Review: Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
Posted 11 Jan 2003 at 04:58 by David
It has been decades since the original Star Wars was released, and since then there hasn't been one truly brilliant game where you could whip out a lightsaber, and decimate feeble storm troopers like Luke or Obi-Wan.There still isn't. JK2 is a good game; of that there is no doubt, but read on, to the most enjoyable and infuriating game in years. Graphics:
In case you didn't know, this is a PC port. The game carries its graphically dated PC brother's flaws, and shockingly looks worse than on the PC. That is pitiful, and it is unacceptable for the people who splashed out on a next-gen console to see qualities of some very not next-gen games. However all is not lost. The PC version had good graphics, but it translates badly to the GameCube, and the game is incredibly dark to begin with, so turning up the brightness is a must. Another horrid thing to see is distortion on flat surfaces, which looks at times like you are getting called on your mobile phone. Everything is much smaller than the PC version, and as a result it is harder to see small things like items on the floor, so play on a big TV. Aside from these flaws it looks rather well, the characters are well detailed, weapons are nicely presented and the lightsaber effects are excellent. It looks good, but the more technical problems let the game down on this part.
The game is very aurally pleasing. That famous soundtrack remains in place, and the enemies have their own languages that they speak. Also what is nice to hear is the Storm troopers barking orders at each other like "Get behind him" or "Surround him". The vroom-vroom effects of the lightsaber are brilliantly done, and you can't help but smile when your blade cuts off an enemies' hand while they roll on the floor, screaming in pain. Every weapon sounds as it should, right down to the standard issue E-11 blaster, the famous Storm trooper blaster from the movies. Thanks to its PC roots, there is a lot of speech in the game, and they fully scripted cut scenes are voiced well by the certain characters of the game.
This is the game's best and worst feature. When you start the game, it seems pretty good, until it doesn't change for three hours. The first (and crap) portion of the game will take you roughly three hours to complete until you get your greedy little hands on a lightsaber. A handy feature however is the ability to save anywhere, which results in much less backtracking. Despite how close you may be to suicide when playing the first few levels, and believe me you will, persevere at least till you get your saber, which is where the game truly comes into its own. The lightsaber rules. It breaks all the laws of gaming to say that one weapon makes a game worth going through, but it does. If you strip the game to its bear bones, you can see it's the same gameplay, but enhanced so much by the saber and force powers. It works just like any other melee weapon, but it is just so much more satisfying. With the force powers accompanying it, you feel like a true Jedi, indestructible. Even though all you do is chop up storm troopers and other enemies, it still brings a sadistic smile to your face when you realise you can shoot lightning from your fingertips, or hold them in the air while slowly choking them, Vader-style. The game gets even better on Bespin, where you get your first taste of saber duelling, and it's awesome. You have got to try it.On top of the single-player mode, there is an excellent multi-player mode, where you, a friend and 10 bots can play various modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Duel and so on. It is an excellent feature, and playing a free-for-all with 10 bots and yourself is a lot of fun. And, as you progress through the single player, you will unlock new arenas and characters to help boost the multi-player experience.
The controls are quite good, and sensitivity needs to be increased immediately in the options menu. Then you must pick you control style, because I think the standard one is crap. This is the setting I have on.
L - Use Force Power
R - Primary attack
Z - Secondary attack
A - Jump
B - Use/Use Inventory
X - Crouch/Roll
D-Pad - Up-Cycle inventory Down-Cycle weapons Left+Right-CycleForce powers
3D Stick - Move
C Stick - Look
This is a good game, wielding a light saber is really cool, but because first-impressions are so bad, some may be tempted to return it before they even get they're hands on a lightsaber. The multi-player is excellent, though it is prone to slowdown (with lots of bots). If you played the other Jedi Knight and Dark forces games, you will like this. If you're looking for the best Star Wars game on the GameCube, it's a toss up between Rouge Leader and this, and you should choose depending on which genre you prefer. A bad port, but the games good qualities shine through if you keep playing. A good romp in the ageless Star Wars universe.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Decent, but lacking with some clear and frustrating flaws.
Slowdown in Multiplayer