Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - Lightsaber Beats Blaster

Fanghawk

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Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - Lightsaber Beats Blaster

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is showing its age, but still has some great moments once you get past the shooty bits.

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Starke

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One weird thing I remember, the game showed three levels of Force Powers. Jedi Academy was the same way. But the powers actually had fourth and fifth tiers. Using the console you could get access to two new lightsaber stances (a heavier and a faster style) and some of the abilities actually picked up new characteristics. Mid Trick would let you remote control an enemy, for example.
 

ExileNZ

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Some fair enough criticisms, most of which I agree with. Thankfully, Jedi Academy dealt with the worst of them almost immediately - the E-11 blaster doesn't suck balls any more, but you don't care about that because you start with a lightsaber. The force powers are also much more toyboxed, so aside from the core skills you can specialise very quickly or spread out your force powers.
All that being said, this comes at the price of the narrative. I like the story to Academy, but it doesn't hold a candle to Outcast. The instant access to force and saber abilities also means that you can (and often do) run entire playthroughs without using other weapons.
 

Fanghawk

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MarsAtlas said:
I almost did reference Jedi Academy here, but it's been so long since I played it that I couldn't be sure my memories were faulty with it. But I absolutely don't remember having the same problems with it.

As for the snipers, that worked sometimes, but you have to keep going back and forth across the same areas and there's so many that you're probably going to get hit eventually. Especially during points where an enemy stands in your way or you're waiting for the elevator.

It's appropriately awesome to rush by them like that when it works out, but after four or five times it gets a little grating.
 

Starke

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Fanghawk said:
MarsAtlas said:
I almost did reference Jedi Academy here, but it's been so long since I played it that I couldn't be sure my memories were faulty with it. But I absolutely don't remember having the same problems with it.

As for the snipers, that worked sometimes, but you have to keep going back and forth across the same areas and there's so many that you're probably going to get hit eventually. Especially during points where an enemy stands in your way or you're waiting for the elevator.

It's appropriately awesome to rush by them like that when it works out, but after four or five times it gets a little grating.
The snipers are back in Jedi Academy, but the game's a lot more sparing with their use. On the whole it's a much more playable game than Outcast was. It's probably worth revisiting in a future review, when you're feeling in the mood for Star Wars.
 

immortalfrieza

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Fanghawk said:
Beating a Force user is a matter of correctly timing your lightsaber strikes or finding creative uses of your powers.
Or just using Force Speed and mindlessly slashing in the general direction of the enemy. Force Speed makes the entire game a complete cakewalk in almost every situation but ESPECIALLY with the lightsaber duels. The original Dark Forces games were better about this as timing was necessary to be able to have a chance of winning a lightsaber duel and even regular enemies were strong enough to give the player trouble.
 

Neverhoodian

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As much as I love Jedi Outcast (I even prefer it over Jedi Academy in a few respects), I will readily admit that its campaign is plagued by atrocious level design. I can forgive the occasional vague key hunt, but throwing in stuff like pitch-black segments that require you to use night vision goggles with defective batteries or a shoehorned stealth section with insta-fail detection really grated on my nerves. But perhaps the most egregious were the jump puzzles, usually over some form of bottomless pit. Not only did they require pinpoint accuracy, but they were freaking everywhere.

Luckily the modding community provided lots of awesome single player maps to help offset this. They're pretty much all I play nowadays when I'm in the mood to revisit the game.
 

Manawa

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Neverhoodian said:
(...)I will readily admit that its campaign is plagued by atrocious level design. I can forgive the occasional vague key hunt, but throwing in stuff like pitch-black segments that require you to use night vision goggles with defective batteries or a shoehorned stealth section with insta-fail detection really grated on my nerves. But perhaps the most egregious were the jump puzzles, usually over some form of bottomless pit. Not only did they require pinpoint accuracy, but they were freaking everywhere(...)
This
I'm currently playing Outcast for the first time, since I enjoyed Academy years back, and needed some lightsaber duels for nostalgia sake. Probably one of the best looking DX8 game out there (on Quake 3 engine, which really shows - first few levels even feel like Quake 3 with Star Wars skin). I dont really mind the graphics - to this day I'm fond of PSX level, so it's hard to discourage me in this regard.
But OMG the jumping feels so slippery. Katarn just slides after landing which can lead to instant death. The level desing is terrible, often confusing, with puzzles that can take entire day to figure out. I constantly find myself opening gamefaqs just to consult walkthrough on what to do next, just because I'm sick of running around sniffing each wall. First half of the game (as I'm somewhere in the middle) is filled with life-poisoning snipers and grenadiers, fortunately abusing force speed makes quick work of them (even makes sniping them easier). We'll see how it goes from here. I like the story so far, also needed to read an article from expanded universe about what happened previously, since everyone mentions "incident in the Valley of the Jedi", but no one cares to sum it up what it was about.
All in all - I'd say that the game aged more in game design aspect than it did in graphics.
 

anonymity88

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MarsAtlas said:
Fanghawk said:
MarsAtlas said:
I almost did reference Jedi Academy here, but it's been so long since I played it that I couldn't be sure my memories were faulty with it. But I absolutely don't remember having the same problems with it.

As for the snipers, that worked sometimes, but you have to keep going back and forth across the same areas and there's so many that you're probably going to get hit eventually. Especially during points where an enemy stands in your way or you're waiting for the elevator.

It's appropriately awesome to rush by them like that when it works out, but after four or five times it gets a little grating.
I've replayed the whole Dark Forces and Jedi Knight seriesr in the past year and Academy really does hold up better than Outcast, its not just nostalgia. Its also shorter than Outcast too and doesn't punch with its narrative quite as well. Making your own jedi is a lot of fun though, even if we've still seen it before. It also has a multiplayer community that is still active. I don't play the multiplayer but its still there nonetheless.
And an awkwardly animated unarmed "weapon" if you unlock it in the console. Immensely fun/ridiculous to grab someone by the shins and swing them over your head.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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A very fair review, I think. In my thoughts and compared against modern titles, the game is a mixed bag.

Good:
-Lightsabre battles feel really authentic. They put a lot of detail into that side of things - I remember duelling my friend once and he beat me by performing a backflip strike off a wall that I didn't even know was in the game.
-The environments are great, and it really has the Star Wars feel without ever needing to go to Tatooine! The start of the Bespin level was amazing - like the end of The Empire Strike Back in reverse.
-A lot of variety in the guns, items and force powers to play with.
-A rather enjoyable multiplayer experience for its time.

Bad:
-Most of the guns suck ass. The pistol, E-11 and bowcaster are god-awful and coincidentally these are the guns you're restricted to for the first 5 levels. The other guns have mostly situational value, like when you're forced to snipe in Nar Shaddar or when you need to break out the heavy weapons to deal with Imperial Walkers.
-Some levels are just absurdly annoying, especially where timed jumping or forced stealth is required.
-The story is just balls in some places. A magical valley that gives everyone force powers is the very definition of a plot McGuffin.

Overall though, I had a blast with it back in the day.
 

Shodan1980

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Was it Outcast or Jedi Knight where if you found all the secrets in the level it'd reward you with Force Upgrade points? I remember that breaking the game a bit if you were diligent in your searches in the early levels you'd be overpowered before the game even gave you a lightsaber
 

Fdzzaigl

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One of my top games ever. I'm sorry to read that the author couldn't handle a little bit of difficulty.

Yes, some things require quite a bit of thinking, but the logical connection is there when you reach the solution. It really isn't oldschool point&click level illogical.

The blaster combat was just fine for that day and age as well. Plus, the game is called "Jedi Knight", obviously sabers are going to win over them. Though I'd give this tip: you apparently undervalued the disruptor rifle.

Let's be clear here: the saber combat in this game from 2002 tramples right over the saber combat of Battlefront released in 2015. Heck, the even older Jedi Knight games still trample it.
 

Xan Krieger

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Was playing this today and apparently I'm too stupid to beat the first level. I have the 3 imperial codes, I just don't know how to power on the console that I enter them into.
 

Starke

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Shodan1980 said:
Was it Outcast or Jedi Knight where if you found all the secrets in the level it'd reward you with Force Upgrade points? I remember that breaking the game a bit if you were diligent in your searches in the early levels you'd be overpowered before the game even gave you a lightsaber
That was Jedi Knight. Though, as I recall, you couldn't actually spend any force points until you'd unlocked the lightsaber.
 

Fdzzaigl

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Xan Krieger said:
Was playing this today and apparently I'm too stupid to beat the first level. I have the 3 imperial codes, I just don't know how to power on the console that I enter them into.
You need to power up the array to send the codes. First you need to disable the shield to a closed off room, you do that in a room with a walkway that circles the room. You disable the shield there, then head into the previously closed room to power up the array / console.
 

Shocksplicer

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Tried this a couple of years back. Gritted my teeth through the first five levels. Finally got s lightsaber, so excited. Then Nar Shadaa happened and I gave up. Played some random games, so I know how fun the saber combat can be, but the game lost its chance.
 

Kahani

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It's a real shame the series ended with Jedi Academy. As others have said, that was easily the best game in terms of combat and actually letting you build your own Jedi, but it rather fell down on story. Nothing since has come close to reproducing the high pace and acrobatics of lightsabre fights. With the recent prevalence of Mount & Blade-inspired melee games you'd have thought the time would be ripe to revisit it again since there's obviously a market for the genre even when the swords aren't glowing, but sadly I suspect the schedule of new Star Wars films means an endless stream of mediocre tie-ins rather than anything as good as this series happening again.
 

Ukomba

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The first Dark Forces II WAS Star Wars for me, and is one of the primary reasons I can't be a fan any more. I liked Outcast just fine, but it wasn't as good as the first.