Classic Video Game Review… Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast [2002]

What makes a video game great? Opinions will differ on this. Some might think graphics are the most important. Others might value an interesting storyline or variety of maps. Still others might regard function over form, role-play games over first person shooters. Arguably, it’s a combination of all of these things.

Every so often, the major gaming companies upgrade their systems and with that, video quality gets upgraded as well. Back when, let’s say, Playstation 1 came out in 1994, no one could have imagined how clear the graphics would someday become. If you compare the difference in video quality between the original Mortal Kombat game which came out in 1992, for instance, and the most recent Mortal Kombat X, it’s like night and day… or day and night.

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But back in 1989, when Sega Genesis was the latest model console, that was the best there was and everyone was satisfied with it. Although, it might not be a stretch to think that perhaps less time was spent playing Streets of Rage than Halo 3 ODST. Still, many hours of enjoyment were had.

Dusting off those old consoles and playing vintage games can be fun for a little while, but there’s just no comparison to games today. However, there are a few classic games that stand the test of time and one of them is definitely Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

One of the best things about this game is the soundtrack. Jedi Outcast incorporates all of the great music from Star Wars: A New Hope. Not many games out there can make such a boast, even many other Star Wars games themselves.

The next best aspect of this game is the weaponry. First you start out with a blaster (you know those ones the Stormtroopers are always carrying), then you pick up a rifle, then the Wookie bowcaster (which is so much fun that when you see Han Solo remark about liking the gun in Force Awakens, you really understand how he feels).  There’s also a disruptor which shoots a red laser across pretty long distances accurately, a repeater, and a flechette weapon, which is probably the most fun next to the rocket launcher.

 Classic Video Game Review... Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast [2002]

After a few levels you go to the Jedi Academy where you have to pass different skill tests which usually involve using your force powers and jumping from one small place to another. After you pass, you wind up with the light saber. Of course, a lot of damage can be done with the light saber alone.

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The next best aspect of this game is the maps. A couple of the environments will look familiar like Cloud City and the Jedi Academy. But so much creativity went into creating so many of these environments, like Nar Shadaa, and although the graphics are outdated now, they’re still not so archaic that it makes the game difficult to play. After a while, you actually start to forget that the images aren’t as acute as anything that’s out there now.

Then there’s the nostalgia factor. If you really love Star Wars, you will love playing this game. Aside from the soundtrack which plays the majority of the time, there are the characters like Storrmtroopers, of course like TK421, which you deal with on several of the levels. There are also Greedo type characters (the one Han Solo shot in the cantina) who sound just like Greedo. R2D2 and C3P0 make appearances as well as the generals and Mon Mothra. Some of the other characters you won’t see in the movies necessarily but they definitely make the game more challenging like the Reborns which are dark characters who wield light sabers and show up out of the blue to creep you out and make things difficult. Of course, Luke Skywalker shows up and helps you take down some Reborn and on another level, you rescue Lando.

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Finally, there are battle maps that you can play instead of the campaign either against bots and/or against another player. These use many of the same maps from the campaign just condensed for the competition. You can choose your player for this part, as well as set parameters for how long the game goes, how many bots you fight and which force powers you want.

The force powers are fun, too, because there’s “seeing,” which allows you to see your opponents through walls and floors; there is speed, which allows you to move really fast; mind-trick, which is fun especially when the Stormtroopers say things like “move along” or start shooting at each other; then lightning, grip, push and pull.

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Overall, I would say so much effort went into this game and it was done with a true love for Star Wars at heart. If you have a GameCube, love Star Wars and can find this game on Ebay, I highly, highly recommend it. It also has a PC version and one for the original Xbox. Rating: A++

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