Jedi Knight II: Outcast (GCN)
An award-winning PC game becomes an average console one.
By Scott Steinberg | Dec. 2, 2002
The Lowdown: Rent it, and see for yourself firsthand why it pays to own a PC.
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Game Type: Action / Adventure
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Full Game Information
AdvertisementPlay where you want with the Logitech® Cordless Controller for PlayStation®.
You are Kyle Katarn, sometimes do-gooder and onetime courter of the Dark Side of the Force. Following a stint in which the anti-hero stepped away from his destiny, he returns to active duty when destiny calls. Well, maybe not destiny: high ranking Rebellion Commanders, to be precise, who order Katarn and his partner in crime, Jan Ors, to investigate a mysterious planet that was thought to be uninhabited. Right from the suspenseful intro, which sees the pair land smack dab in the heart of Empire-controlled territory, the story gets off to an engaging start. Presuming you and your partner live to see the next level or two dozen, it only becomes better as the plotline moves along.
So too, does the gameplay, for that matter. Initially, the title establishes itself as an average first-person shooter with better than average production values. A few puzzles -- many with annoyingly frustrating solutions -- color the early levels. It's only after you've been playing for a good bit of time that matters start to improve. As the action progresses from industrial facilities to military bases and locales on Bespin, Yavin, Cloud City, and other recognizable environs, your sense of attachment to the proceedings grows. Likewise, so does the fun factor, with lightsaber combat -- the real draw -- only introduced a good ways into the storyline.
Slice the air, and your buzzing, hissing blade of doom makes short work of foes in an incredibly amusing manner. For added effect, try adding leaps, swooshes, and tossing the sucker outward in a twirling arc of destruction that respectfully returns to your hand afterwards. Even deflecting blaster shots is possible -- and, in fact, automatic -- provided you're facing the scumbag who's firing upon our would-be hero. Acquiring this device is like going through puberty; you're not truly a man until you're packing added power in the form of a lethal shaft.
Force powers also must be picked up along the way. You start out weak. Learning push powers, mind tricks and the like makes you considerably stronger. These additions also enhance the play experience to no end, leaving myself (and many others, surely) to wonder what the point of waiting was. I can understand the need to teach players the control scheme (it's a tad much for newbies, though it quickly becomes second nature), but having you mow down swarms of stormtroopers is an overly repetitious introduction to base control mechanics. Only after you become a full fledged Jedi knight does the title become so gripping you'll want to see it all the way through� and even then mainly just because additional powers are gained by completing missions.
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