Friday, October 21, 2016

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - 20/20 hours

I only had to resort to god mode twice. The last two bosses were pretty tough and I didn't want to waste too much time failing to kill them. I'm not sure whether my threshold for frustration has lowered in general over the past two years or whether I'm simply not invested enough in this series to get good. Either way, after that stealth section, I was having none of it.

The story had a pretty satisfying conclusion. It turned out the villains were doing the most obvious thing imaginable with their army of synthetic Jedi - using it to eliminate Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy so that they may have a monopoly on the Force and subsequently defeat the New Republic once and for all. It's a more roundabout plan than the sort I normally favor, and it's on dubious ground when it comes to Star Wars canon, but there is a logical connection between the goal and the methods used to reach that goal.

I wish I could say the same thing about the romance between Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors. As expected, she did not die off-screen, but the smooching that accompanied their reunion came out of nowhere. They had an undeniable chemistry, sure, but it always felt to me like "friend" chemistry. To suddenly have them in a romance just wasn't right. It seemed almost obligatory. The series had hitherto had exactly two recurring characters so why not pair them off? It's not a deal-breaker or anything, but I did find myself rolling my eyes a couple of times before the end.

There was a lot I liked about Jedi Outcast. I loved jumping around, buoyed by the power of the Force. I enjoyed seeing all these exotic Star Wars locations rendered in 3D. I was even moderately entertained by the plot. It may not be like the Borderlands series and transcend my diffidence with the FPS genre, but it wasn't a game I had to suffer through.

I'll probably never play this game again. Aside from the jumping (I am an absolute sucker for any game that gives me superhuman jumping powers), there's not much to draw me back. I usually like a bit more RPG in my first-person games and as a Star Wars story, it just doesn't compare to the movies (even the ones that are kind of bad) or to games like Knights of the Old Republic. It was worth playing, and two dollars well-spent, but it didn't set fire to my imagination.

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