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Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast - PC
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99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2002
First a small gripe: I truly wish LucasArts would release more Star Wars games like "Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast". Due to the lack of recent releases, I fear they've sold out to console game systems like Dreamcast and Playstation. My hope is they will return to the PC market and start churning out more games like this, which, well, kicked the Tabasco sauce out of any console Star Wars game in recent memory.
Simply put, the game is awesome. It's the first Star Wars game where the lightsaber is truly the most powerful weapon, provided its mixed with a few good force powers. Without a doubt the original JK and "Mysteries of the Sith" are both five star games, but the lightsabers were weak at best and downright useless at worst, except for the few times you had to use them to defeat other saber wielding opponents. I mean, in the original JK you had to face your enemy dead on to block a projectile. You couldn't throw your saber, couldn't jump three feet without pushing two buttons at once, and the moves you had.....slash, slash, buck-up, slash. That's pretty much it. In "Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast" you utilize more of the Episode I fighting style. In other words, you're flying all over the place (flipping, rolling, jumping 30 yards sideways, running up the walls) and not just standing there hoping your enemy will come close enough to hit. By the end of the game you have some truly impression abilities. You can throw your saber at will, throw your enemies at will, and jump 40 feet in the air at will. The gameplay is the best I've seen in a long time - great replay value.
I know some reviewers have complained about the difficulty level, and they're absolutely correct to complain. Even on easy the game is anything but. It's not just difficult puzzles or levels, either. Some places are difficult to get past just because of the enemies. On top of that the game does have it's fair share of frustrating puzzles. To solve these you can either buy the strategy guide (I wouldn't suggest spending the money, unless you want multiplayer tips) or search for an online walkthrough. There are plenty of them out there. That's what I did on more than one occasion, and that alleviated some of the frustration. Still, it took me two weeks to beat, playing on average an hour a day. The difficulty makes it fun, though, in a way, since the game's not over before you've even taken the shrink wrap off the box.
All in all, a must for fans of the original JK and first-person shooters in general. A definite Game of the Year contender.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2006
Kyle Katarn was once a Jedi Knight. He once helped the fledgling New Republic in its strugle against the Empire. Until Drommund Kaas, when he confronted the darkness in himself, and gave in to it. So he gave up his lightsaber to Luke Skywalker, swearing never to touch the Force again. He went back to working as a New Republic mercenary alongside Jan Ors, the only other person in the galaxy who knew the location of the fabled Valley of the Jedi, and the incalculable power it contained. He might have lived the rest of his life that way, with only his blaster, his wits, and Jan, the woman he loved, to count on.

Until they took one mission that ended all that.

They met Desann, a powerful Dark Jedi, and his apprentice Tavion. They, along with Admiral Galak Fyyar, an Imperial scientist, are trying to find a way to artificially infuse the Force into living subjects, to mass-produce their own army of Dark Jedi. Needless to say, they succeed...and it's all Kyle's fault. So what's a former Jedi to do?

Simple. Take back your Force abilities, reclaim your lightsaber, and go hunting.

This game did a great job of improving on the combat and Force powers of the original JEDI KNIGHT. Your Force abilities are taken directly from the movies, with none of the showy powers you saw in the original. You end up with eight in all; four neutral, two light, and two dark, but they're selected for you automatically. You can't upgrade them as freely as you could before. The lightsaber combat is vastly improved; they used motion-capture to animate Kyle and his enemies, and it shows. Even the lightsabers themselves look better, like they were taken directly from the movies.

The enemies are just what you'd want in a STAR WARS game. They basically fall into three categories; Imperials, bounty hunters, and the Reborn. The Imperials range from stormtroopers (killing them NEVER gets old), officers, droids, and engineers. The bounty hunters are from four different races; Rodians, Grans, Trandoshans, and Weequay, and they're pretty much interchangable. But the Reborn...oh boy, are THEY a challenge.

The Reborn are the result of Admiral Fyyar's experiements in artificially stimulating midichlorian production. They're all Dark Jedi, and they're all insane from the process. You'll want to pay attention to what color they're wearing when you fight them; orange and blue aren't so bad, green is tougher, but red and black? Be ready for a FIGHT. And that's not even counting the Shadowtroopers...

The 'boss' enemies are nicely varied as well. Reelo Baruk, the criminal connection, is nothing. Admiral Fyyar, with his shielded power armor, is like a walking tank. Tavion and Desann are VERY crafty; those two are the toughest enemies in the game.

Fortunately, you won't be completely alone. Jan Ors fights alongside you briefly, as do Republic soldiers and fellow Jedi Knights. Raven Software even had the brilliant idea of bringing in Lando Calrissian (voiced by Billy Dee Williams HIMSELF!) and Luke Skywalker to back you up. In fact, fighting alongside Luke is one of the game's high points; the two of you are squaring off against both stormtroopers and Reborn in one area. My only complaint is that it was over WAY too soon.

The locales are just as eclectic as you'd expect from a STAR WARS game, or movie, for that matter. You go from an abandoned Imperial listening post, to a crystal mine under Imperial control, to Nar Shaddaa, Bespin, an asteroid base, an Imperial Star Destroyer, even Yavin 4, home of the Jedi Academy itself. And every location find new ways to challenge you, no matter what powers or weapons you have at the time.

But once again, it's the story that pulls you in more than anything else. The continuing story of what happens to the New Republic after the movies is compelling enough -- I think we all wonder what happened after RETURN OF THE JEDI -- but framing it around the events of Kyle Katarn's life puts YOU right there in the middle of it all. Kyle's a fascinating character, make no mistake -- kind of like a hybrid of Luke and Han Solo -- but YOU'RE the one directing the action. YOU'RE slugging it out with stormtroopers. YOU'RE slinging a lightsaber against Dark Jedi.

YOU'RE a Jedi Knight.

And that's the best selling point I can think of.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 2, 2002
First the initial parameters:
1. I am a huge fan of JK1 (so this review may be biased)
2. Running on GeForce2Go Dell laptop
3. Running Windows XP
1. Runs right out of the box on my GeForce2Go laptop.
2. The game's graphics- especially the environments are wonderful. Very immersive vistas. I could almost feel the wind.
3. Force powers are much better than original JK1 by deepening its impact. E.g 1st stage of lightsaber throw is simple throw in direction of view. 2nd stage is a steerable lightsaber. 3rd stage of throw is autohoming lightsaber. As you mature in your Force abilities you will be able to do better things with them, not just more of the same as in JK1.
4. Lightsaber fighting system is the most advanced of any so far (compared to JK1, Jedi Power Battles, Phantom Menace, Obiwan). 3 types of fighting styles- from quick and weak to slow and powerful. You learn these during the course of the game (or you can use them immediately in multiplayer mode.)
5. Level designs are excellent. Very 3 dimensional interconnected spaces- providing more than 1 order to solve a problem.
6. Haven't gone thru the whole game yet, but plot line seems pretty compeling.
7. At 1280x1024 frame rates are very high.
1. Initial part of the game is a not very different from a standard Quake or Elite Force game, but level designs in JK2 are better.
2. The incessant jumping and puzzle solving starts to get a little dull, if not annoying. The scene with the stompers in Galaxy Quest comes to mind a lot: "why would anyone put these in a starship?!?!"
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2002
Star Wars Jedi Knight II (JK2) is the long-awaited sequel for what many consider one of the best Star Wars games ever brought to a PC. The game begins with the same character in the original game who is now a mercenary that has decided to give up the force. As the levels progress, your character becomes entangled in a web of Jedi conspiracies and once again picks up his lightsaber to battle the bad guys.
One difference between this and the original game is that all force powers are available for your character. In the first game, you choose your destiny and which side of the force you want to pursue as some powers are only available with evil Jedis and vice versa for good Jedis. In JK2, all Jedi powers shown in the movies are available to your character which probably doesn�t keep with the Star Wars storyline but makes for a more enjoyable game.
The graphics and sound in JK2 are on par with the times but not spectacular. One of the biggest disappointments to me were the small movies in-between levels which I felt had poor graphics especially when compared to the first game which had real life actors play the parts. One element many first person shooter (FPS) fans pay attention to is the AI of computer controlled opponents. JK2�s AI is decent but nothing special. The Jedi opponents are rather stupid but still fun to play against, and the game does a good job of making the Jedis smarter and stronger as the game goes on. Sometimes the game allows you to sneak up on Stormtroopers and other enemies but overall the enemies don�t have much personality.
It�s hard to give JK2 a fair review because I love the movies and get a kick out of any game that allows me to wield a lightsaber. All things being equal, it�s one of the better FPS games available at the moment but probably not the best. You will enjoy your time with this game but it probably won�t be your all-time favorite.
ACTION FANS � 5 STARS � Regardless of how much you enjoy the Star Wars universe, this is a quality FPS and will eat up time. That being said, gamers will probably cherish JK2 more if they love watching the Star Wars movies. Because the game uses force powers in addition to weapons, it would be wise to own a mouse with several buttons and a scroller if you�d like to avoid pressing a lot of keys.
STRATEGY FANS � 2 STARS � Some of the press releases for JK2 stated that more strategy would be required for the sequel. The strategies though aren't really antyhing more though than typical FPS puzzles: push the right buttons, find secret areas, match the right keys, etc. Strict strategy lovers probably won�t find much in JK2.
ADVENTURE/RPG FANS � 3 STARS � There are some elements of an RPG in JK2 as your force powers progressively increase and the storyline is entertaining. It�s still a FPS game though and if you don�t enjoy these types of games, you probably shouldn�t give it a try unless you are a Star Wars fan.
X FACTOR � A HISTORY OF POOR STAR WARS PC GAMES - 5 STARS � There have been a few quality PC games based on Star Wars like the X-Wing series and the original JK. Unfortunately, they were released several years ago. Jedi Knight II is probably the first PC game in some time to capture the magic of the famous films it is based on. Nothing beats a game that lets you control a fighting Jedi to the sound of John Williams� classic score.
BUGS � 4 STARS � Relatively bug free. I experienced a few crashes, mostly in the multi-player mode but not enough to take away from my enjoyment of the game.
REPLAY VALUE � 4 STARS � If you compare Jedi Knight II to other PC games, it has great replay value, mainly because it�s a FPS game which usually entails a fun online multiplayer mode and a healthy community of gamers ready to make custom files for the game. Because of a large Star Wars fan following, Jedi Knight II already has an impressive amount of MODs, skins and other custom files available for download on the web at various fan sites. Also, JK2 uses the Quake engine which many gamers are familiar with so the game promises to have a healthy amount of custom maps released in the near future even without an official editor. One problem I had with JK2�s multiplayer mode was that the maps for multi-player aren�t as fun as other games I�ve played. Deathmatches and capture the flag are classic styles of play for FPS games (both are in JK2) but they have gotten boring as more games are released with objective maps. To me, deathmatches don�t stand up to objective maps (maps that have specific goals each team much complete before the game is over) for replay value. Probably the most enjoyable type of game included in JK2 is the duel match. On these maps, players battle each other one-on-one and the winner remains to face the next person in line. It can be tedious waiting for your chance to play but they are the perfect types of matches for a game like JK2 that relies on lightsabers. The maps are fun, the weapons and force powers make for enjoyable hours regardless of which type of game is played, but to me, something is missing in JK2�s multiplayer. Judging by the amount of MODs and other files already released by gamers in JK2�s first month of release, there should be plenty of free extras available for download in the near future which will keep the game enjoyable.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2002
First off, I must say that this is easily the best LucasArts game I've encountered, and playing in the Star Wars universe with superb graphics and a wonderful game engine is a joy. A lot of work was clearly put into the visual aspects of the game in particular, and I'd normally give it 5 stars for being one of the best first-person-shooters I've encountered, especially when using lightsabers and various aspects of the Force as a Jedi (push, speed, mind-tricks, etc.) are taken into account.
However, this is easily the most unnecessarily frustrating game I've played to date, and I don't think it was tested thoroughly. The amount of time spent backtracking through areas previously explored to find some box that wasn't shot enough times or some hidden button to press to affect something far later in gameplay is maddening. I can't tell you the number of times I've spent extreme periods of time to "find" something (or had to look through a "walkthrough") in order to progress, consistently saying "how the heck was I supposed to figure THAT out". Most games (e.g., Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Serious Sam: Second Encounter) will "shut off" areas no longer relevant, or keep crucial buttons and things somewhat near to where they relate. This one frequently doesn't do that.
This game is a must-play, especially if you're a Star Wars fan or someone who enjoys superb graphics work. It's lost two stars in my book for the unusually high frustration factor though, and I'd warn anyone playing it they're VERY likely to need to find an internet game-guide/walkthrough unless they like spending hours figuring things out by prolonged trial-and-error. If you have patience to spare, Jedi Outcast is a strong recommendation.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
To date, I've played almost all of the Star Wars games released- starting way, way back at the black & white DOS game where your primary (and only) goal is to center your crosshairs on a weaving TIE fighter and blow it up with a push of the fire button. I'm a former flight sim fanatic (not so much now, due to the sad state of the genre), a current RPG fanatic, and I absolutely detest FPS games. This is largely due to the fact I get splattered whenever I join a deathmatch, but is also because these games generally lack even a remote semblance of a storyline and characterization.

Having said that, and keeping in mind that I've also played the excellent X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X vs. TIE, X-Wing Alliance, Knights of the Old Republic, &c (I could go on for quite a while with this) one must add extra weight to the fact that I really like Jedi Outcast. And yes, I am aware that it's a shooter. So the big question, of course, is why?

First and foremost, this FPS actually has a plot and characters. Not only that, but it has GOOD plot and characters- so much so that they have actually been inducted into Star Wars canon.* This is an honor no other Star Wars game has yet been able to claim. In fact, the storyline is so good that you will hardly notice that you're not really seeing any new kinds of enemies (stormtroopers and other Imperial slime are still the general fare).

The sound and look is superbly done. Voice acting is top notch, and instead of having full motion video cutscenes with horrible dubbing (as in the first Jedi Knight) they've used the game engine to fill in the blanks. And yes, it actually looks quite good- even compared to current games. Great attention to detail is a key factor in the presentation- when you walk into a cantina, you'll hear the familiar music from the Mos Eisley Cantina in Episode IV. The locations are varied and magnificent, with some taken from the movies (e.g. Cloud City on Bespin) and others from the expanded universe (e.g. Nar Shaddaa).

Now, though I'm a lousy FPS player, I still know enough to say that the weapons are very cool. There's the standard rocket launcher, sniper rifle, close-range grease gun, and default pistol. All have very unique looks and effects, and strengths and weaknesses. Most have an alternate fire mode, which can add interesting functionality (e.g. laser tripwires on mines).

And then, of course, we have the lightsaber and the Force. I cannot overstate how cool these are, and it's impossible to really describe it here. All I can say is that you've really got to play it, and that if you get good with both, two things will happen: you won't use your guns anymore, and you'll really feel like a Jedi master.

The level design is excellent, with puzzles that make you feel smart when you figure them out, but also don't take a total genius to solve. As with the other Jedi Knight, there are secret areas that hold extra power-ups that can seriously aid in your cause. There's also many interesting objectives that require unique interaction with the environment. For example, you'll at one point have the chance to commandeer an AT-ST and run amok through the jungles of Yavin 4, blowing up stormtroopers as you go. How cool is that?

Though I don't use multiplayer mode often (yes, I like this game, but I still get wasted in deathmatches) I have seen enough of it to say that it's comparable to any other FPS out there. There's no vehicles in multiplay, but who needs those when you have the Force? You can challenge others to one-on-one saber duels, play Star Wars-imbued variants of familiar games like capture the flag, and snipe honorlessly at passing Jedi from a balcony.

Given its long, excellent campaign and flawless presentation, Jedi Outcast comes with the highest recommendation. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, its compelling story and great arsenal of weapons will appeal to the FPS fanatic. Jedi Outcast is also one heck of a deal now, and still looks great despite its age. Go, and may the Force be with you!

*Specifically, Kyle Katarn is universally recognized as the guy who stole the plans for the first Death Star.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This one hits the marks in all respects, it's a kick-... FPS that revels in the Star Wars universe. Lucasarts themselves have not been immune to releasing SW products who's raison d'etre is simply to promote the francise. No one is coasting with this baby, however. It would stand alone as a classic PC shooter even if it was called 'Crazy Joe's Space Brigade'.
Once again we follow the exploits of Kyle Katarn, who has turned his back on the Force after the harrowing events of Dark Forces II. While investigating for the Alliance under the aspices of Mon Mothma, he and ...-kicking side-kick Jan Orrs get wrapped up in the obligatry complicated plot of universal domination plans of Imperial Remnants. The plot alone could carry the player along for the ride. A few familiar faces pop up as well, including Jedi Academy Master Luke Skywalker and that old scoundrel Lando Calrission, voiced by Billy Dee Williams himself. Unfortunately Mark Hamill does not reprise his role, so one of the niggling things about JKII is the schoolyard wiener vocal performance of Skywalker.
As expected, the graphics are highly polished, with sharp textures and lots of environmental flourishes and special effects. Sound is also handled with atmospheric aplomb. But the real twist that sets this game apart are the force powers and light-sabre duels, both dramatically changing the pace of the game and lending a true unique Star Wars feel to things when they appear. The game also has a great pace, eschewing the "make the first level ridiculously easy and the rest excrutiatingly hard" idoicy that has plagued recent FPS level design. The game slowly ratchets up the enemy count as you gain familiarity with new weapons found so that you never feel too overwhelmed. You'll probably just stick with the lightsaber outside of any sniping needs tho...the LS combined with Force powers is definitely the most fun way to progress through the game once they become available. A lot of people seem to be complaining about the amount of puzzles in the game, but for me this just adds to it's greatness. There really aren't a lot of them, they make a nice change of pace from slaughtering hoardes of oncoming baddies, and they're all logically designed and fun to solve.
Even to users numbed by the oversatuation of Star Wars games, this is a keeper. Buy it now, Yoda says so.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2002
Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast overall is a mind-blowing experience which will go above and beyond expectations which you may have set for it. The reason why this game didn't score a 5 in my book, probably would be because after finishing the single player mode - the game may leave you wanting more. This flaw didn't bother me much at all, because the multiplayer mode for this game is fantastic.
- GREAT Multiplayer -(there is nothing like getting out your lightsaber and taking out your anger on helpless enemies by tearing them to bits, online against many players)
- The Force (powers) -The force powers used in this game add a special touch to the gameplay in single and even multiplayer modes.
- Overall good effects/graphics -in my opinion these graphics are good, although they still could be better
- Storyline/Plot -I know some gamers who played this game didn't like this feature, I personally though felt Jedi Outcast had a strong and interesting story behind it.
- An Array of Weapons + Who could forget, A LIGHTSABER!
- Movie/Video Clips -The video clips in between the game weren't great, I felt the first Jedi Knight game utilized this feature better (w/ using live actors)
- Single Player Mode -I know many people may disagree, but I felt the single player mode could of been a little better. I'm not saying that it was bad (acutally I'm saying the opposite of that), but its not perfect. But really - what game is perfect?
LucasArts and Raven Studios overall have done a terrific job on, not a perfect, but solid and fun Star Wars Game.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2005
Graphically, this game is a work of art. The shiny surfaces, glowing lightsabers, and vibrant colors make this a winner.

As far as gameplay those, you can even forget the graphics! This gameplay is so good, you could play it with terrible graphics, and still have an aweseome time!

The score by John Williams is another highlight. The music enhances the tension, action, and drama of this game.

Overall, this is the best star wars game i have ever purchased or played.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2002
Jedi Knight II underscores just how rich the technological and graphical capabilities of top-of-the-line PC games are while also calling attention to how unimaginative many game designers have become.
The game is a major success, but I think some designers will continue to learn the wrong lessons from that success. It's a success because the game's graphical engine creates a remarkably engaging sense of being a part of the Star Wars universe--something that many of us crave. It uses music and visuals perfectly to this end. The core storyline is engaging enough: Kyle Katarn is a likeable, believable protagonist, and the game makes use of other Star Wars story elements very well. So on one hand, the game works very hard to achieve immersion.
On the other hand, the game's level design makes it almost impossible to achieve immersion. When travelling through a level, you are not Kyle Katarn: you're just a guy sitting in front of your terminal trying to figure out what the game designer wants you to do next. Puzzles are not intuitive, and the solution is usually a rigid, artificial and sometimes nonsensical sequence of actions. You have to run a gauntlet of enemies who have somehow positioned themselves in places that your own character could not get to--in many cases, places which are actively impossible for any living creature to have travelled to given the design of the level. At one point, you have to protect a droid from a host of enemies while also disarming trip mines. You can push the droid back using your Force powers, but only so far: push him back far enough and he spontaneously explodes. Why? Because the designer wants you to beat the level the way he wants you to beat it.
It doesn't have to be this way. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has demonstrated that an FPS can have good, immersive level design without having to resort to this kind of straightjacket.
JK2's multiplayer is decent enough, but it becomes boring fairly quickly. When force powers are enabled, the game is dominated by the boring over-use of force push and force choke. When weapons other than lightsabers are enabled, snipers and explosive weapons rule the day, but in no more interesting a fashion than any other multiplayer FPS on the market.
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