Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Impressions

We take the upcoming Xbox port of the recent Star Wars game for a spin.


Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is an offshoot of the Jedi Knight series that was recently released to some accolades on the PC. Now, LucasArts and developer Raven Software are working on porting the game to the Xbox. We got to take Jedi Academy for a brief test drive today on Microsoft's console, and, based on the current state of the game, it looks like Xbox owners will soon have access to a faithful reproduction of the original PC experience.

We got to play a little of both the single-player and multiplayer modes in our time with Jedi Academy. The multiplayer demo was set to the power duel mode from the PC game, which has you teaming up with a partner to fight one drastically more-powerful dark Jedi. The game uses a typical split-screen view to facilitate two-player action, and it will also support Xbox Live for competitive players who want to go online and find a greater number of opponents. The demo station had a number of saved games from the single-player campaign, so we fired up specific levels, like Vader's Castle and Tatooine, to see how well Jedi Academy has translated to the Xbox. Initial impressions tell us that the game will indeed be quite similar to the PC version--which is obviously a good thing, given its critical success.

Jedi Academy is running pretty well on the Xbox right now. The frame rate was even, for the most part, and, thanks to the Xbox's PC-like graphics hardware, it didn't look like any of the original game's graphical niceties had been sacrificed. Gameplay on the Xbox controller worked pretty well too. Jedi Academy features a mixture of first- and third-person perspective gameplay, so you can expect typical FPS-style controls, like free look with the right analog stick and attack with the right trigger. The D pad is used to cycle between your weapons and force powers, and, generally, it was pretty easy in our demo to navigate the game's environments and to use various attacks.

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is currently slated for a November release on the Xbox, and the solidity of the build we played today gives us the impression that it won't have trouble making the date. We'll bring you more on the game soon.

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