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Product: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Company: Lucasarts/Activision
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $49.95/£44.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

I can clearly remember when the original Dark Forces was released all those years ago back in the days of the 486. While it was nothing too special graphically even in those days, but the level design and gameplay was superb and it fitted into the Star Wars world perfectly. We had to wait a long time for a sequel, coming out a few years ago in the form of Jedi Knight, yet again nothing great graphically but in gameplay terms, very few other first person shooters could touch it at the time.

Well finally we have the first Star Wars game to use the Quake 3 engine, so we can say that it is graphically a lot better than any of the other Star Wars releases that have come out recently. But does the gameplay manage to live up to that of the original Jedi Knight?

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast challenges you to battle the power and dangers of the Force as Rebel mercenary Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn in a dynamic First Person Action that arms players with a full arsenal of weapons and Force powers  in both single- and multiplayer modes.

  • Two-player split screen multiplayer (known as Jedi Arena) with up to 14 AI controlled characters.
  • Jedi Arena game modes including: Capture the Flag, Free for All, Team FFA, Lightsaber Duel, Jedi Master, and a new exclusive "Weapons Only" option for decidedly uncivilized combat.
  • Engaging single-player story set in classic Star Wars time frame featuring key locales and characters including Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. 
  • A bonus mission called "Mission at Alzoc III" unlocked after the single-player game has been completed.
  • Graphics and performance optimized for the Xbox. The ability to save anytime, anywhere.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"Jedi Knight 2 wonít be breaking any new ground on the Xbox, it didnít when it was first released on the PC earlier in the year either."

Jedi Knight 2 begins quite slowly; you play the former Jedi from the other games Ė Kyle Katarn. So obviously if you are no longer a Jedi you donít have any of the Jedi powers that you had in the last game. The first few levels can feel a little dull, perhaps this is due to not having a lightsabre or any of the Jedi Powers, but once you get them back the game really does improve a heck of a lot.

The gameplay is very similar to that of Jedi Knight, you still have various objectives to complete while you play the game such as moving objects, picking up a certain item, unlocking various doors, sending out messages etc. The first part of the game is played in first person mode, but once you get your Jedi powers back, you will finally get your lightsabre, once you have it you will use it far more than almost any other weapon that you pick up along the way, so the rest of the game tends to be played in a third person view Ė this seems to be where the game gets a lot better for some reason.

Each level is pretty big, some are broken up because they are so big. As I have mentioned Jedi Knight 2 does get better the further that you get in the game, it is hard to pinpoint the reason, but one of the main reasons was that the levels do get far more exciting once you get your Jedi powers back, there is nothing better than wielding a lightsabre around a level, especially when you start to take on some of the dark Jediís later on.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"I can clearly remember when the original Dark Forces was released all those years ago back in the days of the 486. While it was nothing too special graphically even in those days, but the level design and gameplay was superb"

Jedi Knight 2 wonít be breaking any new ground on the Xbox, it didnít when it was first released on the PC earlier in the year either. The Xbox version is pretty close to the high quality settings seen on the PC version; the main difference seems to be that the game looks a little washed out, as if the textures are much darker than they might have been. The framerate still suffers in the same places that the PC version did too, although they are not quite as bad as they were in that version. I was hoping for a few more Xbox special effects in the game such as improved lighting but unfortunately there is nothing really new here. The sound as always from Lucasarts, is excellent. The music is directly from the films yet again thanks to the master Ė John Williams excellent composition. The voice overs during the game are also rather good too, especially thanks to Billy Dee Williams voicing the part he played in the Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi as Lando. There is nothing bad to say about the sound here at all.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 83%
Gameplay: 84%
Presentation: 86%
Graphics: 80%
Multiplayer: 73%
Sound: 91%
Manual: 80%
Interface: 80%
Price/Value: 80%
Overall: 81%

If you already purchased Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast on the PC then there really is no reason to get it on the Xbox, while the game is basically the same as the PC version it doesnít quite have as good graphics or any online multiplayer aspect to it. Overall the single player game is still just as good though and well worth playing through if you havenít before.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 81%
Version Reviewed Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast DVD
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Great Sound
It's Star Wars
The Bad Points Washed out graphics
No online multiplayer
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) No


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