Anthony's Film Review
Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
(Video Game, 2002)
Another fun first-shooter video game in the Star Wars universe...
First, there was Dark Forces, the first-person shooter game set in the Star Wars universe. Next came its sequel, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. After that came the second sequel, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. (For whatever reason, LucasArts treated it more as a sequel of a sequel.) In each of the games, the main character, Kyle Katarn, is in a different stage of his career: as a mercenary (Dark Forces), as a would-be Jedi Knight after learning about his father taking that path (Jedi Knight), and as someone who turns away from the Jedi path only to find himself coming back to it (Jedi Outcast). Each game appears more advanced than the previous one, such that Jedi Outcast is an even more thrilling game for wielding blasters and lightsabers alike.
Let's first look at the former. This game is just like any other first-person shooter game, where you use firearms to kill your enemies and pick up ammo and guns along the way to replenish your arsenal. In this game, your weapon choices include the classic blaster used by Stormtroopers, the Wookiee Bowcaster that looks like a crossbow but fires deadly bolts of energy, the Imperial Repeater that is basically a machine gun, thermal detonators, and trip mines. Enemies include Stormtroopers, Imperial officers (actually called Remnant officers because the Empire only exists as scattered remnants), some green humanoids called Rodians (similar to Greedo in the original Star Wars movie), and some dark Jedi. Speaking of which, I imagine you really want to know more about wielding lightsabers, so let me get right to that.
The cool thing about lightsaber fighting in this game is the variety of lightsaber movies you can perform. You can slash sideways, vertically, or diagonally, and perform tricky movies like a quick stab or a slash while flipping. And all of it happens quickly so that when you are fighting an opponent who also uses a lightsaber, the duel is likely to have lots of quick parries and blocks, and you are scrambling to deliver one good hit during a precise moment when the opponent leaves an opening. Oh, and you're also using the Force in this game, to do things like jump high, push from afar, pull from afar, throw lightning, heal oneself, and run super quickly.
As for the story, it's a decent one from start to finish. Kyle and his companion Jan Ors are traveling through space when they get instructions to investigate a Remnant base that is the source of a suspicious intercepted communications transmission. They do so and manage to get out almost safely. I say "almost" because Jan is captured and Kyle has his first encounter with Desann, a powerful reptilian dark Jedi. This is when Kyle comes to Luke Skywalker at a Jedi temple and undergoes training to reacquaint himself with the Force. Then Kyle resumes his search for Jan, while uncovering and foiling a plot by the Remnant to reproduce the Force artificially through technology and make itself unstoppable by the Jedi.
Overall, the story is good, and the gameplay is plenty of fun. I especially love the swiftness of the lightsaber duels in this game and how you can stand still with a lightsaber while warding off all blaster attacks from Stormtroopers and watching them fall one by one thanks to laser blasts being deflected back to them. The only thing I miss from the previous game, Jedi Knight, is the cinematic look and feel of the cutscenes. Whereas Jedi Knight featured live actors in cutscenes, Jedi Outcast when back to the basic method of animation with a voiceover cast (though it was nice to have Billy Dee Williams reprise his role as Lando Calrissian). So if you like Dark Forces and Jedi Knight, Jedi Outcast should suit you just fine. There is plenty of Force to feel with this one.
For more information about Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.