Sunday, October 16, 2016

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

The Legacy of Star Wars Dark Forces™ and Star Wars® Jedi Knight lives on in the intense first-person action of Jedi Outcast.

As Kyle Katarn, agent of the New Republic, use your Lightsaber and the full power of the Force to combat a new evil plaguing the galaxy.

Wield over 8 Force abilities including the Jedi Mind Trick, Force Lightning and Force Grip.

Choose wisely from an arsenal of 13 weapons including disruptor rifle, thermal detonators, trip mines and Wookiee bowcaster.

Play on-line with 2-32 players or against a variety of AI Bots - and gain an additional 7 Force powers.

Test your skills in 24 single-player missions and in 6 different types of multiplayer games including
Jedi Master, Holocron, Capture the Ysalamiri, Duel, Deathmatch and Capture the Flag.

Interact with legendary Star Wars characters such as Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian (featuring the voice of Billy Dee Williams as Lando.)

Developed by critically acclaimed Raven Studios and powered by the Quake III Arena engine. 

Previous Playtime

0 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

I'm going to swerve slightly from my usual "it was in a bundle" spiel. Yes, it was in a bundle and that was the primary reason I got it, but it just so happens that this particular title is one of the reasons the bundle was so attractive to me. I actually briefly owned this game on the Gamecube. For about a day.

This was back around the time when Blockbuster was still a thing, but slightly after the Gamecube was culturally relevant. The Blockbuster was selling off their used stock of previously rented Gamecube games and this one caught my eye. So I bought it, took it home, and when I played it, it almost immediately froze.

When I took it back to the store, they gave me a free disk cleaning and sent me on my way. This appeared to work at first, but then the game crashed repeatedly on the level where I finally got my Jedi powers. I was able to get a refund, but ever since, this game has been "the one that got away."

Expectations and Prior Experience

I've played the first couple of levels of this game and I thought they were pretty decent. And I wouldn't say that I've built up a mythology about how great the Jedi levels I didn't get to play must have been, but I would say that I've probably set myself up for some mild disappointment.

I've played three games in the series so far and the experience has not conflicted with my memories of the fourth. Since the quality of the games has been consistent so far, what I'm expecting is a serviceable shooter with a thin story and the occasional frustrating maze level.

Nevertheless, what I'm hoping is that the series' five year hiatus has led to a greater refinement in gameplay and storytelling. All of the Dark Forces games thus far have been pretty decent, but if this next-gen offering can bring some much-needed polish and flair, it may well transcend its predecessors and become great.

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