Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Review
Jedi Outcast is simply one of the easiest games to recommend this year.
The game has eight force powers, most of which are taken from Jedi Knight. New powers include a Jedi mind trick that confuses enemies and causes them to do things like shoot their comrades and open locked doors for you, as well as force speed, which causes everything and everyone around you to move in slow motion in an effect that's very similar to bullet time in Max Payne, only Kyle continues to move at normal speed while his foes are trapped in slow motion. The game's default control scheme makes accessing these force powers a little awkward, but by remapping some of the keys, you'll be able to cycle through these powers as quickly as you can cycle through your collection of weapons. Actually, besides the lightsaber and the force powers, you'll also find a number of new weapons as you proceed onward, some of which are extremely powerful. But you'll have so much fun using your lightsaber and force powers that you'll rarely have the desire to use any of the game's other weapons.
The lightsaber is excellent--never before has melee combat in a shooter been so effectively executed. You can fight effectively from either a first-person or third-person perspective. In addition to gaining force powers, Kyle is also able to advance his lightsaber technique. When you first get your saber, you can block a certain percentage of incoming shots with your saber automatically. You can also throw it in an arc like a boomerang. As the game progresses, these two skills will improve, so that at their fullest potential, you'll be able to deflect virtually all blaster fire and actually control the saber as it weaves through the air. Beyond that, the saber combat in the game is surprisingly deep. The type of swing that Kyle takes is dependent on his movement direction and the location of the nearest enemies. So if an enemy is behind you, and you hit the backward key as you swing your saber, Kyle will stab backward. Time your strike at the apex of a jump, and Kyle will swing his saber downward in a deadly arc.
Kyle can also use three different combat stances while holding the saber, though you start with only one. This initial stance lets you inflict a decent amount of damage and string together up to five moderately fast slashes by properly timing your button presses. Later in the game, you'll learn the fast stance, which lets Kyle strike quickly and string an infinite amount of attacks together, though the strikes do less damage. Finally, you'll learn the strong combat style, which uses slow swings that do a considerable amount of damage but leaves you wide open for a counterattack. You can cycle through these stances with a press of a button, though you'll probably find one style that bests fits you and stick with it. But there's a lot to the saber control, and while you could pretty much get through the game simply by hacking away with it (or by relying more on your guns), you'll thoroughly enjoy the experience if you take the time to learn all the nuances of the lightsaber.
A handful of storm troopers or bounty hunters won't stand a chance against you once you've mastered your force powers and lightsaber. But as you make your way through some of the later levels, you'll start running into dozens of enemies at once. The game gets very tough, and dependence on any single aspect of your arsenal--weapons, force powers, or lightsaber--won't get you very far. You have to find the proper balance between all three, or at least between your force powers and saber. And even if you learn to handle roomfuls of enemies at once, the game will keep you on your toes by pitting you against a series of bosses, all of whom carry lightsabers and are well trained in the ways of the force. While some of the enemy AI of the storm troopers is impressive--they retreat when taking losses and try to flank you when possible--it's combat with these saber-wielding enemies that's the most memorable aspect of Jedi Outcast. It only takes a second or two to dispatch a storm trooper, but a single one of these dark Jedi can take up to a minute of nonstop combat to defeat. Some of the more heated matches will have you locking sabers with enemies, frantically pushing the attack button to overpower them like in the classic fighting game Samurai Shodown.
- Player Reviews: 141
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC, IP),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Number of Players: