QuakeCon 2001: Jedi Outcast: Jedi Knight II update

LucasArts and Raven show Jedi Knight II publicly for the first time at QuakeCon.

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Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
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It's been a long four years since the release of the popular Jedi Knight first-person shooter from LucasArts, which has left many eager for a follow up. The long line to get into the game's limited public showing at QuakeCon was one sign of just how impatient fans are for Jedi Knight II. The game is still a ways off, but the Quake III-powered graphics and intense gameplay we saw make this look like a very promising sequel indeed.

Kyle Katarn, the Imperial defector and Jedi outcast from the previous two games, returns to fight Imperial forces and dark Jedi in a storyline that takes place ten years later. The demonstration spanned two levels, the Imperial base seen behind closed doors at E3 and a part of a new level. The new level replicates the Rebel base on Yavin 4, the moon that served as the staging area for Luke's attack on the Deathstar in the first Star Wars movie. The hangar contained a number of X-wing fighters and a number of autonomous droids scooted through the area, going about their work. Through a passageway to the side, we saw the command center and briefing area from the movie. This relatively small environment packed a tremendous amount of detail and atmosphere.

The stormtrooper-filled base level gave Kyle an opportunity to put his blaster and lightsaber to the test. The lightsaber, the signature weapon of a Jedi, is particular impressive to watch. Kyle will automatically reflect enemy blaster shots and can easily slice off the limbs of lesser foes. He can even throw the lightsaber and pull it back into his hand by using the force. These devastating capabilities mean that the AI-controlled enemies understandably become very cautious at the sight of Kyle's glowing blue lightsaber. The level also had a puzzle or two that required Kyle to use some of his other Jedi powers, including force push, force jump, and the Jedi mind trick.

Through the base we came to a spacious hangar, where a dark Jedi appeared with his red lightsaber raised in challenge. The AI controlling this Jedi opponent was quite impressive, as he would unleash combinations of lightsaber attacks and Jedi powers at any opening. To defeat the Jedi, Kyle unleashed a blast of lighting reminiscent of the Emperor's aggressive attacks. Dan Pettit, the LucasArts representative at the presentation, explained that Kyle is following a middle path in the force, and so has both light and dark powers at his disposal.

Jedi Knight II will have multiplayer, but it's still so early in planning that LucasArts was unwilling to release any specifics. The game is slated for release in the spring of next year. Read our previous coverage for a more details on the game.

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