Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

Jedi Knight 2 (JK2) is the third in a series of LucasArts games about Kyle Katarn. The first, Dark Forces, was a straight-up shooter. The second, Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, gave Kyle his first taste of Jedi powers. At the end of the second game, however, Kyle gave up his powers. So you start the third game, JK2, as Kyle with no force powers. Thus, the first few levels are just like any other shooter game with a variety of weapons for Kyle to use against Imperial thugs.

Next, after Kyle meets up with a Sith and gets his butt kicked, he goes to Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi again. Unfortunately he has to start at level 1, so his force powers aren’t very good yet. Plus you get to spend a level learning how to use each one in different puzzles. The puzzles in general are the only thing I truly detest about this game. Whether it’s force puzzles or jumping puzzles, you feel like you are playing a console game and the developers are just making the level more of a challenge without adding much to the story.

In this game, your force powers increase as you progress; you have no control when you get upgraded powers, but you get them at the start of new levels. The force powers really get fun toward the end of the game when they are maxed out and you are throwing, pushing, and manipulating stormtroopers left and right. The boss battles are pretty tough in this game, especially the final battle.

The only other complaint I had was that some levels are very non-intuitive about where you need to go. One that comes to mind is in a garbage disposal plant. You have to go to one side of the plant and end up pushing some crate just to come back and go through a now open tunnel. But you would not know necessarily to go to the different areas of the level or what to do. Fortunately there are good hint files available to help you in your journey.

JK2 is a fun game even today. The graphics might not be state of the art, but they do well enough. But the fun of wielding a light saber and force powers never wears off. Jedi Academy, the last game of the series, is even better. I will review that game shortly.

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