There’s always that one game that you come back to. The one that no matter how many times, you will gladly have a repeat play-through and enjoy it each time. Having been released back in March of 2002, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast is the game where for me, a once-a-year playthrough has always been done.
This is a sequel in the ‘Dark Forces’ series which began in 1995, followed by Dark Forces 2 in 1997. This was a game long rumoured and hoped for, which resulted in its announcement five years later.
You play as Kyle Katarn, a resigned Jedi, investigating the planet of Kejim where remnants of the Empire are looking for something, which eventually leads to Kyle in re-discovering the ways of the Jedi, and even meeting fan-favourites along the way. As was the standard back in the early 2000’s, it is based off the Quake 3 engine, where the game is best played with a keyboard and mouse, and can run on any of today’s hardware, including a version I’ve seen for Android phones that works very well.
There are nine levels, each immersive and expansive, but above all; fun. At the start of the game, you only have a laser blaster and ‘Jan Ors’ by your side to help you when needed. But then the fun begins. Eventually, due to a twist in the story, you find yourself back at the Jedi Academy, practicing your force powers and gaining the lightsaber in quick succession. As the story progresses, you gain more force powers, while your existing ones become more powerful. These go from Rank 1 to 3, or, weak, strong, strongest. These can range from a ‘force push’, to ‘force lightening’, where you can strike down multiple stormtroopers and become more powerful than you can imagine.
A small note; if you type in a certain cheat code to raise the force levels further than number 3, you can have a more powerful ‘Force Mind Trick’, where you can control the enemy you’re facing. This can result in some fun deaths by your hand. You use the mouse to look around, while left click is fire, and right-click is saber-throw.
When you use the lightsaber, it automatically goes into third person, but because of the controls, there’s no problem in this. You can use the keyboard and mouse setup easily.
The game was unique in you feeling like you were as close as you could be to being a Jedi. You could ‘force pull’ a blaster from a stormtrooper’s hand and strike them down. Or you could interlock with another lightsaber and keep pressing on ‘attack’ to have their sabre be thrown out of their hands. Or you could deflect many blaster shots from many directions and still slow down time to reach that all important item for the level. Every time it’s incredibly fun, and fifteen years later that fun doesn’t disappear.
But why do I come back to it? It’s not the multi-player. While it’s good, I find that the lightsaber battles work out much better in single-player. The enemies’ and your lightsabers connect better somehow when i’m in a fight, and you can take your time, while multiplayer can easily miss a hit you try to make.
Using the console to spawn many ‘Dark Jedi’ and face them in ‘undying’ mode, is a staple I do each year. You reenact the scene of Neo versus hundreds of Agent Smith’s from The Matrix Reloaded, but with a sword and all of the force powers to maximum. It’s also one of the most popular games to ‘mod’, where you can change levels, add characters in, and even new force powers. This is still going strong today, where Kylo Ren can be playable in a level inspired by ‘The Force Awakens’. It’s addictive, its fun, and it’s Star Wars. What more could you possibly need from a game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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