Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Aspyr

Published By: Aspyr

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to Aspyr for providing a review code

It took a bit of time, but we now finally have two Star Wars games to take on the go with us. The first is a pinball game however and isn’t necessarily what Star Wars fans are looking for. Now we have a port of an old classic from the bygones of the Gamecube era Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. I never really got to spend much time with this game, but there’s a first time for everything. Will Star Wars Jedi Knight II live up to today’s standards or would it have been better off left in the annals of history? Let’s find out

Story

I should mention this is the third game in its series, thus some may be a bit confused by the story. However, those who haven’t played the game’s should still be able to follow it fairly well. You play as Kyle Katarn, a mercenary working with the New Republic. On a mission to inspect an isolated base, Kyle and his partner, Jen find themselves battling against the Empires forces. When Jen is suddenly taken away by the empire, Kyle must reawaken his Jedi powers and become one with the force again.

I think the story’s one of the highlights of the game as it does a good job with the source material. For the time I could see this being an engaging narrative and, it still holds up fairly well today. Unfortunately, this will be one of the most aspects of the game that still holds up well.

Gameplay

Star Wars Jedi Knight II is a 3D action-adventure with platforming and puzzle-solving elements. The game is broken up over 23 different levels, each one taking place in a new location with new objectives. This is a port of the original title and keeping with that everything has been kept the same from the game’s original release.

The first 5 or 6 levels of the game have you playing without your Jedi powers. Until you get them back you’ll be blasting enemies with a variety of weapons. At first, you’ll only have a blaster pistol, but as you defeat enemies you’ll obtain a rifle and even a Wookie Bowcaster which is pretty cool. You can alter the perspective of your camera by clicking in the right analog stick, but you’ll most likely be playing in the first person while you have a gun equipped.

When I think of early 2000’s FPS games a tinge of fear starts to rise within me. Plenty of games that were classics once simply don’t match the standard of video games today. Star Wars Jedi Knight II, unfortunately, is one of these examples.

The shooting mechanics are simply not up to par for what you would want from a game today. They’re hard to control poor to aim with and cause many frustrating battles. When you have a group of 6 different enemies gunning you down at once it can become quite the handful to stop them. I was left feeling disappointed by the cumbersome shooting controls, but I stuck with the game because I knew when I received the Lightsaber all of the game’s woes would be rectified.

After about 2-3 hours you do get access to your Lightsaber and a variety of Force Powers. Your Force Powers are quite fun to use as they can help with combat and solving puzzles. For example, you can use your Force Push ability to push away a box that’s in your way or to toss an enemy off a building. You also get access to a Force Jump, a Force Lightning ability and Force Grip is even here to (that lets you choke someone using the force). I think my favorite Force ability out of all of them was Mind Trick. Mind Trick lets you take over an enemy’s mind and completely dazes them. It can be used to make enemies open up a locked door for you or you can use it to make them stop attacking you. Brainwashing is something I always found kind of interesting and this satisfies my interest well.

Battling with the Lightsaber itself is fun, but just like the shooting mechanics, it’s aged and not in a good way. While much more enjoyable than shooting enemies with your blaster, slashing away at enemies with your lightsaber doesn’t really involve much more than running up and slashing them. I will say what is entertaining is when you’re having a fight with another lightsaber user and you’re both trying to come out on top. These fights are quite enjoyable and will really test your Jedi abilities.

Besides the combat there is an abundance of puzzles to solve in every level that has to do with finding keys, moving objects and finding hidden entry points. The platforming and the puzzle-solving mechanics are both fairly well done, although I do think the game could have done a better job in highlighting which items could be interacted with and which couldn’t. Also, should you fall off a building or into a hole you’ll die instantly and since checkpoints at each level are incredibly sparse, I recommend you be very careful when doing this.

Extras

One new inclusion that the game offers is the use of gyro controls, which work quite well in combat. You can also open the game’s original cheat code menu and give yourself bonuses like fill your health or enter God mode. It’s really fun and I’m glad they kept the cheat codes around.

Presentation

While the visuals do look dated, they definitely bring out some serious nostalgic feelings and this is coming from someone who didn’t own the game’s original release. Sure, the characters a bit blocky, and the environments aren’t fancy, but this looks like a Star Wars game. The enemies have impressive designs and are authentic to the series. From the sound effects to the soundtrack, the game is presented in a genuinely Star Wars way.

Technical Issues

I was glad I could talk very positively about the game’s presentation, because I, sadly have to be the bearer of bad news once again. Star Wars Jedi Knight II has an array of technical issues, that start with clipping into buildings and falling through platforms and ends with crashes upon loading save data. I encountered many of these technical issues, that for some reason still exist in the game today, likely because this is a port and that’s all there is to it. You may be able to defend the aging of a game’s mechanics, but not technical flaws.

Summary

If you’re in need of some Star Wars action then Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast will do the job but don’t expect much from it. Previous fans of the game may be able to overlook the outdated gameplay and countless technical issues, but newer players will most likely have a hard time feeling enthralled with this game. For now, it feels like the release of a great Star Wars game to take on the go is in a galaxy far far away.

6/10

Pros

  • Decent Narrative
  • Hours of Gameplay
  • Force Powers Are Fun to Use
  • Solid Puzzle Solving Mechanics
  • Looks & Sounds like a Star Wars Game
  • Gyro Controls & Cheat Codes

Cons

  • The Game’s Combat Mechanics Have Aged Poorly
  • Frequent Clipping Through Buildings & Falling Through Platforms
  • Crashing Issues
  • Sparse Checkpoints

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