thai_jedi's Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast (Collectors Edition) (PC) review

Review Jedi outcast

Jedi Outcast was my introduction to the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series. I first played this game when a single level demo of it was included with my purchase of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, a mediocre RTS game that felt more like a mod for AOE II. When I found myself playing the JO demo more, I knew I had to get the full game.

JO is perhaps the best feel like a Jedi game out there, because it accomplishes just that. Though you begin the single player game without the lightsaber or the Force, by the end you've become an almost unstoppable Jedi that can carve through legions of stormtroopers, Reborn (a variety of dark Jedi), and just about anything else the Imperial Remnant can throw at you. The storyline follows Kyle Katarn and his struggle to overcome not only the Remnant, but his internal emotions as well. The plot is well-written and enjoyable for the most part, with cameo appearances by characters from the movies as well. Multiplayer is highly enjoyable as well, with multiple game modes that range from absolutely insane free-for-alls and capture the flag to intense 1 on 1 lightsaber duels. At least, that's how multiplayer used to be (more on that later).

The game is not without its faults, however. The single player levels rely on jump puzzles entirely too often. Not only do these moments throw a monkey wrench into the game's pacing, but it also kills the immersion factor as well. When I'm reloading from the last quicksave for the 12th time because I missed that miniscule ledge by 2 inches, the Jedi's tenets of peace and serenity are far from my mind. I also missed the greater degree of player choice offered in its predecessor, Jedi Knight. I can understand why they went with a more linear route, but I miss the ability to pick and choose my favorite Force powers to level up. Finally, the single player experience, though enjoyable, doesn't really warrant multiple play-throughs. In this regard the PC version has the consoles beat, as there are many high quality user created levels and mods available for download that greatly increase the replay factor.

Finally, there is the issue of multiplayer mode in its current state. For one, it's hard to find populated servers, but that's a problem with most older games nowadays. A bigger issue is how the spirit of the game has been hijacked by many of its players. A disturbing trend has risen within the community (or at least, what's left of it) to run servers on an honor system. These are essentially glorified chat rooms, where nobody actually fights one another except in private duels. Though it may not sound too bad, it's actually quite frustrating to play in. For one thing, waiting around is boring, particularly when you've got twenty other people jockeying for position. You'll spend 2% of the time actually fighting and the rest of it is spent sitting around listening to your fellow players engage in pointless small talk and argue politics (and we all know what that looks like on the internet). I've never understood why they saw the need to do that when there's already a Duel mode that keeps things going at a much faster pace. Another problem is that, more often that not, those who run these servers abuse their power as admins. They arbitrarily enforce rules that make no sense, IP ban players on false accusations, and sometimes just kill players for kicks. It's ironic that, in their efforts to supposedly emulate what the Jedi would do, these admins more closely resemble the devious and power-hungry Sith. It is for these reasons that I've practically given up on multiplayer. It's a shame really, as it used to be such a fantastic experience.

In all, Jedi Outcast is one of the best Star Wars games out there. I would highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in George Lucas' epic. Just stick to single player, though.
1 Comments Refresh
Posted by Narciel

I have to say, that I loved the honour system in the multiplayer in this game. I only wish that more games employed something similar. I've never had a clan experience even close to the clan experience I had in JO. I still talk to some of the guys from that clan now, 4 years after the fact.

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