By JediXMan 5 Comments
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Thought I forgot about Star Wars, didn’t you? Well I haven’t. I’ll still do them, especially this one. But as I’ve said, I’ll be branching out and doing so more non-Star Wars game reviews. And thus…
Unlike all the other Jedi Knight games (Mysteries of the Sith doesn’t count), you do not play as Kyle Katarn. Instead, you are Jaden Korr, a Jedi initiate at the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV. Apparently, you have gained a reputation because you actually built your own lightsaber. The shuttle you are on crashes, resulting in a trek through the jungles and a brief duel with a Dark Jedi, where a plot unfolds involving the siphoning of dark side energy in order to resurrect a long-dead Sith Lord.
While it does allow you to create your own Jedi, it’s not an RPG, which was a little disappointing. The only RPG-like elements are the ability to choose light and dark powers (which don’t matter to the story. I had some dark powers and played light) and a final choice near the end of the game.
I was disappointed when they didn’t get into Jaden’s backstory. They made a big deal over the fact that he built his own lightsaber, but never actually talk about it. I would’ve liked to know the circumstances around it.
It should come as no surprise that Jaden fights a boss in the end. But he fights a person possessed by MARKA RAGNOS. Really? So… a Jedi Knight – a NOOBIE Jedi Knight – beats the legendary Marka Ragnos? Ah… yeah… that was hard to swallow. Speaking of Jedi Knight, that bothered me a bit as well. He isn’t a Jedi Knight until the end of the game, simply an apprentice. Yet they send him off on extremely dangerous missions against Dark Jedi and Imperial soldiers. He even teams up with Wedge! He fights Boba Fett! Come on. Again, that’s weird to me.
Also, Jan Ors… where are you, Jan Ors? She’s just mentioned once, almost as if she’s dead. But we know she’s not dead – she appears in a story many years later during the Yuuzhan Vong War. She deserved a cameo, at the very least. It would have been better than the rather pointless Chewbacca cameo.
They also made a relatively big deal over the fact that Jaden made his own lightsaber all on his own before coming to the Academy. I feel like this was a dangling plot thread that they all forgot about. I’d have liked for them to talk about this and I was waiting for it, but nothing ever happens. Jaden himself is still a somewhat dull character and you find yourself more enthralled by all the iconic characters around you and you yourself feel… kind of out of place.
The graphics have improved, and for that I am grateful. The voice acting has also improved, if that’s possible.
Ah, gameplay, the central aspect the Jedi Knight franchise. It only gets better with each game, and this is no exception. The Force powers are better, lightsaber combat is better, EVERYTHING is better. My favorite moves would be as follows:
The vault move, where you leap over a target, slashing from above.
Level 1 Force Drain, where you grab the enemy by the face and drain him.
Kick your opponent in the head (while using a doubled-bladed saber)
Wall jump, where you run up the wall and leap off, slashing your opponent.
Most of those moves are useless and don’t help… but they are so much fun and they look incredibly awesome!
It is rather irritating that they deny you use of the more diverse lightsabers, like duel lightsabers and the double-bladed saber. You can’t use those until near the end of the game, and that really bothered me. I would have liked to use them from the beginning, or at least after the first quarter. I suppose I shouldn’t complain; you don’t even get to use a lightsaber at all for quite some time in Outcast, but still.
While Jedi Outcast had a better story, this had better gameplay. Both are great games that I still play. Here’s hoping Lucasarts gets a brain and gives us a Jedi Knight game on the next-gen consoles, WITHOUT destroying the iconic gameplay. Me personally, I want it to be about Kyle during the Yuuzhan Vong, but we’ll see. Beggars can’t be choosers and all that.