character is amazing. You will easily recognize the Storm Troopers, Imperials and Droids from the movies. Even humongous Tie Fighters and AT-STs sitting in a hanger are flawless. Sadly, just a small handful of textures appear choppy, and at lower graphic capabilities, flaws in character shapes show up.

Beyond just the artistic drawing of the scenes, motion in Jedi Knight II feels real. After attacking a Storm Trooper, he takes the hit in the area where your shot (or Light Saber blow) lands, flinching his body in pain. I even enjoyed killing myself just to see my character flip and pummel to the floor in realistic motion. As expected, Blaster shots and Light Sabers glow, moving across the screen just like the movie.

Expect nothing short of brilliance from the soundtrack and sound effects in Jedi Knight II. I was stupefied from the very start as the Star Wars banner flew across my screen with John Williams' classic piece blaring in the background. The game is busied with a fresh score with many reminiscent callbacks to the John Williams' original. Also reminiscent of the original, loud Blaster Rifles, wind breaking Light Sabers, and obnoxious Storm Trooper communications are pristine. Even the character voiceovers sound lifelike.


Kyle Katarn returns in this sequel to the game that made him a household name in world of Star Wars gaming. This time around, he has given up on his Jedi skills and five years have passed. Unlike its predecessor which allowed you to choose Light or Dark, Jedi Outcast assumes Kyle follows the Light Side of the Force. As the game opens, Kyle is on a routine mission checking out a signal from an old Imperial compound. Eventually matters get worse and Kyle is thrown into an epic adventure full of revenge and deceit.

The gameplay in Jedi Knight II is much like its description. Early missions seem slow and generic. The only real goal is to find the stage's end. Furthermore, the early stages make use of no Jedi powers and Kyle only has control of a few weapons (none of which are a Light Saber). As the game progresses however, the game play really intensifies. The maps become thicker. Puzzle become more complex yet engaging. You will even earn use of your Light Saber along with some very cool Force powers.

Those Force powers come in very handy in Jedi Knight II. As opposed to its predecessor, they actually serve as functions to solve puzzles, dispose of enemies, or quickly get you out of hair-raising situations.

Wrapping Jedi Knight II is a dark, mature story line that progresses evenly alongside each stage. Cut scenes, which appear sporadically at varied points in the game, further the majority of the plot. Each cut scene is very well placed and do not take away any of the momentum of action.

Also included is the option to play in a multiplayer setting. Seven different modes with similarities to deathmatch and capture the flag are available to choose from. Some modes allow for multiple opponents while some are one-on-one. Within the context of each scenario you can also pin point a single opponent for a Light Saber Duel. When chosen, all other opponents cannot attack you, and your weaponry is limited only to your Light Saber. You can choose from many different skins ranging from storm trooper to Luke Skywalker to, obviously, Kyle Katarn.


Even when you select the lesser of four difficulty ranges, you may still encounter problems alleviating all of your opponents. Requiring abilities in both sniper-style tactics and person-to-person light saber duels, there is a lot to deal with. The enemies also have their own sniper-like abilities hiding at corners, ducking under near ledges while aiming accurately and proficiently. When they attack in large quantities, their AI will try to surround you, working as a group and increasing their odds against you.

Not related to chosen difficulty, some puzzles in Jedi Knight II are nearly impossible to figure out. You may find yourself at times having destroyed all of your enemies and presumably having wandered around the whole map without finding any clues to your objective. The answers are not always plainly drawn out and it may take serious deduction to reach an answer.

Game Mechanics:

For the most part, the controls are easy to learn. You'll be able to take hold of most of the basic operations within the first few minutes of the game. Thankfully, an entire stage has been dedicated to teaching you the controls for more difficult to grasp techniques (the Force powers and Light Saber operation). Some places, however, seemed to require a strange feeling key/mouse control combination. This is mostly when attempting large jumps or trying to snipe properly while running at full speed. Generally, however, the operations feel natural and run smoothly.

Although Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast starts slow, the pace that the rest of the game sets is outstanding. You could not ask for better visuals. The tough enemy AI and tricky puzzles spread across this huge world will make even a master gamer cringe, but draw newcomers straight into Jedi Knight II's amazing maturity. Every Light Saber yielding, Storm Trooper blasting, eerie corridor traveling moment of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast leaves you thirsting for the next thing around the corner. All around Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast may have flaws, but its strengths overbalance them tremendously. The Force is strong in this one.

-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:

PII 350 or equivalent, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 16MB VRAM, 665 MB disk space, mouse, sound card, DirectX v8.0a

Test System:

HP Pavilion 8776C, AMD Athlon 1Ghz, 512 MB RAM, 12X DVD, NVIDIA Vanta 16MB 3D graphics.

Windows Jane's Combat Simulations: Attack Squadron Windows MotoRacer 3

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated