Every week, Retro Game Wednesday reviews a well-aged game available for digital download on Steam.
Title: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Genre: First-Person-Shooter/Jedi Simulator
Developer: Raven Software
Release Date: Mar 26, 2002
Price (at time of review): $9.99
You have probably watched a little movie called ‘Star Wars’ at some point in your life. If you haven’t, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Just go. Click ‘back’. Right now. Don’t come back until you’ve seen the original trilogy. That’s episodes four through six. Don’t give me any of that prequel crap, and if any of you so much as think about asking me ‘are those the movies with William Shatner’ you’re entering a world of hurt. Did you click ‘back’ yet? Why not? I told you to click ‘back’ six sentences ago.
Are you gone yet?
For those of you who have come across this ‘Star Wars’, I’d like you to think back to the first time you saw it as a kid, or at least the first time you saw it after you stumbled blinking into the harsh and unforgiving sunlight from under your rock. Maybe it was on the new Blu-Ray. It could have been on DVD, VHS, Laserdisc, or any of the multitude of formats on which this film has been released. You can even think back to the theatres of 1977 if you are old enough to do so without lying to yourself. I don’t care where you first watched it, really. What I want you to conjure up again is the sense of wonder you felt at seeing the most perfect movie ever put to celluloid. Remember how you marvelled at the complex human drama, took in the subtle interplay of emotions and held your breath in suspense as you wondered ‘in the face of these overwhelming odds, can this plucky band of heroes prevail?’
Yeah, no you don’t. Nobody thought any of those things about Star Wars. In fact, the only thing any reasonable child thought upon seeing Star Wars for the first time is ‘That guy has a sword made of lasers. I want a sword made of lasers.’ And in 1977, at least, children firmly believed that by the year 2012 we would have swords made of lasers and also world peace probably but mostly the laser swords.
Unfortunately reality has been rather more depressing, as wars continue around the world with no sign of abatement and not a single one is being fought with laser swords. It seems that once again video games must step in to fill the gaps that the real world can’t. So this week, we’re going to cover Jedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast, because it’s the best way for you to live at least half of the dream.
The other half of the dream is boring anyway. Have you ever actually played World Peace Simulator?
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, some bad things are going down. A rogue dark Jedi has leveraged the forbidden power of the Valley of the Jedi to create an army of dark warriors. Also he goes and kills your partner before there can be any good sexual tension. You guys could have had the whole Mulder/Scully thing going, but with blasters and spaceships. He ruined that. Find him and put a lightsaber into him.
The world of Star Wars comes alive before your startled imagination in glorious sort of okay 3d.
- Delicious John Williamsy soundtrack and high quality voice acting, including the actual Billy Dee Williams.
- That’s right. You get Lando for a sidekick.
- You get a lightsaber and a full suite of Jedi powers.
- For those of you who haven’t seen Star Wars and didn’t leave when I told you to, that means a sword made of lasers and the ability to throw stuff around with your mind and jump like really high and stuff.
- Also you can dismember enemies with your lightsaber. You can even turn up the rate of dismemberment in the console, allowing you to spend countless hours turning hapless stormtroopers into small piles of things that stormtroopers are made of.
- For those of you who haven’t seen Star Wars and didn’t leave when I told you to, that means you can cut glorified security guards into their component parts even though they have no hope of appreciably hurting you, just because they have been ordered to get in your way by their indifferent superiors with no expectation that they will survive the encounter.
- Well now I just sound like a sociopath.
- They’re stormtroopers. You’d understand if you’d watched Star Wars like you were supposed to.
- Multiplayer always sounds like it’s going to be a life-or-death dance of lightsaber blades and lighting reflexes, but it nearly always ends up being about who can click faster.
- Some platforming bits, and I’m terrible at platforming. If you’re great at it, then fine, but it makes me wear out my quicksave key.
- You don’t actually get a lightsaber without cheating until level five or so. This forces you to use the other weapons, all of which are not lightsabers.
- There’s no light/dark side path, you have access to all the available powers at any time and the story doesn’t branch at all. The first Jedi Knight game did this and so did this game’s sequel, and I have always been a little disappointed that there is no ‘dark side’ ending to Jedi Outcast.
This game is a lot of fun, and it still holds up to this day. It’s easily the best of the ‘Dark Forces’ series of Star Wars FPS games. Is it the best Star Wars game on the market? Maybe. If it has flaws, it throws enough faceless peons toward your hungry lightsaber that you soon forget them. 8/10
Kyle Katarn is a one man army. That’s not a blurb, that’s canon. Kyle’s resume at this point consists of stealing the plans for the Death Star, shutting down an Imperial project to create an unstoppable army of robot troops by exploding everything even remotely involved and singlehandedly wrecking up a coterie of Dark Jedi with absolutely no formal training whatsoever. He killed Jabba the Hutt’s pet dragon with his fists and at one point broke into Darth Vader’s personal Star Destroyer and killed approximately half the crew just because it was in his way.
So you don’t screw with this man. Making him angry is on the Star Wars universe’s List of Obviously Suicidal Activities right under making fun of Lord Vader’s asthma. Unfortunately the villain doesn’t realize this because he is obviously an Argonian from an Elder Scrolls game and can’t be expected to know these things. He kills Kyle Katarn’s best friend in the prologue missions in a plot which is later revealed to have been specifically designed to make Kyle mad. You would think somebody would have told him what a bad idea this was, but this plot hole can be reasonably explained if you assume that no one who could have informed him of the consequences has ever survived them.
So, being properly and personally motivated, you are a man on a mission to track down this lizard jerk and use your violence on him and his plans. This righteous quest will take you to a wide variety of different Star Wars locales, including Nar Shaddaa, Cloud City, and Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy, and the things you will dismantle in these places with your lightsaber and mighty Force powers will be many and varied.
Of course, maybe for some reason you didn’t want this game just because it lets you swing a lightsaber at people. I’ll pretend that’s reasonable for a second and address other concerns you might have. The graphics hold up well for a game that’s ten years old, although the options require some tweaking to work with the resolution your modern day monitor probably runs at. The sound is also still quite good, and the voice acting is fairly top-tier. Notably, they brought in Billy Dee Williams to voice his character from the films, Lando Calrissian, and if you’re a Star Wars fan it makes a world of difference to have the real actor do the voice. Luke’s voice is a fairly good impersonation, but it’s just not Mark Hamill – so it’s refreshing to run into the actual Lando a couple missions later.
As for the multiplayer aspect of the game, it theoretically still works, but I did not look into it in detail. According to the internet, a rudimentary community still exists, but it seems to consist of people who have been playing for ten years and will be far too good at what they do for somebody who bought this game because I said it was pretty good for ten dollars in 2012. Still, give it a try if you like, just don’t expect a vibrant community with thousands of players.
But even if you can’t bank on the multiplayer, you can have faith in the single player experience. There’s a lot to enjoy. The story and locations capture the Star Wars feel quite well, and the gameplay is fun, or at least as much fun as you can have with a lightsaber, a pile of Force powers and a base full of unsuspecting stormtroopers.
You may have noticed I keep saying ‘lightsaber’ nearly exclusively, and you may be beginning to wonder if it’s the only weapon in the game. Calm yourself. There are, in fact, two weapons in Jedi Outcast. There is the lightsaber, and then there is everything that is not the lightsaber. To be absolutely fair, some of the other weapons are interesting for a short time – the disruptor rifle can vapourize things, the bowcaster’s ricocheting shots can be amusing in tight spaces, and the rocket launcher is used to launch rockets but you probably knew that.
However, you’re a Jedi. It’s right there in the name of the game, and you don’t buy a game with ‘Jedi’ in the title because you want to use the same six weapons that are in every other shooter ever.
No, you bought this game because you had two childhood dreams, world peace and having a laser sword. And if you can only have one, well, you know in your heart which one you’re going to choose.
After all, this isn’t a review of World Peace Simulator.
You will have to edit the .cfg files in the main folder to make the game work with modern/widescreen resolutions. There’s a guide to doing this here.jedi outcast, jedi knight dark forces 2, Jedi Knight, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast 3, star wars skyrim, star wars jk 2 mods, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, star wars jedi knight jedi academy singleplayer skins, Star wars jedi knight ii wallpapers, star wars jedi knight 2 jedi outcast widescreen