Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5476)
Written on  :  Apr 14, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful

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Right now I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself!

The Good

Having fended off the seduction of the Dark Side, Kyle Katarn has removed himself from the Force and entrusted his lightsaber to Luke Skywalker at the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV. Now he and Jan are operatives for the New Republic, chasing down the Imperial Remnant. But Republic spies have intercepted a Remnant transmission about the Valley of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker has a rebellious student named Desann who has gone missing, might Kyle have to pick up a lightsaber once again?

Fans of the lightsaber/Force power action of Jedi Knight, won’t care for the early levels of Jedi Outcast. Graying Katarn, like Godfather III’s Michael Corleone, fears being pulled back into the Force. Still, these early levels show drastic improvement over Jedi Knight both in terms of graphics and gameplay. Gone are Jedi Knight’s obvious polygons, laser blasts knock enemies from their feet, environments are more interactive allowing you to take over laser cannons, command AT-STs, and use a capital ship’s guns against their TIE Fighters. Plus, these early levels are the only ones that can truly be called FPS. Once you regain your lightsaber, the game plays out in a frenetic third person perspective.

Unlike Jedi Knight’s use of secret areas to increase Force Powers, as you advance in Jedi Outcast you are given new Force Powers and improvements on preexisting ones. Each Force level has three ranks, Lightsaber throw begins a basic boomerang move, but as you increase in ability, you gain more control over where the lightsaber goes. Possible negatives to this include that you aren’t controlling your character and level design follows your advancement- meaning that if you suddenly advance in Force Jump or Speed, trust that you’ll need those powers to complete the level. As one who’s tasted both the dark and light side, Kyle is not restricted as to the Force Powers he receives.

Force Powers are better integrated too. Force Jump uses the jump button, no need to hit a function key for that one. Force Speed presents the accelerated motion of your character by slowing down the outside world. Stormtroopers stand like statues as lightsaber strikes them down. Even better, you can walk between laser blasts.

Lightsaber combat is the most improved aspect of the game, incorporating the acrobatic battles of the prequels. There are different fighting styles and plenty of opponents to duel against. Beware, these opponents also have the power of the Force and will use cunning tactics to defeat you.

I found myself very engrossed in the story. Unlike Dark Forces or Jedi Knight, I felt like I was actually in the Star Wars Universe. Environments are so realistic, several settings are familiar from the movies and the game makes excellent use of cameos. While Mark Hamill couldn’t voice Skywalker, the actor who does is very convincing. And you get to hang out with Lando! How cool is that!

The Bad

Is there anything I didn’t like about this game? Very little. Some of the jumping puzzles were annoying but I figured that’s what quicksave is for. The only level I disliked was the stealth level, but I was still amused at the Stormtroopers bragging about the size of the ships they'd been on. I just hope that the next game is even better.

The Bottom Line

Gaming excellence! Thank you Raven Software.