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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

Hope to Receive it as a Gift

Game Profile
Vicarious Visions
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
November 18, 2002
Star Wars Battlefront II

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

More in this Series
 Written by Jeff Milligan  on February 10, 2003

Full Review: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...this intro used to be original"

It's a time of relative peace in the galaxy. Since proving his skills at the Valley of the Jedi and defeating the Dark Jedi Jerec, Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn has laid down his lightsaber. After almost falling under Jerec's dark powers, Kyle has decided that he cannot be stable in wielding The Force, and has vowed to never again use it. Instead, Kyle offers his services to the New Republic, carrying out reconnaissance missions with his partner Jan Ors. On a recent recon mission of a long abandoned Imperial Outpost on Kejim, Jan and Kyle find out that it's not as deserted as anticipated, and that their mission may require a bit more attention then they had planned on...

No this isn't the plot to Episode 3, but is instead the beginning of the latest chapter to the hit PC series Star Wars Dark Forces. Originally created for the PC, the Dark Forces series has exploded into one of the best first person action series around and can now be enjoyed on your own little 'Cube. Jedi Outcast does a spectacular job of carrying out the traits that made the first two games in the series great and also adds a few new tricks to make for a whole new Jedi experience. New weapons, locations, characters, and enemies are all included in Jedi Outcast, as well as a few GameCube exclusive features.

When first starting off, you may jump to the quick conclusion that the game is slow paced. However, this is soon remedied by the addition of force powers, more powerful (and explosive) weapons, and of course the almighty lightsaber. It may not sound like much, but you'll be surprised how entertaining it is to zap 5 stormtroopers at a time with your force lightning. Even though Kyle may have forgotten his Jedi past, The Force has surely not forgotten him. Using Force Powers to overcome enemies and obstacles is a crucial part of Jedi Outcast and is a blast to use. Force powers can not only be learned throughout JKII, but can also be expanded upon. Each Force power is represented by 3 stars, each of which symbols a level of mastery for the power. For example, when you first learn a power it starts off on the first star. By the time you reach the third star, the power is as strong as it can get,and will either do more damage or will last longer than it originally did.

Now we get to every Star Wars fans favorite weapon, the lightsaber. The game really takes off when you finally get your hands on one of these babies. The lightsaber enables you to reflect blaster shots for defense, and can also be thrown at enemies to take them down from a distance. It may sound strange that a lightsaber could be more fun to use than thermal detonators and wookie bowcasters, but believe me, it is. Lightsaber combat is the main focus of JKII, and is extremely well implemented. Flipping over your opponents head while using your lightsaber to deflect laser shots is nothing out of the ordinary here. You'll also notice that if you swing the 'saber against an object or a wall, it will cut it, leaving a scar in the object. It's not a game changing implementation, but it does add points to the realism factor.

The one thing that most Star Wars games do well is recreating the locations and characters we're familiar with from the movies. Jedi Outcast is no exception as your journeys will take you to 25 different levels, including Yavin IV, Cloud City, and even the Death Star. You'll also bump into a few characters you may recognize, such as Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian (who even sports the voice of Billie Dee Williams). JKII does not feature the greatest graphics we've seen on the GameCube, but they are good enough to hold their own. You will notice that when playing in outdoor environments there is a lack of sharp detail that is shown on inside environments. The characters and enemies are also blocky in texture, which is disappointing to see.

The GameCube controller is definitely not designed to handle first person shooter's, and getting used to the control scheme is one of, if not the biggest problem in Outcast. The right analog stick is used for movement and strafing, and the c-stick controls where you aim your weapon. The right shoulder button and the z-trigger are your main and secondary fire, the A button is jump, the B button is used to interact with objects, Y draws your lightsaber (after it's been obtained), and X is used for crouching. Getting used to how the controller is laid out takes some time to get used to, and may put a damper on the game for some players out there. However, if you're a lightsaber fanatic like I am, then you will be better off as the camera switches over to a third person view, which is much easier to navigate with the GameCube controller.

One of the best features of the original Jedi Knight for the PC was it's multiplayer modes. Jedi Outcast brings back all of the modes that were available in it's predecessor, plus one or two more. The Jedi Arena is a great place to sharpen your skills with the lightsaber as well as to adjust to the controller layout. Capture the flag is one of the most entertaining modes of play you can find in an FPS, especially when it is capture the flag with lightsabers. Death matches, free for all, and team free for all are also represented. The 2 player split screen works very well, but the game unfortunately does not feature a 4 player mode, which is what makes most multiplayer modes truely great. Despite this, you're still able to challenge your best friend to a duel with lightsabers, which can be mighty fun.

Bottom Line
Despite it's few shortcomings, Jedi Outcast is a solid GameCube title that should not be missed by Star Wars fans and first person adventures fans alike. Just when you think you've seen everything there is to see in a Star Wars game, LucasArts always seems to come up with something new. In the case of Jedi Outcast, the amazing lightsaber battles are what make the game worth coming back to. This is your chance to step out of the padawan ranks and into the realm of the Jedi, are you up for it? May The Force be with you.

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